4 Reasons Your SMB Should Partner With a Digital Printing Company

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If you’ve decided to start integrating more print marketing into your business’ strategy, you’ve made a wise choice. Print marketing methods, if handled correctly, can increase visibility and offer a great return on investment. But if you run a small or medium-sized business, chances are you have some concerns about finding a commercial printing company that can meet both your needs and your bottom line. Here are four reasons you should be looking for a digital printing company in your search:

  1. Fast Turnaround
    A digital printing company will be offering you a turnaround unmatched by other business printing services. That’s because the technology behind digital printing allows your materials to be printed from digital files (hence the name), rather than requiring a more time-intensive setup process involving the creation of printing plates and rollers customized to your project. So if you’ve forgotten the materials for the conference this week, that’s no problem — as long as you’re working with a digital printing company.

  3. SMB-Friendly Pricing 
    A digital printing company will typically be able to offer a pricing model that is very attractive to SMBs. Why’s that? As explained above, digital printing requires far less setup than traditional printing methods. That means that you won’t be charged hefty setup fees. So even if you’re paying a slightly higher price per piece at a digital printing company than you would at a traditional one, you’ll end up saving money because of the relatively small quantities (called “short runs”) most SMBs need.

  5. Varied Products
    Of course, each digital printing company will offer slightly different capabilities, but most will be able to print on a wide variety of surfaces to create custom items. That can open up your options in terms of both advertising materials and promotional gifts, which can help you bring in new customers and retain old ones. Research has shown 84% of Americans will remember a company’s name when they received branded products. Consumers actually use these gifts, too; for example, most consumers will keep promotional calendars for all 12 months of the year. You should talk to your digital printing company about what promo items they can come up with that match your business’ niche.

  7. Customization
    Digital printing allows for a high degree of customization on products, making it the most affordable choice when it comes to items that need unique names, addresses, codes or anything along those lines. Direct mailers are a good example of what this might do for a business — a full 62% of Americans and 63% of Canadians say they actually enjoy checking their mailboxes for real mail.

Have you worked with a digital printing company in the past? Why else would an SMB benefit from choosing a digital printing company? Discuss in the comments.

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What You Didn’t Know About Digital and Offset Printing

digital and offset printing

As much as digital communication has taken over the marketing field, there’s still plenty of room for plain old print. In fact, a full 76% of small businesses say that they’d prefer to combine print and digital marketing as part of an ideal strategy. And some print ploys you would have expected to have died out by now are still going strong. Around 27,397,260 business cards are printed every single day, and last year companies spent more than $44.5 billion on direct mail marketing in the U.S. alone.

If you think your company could benefit from print marketing methods, one of the most important things you can do to control costs and get a good return on investment is educating yourself as to the printing services that are currently available. If you take a look at what’s offered by most commercial printing companies these days, you’ll see you have two major choices: digital and offset printing. Here’s what you need to know about them.

  1. Both Digital and Offset Printing Are Highly Technical
    There’s no need to go into detail about how digital and offset printing work (essentially, the former prints directly from computer files, while the latter requires custom plates and rollers to transfer ink), but you should know that both are highly technical. Comparisons are often made between commercial digital printing and printing something out on your office printer, but there’s simply no way you’ll get the high quality you want if you’re not willing to invest in professional printing.

  3. One Isn’t Cheaper Than the Other Across the Board
    If you do a little research, you’ll find many people claiming that one printing method is much cheaper than the other. The reality is that both digital and offset printing can be affordable depending on how large of a run you’re looking at. If you’re looking at a print run of only a few dozen copies of something, digital printing is probably your best bet. That’s because there aren’t expensive setup fees for digital printing — the press simply works from the digital file. But if you’re looking to make thousands of identical copies, offset printing is actually cheaper; the initial setup fees associated with offset printing are compensated for by a lower price per piece. The bottom line is both digital and offset printing can be economical.

  5. The Quality of Digital and Offset Printing is Similar
    It used to be said that offset printing offered a much higher quality than digital printing, but digital printing technology has progressed to the point that that’s no longer universally true. Both digital and offset printing offer very high quality as long as that digital and offset printing is being done by a professional company with an experienced staff and good equipment.

Do you have anything to add about digital and offset printing? Discuss in the comments.

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The Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make When Hiring a Custom Printing Company

custom printing companiesWe often give advice on this blog regarding what you can do to make your print efforts more successful. But when it choosing the right printing company to handle those print projects, sometimes knowing what not to do can be just as helpful. Here are the three biggest mistakes businesses make when screening custom printing companies:

Only Looking at Companies One Project at a Time
Say you’re looking at having a few hundred business cards made up for your business. If that’s the case, then a purely digital printing company might be able to offer you the best deal. But what about when you want to have some high-quality calendars printed to give to clients? Consumers actually tend to keep promotional calendars for all 12 months of the year, and 84% of Americans remember a company’s name if they receive a promotional gift with that company’s logo. And what if you want to spice up your marketing with a custom vehicle wrap? In one poll, 48% thought car wraps were the most unique advertising method available. For those kinds of things, you’ll need to be looking at fully custom printing companies. In the long run, it’s worth focusing on these custom printing companies because you’ll have more options — and probably more flexibility on pricing, too.

Reducing Custom Printing Companies to Their Equipment
We’ve often pointed out the respective pros and cons of digital and offset printing, but it’s a mistake to get so wrapped up in these techniques that you forget about the people implementing them. The best custom printing companies have experienced and highly trained technicians operating their presses, whether those are traditional lithographic presses or brand new digital ones. And in the end, the quality you’ll get from various custom printing companies will depend on the comparative skill of those people, not just the equipment they’re operating.

Sacrificing Customer Service for a Lower Cost
No matter the size of the business you’re running, you’re probably looking to minimize costs wherever possible. But when it comes to hiring custom printing companies, the worst thing you can do is choose one that is able to offer bargain-basement prices because it’s slashed customer service and support offerings. If you’re dealing with projects that have an impact on how your business is ultimately perceived by the public (as most print projects do), then you want to make sure you’ll get the help you need to make them turn out perfect.

Do you have any tips on what to do or not to do when screening prospective custom printing companies? Share them or any other perspectives on custom printing companies in the comments.

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5 Principles To Guide Your Outdoor Advertising Efforts

banner printingWhen it comes to print marketing, there are many different options, each with their own purposes. An amazing 27,397,260 business cards are printed every day, for example, and tried-and-true techniques such as direct mail and promotional gifts have still been shown to be effective.

But when it comes to getting a good ROI, it’s hard to beat outdoor print advertising. It costs 80% less than TV ads, 60% less than newspaper ads and 50% less than radio ads. How can you get the best possible return on this affordable advertising method? It’s all about following some important principles. Here are a few, using banner printing — one of the most classic forms of outdoor advertising — as an example.

  1. Keep It Simple but Eye-Catching
    Don’t try to do too much all at once. Outdoor advertisements need to draw in the viewer’s eye quickly (especially if that viewer is simply driving past) and communicate some sort of message without requiring the viewer to read too much. Often, the best way to do this when it comes to banner printing is to have images or words do double duty, functioning as both visual interest and part of the message.
  2. Show Some Restraint in Color Choices
    Let the KISS (that’s keep it simple, stupid) mentality spill over into color choices, too. You want to use colors that have a high contrast level so they’ll be readable, but that doesn’t mean you need to use many colors to get your point across. Banner printing often turns out best when it uses only two or three colors.
  3. Invest In Quality Design and Printing
    Quality is key when it comes to outdoor representations of your brand, and choosing the right banner printing services matters. It may get overwhelming trying to figure out all the technical details associated with banner design and banner printing — vector-based graphics, DPI, file types, large format printing, wide format printing, digital printing, offset printing, etc. — but don’t let all the terms overwhelm you. Learn what you can about banner printing and then hire professionals to do the rest.
  4. Place Your Advertisements Strategically
    Once you’ve gone to the trouble of designing the perfect ad and paying for professional banner printing, there’s no reason to be thoughtless when it comes to placement. If you have your own storefront, of course, then that’s a natural place to use an outdoor banner. But you can also get outdoor advertising space elsewhere at relatively affordable prices.
  5. Understand Your Long-Term Goals
    Outdoor advertising such as banner printing works a bit differently from other types of advertising in that your goal is exposure, not necessarily immediate conversions. That both means that you don’t need to follow all the rules of traditional ads (including a call to action, for example), and that you may not immediately see leads start pouring in once your banner is hung.

Keep in mind that while we’ve used banner printing as an example here, there are lots of other outdoor advertising channels to which these principles apply — one survey found that almost half of those polled (48%) thought vehicle wraps were the most unique advertising medium. Can you think of any other options besides banner printing? Join the discussion in the comments.

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4 Things You Should Know About Direct Mail

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Some types of traditional outbound marketing can be pretty pricey. Simple outdoor advertising costs 80% less than TV ads, 60% less than newspaper ads and 50% less than radio ads. There’s still one form of traditional advertising that’s worth talking to printing companies about, however: direct mail.

Here’s what you need to know about it:

  • Consumers Like Getting Postal Mail
    People like getting mail, and that gives direct mail an advantage. One survey found that 62% of Americans and 63% of Canadians enjoy checking their mailboxes — that’s a response you’re probably not going to get for email. Moreover, direct mail is less intrusive than other forms of advertising, which may lead consumers to view it in a more positive light. A full 73% of U.S. consumers and 67% of Canadians said they prefer brand communication through direct mail because they can peruse it at their convenience.

  • Digital Printing Has Made It Affordable
    You’ll need to spend some money on other aspects of your campaign, perhaps, but you should know that actually working with commercial printing companies may not be cost prohibitive. The rise of digital printing companies has made the printing of items with unique properties (such as addresses) much more affordable than it was in the past with offset printing.

  • The Quality of Your Mailer Matters
    If you want to catch the eye of potential customers, you have to put out more than a plain old flier. If your brand communications look slapdash, then so does your business, and that’s something you definitely don’t want to convey. That’s one reason — aside from the vastly increased customer support — that it’s worth working with professional printing companies.

  • It May Take More Than One Round
    Direct mail is effective, but it often requires follow-up to actually close leads. When you’re first looking at printing companies and making up your budget, ensure that you factor in a second round of mailings (or plan to follow up another way, such as by phone).

Do you have any tips on vetting printing companies or working with printing companies on direct mailers? Discuss in the comments.

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