Don’t Forget the Envelope!

porath-envelopesDirect mail pieces are a design challenge in and of themselves. Often, they are postcards or self-mailers (larger pieces that are folded down with an integrated mailing panel) which are designed to be eye-catching and convey information and stand out in the pile of mail in the box. They have the advantage of being ‘naked’ – seen and processed on some level even if being recycled.

Direct mail that is inserted into envelopes poses the additional design challenge of encouraging recipients to open the envelope to see what is inside. Depending on what you are sending, sometimes the best answer is to keep it simple and simply have the address and return address on the envelope – maybe with your logo above the return address. This is especially true if you are sending to an office or somewhere there may be intermediaries who are tasked with tossing anything that looks like a solicitation!

But more often, you’re going to want to take advantage of all that print real estate to entice the receiver to open the envelope to find out what’s inside or to reinforce the message that is awaiting them inside.

Here are a few things to think about to integrate your envelope into your mailing:

1.       Add a ‘teaser’ message – use words that will pique the reader’s interest and make them think you’re addressing them directly “Exclusive offer for bowlers inside” and if you have enclosed something in the envelope, tell them! “Two free passes, just for you!”

2.       Tell them what you want them to do – use words like “see inside,” “look inside,” or “open immediately.”

3.       Use graphics or pictures to really get their attention. If you have a product you are selling, a picture of what you are offering with the deal – “free” “25% off” etc. will be sure to grab their attention.

4.       Add a deadline. “Reply by…” lends urgency to your message making it more likely that the envelope will be opened rather than set aside for later. Make sure it’s a real deadline so the reader doesn’t feel duped once they open the envelope.

5.       Don’t try to trick people with “official” looking envelopes. If you’re making it look like an invoice or an official notice of some sort as part of your design strategy that’s one thing. If you are doing it to trick them into opening, you will not get the desired response.

Whatever you do, the important thing is that you give the envelope as much thought as you give the piece going inside the envelope.

Benefits of Branded Apparel

porath-fleeceBranded apparel can be as simple as your company name embroidered on a dress shirt and as complex as a full color logo, graphics, and text printed from seam to seam. It’s a great marketing tool that is advertising your company while not being interpreted as advertising. People see it, it has a positive psychological effect on their perception of your company, and it reinforces your brand. At the same time, your employees feel more connected to your company and see themselves as brand ambassadors and experts in the field. Every company and organization can benefit from branded apparel. Here are a few reasons you might want to order them for your business or organization.

Corporate Culture

Branded apparel gives a sense of community among employees. It establishes a corporate dress code that is professional and comfortable. Often the apparel can be a bit more casual, as the uniformity adds a bit more formality. The sense of community can positively effect employees’ sense of pride in their company, leading to a better work ethic and higher job satisfaction.

Branded apparel is effective outside of the work environment as well. Every time your business’ name and branding is seen it reinforces your place in people’s minds and increases your legitimacy. Fun and comfortable shirts and baseball caps will encourage your employees to passively promote your business by wearing them on the weekend and at local events.

It may be that branded apparel is not what you want on a daily basis in your company – instead you may want to designate certain days as ‘wear to work’ days. They are also perfect to promote special events your company is participating in or sponsoring – groundbreakings, fun runs, charity events, anniversaries, etc.

Corporate Image

Customers tend to associate employees wearing branded apparel with large, well-established businesses. It gives them a sense of confidence and security in their decision to use your services. People associate branded items with higher quality – and wearing branded apparel taps into that psychology.

Customers also see employees wearing branded apparel as more authoritative and have more confidence in their expertise. And wearing that branded apparel may give your employees a stronger sense of confidence in their own expertise and may increase their dedication to providing excellent customer service as they see themselves as a company ambassador.

Customers like getting special gifts, and branded apparel is always a favorite. Let your customers be your brand ambassadors! Depending on your company, you can also have your branded apparel for sale – and if you are an organization, having branded apparel for sale can be a great fundraiser.

There are literally hundreds of different styles of corporate apparel available – shirts, tanks, oxfords, fleece, jackets, pants, hats, and more – in different materials and colors. There is one that is right for your business, whether your employees wear them every day or only occasionally. The benefit to your company will be positive.

Solutions: Branded Shirts and Fleeces

Branded shirts and fleeces (corporate apparel) offer a lot of benefits to a business or organization. On the employee side, other than the ease of dressing in the morning, wearing corporate apparel gives a stronger identity with the company’s values, mission, and goals. On the customer side, employees wearing corporate apparel appear as both brand ambassadors and experts in their field. This increases the customer’s confidence in the employee and the company.

With our new colorful logo, we decided that we wanted the uniformity of shirt style but gave each employee the option of which colors they wanted. The result is a diverse unity that fits our company well.

There are literally hundreds of shirt and fleece styles available. We can help you choose the right option for you.

How Effective is Your Non-Profit Marketing?

Our very own Rachel Gordon was highlighted as a Grow Your Business – Cleveland expert. Click on the video below to get some great tips on how to make your non-profit marketing as effective as possible. Visit their website at http://gybcle.com to see more!

Solutions: Fans!

Summer and hot weather is right around the corner. Yes, there is air conditioning – but not everywhere and not always effective. Think about any event leading people to congregate and you’re looking at an event that could use a fan…with your branding on it! And branding doesn’t necessarily mean corporate – these fans are perfect for weddings, church services, and funerals, as well as fun runs, town meetings, beer gardens, festivals, fairs and more.

These fans come in a variety of shapes – with or without sticks – with one or two-sided printing – one color or full color. There are so many options you’ll just have to let us know what your situation is and we will help you find the perfect fan!

 

What’s In It For Me? Does Your Direct Mail Campaign Answer This?

Targeted mailingGetting the Best Response to Direct Mailings

Every industry these days faces stiff competition. It’s crucial to utilize every available marketing channel to promote products and services to potential customers. Online strategies can be both complex and effective, but printed materials still provide a medium that can reach out to more consumers in a way that’s easier to understand and appreciate. Here are some important tactics to ensure you get the most from your direct mail campaigns.

Targeted customers

You need to know who your market is and how to engage them with your message. Your targeted customers will be those most likely to respond to your message. This increases your chances of a response while minimizing wasted time and materials. Your best prospects are past customers who are familiar with your company and product. But it’s vital to reach out to new prospects. Doing this with the most efficiency requires building up a demographic profile or persona of who your ideal customer is and matching prospects with this profile. This requires gathering data through feedback and prior sales into a database where it can be organized to reveal consistent customer traits. You can then get direct mailing lists that target each of your specific customer types.

Professional quality

Quality printing and distribution systems are important. Professional-looking materials are memorable and create interest and trust. It’s also important to your brand to use your logo and colors consistently so consumers will become familiar and comfortable with it. Depending on your needs, you will want a variety of formats, such as booklets, brochures, flyers, envelopes, and more. More permanent and eye-catching designs might include printed magnets, pop-up displays, ad specialties, and posters.

Meaningful messages

How you present your message is important in any ad copy, particularly direct mailing. You want to capture your reader’s attention at a glance, keep them interested in the material, and convey the product’s value to them. Be sure to have a clear offer and call to action, so they aren’t guessing as to what this mailing is all about. Design your message to reflect the interests and concerns of your target market. Females 20 to 30 will have very different lifestyle habits and interests than males 45 to 55. Incorporate images and topics that are popular with the target market segment.

Direct mail campaigns can employ postcards, newsletters, catalogues, and more. The design options are basically unlimited and should be given serious consideration. Every piece of mail should be designed to draw the interest of new customers. The best offer won’t mean a thing without being packaged in an eye-catching, graphically interesting and easily understandable format. There are so many things you can do with print to add more interest – different folds, finishes, textures, shapes, graphics, just to name a few.

If you’re looking for optimal results from your next mailing campaign, all these elements need to be a part of planning and executing it.

Solutions: Building Signs

There are so many things involved in building signs – size, placement, design, permits, installation, and more. We had a monument sign (those are the ones that stand alone with the information closer to ground level) with our old logo, but decided with our new logo to add a sign to the building as well as replace the face of the old monument sign.

No matter where around your building you need signs – inside, outside, directional, etc – we can help!

5 Proven Ways to Stay Front and Center

telephones-stringThe world of commerce is shrinking every day. No longer are your customers or employees only people who live in your town. Now they’re all over the country and the globe. Your sales manager may be in Des Moines, your assistant in Phoenix, and your Web designer in the Philippines. Staying in front of your team and your clients can be a challenge. There is, however, a wealth of technology that will help you to remain front and center.

Video Conferencing

There are several popular sites that allow video conferencing on the internet. These sites allow you to chat in real time, using your webcam to have a real, face to face conversation. Applications like Google Hangouts let you conduct conferences with multiple people simultaneously. Video conferencing is one of the best ways to add a human presence to your interactions and collaborate in real time. This is an excellent way to connect to your clients and reassure them that they are working with real people.

Screen Sharing

Another way to stay in front of your client when not physically there is through screen sharing. Perhaps you want to show your client how to use your software. Or you may want to show them a mockup of the design you have created. Screen sharing allows you to share data while you engage in a phone conversation. This allows them to move step by step through your information and ask questions in real time. Screen sharing is great for working with one or multiple clients. Most screen sharing services are low cost, making them both convenient and cost effective.

Live Chat

Although they won’t be able to see your face or your screen, your clients can talk to you in real time through chat. With a live chat widget on your site, you can provide a transparent way for your clients to ask questions, give feedback, and become more engaged with your product. Live chat is a great time saver as well. Instead of sending emails back and forth all day, you can simply answer the question and move on. Clients like this because they get the answers they need quickly so that they can make the right decisions. Many companies are finding that live chat services provide an excellent solution to customer service and allow them to interact with their clients in an effective way.

Specialty Printed Products

Have you ever had a magnet stuck on your refrigerator with the name of a plumber or a locksmith? It’s likely that you ignored it for the most part. That is, until you needed that service. Then you knew right where to look and who to call. This is a great way to stay in front of your clients. Branded products that your clients will see every day—keychains, mugs, calendars, magnets—are a great way to make your name stick in their mind. You can even use specially printed folders like Tab Talker™ to make your company’s name stand out in their file drawer. Reinforcing your brand’s name in their minds as part of their regular routine is one of the best ways to stay front and center with your client.

When it comes to keeping your company’s name fresh in your clients’ minds, there are many solutions that work. A weekly check-in, a video chat, or a pre-printed folder can make all of the difference in building brand loyalty. Your clients are bombarded with information each day, so staying relevant and current is a challenge. Get creative and enjoy increased loyalty and sales for the life of your business.

Earth Day Print and Digital Facts

paper-recyclingEarth Day is always a good time to reflect on the relationship of the print industry to the environment. Often the first example people give about how to ‘save the environment’ involves limiting their use of paper. Emails will have messages at the bottom cautioning to save the environment by only printing if absolutely necessary. Recycling efforts historically have focused on paper. From these vantage points the print industry can really look like a villain bent on destroying the earth.

Make no mistake, at Porath we are all for sustainability and saving the earth – for every possible reason. We are also (obviously!) big fans of the print industry. Let’s look at some facts:

  • Paper is recycled more than any other material in North America (66.8%) and is made with a high percentage of renewable energy.
  • Electronic devices are complex and expensive to recycle, recover, or reuse due to the toxicity of many of the components.
  • ‘Go Paperless, Go Green’ campaigns may sound environmentally friendly. The environmental impact is debatable, but the financial savings to the companies promoting this is not.
  • Digital devices – and networks and cloud-based servers – require a great deal of energy to run and to be produced. Chances are that the coal needed to power your digital life is causing massive deforestation and environmental devastation through a coal mining process in Appalachia called ‘mountain-top removal.’
  • The majority of trees harvested in the US and Canada (>64%) are used for lumber, not paper.
  • As long as there is a demand for wood, forests will be sustained and expanded. If the demand decreases, there is no longer a financial incentive to protect them, leading the way to deforestation and conversion of that land to other uses. Once they are paved over, reforestation is almost impossible.
  • According to PrintIsBig.com:
    • Spam email wastes 33 billion kilowatt hours annually, which is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 3.1 million cars and 2 billion gallons of fuel
    • The average person wastes 2.4 times more energy powering a single computer than the energy used to produce the paper they use each year

There is no doubt the print industry can do better in managing sustainability and environmental costs. There are new fast growing plants and trees that show promise and processing materials that produce less contaminants.

In the meantime, we are committed to doing our part for sustainability and a healthy environment.

Solutions: Gate Fold

Powerful graphics are important for bringing attention to your printed project and adding a fold or two can be just what it needs to add that extra punch to make it memorable. Some folds require die cutting because of their size or shape – but the Gate Fold can be integrated into a piece very simply and economically.

As you can see in the examples, the gate fold looks just like what its name intends. Two edges are folded in to meet each other so when it is opened it literally looks like gates opening up. In these examples, the two ‘gates’ are the same size, but that isn’t necessary – making this a very versatile option. One of the examples was die cut to look like a plate while the other was simply folded in an interesting way that highlighted the graphics.