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If you’re not sure where to start with your competition, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of five ways, to get you started.

A vision statement is a vital part of any successful small business, so today we explore how to craft an effective vision statement to move the business forward.

If you want your sales to stay successful after Independence Day, then you’re going to need a second strategy to implement once the day comes to an end.

With all of the excitement surrounding the Fourth of July, consumers are searching for sales. How does your business join in? Here are a few marketing reminders.

When you know how to best represent your brand, you have the flexibility to share that brand with others, while representing the company in a professional light.

3 Tips for Maximizing Results with Print + Email

Combine direct mail with email is a great way to increase response rates. Here are three ways to manage the timing to turbocharge your results.

1. Use email to follow-up to nudge response.
Email makes a great reminder for your direct mail pieces. Drop your postcard or letter. Then, while the piece is still fresh in people’s minds, use email to nudge them to respond. When one manufacturer wanted to invite customers to an in-house seminar, for example, it paired a dimensional mailer with two follow-up emails. The company received an 18% overall response rate.

2. Use mail tracking to optimize email timing.
Using mail tracking services, you can determine when the mail piece actually arrives at the recipient’s home or office, then time your email to arrive at the time that testing has determined will be most effective.

One B2B marketer split its email blast into two groups and conducted an A/B test. The first blast arrived on a predetermined day regardless of when the mail piece actually arrived. In the second blast, the mail drops were tracked and the email was timed to arrive exactly one day later. The timed follow-ups showed a 4.7% lift in response.

3. Send email first to save on postage costs.
Did you know that you can optimize your postal costs by sending an email first? Anyone who responds to the email blast can be removed from the direct mail list. This saves you print and postage.

In one alumni campaign, a university sent personalized emails based on area of study and graduation/reunion year. It followed up with a direct mailer personalized with the same information, but only to people who had not responded to the email. Not only did the university save money on print and postage, but it achieved an 8.5% response rate.

Email makes a terrific partner to direct mail campaigns, whether sent in advance of the mailing or as a follow-up. Looking for ideas for making the ideal one-two punch? Give us a call.

Here are five key components for how to make a strategic video script and create a successful marketing video which will help boost lead generation and grow your business.

5-Point Checklist for Top-Notch Folds

First impressions matter. When a recipient reaches into his or her mailbox or picks up a piece of marketing collateral, what impression are they getting from your company? The quality of the folds you use is one of those details that matters more than you might think. Here is a five-point checklist to make sure your piece looks its best.

1. Create a mock-up.
Before finalizing the design, create a mock-up to make sure everything looks right. For example, check that folds don't run awkwardly through visual elements and that everything lines up correctly. You don't want to be making last-minute corrections because something got missed.

2. Double-check the folding sequence.
When the piece is run through the folding machine, the folding sequence is often different from how the panels appear on the printed sheet. Make sure that the panels are in the correct order even after the piece gets folded.

3. Allow for creep.
If you are doing multiple folds, adjust for creep. Especially with thicker paper, every time the sheet is folded, it moves over a little each time. If you are doing roll folds, each consecutive panel must be slightly narrower.

4. Don't assume it's machine foldable.
Don't assume that every piece is machine foldable. With more complex constructions, pieces may need to be hand folded. You don't want to be redesigning the piece right before the deadline to avoid an unexpected expense.

5. Consider the paper grain.
Ensure that the folds go with the grain of the paper, not against it. This will minimize the potential for cracking across those fold lines. If you have heavy ink coverage, you may want to pre-score the folds to keep them crisp.

These are five simple steps that can make for a piece that stands out in its professionalism and stays within the budget. Before creating any complex folds, talk to us first!

Whether you choose to take photos with a quality camera or a simple smartphone, there are specific ways to ensure pictures turn out clean, crisp and professional.

In today’s world, if a business is not on social media, it can easily fall by the wayside as technology advances. However, being on social media is simply not enough.

We put together a quick list of our favorite summer marketing ideas to help you get ready for the hot sales season coming up. Here’s how to prepare for summer marketing.

5 Channels = 5 Ways to Help You Grow

Want to grow your business? Here are five marketing ideas to build your business.

1. Mail it! Not only is the power of direct mail stronger than ever, but it gets around many of the downsides of electronic marketing. It doesn't require opt-in. It doesn't get caught by spam filters. It doesn't get automatically directed into folders with other marketing emails where it will never be seen.

2. Offer a webinar. Be the expert in your subject area by offering webinars. Be the one your customers trust. If you don't feel qualified, don't worry. As long as you know more about the subject than your attendees, you have something to offer. Even a 30-second webinar will do the trick.

3. Write a letter. How many people take the time to write letters anymore? Talk to your customers as you would to a friend. No sales talk! Brag about recent success stories. Talk about your company's community and charitable involvement. Offer ideas that are relevant to them. You don't see this often, and it's one reason you should do it.

4. Let the sidewalk do the talking. It's easy to focus on broadening your reach through direct mail and email and forget about the power of reaching people right in front of you. If you have a storefront, use sidewalk displays, window clings, banners, and other forms of advertising to reach the people walking right by your door.

5. Host an event. Like webinars, in-house events set you up as a thought leader. Offer an educational seminar. Give a behind-the-scenes tour. Bring in an expert speaker. Attendees will remember you, and if they like you, so much the better. People want to do business with people they like.

These are five different channels, each offering something unique to help you build your business. The more ways you can interact with your target audience, the more engaged your customers will be. So pick a channel and use it - or better yet, use them all.

Should your business have a mobile app? Today we dive in and explore some of the reasoning behind having—or not having—a mobile app for a small business.

Is Social Media Print’s New Best Friend?

While print and social media may compete for your marketing dollars, they don’t have to compete for your customers. In fact, using them together can make your marketing more effective. Let’s look at five ways print and social media can work together.

1. Print drives traffic to social media.

How do you drive traffic to your social media sites? Often, it’s with print. Whether it is through direct mail, store signage, or company invoices, print is often your customer’s first exposure to your social media presence.

2. More channels help you reach more people.

Even in today’s tech-driven world, not everyone uses social media or uses it on a regular basis. Use print to ensure that you are reaching the largest swath of your audience as possible. As the old adage goes, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

3. Say it again . . . and again.

Consistently, studies show that reinforcing your message through multiple channels increases brand awareness, heightens engagement, and boosts response rates. The combination of print and social media, along with other traditional and digital media, is more effective than any single channel alone.

4. Boost credibility.

Survey after survey shows that consumers still trust print more than they trust online media. A survey conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design in coordination with ExactTarget found that even Millennials are more likely to be influenced to make purchase decisions based on communications they receive by email and direct mail rather than through social media advertising.

5. Print has staying power.

Your message on social media might stay for a few hours, then gets buried under the avalanche of other messaging. Print has staying power. Your direct mail piece might live on someone’s desk or bulletin board for weeks or months.

Using print and social media isn’t an “either or” proposition. Understanding when and where to use each channel is the key to getting the best results.

Vehicle branding is an exceptional form of advertising medium with few downsides. For just one single startup cost, your vehicle can expose a multitude of people to the business every single day.

Without strong content, a blog can quickly fall apart. If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. Today we discuss seven post ideas for your business blog.

Can “I’m Sorry” Win More Business?

Everyone messes up once in awhile. Even the best, most responsible marketers get it wrong on occasion. When that happens, you have an excellent opportunity to boost sales and cement customer relationships. How? With a simple, personalized letter of apology.

Apologies are powerful. One Forbes contributor described how one company used a direct mail letter to apologize to hundreds of thousands of customers so well, so sincerely, that it ended up selling more merchandise than it would have otherwise. Talk about turning a negative into a positive!

Why do apology letters work?

1. They are relatable. We are all human. We all make mistakes. By apologizing, you humanize your company and create empathy. When done well, addressing the person by name and including personal, relevant details to them, a sincere apology letter can improve the customer relationship.

2. They give you credibility. Nobody likes to apologize. When a company apologizes, it gets a customer's attention. This can give you tremendous credibility that builds trust.

2. It gives you an opportunity to make right. Everybody likes when a wrong is made right. Once you have a customer's attention, an apology letter can create positive feelings about your company and further cement customer loyalty.

It is not necessary to send formal apologies for every misstep, but when it merits, don't be afraid to do so. Keep it simple. Be sincere. Do it well, and you might find that instead of losing customers, you gain more loyal customers instead.

You may ask, “Earth Day and marketing?” How could those two possibly go together? Today we’re going to discuss how to embrace Earth Day in your marketing efforts.

Want More Donations? Choose Print!

For nonprofits, every dollar they spend on overhead, administration, and marketing is a dollar not spent on their mission. Not surprisingly, there is an intense focus on which marketing channels are most effective. So which channel works best for nonprofits? A study by YouGov provides the answer: direct mail. In a survey of more than 1,150 U.S adults, YouGov found the following:

• One-fifth (21%) of respondents said that a direct mail solicitation prompted them to make their most recent donation. This is higher than for any other channel.

• Older donors (55+) are most likely to respond to direct mail. One-quarter made their last gift in response to a mailing. Among 18-34-year-olds, this drops to 14%.

• Lower income households are among the most motivated by direct mail. Nearly one-third of those earning $40,000 per year or less responded to direct mail for their last donation. Among those earning $80,000+ per year, this drops to 18%.

• Only 12% of donors report being prompted to make their last gift by something they heard about on the radio, on TV, or in print.

• Even fewer (10%) were prompted by email.

• Very few donors (6%) were prompted by social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, although this is stronger among 18-34-year-olds (11%).

When it comes to fundraising, direct mail is the clear winner for nonprofits. So once you have decided to launch a direct mail campaign, what is the next step? Make it the best it can be. Why not give us a call?

Drip email marketing, otherwise known as drip email campaigns, is the perfect way to automate the marketing and sales process, easily converting leads into customers.

Paper 101: What Different Terms Actually Mean

When asked about the details of the paper stock you are choosing for a print project, do your eyes glaze over? Do terms like basis weight, points, and color cast sound like Greek to you? If so, here is a quick list of basic terms to help you better understand the process.

Basis weight is the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of a paper at its basic size, or the size of the uncut sheet supplied to the printer. For example, the basic size of book paper is 25 x 38 inches, so a ream weighing 70 pounds would be 70-lb. paper. Sometimes metric is used: 70-lb. book paper is equivalent to 104 g/m2.

Cover, card, and other thick stocks are often specified in points, which refers to the thickness of the paper. This is often abbreviated “pt.”— for example, “8-pt. cover.” One point is 1/1000th of an inch, so an 8-pt. stock is 0.008 inches thick.

Paper grade refers to the end use of the paper. Bond is used for letters and documents, book paper is used for books, offset is used for offset printing, and so on. Digital presses generally have their own grades. Thicker grades include cover, bristol, tag, and index.

C1S and C2S refer to coatings. Paper is often coated during manufacture, which improves the reproduction of fine halftone screens and color fidelity. C1S means “coated one-side,” which is useful for labels, packaging, and other materials destined for single-sided printing. C2S means “coated two-sides” and is preferred for two-sided commercial printing.

Brightness refers to the percentage of light reflected from the sheet’s surface. Basic white copy paper has a 92 brightness. Brightness by component wavelength (red, green, or blue) is also determined, as paper can reflect different amounts of certain colors, imparting a color cast to a printed piece if you’re not careful.

Paper can bring life, texture, and beauty to your projects. Want to learn more about how different choices complement different projects? Let’s talk!

As a marketing professional, you may have read an ebook or two before in your day. But the real question is: have you ever considered writing one?

While Twitter might be smaller than the social media giant Facebook, it’s definitely something worth attention. Today dive into why your business should have a Twitter.

How can businesses and individuals best reach out to consumers during the new spring season? Luckily, we have five super springtime marketing ideas to get you started.

An email subject line can ensure viewers actually open the email, read it and act upon it. So, how do you create a compelling email subject line? Here’s how.

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