Archive | full-color print

I Want to Use Variable Data Printing… Now What?

Variable Data Printing

Variable Data Printing



In a previous blog post, we talked about the many benefits of using variable data printing, or VDP, for your next marketing campaign. Once you’ve chosen the perfect printer, ­ there’s a lot of design work that goes into creating the perfect VDP piece. Here are some helpful hints we’ve come across over the years:

Know what you want. Just like with any other advertising campaign, you need a clearly defined goal in order to get the most out of your VDP. VDP is typically more narrowly targeted, so you should be able to measure whether your call to action is successful.

Remember… Niche is good. There’s little point in personalizing marketing pieces for customers who do not necessarily need your product… it’ll likely just end up in the recycling bin. Take the time to find contact info for prospective buyers that will find your company relevant at this time. “Selling ice to an Eskimo” in many cases will just leave you in the cold… and waste your advertising funds.

Offer something they care about. Remember that you can personalize more than just your customer’s name… consider varying offers that you send to a specific region. For example, a fitness center could offer discounted in-house childcare on postcards being sent to young suburban neighborhoods, and discounted group exercise sessions to a college campus.

Collect data for later. VDP offers the option of tracking and monitoring response rates. Companies can now analyze this info and send subsequent pieces that are even more relevant to their customers. A great example is catalog retailer, Fingerhut, who logs information about what products an individual customer purchases. The then take this data, analyze buying habits, and send that customer one of 25 different catalogs the next month, depending on her taste.

United States Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail® Program Makes it Easy to Reach Local Customers

Every Door Direct Mail®

Every Door Direct Mail®



Direct mail is proven to be effective. It cuts through the white noise of online or email advertisements, and a tangible piece creates a more personal, emotional connection to your audience. The United States Postal Service has introduced a new program that is making it easier to reach more potential customers in your area! It’s called Every Door Direct Mail®, or EDDM, and boasts all the great aspects of direct mail and more…


Features:


*Reduced postage costs – EDDM is as low as 14.5 cents per postcard, which is nearly half of regular postage costs

*You’ll reach every household and business within your exact specifications

*You don’t have to buy mailing lists or postage permits


How Every Door Direct Mail® works for you:


  1. Tell us where you want your postcards delivered… you can choose to reach an audience within a certain radius of your business or in specific zip codes. Select residential or business locations… or both!

  2. Our graphic design team will work with you to create the perfect postcard for your promotion

  3. We will print and package your postcards according to USPS specifications

  4. We will drop your postcards off at the correct Post Office, and they’ll be on their way

Personalize Messaging with Variable Print

Hey, you! When’s the last time a generic greeting caught your attention more than hearing your own name? We can’t think of one either. Whether you’re walking down the street or planning a marketing campaign – people like personalization.

Why not tailor your communication techniques so they’re unique for each of your customers? Variable printing is more effective at prompting your reader to take action and can be printed on coupons, brochures, direct mail and more! Instead of sending out 1,000 identical mailings to your customer contact list, (we’ve heard it called “spraying and praying,”) send one mailing inviting James or Jennifer by name to check out your new inventory, or ask a customer if they need your services in their home at 14 Front Street.

You can customize prints with a variety of different things, but the most common ones businesses request are customers’ names, purchase history, demographics, and geography. You could even include a customized map that shows your customer exactly how to get to your business from their home – these direct mail pieces have been shown to generate a 40% higher response. Here are some examples of variable printing pieces:

Variable Print Examples


Another way to create a customized experience for your customer is to include a pURL, or a personalized page that’s a part of your website. pURLS have some of the same fun, interactive elementthat we talked about with QR Codes in an earlier blog post. Directing a respondent to a pURL makes it possible to track responses, giving you a way to measure the response rate and success of a mailing.


There are many ways variable printing and/or a personalized URL can be integrated into your next marketing campaign. Contact us today for ideas on how to take your campaign to the next level.

Tips for your Printed Pieces

We’ve been in the business for over 25 years, so we’ve been able to see what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to graphic design. Here are some tips to make it easier for you to end up with a printed piece you love:

1. Pay attention to resolution.

If you’re a graphic designer, you know that PPI means image resolution that you see on a computer monitor, and DPI is resolution that shows up when you print something. So what does it mean for the rest of us?

Make sure any images you use in printed pieces are at least 300 DPI (if you pull an image off of Google, for example, it could have a DPI as low as 72… which won’t show up looking sharp).

You can check the DPI of an image by right-clicking on an online image file > select “Properties” > click the “Summary” tab > click “Advanced Properties” > check out the “Horizontal Resolution” and “Vertical Resolution,” which will tell you the DPI.



A low resolution can make even a great picture seem dull.

A low resolution can make even a great picture seem dull.



2. Optimize your file format.

If you want to scan an image, save it as a TIF (.tif) or EPS (.eps). File formats like GIF or JPG can make your image look blurry and off-color.

3. Convert to CMYK.

Computer monitors use RGB (Red, Green, Blue), while printers use CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). So, your piece will look a little different printed than it did on the screen. Make sure to order a hard copy proof if matching colors is absolutely critical.



Always convert images to CMYK using programs like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint for printing

Always convert images to CMYK using programs like PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint for printing



4. Work with a Graphic Designer.

To make sure you’re getting the highest quality and best price, bring your work to a graphic designer, who can produce creative work that meets all the requirements we described above.

Remember the 80’s?

So do we… that’s why we rebranded! Since 1984, Professional Systems has been dedicated to providing the most modern business solutions to our local and nationwide clients. But just like the days of cropped shirts and leg warmers have passed, we noticed that our own brand was in need of an update, including our logo and website.

We’d like to share our story, as well as some tricks and tips on how you can take advantage of brand messaging to refresh your success. Ask yourself these questions when you consider whether rebranding could help your business:

  1. Has your list of products or services expanded over the years?

    When Professional Systems opened its doors over 25 years ago, our most popular products were pegboard business forms (which most of you don’t even remember) and manila file folders. Today, our range of products includes beautiful full-color print for marketing, electronic document management, furniture, and a wide range of promo products, and our new logo needed to reflect this dynamic range of business solutions. We chose upbeat colors to reflect creativity that we put into every project, and simple shapes that represent comprehensive collection of product that help to organize and optimize your business.
  2. Has it been awhile since you’ve branded?

    Even five or ten years can pass and make a brand outdated.   Trends change.  Technology makes advances.  When we first created our logo in the 80’s, it was impractical and extremely expensive to consider a full-color imprint.  Today, with the advancement of printing processes, there is no reason for a logo and a brand not to be just as colorful as you wish for it to be.  Our first logo was teal  (remember when that was popular?)  and pretty rudimentary by today’s standards.  Modifications made a few years ago brought us more up to date, but we decided that our dated logo might carry the message that we were not keeping up with the times.

  3. Could some simple changes make a difference to your brand?


    We tweaked our logo several years ago with good result.  Large companies do this all the time.  Take a look at logos like the Pepsi® “globe” and the CBS “eye” to see how they have evolved over the years.

  4. Do you have an active, useful online presence?


    While most of our communication with our clients is either in person or in print, we realized that it was time for an update on the web, where it is even more important to give clients a contemporary, up-to-date user-friendly experience.  Clients should be able to easily find you, learn about you and connect with you online.

    So, the next chapter to this story should be, “so how do I get there?”  Check back in at our blog next week for more details!