4 Smart Ways to Save on Print

save on print

Print communications are affordable and effective for today’s small business and nonprofit marketers. To get the most value from your marketing dollars, here are just four of the many ways you can cut the cost of your print communications – without cutting corners:

  1. Plan to stay on schedule. Printers are accustomed to working with tight turnarounds. You can ease the process and save money by avoiding “do-overs.” Always ask for help if you’re unsure how to prepare your art files. Then, leave yourself plenty of time to review proofs and catch errors you may have overlooked early on to prevent re-dos and re-prints that can add up and extend your timeline.
  2. Skip special orders. For many projects, you can save money by using in-stock papers. Ask your print provider to show you samples of what’s on hand. Unless you require a specific look or have budgeted for a higher-end piece, stick to the basics for your day-to-day materials to stretch your dollars.
  3. Target your mailings. Mailing lists are more plentiful and robust than ever before. Many are highly-targeted to help direct marketers easily and affordably reach a very specific audience, preventing unnecessary waste and expense. After all, why spend money mailing to people who will not be receptive to your message or worse, those who may want to hear your message but who have moved and won’t receive your mail?
  4. Print digitally, on demand. Many projects considered too small to be worth the investment in set-up charges on a traditional offset press can be affordably printed digitally. This printing option is ideal for short runs as the per piece price is the same whether you print 10 or 1,000. It also opens the door to variable, customized text and images from sheet-to-sheet for more targeted and effective messaging.

Keep on-demand digital printing in mind to avoid the waste associated with storing and ultimately throwing away materials that are quickly made obsolete when service specifications or product parts numbers, for instance, are frequently updated.

For more money-saving tips, contact your local Allegra when you’re ready to print.

4 Ways to Drive Better Results From Direct Mail Marketing

In a digitally driven world, it’s easy to feel like your direct mail marketing efforts could be making a bigger impact when the goal is to generate brand awareness.

direct mail markeeting
Let’s check the numbers: According to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail garners approximately a 5% response rate with a house file and a 2.9% rate for a prospect list. Comparatively, digital channels including email, social media, paid search and online display ads achieved a combined response rate of 2.6%.

Direct mail marketing remains an effective strategy with several key benefits including its targeting ability, measurability and memorability – all driving higher response rates. Here are four ways you can deliver a cut-through-the-clutter direct mail marketing campaign:

  1. Vary formats.
    From a simple, economical postcard for blanketing a geographic area to highly targeted, multi-piece envelope mailings, there’s a format to match your goals and budget. With textured papers and unusual folds, your mail becomes a standout in the box.
  2. Make it personal.
    With today’s variable data printing technologies, it’s never been easier for business marketers to create one-to-one campaigns with relevant imagery and content that connects with the individual. This in turn generates greater interest, engagement and response. Choose eye-catching and colorful paper and textured stock that not only represents your brand, but also stands out in even the most cluttered mailboxes.
  3. Add some dimension.
    For targeted audiences, consider using a different method to pique interest such as three-dimensional mailer. By switching out an envelope for a mailing tube or box, you can include your brand’s message along with a fun and useful promotional item that can drive your message home. According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, 85% of consumers remember the advertiser who gave them a promotional product.
  4. Clean it up and test it out.
    Mail only matters if it’s delivered to the right people. Remove duplicate addresses, names or businesses from your mailing lists to save creative and mailing costs. To further refine your efforts, test the messaging, offer or design treatment against a control to further refine your mail campaigns.

Want to learn more about driving better results from your direct mail? Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail can help.

4 Ways e-Commerce Sites Bring Better Brand Control and Consistency

E-commerce

No matter how careful your organization may be, there’s always a chance for brand inconsistencies to creep into your marketing communications over time as your business evolves or your staff changes. In fact, your organization may be especially vulnerable if:

  • You operate several locations
  • Your marketing materials are accessed by multiple people
  • Your printed materials require frequent updates

Even the smallest breaches in brand consistency, such as differing colors or fonts, competing messaging or confusing wording, can do some major damage. According to a survey by Demand Metric Research Plus, 71% of marketers and brand managers said that brand inconsistencies result in market confusion, 56% said they result in harm to your credibility and 30 percent said they make it harder to compete.

So, the question is, how can businesses, organizations and nonprofits protect themselves from harmful brand inconsistencies? Marketers looking for a better way to manage their brand assets might consider a web-to-print solution (W2P) also known as an online order and print fulfillment system.

Here are four ways e-commerce sites can offer a competitive edge and streamline your organization’s marketing dollars:

  1. Centralize control.
    When brand standards are controlled through an e-commerce website, you can greatly increase the consistency and accuracy of your marketing and sales materials by having your most current versions of documents available to all who need access.
  2. Increase impact.
    Cut turnaround time while you empower multiple users to reach your company’s communications goals. Your marketing gets more relevant when you can easily localize your content for powerful, personalized messaging.
  3. Monitor spending.
    With a system in place, you can track both usage and purchases across employees and offices. This information can be used for further marketing and sales efforts as you determine what’s being used and where you can trim expenses.
  4. Improve efficiency. 
    By consolidating your organization’s communications resources, you can leverage your buying power while avoiding the “one off” spending that often occurs in regional offices or with remote employees.

Want better control over the consistency of your brand? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail to learn more about how a convenient and user-friendly web-to-print solution can better equip you to streamline the ordering and management of your marketing and business materials.

3 Ways to Inspire Your Team

Business owners and managers who set lofty goals know it takes many contributions – large and small – across all areas of the company to reach them. And that takes cultivating an environment where your team members are motivated and engaged.

Inspire your team

As much as you may understand your business and what it stands for, communicating that effectively to those around you can be tricky, especially when you’re juggling multiple demands on your time. Here are some areas where you can make a difference right away:

  1. Live your mission.
    A mission statement or value proposition describes what you do and how it differentiates you from your competitors. Your values define who you are. They don’t change even as the business evolves.
    Everyone on your team should be regularly exposed to your organizational values through visual reminders and storytelling of values in action. From small posters or handouts for individual workspaces, to large wall and window graphics, keep your core messages front and center by incorporating them in your office décor.
  2. Get off to a great start. 
    Consider this: According to the Work Institute’s 2017 Retention Report, first-year employees are at the highest risk for turnover, and it takes up to six months for their value to offset the costs related to hiring, onboarding, compensation and benefits. Get everyone off to a great start with a “feel-good” welcome kit, including items like a logoed shirt, business cards, a personalized coffee mug and more. Distribute an employee handbook as a tangible source to seek out company policies; they’ll appreciate having a printed version for quick reference. Additionally, how your organization is perceived internally and externally is influenced by the consistency of your communications and delivery of your brand message, so be sure to maintain a unified image. You’ll want to keep it consistent across print, digital and in-house signage.
  3. Show appreciation.
    According to a survey by Reward Gateway, nearly six out of 10 respondents say they would prefer to work for a company with a culture where they receive recognition over a higher-paying job where they didn’t receive any. While acknowledging an employee of the month is good, better yet is rewarding your team members in the moment. Drawstring backpacks, headphones or travel blankets with your company imprint are great ways to show appreciation for a job well done. And enable your employees to acknowledge one another for being a team player with whimsical “high five” trophies or tokens redeemable for office perks.

Inspired to bring your team together? Contact  your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today for office materials, logoed products and gifts, and more.

What to Print for Your Next Event

Event marketing can prove to be an effective strategy for lead generation and customer retention. Yet common missteps that can thwart your best intentions can happen before (lack of preparation), during (poor displays) and after (failure to follow up with leads). All can be easily avoided!

Printed Materials for Event Marketing

Many of your promotional tactics will be print-related. To ensure a greater return on your investment at your next trade show, expo or community event, here’s a rundown of what most marketers have in their event arsenal:

Banners, Posters and Signage
Whether your event is inside or outdoors, you’re competing with a lot of visual noise. Professionally produced banners, flags, pennants, posters and directional signage can drive foot traffic to your space, creating more opportunity for engagement. According to the 2016 Experiential Marketing Content Benchmarking Report, 74% of consumers said meeting with exhibitors made them more likely to buy the products being promoted or demonstrated.

Brochures and Flyers
Take along a mix of marketing materials. Inexpensive handouts are just right for anyone stopping by your booth, serving as a handy refresher once the show is over and everyone heads home. Keep a stash of more robust, high-quality sales brochures available for anyone who expresses a genuine interest.

Business Cards
Business cards are necessary for events and trade shows, so you’ll want to ensure that your team has plenty to hand out. Are they up-to-date? Visually appealing? Readable? Think about sprucing up your business cards with textured paper, vibrant palettes and graphics and unique type fonts that align with your brand identity.

Direct Mail
Use the mail to be first in line in the minds of your customers, as it can take multiple contacts with your target audience to drive action. For an event, plan on delivering a save-the-date card a few weeks ahead of your invitation mailing. Based on responses, you may need a third reminder. An inexpensive postcard will do as a last push for RSVPs.

Programs
Event apps are growing in popularity for those who always have a phone in hand. Be aware that not all venues are enabled with Wi-Fi or it can be an additional cost if you’re the event host. Cover your bases with a printed program for handy reference and note taking. Your attendees will thank you.

There are plenty of extra print materials that can boost the success of your event. Place cards or nametags for special dinners, meet-and-greets and other similar events are a great way to organize your attendees and break the ice. Raffle tickets and contest forms featuring your brand logo create a fun and interactive experience for everyone, keeping you top of mind.

Want to check off these printed materials from your list? Your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail can help you!

Simple Ways to Personalize Your Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns

One of the most widely embraced marketing tactics for establishing and maintaining customer rapport and loyalty is personalization. Personalized marketing leverages your customer data to individualize messaging, adding important relevancy. Personalization can be applied to most of your marketing channels: direct mail, email, social media and other digital campaigns.

Allegra Direct Mail

Though personalized marketing can seem daunting, chances are you’ve already collected basic customer data that can be used to tailor your campaigns. Studies show that any form of personalization can pay off when it comes to engaging your targeted audience. According to a report from Econsultancy, 74 percent of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement.

Here are a few ways to integrate personalization into your current marketing efforts to boost engagement:

  • Using data collected from your current customer base, create your ideal customer personas and tailor your marketing strategy to meet the needs of each identified group. For multi-channel marketing campaigns, segment by group and tailor your approach based on communication preferences and customer demographics.
  • Personalize a direct mail campaign by tailoring the messaging to a desired customer experience, rather than just a target customer. A pet supply store that offers grooming, for example, could share coat-care tips with a coupon for shampoo to a targeted list of past purchasers.
  • Enhance your direct mail campaign with personalized landing pages to extend engagement and drive conversions for those who like to respond online.

Count on your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail to provide solutions for personalizing your marketing campaigns in the most targeted and practical way.

Rethinking Signage: 3 Ways to Go Beyond the Banner

Large signs and graphics make a lasting impression on your audience. Whether indoors or out, there are plenty of trendy options to spice up your signage. Here are a few of our favorite ways to say hello to a new, fresh look that will capture your audience’s attention.

  1. Walk it out
    Make the most of every square foot of informational, promotional or decorative space in your facility. The latest solutions in graphics prove that you’re no longer limited to walls, windows and doors; you can now take advantage of graphics for floor surfaces and even printed ceiling tiles.
    Allegra Signage
  2. Look outside
    Perforated window graphics are a creative way to share your message. A creative twist on an old favorite, perforated graphics present a promotional message when viewed from one side (such as the outside of a door or window) and a clear view when seen from the other (often the inside of a vehicle or building). One-way vinyl graphics replicating frosted glass or displaying a design or scene also add an attractive element of privacy to office or conference room windows.
  3. Get mobile
    Whether they’re on a car, van or trailer, vehicle graphics and decals are some of the most economical ways to deliver promotional messages. Simply parking your vehicle is a marketing tactic! Smaller businesses or organizations without a permanent vehicle or fleet for deliveries or service calls can benefit from repositionable graphics. These are an ideal way to put your marketing in motion and are easily removed and replaced.

From custom design to installation, talk to the signage professionals at your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail about how to make a greater impact with creative sign solutions.

4 Ways to Improve Customer Retention

The Harvard Business Review suggests that it is anywhere between five to 25 times more expensive to acquire new customers than retain them depending on the industry. Here are a few considerations as you develop what works best for your company’s retention strategy:

Customer Retention

    1. Keep VIP customers happy.
      Track the buying patterns of your best customers and reach out with personal communication if they lapse. A dormant accounts survey may be the first step to determine the why behind their absence: needs have changed, moved their business to a competitor or there’s some level of dissatisfaction that should be addressed.
    2. Start a rewards program.
      According to a Bond Brand Loyalty Inc. report, 76 percent of shoppers think that loyalty programs are key to their relationships with businesses.Small businesses can use customer loyalty programs to reward customers who regularly buy products and/or services to incentivize repeat sales.
    3. Give special offers.
      Customer appreciation strategies go a long way when it comes to customer retention. From branded gifts and personal notes to promotional giveaways and birthday cards, regular customer appreciation activities are tangible ways for your company to show appreciation that can generate positive sentiment and measurable brand loyalty.
    4. Don’t forget the follow up.
      According to DMNews, 53 percent of consumers feel that it’s important for businesses to recognize them as the same person across all channels and devices. Engaged customers are likely to remain long-term customers, so gear your small business’ blog content, emails and other communications with customers in personal ways that keep their attention.

Interested in bolstering your customer retention strategies and driving brand loyalty? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today.

3 Creative Ways to Add Value to Your Signage

Thanks to advancements in large format printing, creative signage solutions are more affordable than ever. Here are three trendy ways you can spice up your company’s space with eye-catching signs and large graphics:

Valuable Signage

  1. Go Green
    In many sectors, industry standards dictate certain environmental regulations about waste and materials. Environmentally friendly inks and materials can help you meet your standards and reduce your overall waste. Also, according to Nielsen, two out of three consumers are willing to pay more for products and services that come from companies committed to making a positive social environmental impact. Win-win!
  2. Explore New Surfaces
    Digital printing technology makes it possible to print on – or affix to – nearly any surface for a custom look that fits your brand’s standards in look and feel. Consider a mural for your lobby, floor graphics or even wraps around pillars and posts. A simple change can transform your work space from average to inspiring.
  3. Add Texture
    When it comes to signage that travels with you to trade shows or events, textured backdrops and graphical drapes are two sure bets that can draw foot traffic to your booth. They can even help define a space for your product demos on a busy trade show floor.

Talk to the sign pros at your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail to learn more about your signage options and how they can fit into your budget.

Tips for Conducting an Informative Brand Audit

Performing a brand audit enables you to evaluate what your current marketing and communications strategies are (or are not) saying about your brand and provides a qualitative assessment of your brand identity’s overall strength and consistency.

Tips for Conducting an Informative Brand Audit

Marketers surveyed by Demand Metric Research Plus said branding inconsistencies result in market confusion (71 percent), damage credibility (56 percent) and make it harder to compete (30 percent).

Brand audits provide the proper intel needed to set a blueprint for the future. Here are some tips for conducting a brand audit that is both informative and focused:

Know your standards. A well-defined set of brand guidelines is crucial for maintaining a cohesive brand identity. When reviewing print and online branding materials, keep a checklist to evaluate proper logo usage, preferred fonts and other stylistic requirements.

Read for tone and messaging. Make sure the verbiage used in your brand communications is up to date and properly reflects the overall direction of the brand.

Prioritize your revisions. As you conduct the audit, be sure to note any branding inconsistencies. Prioritize corrections before creating new pieces.

Embrace technology. Centralizing control with an online ordering system prevents satellite offices from going “rogue” with unapproved materials, ensures proper branding, and saves time and money. For businesses or organizations with multiple locations, a web-to-print or online ordering system is an easy way to oversee adherence to brand standards.

Keep it seamless across all channels. Integrated, multi-channel marketing campaigns are most successful when a brand’s print and digital identity are consistent with one another. Websites, email templates and social properties should always reflect your offline branding, and vice versa with printed brand materials.

Need help conducting your branding audit to ensure your marketing materials are aligned with your brand standards? Contact your local Allegra Marketing Print Mail today.