Posts filed under ‘commerical printer’

Timing is Everything

Never before has timing been as important in launching a marketing campaign and maintaining customer communications as the here and NOW. With today’s flood of communications and endless messages, maybe what is said matters less than WHEN it’s said.

Consider the significance of this for a moment. Much of the focus as writers, promoters and marketers tends to be on the messaging, but how much attention is currently paid to things like time of day when messages are sent – and more importantly, when they are received?

As real time communication tools like Twitter and status updates on Facebook and LinkedIn and mobile messaging take top priority in fully integrated communication campaigns, the question of WHEN is obviously going to continue becoming more and more significant.

With these real time platforms, readers rarely give a second glance – most blasts, updates or texts are skimmed right away or junked. Given this, you want your message to hit when your audience is the most receptive – including the right day and the right time.

Is it possible to determine this information or is it too dynamic? It depends. Studies exist with benchmarks for best days of the week produce the best open or click rates. These are aggregate numbers across thousands of senders, however, so be leery of the data, because data alone doesn’t take into account your particular call to action, target audience, or recipient behavior.

So…maybe what’s best is conducting your own study. Start with your best guesses based on what you know of your audience, emails and organization and then test to find best days and time combinations from there. Don’t forget to weigh those options against your call to action.

For instance, if your call to action is related to a purchase, obviously you want to consider your audience’s pay periods. If your call is time sensitive, then calendaring is imperative.

Keeping detailed records is what’s going to make or break this methodology. You must have a good system for tracking your end results and then USE the data for future decision-making.

Remember, real-time communications is intended to help messaging be more relevant to your customer. If you’re able to graph and predict more successful times for sending out various pieces of your campaign, obviously you’ll be more successful and ahead of the competition.

Image: stefanomaggi

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May 3, 2010 at 9:59 am Leave a comment

Are All Your “Marketing Eggs” in One Basket?

Email is part of our daily lives and definitely not a fad that is going away. Carefully managing mailboxes and email habits is on every CEO’s mind as billions of dollars are lost in productivity each year.

A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to one measure by RescueTime, a company that analyzes computer habits. The company, which draws its data from 40,000 people who have tracking software on their computers, found that on average the worker also stops at 40 Web sites over the course of the day.
According to a New York Times article, “The fractured attention comes at a cost. In the United States, more than $650 billion a year in productivity is lost because of unnecessary interruptions, predominately mundane matters,” according to Basex. The firm also reports, “A big chunk of that cost comes from the time it takes people to recover from an interruption and get back to work.”

Now more than ever, putting your marketing eggs into one “viral” basket is not sound advice for business success.

As marketers trying to reach customers virally, we can safely assume that they are already drowning in viral messaging and that their inbox will only continue to get bigger. What we don’t know is if our audience is using technology to its fullest capacity, or drowning in message overload.

Regardless, this puts the burden of effective communications on the shoulders of marketers. Marketing messages must, therefore, at the very least be:

  • Fully integrated
  • Highly creative
  • Genuine
  • Valuable to customer

This means that a balance between traditional marketing and viral marketing must be constantly analyzed for consistency, functionality and overall success.

The balance between the old and new is important because one is predictable and the other isn’t. There are people that will tell you that it is possible to create a viral campaign that will be hugely successful, but according to David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Viral Marketing, the vast majority of agencies making such claims, almost always fail. Why? Because viral marketing requires luck, good timing, and can’t be forced.

Hence, the need to maintain a traditional marketing campaign in conjunction with all viral attempts. If you haven’t already, meet with the key decision makers of your company and define your “baseline balance.”

Keep in mind, balance is key, but so is agility! Be prepared to fail, make changes, succeed, make changes, fail, make more changes, succeed…and so on!

Photo provided by: intersectionconsulting

April 23, 2010 at 11:57 am 2 comments

Essentials of Call to Action for Commercial Printing Marketing

When it comes to commercial printing, a call to action is an essential marketing concept. Call to action refers to a request made on behalf of the advertiser for the prospect, or potential customer, to do something in regards to a product or service. Basically, an advertiser issues an effective call to action in order to persuade a buyer to move closer toward making an actual purchase. Understanding and effectively employing this concept is absolutely essential to directing a successful marketing or advertising campaign, and a good call to action answers the following question in the mind of the advertisement’s reader: “That’s interesting. Now what do I do?”

Commercial printing applications for the call to action concept are as diverse as the possible mediums for advertising. Web to print applications could include buttons that visitors click in order to begin purchasing a good or service. Web to print applications above all others, in fact, require a sound understanding and implementation of this concept, considering the sheer volume of retail business being done on the internet every second.

In terms of hard copy media, some examples of effective calls to action include instructions for a customer to call an 800 number in order to discuss the product with a company representative. Coupon campaigns in local supermarket pamphlets or direct mailing packets are another effective call to action, as they inspire customers to directly seek out the goods and services that are being discounted. In terms of the internet, every time an advertisement mentions a website to be visited for more information, they are essentially issuing a call to action.

To this end, it is the responsibility of the marketer to drum up fresh and exciting ways to issue effective calls to action to their customer base as well as new prospects. A local business owner could promote a new opening by distributing materials that advertise rock-bottom opening specials so long as patrons come within a certain small window of time.

Successful web-based marketing campaigns have used the full spectrum of today’s available technology to reach customers at home and on the go. Offering free content such as ringtones, pictures or music in exchange for the telephone numbers of customers that SMS or text a certain number via a cell phone is one way that clever marketers are generating current and active customer data.

Specifically to the realm of the web, today the name of the game is free give-away content or service. Many successful sites offer a compelling web or information based service at two simultaneous levels. New users that register using basic personal information are eligible to use the service at a basic level for free, but may be restricted to a certain number of uses per day or bandwidth constrictions, for example. Once they are thusly introduced to the service, customers often opt to pay a flat monthly fee or one time upgrade fee in order to enjoy the full features of the service with all trial restrictions lifted.

April 18, 2010 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

Tips for Using Quark Correctly in Commercial Printing

If you’re new to the wonders of Quark for desktop publishing and commercial printing, or even if you’re an advanced user, avoiding some of these common Quark mistakes will make your working experience smoother and less stressful.

One of the most common mistakes new users of Quark is to fail to register their software. Though tossing the registration card in the trashcan along with the plastic wrap packaging of any new software is habit for many people, you should think twice in this case. Registering with Quark has several distinct advantages. For one, registering with quark puts you into Quark’s user database. This automatically entitles you to 90 days of free after-purchase technical support, which can be invaluable should any unexpected platform or hardware problems slow your digital presses to a crawl.

Another common error involves the overuse of fonts on a single project. Tempting though it may be to run wild through the list from arial to zapf chancery, keep in mind that professional publishers rarely if ever employ more than two separate fonts on a single page. With a little practice and some time and effort, you can achieve a striking level of design and eye-appeal with correct image and text placement, color schemes and layout. In fact, the same basic idea of less is more applies to the total amount of content you put on one page.

Overcrowded pages full of different clashing colors, jammed-in images and pictures, and rocketing text bars looks overzealous at best and downright clownish at worst. Some subtlety and room for the eye to move will ultimately be appreciated by your audience. Pages with too much going on, and those blanketed in contrasting swaths of neon and animated graphics will quite literally become eyesores that are unlikely to generate repeat traffic.

Consider, instead, some of your favorite websites, especially ones you visit repeatedly. Chances are they have sleek, simple and elegant templates or navigational bars. Their color scheme is uniform and somewhat understated but still unique and appealing. You know exactly where you are once the page loads and it’s easy and comfortable for your eyes to scan the page and read long blocks of text.

Take a lesson from such sites and apply their general simplicity to your commercial printing project. Especially in environments where several postings or publications are competing for public attention, it’s the tastefully designed but visually pleasant publications that are likely to get the most consideration.
A final word to the wise Quark user involves master pages. These are like templates for your commercial printing project, and they define and keep track of those elements of your publication that are going to be unchanged from page to page.

Logos, headers, business address footers, for example, are all in the realm of master pages. Creating and using master pages will halve your production time while simultaneously ensuring the continuity and uniformity of your product. They quite easily reduce the possibility for error and omission, and therefore should not be overlooked.

April 17, 2010 at 8:58 am Leave a comment

Customers EXPECT Trust and Value in 2010

Has your customer base decreased during the decline of our nation’s economy? Probably so. Personal consumption, which drives economic activity, continues to fluctuate, which makes it even more imperative for businesses to earn customer trust and keep it.

Consumers are not parting with their money as easily as pre-recession days. They are looking for discounts, bundles, special savings packages, and rebates, in products and services – and also searching out better business relationships with those they feel will best put their hard-earned money to work. Customers are expecting competing companies to offer phenomenal value while earning and keeping their trust.

From a business perspective, we understand that the ROI of keeping current customers is far more desirable than acquiring new. On average, it costs a company at least five times as much to win a new customer versus keeping an existing one.

In fact, highly effective organizations reportedly spend an average of 10 percent of their operating budgets on resolving customer problems caused by poor service while ineffective organizations spend as much as 40 percent. Unhappy consumers don’t typically keep it to themselves either: dissatisfied customers generally tell twice as many people about a bad experience as they do a good experience.

With numbers like these as incentive, why don’t more businesses achieve their loyalty goals? Does your company even have clearly defined loyalty goals? Perhaps one reason for falling short on the success meter is due to the lack of control in delivering consistent behaviors that regularly please customers.To deliver that type of service companies must first understand what their perceived customers truly value and then plan for consistent implementation.

Consumers have lived through an onslaught of negative events over the past several years and continue to live in an unpredictable economy at best. The Commerce Department said The United States plunged into recession in December 2007 amid financial turmoil following a home mortgage meltdown. The economy shrank at a 5.7 percent pace in the first quarter of 2009, the government said last week in a revised estimate that showed slower consumer spending. The initial estimate was a decline of 6.1 percent.

As one of the scrambling businesses vying for the loyalty of “the cautious consumer”, trust must be created and maintained. It’s no secret that companies are collapsing around us daily. Making loyal customers happy has always been important, but more so now than ever, customers share their reviews of your service and/or product at the speed of the internet, making the art of relationship building of paramount importance.

The obvious conclusion? Give your customers what they want. At each interaction the customer is shaping an opinion of you and your business.

Be more than an email message that gets trapped in the junk folder.

Send a hand written thank you note, ensure quality products, choose vendors that meet your same customer service standards, reward employees who walk-the-walk and…

Track the good, the bad and the ugly…

Your customer service reputation is at stake and there are no second chances in this unpredictable economy of 2010.

April 16, 2010 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

The Difference Between RGB and CMYK Colors for Web to Print Ventures

As anyone who has ever had the basic science class lecture about color spectrum knows, interpreting all the millions of different colors we see each day is a very complicated process for the human eye and brain. It’s all the more difficult when trying to design and program a monitor or computer program to correctly receive and display similar color information. Various different file formats, technologies and display types only further complicate the matter, but developing a competent sense of these aspects and their key differences is essential to success in any web to print venture. The two major types of color displays used in computing environments are RGB and CMYK.

The first type, RGB, is an acronym for red, green, blue and is known as an additive coloration mode. In order to understand this terminology, it helps to first think of the computer screen and its totally black background. It is upon this black background that the tiny networks of lights in the screen display their various hues, essentially adding coloration to the black of the background in order to make up the final target value which the user sees displayed. The RGB coloration mode is typically used to render colors within monitors and computer screens.

The second type, CMYK, which stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, black, is known as a subtractive coloration mode. Ultimately intended to be applied to white printer paper, CMYK is considered subtractive because it calculates its correct hues by subtracting from the initial brightness of the paper in order to make up the final target value. For this very reason, CMYK uses lighter secondary colors than those used by RGB coloration modes. This is due to the fact that producing darker tones via the CMYK method would require a great deal more ink. The CMYK coloration mode is intended for use in paper printing applications.

Given these basic stipulations, successful and efficient development of web to print applications and products requires some consideration of which coloration modes are best suited to a particular project, as well as the respective advantages and disadvantages of each. For example, consider the fact that, due to its method of building up printed colors on a white page, the RGB coloration method must repeatedly blend a great deal of ink together in order to achieve the color black, since it can only combine red, green and blue. CMYK, on the other hand, has a true black available and can therefore apply a single tone of appropriate intensity.

This ability of the CMYK model significantly reduces the amount of image blurring and paper stress that can occur whenever an RGB coloration model is attempting to achieve black. RGB also underperforms in this situation because its constant re-applications of the three colors usually serves to overly saturate the printing medium. It can also ultimately fail to achieve a rich enough black by blending only red, green and blue. In short, the differences between RGB and CMYK are pronounced, and cannot be overlooked in web to print projects.

April 16, 2010 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

The Basics of InDesign’s Control Palette for Commercial Printing

Commercial printing publishers, graphic designers and casual users alike have reason to celebrate Adobe’s InDesign software for its customizability and robustness of functionality. Knowing how it differs from other commonly used web to print publishing software is essential to getting the full use out of this software. Because the basic features of this software are easy to overlook but always applicable throughout the course of a design project, a quick refresher is in order for anyone hoping to get the most out of their InDesign experience.

The customizable menu bar, which defaults to being docked at the top of your workspace in InDesign, features a special palette known as the control palette. This is the palette which changes in appearance and functionality to reflect any new tool selection made by the user. This control palette also contains the item measurements of any object you create or select within the workspace. For example, if you were to create a rectangular shape in the center of the workspace and then select it, you would notice the X and Y coordinates of this new object being displayed in the control palette.

These coordinates are very helpful when it comes to properly aligning various elements within your project or positioning single elements precisely. Because web to print and commercial printing applications, for example, demand a high level of precision in order to guarantee proper image displays on hard copies, it’s important to make note of these coordinates.

When you select your rectangle, you will notice a display of various little black boxes. When the center box is selected, you are telling InDesign to use the corresponding center of the rectangle as the reference point. Based off this reference point, the software will display the applicable coordinates. If you were to click a different reference point box, such as one in a corner, InDesign will likewise show you the applicable coordinates based off your new selection.

Other key elements of the control palette include the H and W values. These offer the user at-a-glance measurements of the height and width of their selected object. Another handy tool provided for managing the size and shape of your object is represented in the small chain icon nearby. Clicking this chain icon tells the program to constrain the selected object’s height and width in order to preserve a constant scale.

Basically, if you increase the height of a constrained object, its width will increase proportionally, and vice versa. This is a great time saving tool whenever you’re trying to create a banner or graphic for, say, a print on demand product that requires a totally filled space. In the same vein, should you find yourself having trouble manually expanding an object or image to take up the exact amount of space required, you can directly type over the displayed H and W values in order to tailor your object to your exact specifications. In this case, the chain feature serves the same purpose and will behave just as it would in a manual expansion.

April 16, 2010 at 8:42 am Leave a comment

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