It’s a tradition that has been practiced for centuries and can be tracked back to the Chinese who would hand-write and hand deliver their holiday greetings and wishes of good fortune as well as the Egyptians who used papyrus scrolls. This was until 1843, when Sir Henry Cole of London, an English civil servant and inventor, hired an artist named John Callcott Horsley to design what would be the first ever commercially printed greeting card for his personal use. After sending out all of the cards he needed, Cole sold the remainder for one “Schilling” each which sold rapidly and so he sent for another batch to be printed for sale.
From Fountain Pens to Presses
The advancements in printing machinery and the London postal system (at the time known as the Penny Post) facilitated the commercialization and distribution of Christmas cards. The Penny Post charged a flat fee of one “old penny” for a letter or package up to one pound marked with what we know well today as a Postage Stamp. The trend carried on to include “non-occassion” cards such as “Get Well Soon” and “Happy Birthday” greeting cards being sent all around the world, all year long.
Christmas cards, which we might take for granted, have actually been part of long history of revolutionary innovations that shaped the world we live in today… Some traditions are worth keeping unchanged.
The holidays present a perfect opportunity to grow your relationships with customers. Kind gestures make an impression that stays with people.
And we practice what we preach! Every December we print and mail our own custom Holiday Greeting Cards and custom mousepads. It’s simply a way to show our customers we appreciate their continued business and trust in our company.
We also really enjoy receiving Holiday cards sent to us by our customers and vendors… makes us feel special 🙂
This is one of the main reasons we are a successful printing company (40 years in business). We stood strong and endured the recent economic hardships because we value and build relationships with our customers.
What Greeting Cards Say About You
Yes, you may be judged so choose wisely! Of course sending out holiday greeting cards is a wonderful gesture, but the card you choose to send can and will be critiqued.
Some companies take the easy route and buy the pre-made boxed greeting card sets that everyone else buys and guess what… there’s a big possibility that someone else sent that same exact card to your customer and how does that make you look?
I’ve also witnessed the so-called holiday cards that were really nothing but advertisements. You know, the ones with the big logo taking up the whole front of the card and a very generic “Happy Holidays”, here’s a coupon to buy stuff from us cards. That’s not personal, that doesn’t build relationships, it simply becomes a sales pitch.
If you genuinely want to thank your customers or vendors and wish them happy holidays, it should come naturally to go the extra mile to do so.
I’m not saying you have to spend a fortune (which some companies do!) but customizing your holiday greeting cards with a nice message and possibly a real signature inside will make a big difference for your efforts.
Small businesses thrive when their local community embraces what they have to offer. Customers feel that doing business locally is easy, it’s close by and it’s probably good for the local economy.
Even though these customers are consumers just like anyone else in the rest of the country, these consumers have one specific characteristic that is completely different from any other: they SHARE your location.
Whether your local efforts are made at the town level or the state level, these customers can become loyal fans just how sports fans become loyal fans of their local (town,state) teams.
1. Gain Local Customers with Local Rewards
Sharing your location with your customers means that you and your employees eat, shop and interact with the same local businesses that they do.
These days you can run a Loyalty Rewards program easily in-house. It’s simply a matter of how complicated you make the offer.
A simple way is to print custom coupons with areas that get marked for each purchase or transaction. When the customer reaches the pre-determined number of transactions, you reward them with a free gift or a discount.
Partner up with some of the popular local businesses and run joint advertisements or run discount coupons off of each other. By doing this you are advertising to their customer base and at the same time helping their advertising efforts.
2. Create Awareness Inexpensively
Every Door Direct Mail : For 18.3 cents each (postage) you can mail an over-sized postcard or folded piece to every mailbox in your surrounding neighborhood including PO Boxes. No mailing list required.
E.D.D.M. is an amazing opportunity to let your local customers know your business contact information, address and the services and/or products you offer…while your at it, give them a coupon or offer they can’t refuse.
With the large canvas of the over-sized card that you can send, there’s enough room to include vital information, an attractive image and a killer call-to-action.
3. Become a Social Magnet
Social media is all about community. By embracing the power of social media, you can create a community of brand ambassadors that will spread the word for you.
Sign up for Twitter and create a Facebook business page at the least and start conversations with your customers. When they talk to you, their friends and connections will see the conversation and possibly join in. With that alone you might have just scored a new customer.
Although each one of these tips is powerful on its own, using them in combination will increase your chances of acquiring new local traffic.
Use Every Door Direct Mail to inform your local community of your location, product or service and make sure to let them know where to find you on Twitter and Facebook (and any other social media networks you are on). Then, on your Facebook business page you can offer a discount in return for a Like. Don’t forget to use QR Codes to make it easy to connect with you or visit your website via mobile phones.
Have you had better success using Targeted Direct Mail over using Every Door Direct Mail?
In a world of technological innovation, cloud computing, synced smart phones and virtual offices; the electronic calendar has become crucial in daily planning across networks with other colleagues.
However, that doesn’t mean there is no longer a place for the printed calendar whether it’s on your desk or wall. In fact, many people in business still prefer a simple easy to reach tangible calendar near to their work area that can be quickly written on or glanced at. For decades designers have been including artistic and creative designs to make better use of the real estate a wall calendar provides which adds an aesthetic appeal often lost to an electronic calendar. It’s one of those instances were functionality became more important at the cost of design, appeal and simplicity.
Paper vs. Digital Calendars
The choice to use either a physical or digital calendar revolves mainly on individual preference and necessity. Many people in this modern age will often take a step back from technology and use a printed calendar because they find it more efficient. A printed calendar is tangible and usually includes creative design and beautiful high resolution photography to support the calendar’s theme. The person using the calendar can fully customize each page with doodles, colored scripts, visual cues, or even sticky notes.
Q: When was the last time an electronic calendar brought a smile to your face?
A: The most likely answer would be, almost never.
When we break down electronic calendars, we find that the most advantageous capability includes the various forms of notification of upcoming events, cross platform synchronicity and other cloud based functionality. Technology is known to not comply all the time however, and for those who find reliance for these “alarms” can acquire a problematic situation when these daily reminders fail. Although paper calendars cannot provide any reminders, users do not find themselves forgetting daily tasks very often. For those who utilize paper calendars, thinking “through the pen” subconsciously can help someone recall tasks that they physically publish on the calendar.
Choosing to use a type calendar is almost all preference; however there are many little aspects that paper calendars exclusively have to offer. Unlike electronic calendars, printed paper allows us to see “the big picture” of things. Also a paper calendar will never crash or run out of batteries; in fact the information we note is always guaranteed to be there. Finally, let us also never forget that paper calendars are inexpensive and extremely simple to use.
Marketing With Paper Calendars & The Power Of Print
Offering calendars to potential customers is a proven and highly effective marketing tool. A vast number of people still prefer paper calendars and getting your own in the hands of those people can bring in new clientele. The people who use your calendar will be exposed to your brand almost every day which is a lasting impression often lost in email and online based forms of marketing. Unlike many forms of advertising, calendars provide a large canvas to accommodate any image or text promoting your product.
The Marsid M&M Group can accommodate all your calendar printing needs. Our experienced staff can even help you design your custom calendars to perfection.
Greeting and thank you cards are a great way for any business to stay close with their associates and can improve your business by offering kind sentiment during holiday seasons. It is very professional and highly recommended for all businesses to send out cards to anyone who has helped you establish your success as a company. Doing so will demonstrate your appreciation and thanking customers for their loyalty is always a good idea.
Appreciate Those Who Help You Succeed
Customers, Suppliers, and employees account for any success you have had in the past, and sending them your regards through a greeting card is highly recommended. It establishes customer loyalty and can help make the choice of purchasing from alternative providers quite difficult. Customers are the foundation of your company’s success and thanking them for trusting your product and/or service is imperative. It demonstrates to customers that you both stand behind your products and appreciate their business.
It is equally important to demonstrate appreciation towards your suppliers. Without any suppliers, expanding your business would be quite difficult. Sending cards to your suppliers not only validates that you appreciate them, but it can also help your supplier better appreciate your business as well. Thanking your suppliers could lead to future cost reductions and accommodations as strong supplier relationships in business are very important.
It goes without saying that it is always a great idea to also show appreciation to your employees. They are the people who help run your business and without them your business cannot endure and thrive. Consider sending a greeting card to your employees this holiday season along with a gift card to showyour appreciation. It will help boost company moral and will act as a personal thank you in recognition of their hard work and effort.
Sending A Thank You Card “Just Because” Goes A Long Way
It is almost procedure and expected for all businesses to send out holiday cards to their customers. A great way to increase the value of any card is by sending them on days other than holidays. You can also add value to your cards by adding gifts to them. Some gifts to send with your card include; wine bottles, dinner vouchers and gift cards as mentioned above. The more thoughtful the gift, the more impact it will have and the recipient will value you as a customer, supplier, or employer. You can also offer your own products as a gift as a gift to your loyal customers. These free products will encourage them to try new merchandise which can also potentially lead to future sales.
Sending thank you cards to your associates on days other than holidays is another great way to make a positive impact. There are numerous occasions other than holidays where you can demonstrate your appreciation. For example, a good opportunity to send a card might be after an important meeting. Thanking a customer or supplier for their time and letting them know that you look forward to doing future business with them can actually go a long way in establishing a good relationship. Sending a card for major life events like marriages or business milestones can also be beneficial. Showing that you care for your associate’s well-being will demonstrate that you are a good friend. Lastly, sending cards out-of-the-blue can really hit the hearts of your partners. Out-of-the-blue greeting cards will demonstrate to the recipient that you truly do appreciate them and you are not sending them a card simply because it is protocol or it is “that time of year.”
Things to Remember
Sending personalized greeting cards can be quite beneficial for any company. Consider they are best used to establish loyalty and convey appreciation but can lose their effectiveness if you try to make a sales pitch. Be sure to always use premium paper stock and assorted finishes to make your card admirable.
The Marsid M&M Group can accommodate all your greeting and thank you card printing needs. Our experienced staff can even help you design your greeting card to perfection.
Why do we even bother? Well, honestly, it makes our job easier!
Truth is, we can use the most state-of-the-art printing presses like the Konica Minolta C8000 we acquired recently, but if the files are not print-ready and well crafted, the outcome can literally be garbage…that goes in our paper recycle bins of course!
In my experience:
80% of the outcome of a print job is dependent on the design files
Most times, a graphic designer acts as a liaison between us (the catalog printer) and the customer
Many times the customer is the designer
Therefore, we sincerely want the designer/customer to be proficient with their design tools and so, we offer the resources to learn how to do so.
Keep reading to learn how InDesign can speed up your catalog design and make you a truly efficient designer…
Adobe InDesign Gives You Design Superpowers
Well, not really. But it does make the process of designing a catalog 10x easier!
One of the most tedious part of designing a catalog for print is well, repetition.
What would you find repeated throughout a catalog?
What can we do about it?
Adobe InDesign answers that question for us with “Master Pages”.
Notice how in the top area of the image there is a graphic of a page labeled “A-Master”. Notice the pages below it are all labeled “A”. That means that any changes done to the A-Master page will also appear in all pages labeled “A”.
Now isn’t that nifty??
You can place any repetitive information that will be found throughout your catalog in the A-Master page and it will be found on all of your pages marked A.
If you find that you need to have some of the pages with a different layout, you have 2 options…
Simply drag the page labeled “[None]” to the page that will be different. This removes the A-Master layout
Create a new Master such as B-Master so that you can use a totally different layout on other pages
This feature alone will save you countless hours that will be better spent designing the body of the catalog.
Now that’s efficiency.
Here is a youtube video from Lynda.com that explains how to use InDesign Master Pages in detail:
Please comment with any InDesign advice or tips you may have and don’t forget to share this post!
There are various ways to select the areas where your Every Door Direct Mail will hit:
By Zip Code
By radius around a specific address
You can choose the type of routes served:
You can select from two delivery types:
Business and Residential
Once you have made all of your selections and have a final count of the area and routes that will be covered, you can continue by clicking “Next” to generate all of the paperwork required when delivering your EDDM prints to the Post Office. Don’t forget your postage check! But don’t fret, they also take cash and credit cards.
2. Bundle Your Advertising
This is the most labor-intensive step of completing your E.D.D.M. mailing, but it’s simple!
The USPS requires that you bundle your Every Door Direct Mail pieces into stacks of 50-100. The reason for this is that the Mailman takes these bundles and places them in his bag or cart and delivers one to each mailbox on his route. Please be considerate! Don’t make the bundles too heavy.
One of the forms that the system generates for you is the Facing Slip. This form needs to be on the very top of every bundle, so make copies before you fill in all of the information.
I recommend that you fill the Date, Company Name and Post Office of mailing before making copies so that you don’t have to fill it in every time.
These are the required fields you must complete on the Facing Slip:
Number of Pieces in Bundle
Total Number of Bundles
Post Office of Mailing
3. Delivery to the USPS
Once steps 1 and 2 are completed, the final and easiest step is your delivery to the Post Office. One of the forms generated by the E.D.D.M. system, the “Facility List”, is a summary of the entire mailing.
For your convenience, the form will list the address of each Post Office you must deliver the bundled mailers to, the hours of operation and contact information.
You will also find a table listing the Carrier Routes selected and number of mail pieces for each route and at the very bottom, the total postage cost (number of mailpieces x 14.5 cents)
The number of Post Offices listed will usually only vary if you selected more than one Zip Code.
That’s it! Your Post Office representative will review your paperwork and mail pieces, process the paperwork in the register and accept payment for your Every Door Direct Mail.
Recently released by the United States Postal System (USPS), the purpose of Every Door Direct Mail is to enable mom and pop shops, small businesses and corporations to send a direct mail piece to every mailbox in a specific area. The area of the mailing can be specified by zip code or radius around an address and further defined by selecting routes within the results. Get Every Door Direct Mail For Your Business Now
Every Door Direct Mail is Not for Every Type of Business
If your main customers are businesses (B2B), E.D.D.M. is really not for you. Every Door Direct Mail requires that you mail to residences. If your product or service caters to a very specific demographic, targeted direct mailwould be more beneficial to your campaign, not E.D.D.M.
Who benefits from Every Door Direct Mail?
If your product or service serves your local community and appeals to both individual consumer households and local businesses too, E.D.D.M. is a great and inexpensive way to make your presence known and can lead to an increase in foot traffic and phone calls if you plan it out well. Every Door Direct Mail works great for local businesses:
Lawyers & Accountants
Taxi & Limo Service
Don’t forget, franchises do most of their marketing at a local level…E.D.D.M. Win!
Why Every Door Direct Mail Will Work For You
1. Marketing at a Local Level
Local deals, local search, local , local, local!A perfect example is the announcement of a new pizzeria in town. Let’s say the owner is not a marketer or just doesn’t have the time to put together a marketing campaign. Yet, naturally he knows that his target market is every home and business in the surrounding area of his pizzeria. Every Door Direct Mail would be the quick and efficient way for the pizzeria owner to let every home in say, a 2 mile (or more) radius know about the grand opening of the new pizzeria. Simple and inexpensive.
2. No Mailing List or Permit Required
So, you’re a Franchisee and you own 3 stores that each serve their own local communities. Your main marketing objective is to make sure that everyone in the local vicinity of each store knows about the store, letting them know the address, contact information and hours of operation. Since Every Door Direct Mail service does not require an address list, you can send a direct mail piece to every single residence in the town of each store for a measly 14.5 cents each in postage. No requirement for a Postal Permit also saves your out-of-pocket costs in application and yearly fees.
3. Like Sending a Billboard to Every Door
Every Door Direct Mail requires that the size of your mail piece falls within the USPS “Flat” dimensions. A common size is 6.25 x 9 which is a huge amount of real estate to cover with big graphics of your products or services, coupons and anything else that makes sense to include in the direct mail piece. You can go all the way up to 15 inches. You can also mail folded prints as long as they fold down within the size restrictions: Full color custom Calendars give you 12 months of continuous marketing and fall within the “flat” dimensions.
4. Easy Coupon and Specials Distribution
With the low cost of distribution, E.D.D.M. is a great tool to use to give out your coupons, announce specials and event sales. Spruce up your marketing and offer “neighborhood only” coupons. Sure, you can always use a Valpak type of service but with 1700 other coupons in the same envelope, will your coupon even get noticed ? (See #3 above)
5. Setup is a Breeze
Besides being cost effective, Every Door Direct Mail only takes a few simple steps to put together. Have your E.D.D.M. postcards printed, band them into bundles with a facing slip and a rubber band and then deliver them to the Post Office with your payment for postage. That’s it. Too busy? Your preferred printer can do everything for you, all you have to do is bring it to the Post Office with your postage payment.
One of the reasons the United States Postal Service created the Every Door Direct Mail program is to help local business grow (and to try to get back on track with it’s own revenue of course). But when used correctly, it really is a great opportunity to expand your marketing efforts.
This envelope size chart is provided as a quick reference when selecting the proper envelope size for your projects. If you have questions or are in need of an envelope size not listed in the envelope size chart, please feel free to leave a comment below or contact us right away!
This post is best suited for graphic designers who will be working on a die cutting project and/or those of you who simply like to know how to do stuff.
Creating a die line for die cutting can be pretty simple or can be quite difficult, all depends on your design and some planning beforehand can come in very handy later on.
First, I want to make it clear that die cutting thin lines is not always a good idea. Thin lines in a die create thin cuts in the paper that can easily bend or rip off. Sometimes it’s unnavoidable such as die cutting hair or thin fonts but if possible, always try to use thick locks of hair or bold type if your die cut is typography-based.
Custom Die Cut Hang Tags
For this tutorial we are going to create a Die Cut Hang Tag. Many clothing manufacturers use hang tags to brand their merchandise and sometimes include information about the product or the company on the back or inside if it is a folding hang tag.
For this tutorial, we will use a fictitious Clothing Brand called mmprint.
Our goal is to have a finished hang tag where we will die cut the mmprint with the white Stroke around it. Leaving the grey area (which for purposes of this tutorial is simulating the paper) by using a die cutter such as our Heidelberg Windmill Letterpress.
The Right Tools
The die line must be made using a vector design program such as Adobe Illustrator or InDesign. A die maker uses a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine which uses CAD software to send the design commands to the CNC machine.
Preparing the Artwork
Creating the die line for the mmprint hang tag should be rather straight forward and simple. We used Century Gothic Bold for the text and made an offset path to make it thicker, then added a 3pt. Stroke around it. All we really need to do is make a line that goes around the entire perimeter of the white Stroke.
Sure, you can show off your Pen tool skills and trace the whole thing but working efficiently is key for a designer and when you have other projects to move on to, time is important.
At this point in our design, our stroke is an effect applied to the object. When you select the object with the black arrow, you will see that the selection line is located within the stroke. Since we need the die line to be the outside edge of the stroke, we have to make the stroke an object itself.
Select the mmprint object then click Edit>Copy then click Edit>Paste in Front
With the new object selected, click Object>Expand
While still selected, click the Unite button in the PathFinder tab (Window>Pathfinder)
Now you should have the outline of the object that is completely white, which notably is the shape that will remain in the sheet of paper once the mmprint is die cut out…
Now just 2 more steps.
While our new white object selected, all we need to do is give it a 1pt. stroke (I chose orange so it stands out) and remove the fill color.
Here is the result:
The final step is to convert the orange color we selected into a PMS color that we will call “Die Line”.
The purpose of making the die line its own PMS color is so that it separates correctly when making plates. The CMYK parts separate accordingly for printing and our “Die Line” PMS will separate as one separate plate for the die.
Here is how it’s done:
Tips and Tricks
It’s always a good idea to consult with the printer/die cutter before you spend a lot of time on your design. Discuss and if possible, show a sketch or basic artwork of your die cut to get feedback on what may or may not work.
As a graphic designer/consultant, you are hired to be efficient and work within budgets.
To save on die charges, you can always use a pre-made Die Cut shapes and customize only the printing.
We offer a nice selection of pre-made die cut shapes:
Take the Design Even Further
When budget is not an obstacle, take your creativity to the next level with Foil Stamping and Embossing.
At this point you can design a hang tag with all the bells and whistles that people may possibly keep. Hang tags create an amazing opportunity to spread your branding with the very merchandise that you sell. Make your hang tag reflect the quality of your company and your product.
So how do you prepare the design for foil stamping and embossing?