Looking for a New Printing Company?  6 Things to Consider

Looking for a New Printing Company? 6 Things to Consider

You just got a job at a company and one of your tasks is overseeing the print buying?  So what do you do?  Stay with the printing company you have been using or go find a new one.  Both are probably the best answer.  Begin by meeting with the existing printer and learn all you can about the relationship.  See if you are compatible with the person you will be working with.  Try to visit the company if you can because you will learn a lot of extra information with an onsite visit.  Second once you have a feel for the corporate capabilities of your current print supplier (and the needs of your company) you should see who else can provide printing services for your business card, brochure, flier and trade show event needs.  There are several things to consider and to help you with the task I have listed six suggestions below.   

Why is all of this important?  Should you select a printer that’s not suitable for your organizations requirements, you might wind up spending too much, being embarrassed with the finished product, or feeling helplessly incompetent especially if this is your first go at being a print buyer.  This can be much easier if the printing company does their job and proactively gives advice and help as needed.  Now to be clear it helps to ask.  No good print company is short of helpful assistance when asked.  They know that it is a critical point of differentiation.  As printers we all have our stories where we were chosen in a new relationship not because of low price but because we gave assistance long before we knew we would be given the job.  

You could Google the first company that comes up but a better approach is to arm yourself with some good information to minimize your risks.

So with that in mind here are my tips for print buyers to consider in their new roles: 

1.  Ask for advice from others who have similar responsibilities. People love to share for they have been in your shoes before. 

2.  Don’t delay in your research.    Printing can take time and a new relationship will also require more time so start now.  Even if you use small jobs to begin a relationship; it is easier for all concerned and gives you flexibility with your budget.  Pennywise and pound foolish and all that sort of jive.

3. If you are totally new to print buying seek out books on the subject.  Marge Dana of Boston Print Buyers (website referenced above is a good source).  We also have a FREE source available see below. 

4.  Use your social media connections such as LinkedIn Groups or even through Facebook to find resources for helpful information. 

5. Look into Printing Associations.  They will often have resources for the buyers of printing.  Even though they are mainly created for the commercial printers they realize the wisdom in helping out the buyers of printing.  Some associations include NAQP (National Association of Quick Printers) and the PIA which stands for Printing Industries of America.  Their website is www.printing.org  and the NAQP www.napl.org/ 

6.  Ask DPI.  Sure we are biased and yet we didn’t put this kind of information up on this blog because we want to trick you.  We are picky about who we work with, just like you should be.  If we are not a good fit for you or your company we will tell you.  We are busy, you are busy, it just makes sense to help people you really can help; otherwise you waste everyone’s time. If you want to interview Digital Print Ink contact us at info@digitalprintink.net.  We also have a FREE printing buyers guide with helpful tips on how to get the most from your printer and your printing experience.

Bottom line, you should not pick a printer blindly. There are more than 500,000 printing and publishing companies in the US.  You could get lost and confused before you find the printing relationship you need to make your printing needs hassle free.  So by following the guidelines in this article you can avoid some of the pitfalls a new print buyer faces. 

Signs: Where Is The Best Place To Put A Sign?

Signs: Where Is The Best Place To Put A Sign?

People are almost always moving so keep that in mind when creating a banner or sign.  Also when they are out and about their purpose for being out is not so they can read signs.  No one says, “Hey I think I go read some signs today.”  So what should you do about this?  

To begin with start thinking like a “sign reader”.  Think about what the people who see your sign will be doing.  That will probably help you place the sign properly.  It may help you come up with the kind of message to put on it.  Certainly it will help you get a better end result.

There are people who do this professionally you know.  They stand behind signs or near sign and they watch the people who come by the sign.  They jot down notes like:

    Did the person look at the sign?

    Was it a glance or did they read it?

    How long did they look at the sign?

    

These are just a few of the many notes sign watcher jot down.  You probably don’t want to go to the expense of hiring an outside firm to “test” the results of your banner or sign.  But this article can help you make sure the sign or banner you are creating gets the right job done.

So now that you have a place for a sign and with all the competition for space today finding a place to even put a banner or sign is not easy.  Here are some more questions to ask that will help you create a better message and put that message in the right place.

  1. What will the customer be doing when they view the sign?

  2. What direction would they most likely be looking when moving through a certain area?      

  3. Will they be sitting, standing, walking or even rushing?

  4. Is there something going on in this area that could be influencing their thinking so our message should play off of that?

  5. Is there something you could communicate with them as they leave the area, church or store?

Just because you need to put up a sign and you have a space does not mean you put a sign there.  I hope by thinking about the questions above you can see that putting up a banner or sign is more than just finding a spot.

I know you may be thinking,” Hey Steve, I just want to put up a sign.  I don’t want a course in Signology.”  (I just invented that word, you like it ☺)  Okay but here is an example to help illustrate the importance of thinking about sign usage and placement.

When someone comes into my Printing Business we often will work up an estimate for them.  So they are standing or sitting for a few minutes.  It would be smart for me to observe what they do while waiting.  If I can determine some places their eyes might naturally go I can think about putting a sign there.  I know that is quite simple and logical but you would be surprised how many people do not consider that when placing a sign.  [BTW we also invested in a low cost TV and mounted it on the wall with a rolling message of our products.]  You should pay attention to this because a few feet one way or the other can be disastrous for results.  After reading this blog you will start to notice this when you walk into an area that has signs.  It won’t be long before you are hooked on this process.  Go ahead and thank me!!!  [You know I founded Humility Anonymous]  Actually I got a lot of my information from reading a book called Why We Buy by Paco Underhill.

What about outside banners?  I bet you get the biggest message – SHORT.  If people are driving by a message like, “Come in to get our FREE Checking account and save.”  Is not as good as FREE CHECKING.  The exception to this would be a sign at a stop light and then a more detailed message may make sense. So are we all together here?  We have to put ourselves in the place and mind of the customer/shopper.

Stickers: Your Secret Weapon To Boost Sales

Stickers: Your Secret Weapon To Boost Sales

Stickers are not just for kids anymore.  One of the most effective and economical means of advertising, stickers are an under-utilized advertising product you should use to stand out in the crowd.  Who doesn’t like a sticker?  As children we spent hours playing with stickers our parents bought for us or we used the stickers from book publishers and record companies sent out with direct mail.  (Okay so I’m old mentioning records).   The best thing about custom stickers is that they are completely customizable, you can make them in all sizes, shapes and colors. Stickers can be used for indoor and outdoor projects.  They just set things off in a great way.  Use stickers to promote everything and add a special WOW factor to your effort.

Stickers get noticed because they “stick” out.  You put them on your clothing, your phone, your note books, your car, your "everything".  They are just so cool to hand out and who wouldn’t want a sticker.

In the past, stickers were less flexible.  You had to be careful what you put them on, they were not weather resistant.  That has all changed with stickers being made with vinyl, different kinds of paper, even plastic.  So ease of use has made stickers increase in popularity.  You can even get a sticker with a certain smell.  No kidding!

Now the manufacturing channel has been using stickers for years, (sometimes called labels).  They have utilized stickers for all of their products and can verify the service that stickers provide as a means to communicate needed information.  Savvy business owners are taking that concept to new levels by using stickers to promote events, new products and raising awareness. 

When deciding on your next marketing campaign or event, think STICKERS and see how many different ways you can utilize stickers for your project.  I think you will find immediate acceptance and enthusiasm surrounding the use of stickers.  Let your printing shop help you with ideas since they have examples of how other businesses and organizations are utilizing stickers to promote their brand.

Seen a creative use of stickers, share it here.

The 4 Most Common Mistakes I See People Make When Mailing a Postcards

The 4 Most Common Mistakes I See People Make When Mailing a Postcards

Postcards remain an effective and economical way to get your marketing message out.

We help people with postcards all the time by designing them, printing and mailing them.  Over the years I’ve noticed some common mistakes.  We try to help people avoid them depending on when we get involved in the process.  Here are the four mistakes to avoid:

1.Put your message on both sides of the postcard

The address side is the side most readers will see first.  If you only put the address on the “backside” then your reader will not get the full intended value and you will have wasted your money.

2.Do not use a label

Labels cry out “junk mail” or mass mail and that means WASTE BASKET mail.  Have the person’s address printed on the postcard.  TIP: Ask for a handwritten font to make it look like the address was handwritten on the postcard.

3.Put a compelling headline on both sides of the card.

People will only glance at your postcard.  So make your headline so compelling that they have to keep reading.  If you need help with headlines be sure and get my 25 Best Headlines to give you some idea starters.

4.Give a clear and direct Call to Action (also known as what to do next message)

People need to know what to do.  It is your responsibility to tell them or probably better ask them to take a specific action.  Think about this from the customer’s point of view and make it easy for them to go to the next step.  There are so many things you can do with a CTA (call to action) my Call to Action Tips will help you there.

So I hope the 4 things to avoid when mailing a postcard will help you get the most value from your next postcard mailing.  Giving you valuable information is our way of differentiating DPI Printing & Mailing from our competitors.  Sure we can just do the job and keep our mouths shut but why not help.  Don’t you give people the benefit of your knowledge when they do business with you?  

We are the same way.  Plus we just tell people if they are not happy with our work they don’t have to pay.  I hate hassles and if someone doesn’t feel I’ve been fair with them then I just fix it or give them their money back.  End of story, life is easier that way.

You be good and remember you are not in the product and service business you are in the marketing of your product and service business.  There is a difference; it has to do with the number of zeros on your paycheck.