Trade Show Survival Guide: How to Prepare for a Worthwhile Trade Show Experience

Tradeshow Booth Tips | MMPrint.com

If you’re planning to exhibit at a trade show or industry event, preparation is the key to success. Our Trade Show Survival Guide will help you plan for a smooth and successful event. Make sure you check-out these tips before you hit the ground running.

Choosing the Convention & Setting Goals

How does exhibiting at a trade show support your overarching marketing and sales strategy? As you begin to get organized, make sure you’re looking across the board at the trade shows in your industry and choosing the best fit for your company. The Trade Show News Network is a great place to do research on the top events in a variety of niches.

There are two primary types of trade shows, vertical and horizontal. Vertical trade shows specialize in one industry and typically attract attendees who work across the full supply chain in that industry. Horizontal trade shows reach a broader base of industries but often appeal to a specific contingent along the supply chain. It helps to consider which type of trade show you’ll be attending and how you plan to reach the audience there.

Creating a very generic booth strategy that will appeal to everybody is a surefire way to appeal to nobody. Don’t be afraid to target a specific market segment or target audience at the event. It also helps to tweak your messaging to align with the convention headlines, themes, or keynote messages. This will help your booth stand out as relevant and appeal to the interests of the attendees.

It’s also helpful to set specific goals for yourself and your company when planning to exhibit at a trade show. What are you aiming to accomplish with your booth? Lead generation, sales, or simply brand strategy? What are the metrics or KPIs you’ll use to measure your success?

Tradeshow Booth Placement Tips | MMPrint.com

Planning Your Booth Placement

Booth placement is important. It helps to proactively seek out great booth placement from the beginning. Work out a deal with the event organizer to optimize your booth space for foot traffic. Oftentimes by getting in early and requesting a particular location, you can secure a spot that’s going to be optimal for achieving your event goals.

If your booth placement is less than ideal, don’t fret! There are plenty of things you can do to make the most of the space you have.

  • Banners that are suspended up high are a great way to stand out among the competition, especially if your booth is off the beaten path. Banners can be printed on vinyl or fabric and can be customized with your brand colors and logo. Consider highlighting the value that customers will receive when they visit your booth. Your banner might be the first interaction a customer has with your company at a trade show–think about how to best utilize that real estate to draw people in.
  • Consider lighting. If you’re stuck in a dark corner, become a beacon of light for your target audience. Think about using lighting to highlight focus on products or signage. Just make sure your lights aren’t so bright they deter customers.
  • Create interest through invitations. You can explicitly invite your prospective customers to your booth using invitations. This can be for a one-time event or to engage in ongoing activities at your booth. Consider sponsoring invitations in the event swag bag that’s distributed at registration, handing out invitations while attendees are arriving for a keynote, or sending invites to prospective customers prior to the event.

Lastly, it helps to keep an eye out for ancillary spaces that you’ll want to use during the event. Look for a cafe or quiet seating area near your booth. Have a “go-to” location for closing business or taking meetings that’s close to your booth. It will allow you to quickly get back and forth and keep an eye on things when you need to be away.

Tradeshow Booth Tips Customer Takeaways | MMPrint.com

Customer Takeaways

If a customer doesn’t make a purchase from your booth, they should walk away with something that will help them remember you and build loyalty with your brand. You can accomplish this kind of connection through a variety of formats at a variety of price points.

  • Business Cards: Make sure you receive a business card for every card you give out. After a conversation with a prospective client, write a note on the back of their card to remind you what you discussed. At the end of each day, you can enter all the information you collected about your leads in a spreadsheet. This will make your post-event follow-ups a breeze.
  • Catalogs: Make sure to have some collateral at your booth that will allow your attendees to browse your offerings after their visit. A catalog remains the most effective way to do this. Ensure your catalog features your most popular and important products and the key information a customer needs to know in order to make a buying decision. Additionally, make sure that you have high fidelity in the colors printed in your catalog–this is especially important if your physical products are available in a variety of colors.
  • Swag: Don’t be shy when handing out swag at a trade show or event. The more attendees see their peers with your swag, the more they’ll want to stop by your booth to get in on the action. Some of our favorite ideas for swag are calendars, planners, mousepads, stickers, and magnets. Needless to say, creating high-demand swag to represent your company is one of our areas of expertise. We’re here to help you from design through production.
  • Giveaways are a terrific way to engage customers at your booth. By promoting a giveaway that’s relevant for attendees you can generate buzz and word of mouth at the event. Product baskets are great, but make sure they are travel friendly (or provide the option to ship to the winner). You can also give the winner early access to a product line or a free year of a premium service that you offer. The sky’s the limit here! Just make sure that your giveaway prize aligns well with your brand and product or service offering.

Consider the End at the Beginning

The last piece of advice we have for planning a successful booth presence at a trade show is to plan for the booth break down during your design phase. Knowing what kind of staff you’ll need to take down and ship your booth home will help you wrap-up your event seamlessly.

During design consider incorporating booth elements that can be easily packed-up. We love retractable banners for events. You don’t have to worry about finding a place to hang them as they set-up with their own stands. You can move them around strategically for different events or traffic flows at the booth. And, best of all, they are easy to break-down and send home.

When it comes to the close of your event, take a few moments to reflect on what went well and where you’d like to improve for next time. Consider the goals you set at the beginning of the process and look at what you measured. Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate the hard work and effort that you put into your trade show.

Are there any tips that you have for making a trade show a successful event? We’d love to hear from you below. Leave us a comment and let us know what’s worked for you!

Standing Out from the Crowd: Using Die Cut Printing to Create Unique Marketing Materials

Did someone ever hand you a business card in a unique shape? Ever notice that some brands create hang tags on their products that are in the shape of their logo? Have you ever received a gift card in an ornate holder that made the gift feel extra special?

It’s likely that these special printed items were created using die cutting. This technique is used to produce creative and high-end printed projects that stand out in a crowd and elevate a brand. Die cutting is one of the most efficient ways to customize marketing materials and make your brand more recognizable to customers.

What is Die Cutting?

Custom Die Cut Bookmark | MMPrint.comA die is a sharp metal blade (often made from steel) that is formed into a shape. A die is very similar in function to a cookie cutter. The sharp metal shape cuts right through paper or material in a stamping motion that’s highly automated and incredibly accurate. Printers who offer die cutting services often have a library of dies that you can choose from and can accommodate custom designs as well.

Die cutting is very accurate and can create sharp and detailed products. It’s a great way to get a clean design, especially if you choose paper that lends itself well to die cutting. You don’t want paper that’s too light or too heavy when embarking on a die cut project. It’s best to consult with your printer during the design phase to ensure you choose the perfect material for your project.

How to Design A Die Cut Project

Like all good design, purpose matters. Before you begin designing your die cut project, think about what you want the die cut to do for you. What message are you trying to convey? How will this piece be used functionally? What do you want your customer or audience to feel when they hold this piece in their hands?

The beauty of die cutting is that it can be used to achieve a vast array of design goals. Are you going for a modern feel with clean lines and a funky cut-out? Do you want to create something that feels ornate and delicate? Or, you want something that’s completely unique to you and your brand?

Custom Die Cut Logo| MMPrint.comThink about your industry and the iconography that’s closely associated therein. If you’re in real estate, you might want a business card in the shape of a house. If you do sailboat repairs, you could create a brochure in the shape of a sail. If you own a hair salon, how about a gift card holder in the shape of a hair dryer? It pays to be creative with die cut projects–this is your chance to make something that’s completely original to you and your brand.

Because die cutting is a bit more complicated and very customized, we recommend talking with a designer, ideally one who is situated within a printer. Creating custom dies is a specialized task and one that we’re happy to help with at M&M Marsid. In addition, we have a number of templates in our library that are available for our customers to use and make their own.

Die Cut Design Elements

There are a few core elements you can play with when considering a die cut project. These elements can be used functionally or decoratively.

  • Your edges make-up the perimeter of the piece. You can choose to die cut all, some, or none of your edges. Die cutting can be used to create fun shapes or add texture like a scalloped edge.
  • You can also choose to do something fun with just one corner of your piece—like a menu with a bite taken out of the corner.
  • A cut-out can be done in a variety of shapes. These are great for invitations, business cards, and postcards to add visual interest. You can also use cut-outs to create intricate designs within a printed piece.
  • A window is similar to a cut out, but a little larger and intended to provide a view into something. Often windows are used in brochures or folders to give a sneak peek into content that is placed underneath.
  • Perforations are used to allow the customer to tear off part of the printed piece. We often do perforated coupon cards or invitations.
  • Silhouettes are one of the best ways to use die cutting to create something that’s truly special. We love silhouettes on custom calendars and bookmarks. They really make your imagery come alive and jump from the page.

Whether you are creating hang tags, folders, gift card holders, or business cards consider die cutting for your next project. It’s a sure-fire way to make your branding stand out from the crowd and elevate your brand presence.

Custom Die Cut Circle Insert| MMPrint.comDon’t be afraid to try a few sketches and test out what looks best. Get creative here with imagery, silhouettes, and cut outs to make your design pop. And, talk to a professional to help gauge whether you really need a custom die and to determine the right paper for your job. Lastly, remember that you can combine die cutting with a variety of other printing treatments including metallics, gloss, and matte to really make your project shine.

 

As always, we’re here to answer your questions and help guide you through the process from design to the finished product.

 

Be Mine ♥ Strategies for Customer Appreciation

Be Mine Valentine Customer Appreciation | MMPrint.com

Authentic and personalized customer service is a cornerstone in building lifelong customers. In his Wall Street Journal bestseller, Hug Your Customers, Jack Mitchell encourages business leaders to put a premium on building customer loyalty through great service that makes customers feel understood and appreciated. Mitchell created a culture within his business that allowed his team to excel through some very simple yet effective techniques.

This Valentine’s Day, we’re highlighting 3 ways that you can shower your customers with appreciation to build lasting relationships.

Consistency Is Key

The key to long-lasting customer rapport is trust. When your customer knows they can count on you to deliver, they’ll come back. Consistency in the way you deliver your products and services can make the difference between a one-time customer and a customer for life. In order to provide consistency, you’ve got to train your staff on those expectations.

Many of the most successful training programs are supported by training manuals. A physical manual will help employees understand the culture of your organization, the fundamentals of their roles, and what to do in different situations.

When you clearly outline policies and procedures in a way that’s easily repeatable, your employees will be prepared to succeed. They’ll also be in-sync with each other. This way, a customer is much more likely to get a similar experience no matter who helps them when they walk in the door, call your office, or place an order.

When creating a training manual, make sure you consider the context for when and where training will occur. If you need stand-up visual references, an A-Frame Easel might be a good choice. If you have a lot of information to convey with multiple sections that will need to be referenced, you might want to use tabs for easy navigation.

In addition to utilizing a training manual, the time you take to educate your employees will show in the results you achieve. Spending time getting to know your employees and teaching them either in person or virtually is critical. Allow your staff to ask questions and encourage ideas. Building a strong internal culture will help you create consistency for your customers and ultimately build trust.

Valentines Gift Customer Appreciation | MMPrint.com

Everyone Loves A Gift

Showering your customers with gifts doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, but it can pay dividends in building a strong and loyal relationship. Marketing swag helps promote your brand and provides additional value to your customers–if you do it right.

It’s important here to keep the value of the item front and center. A cheaply made item can do more harm than good. Did you ever get a pen from a company that didn’t work? Or, receive a cheap water bottle that you ended-up guiltily throwing away? Think about swag that your customers will actually want and use.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Journals. Journals are booming right now. They can be used for a daily gratitude practice, to stay organized, and to keep oneself motivated. Most people keep a journal by their bedside or at their desk. By gifting your customers with a high-quality journal, you’re insuring your brand will have a prominent everyday presence with your customers.
  • Stickers. Stickers aren’t just for car bumpers anymore. They have become a wide-spread mode for self-expression. Consider a great sticker design that your customers will use on their water bottles. Using a sticker to convey a message that aligns with your brand will increase the chances that the sticker will be used. Not only is this great free advertising, but a constant reminder of your brand for your loyal customers. You know you’re doing something right when a customer chooses to put your brand on their laptop.
  • Notepads. Notepads are an amazing customer gift as they are high value and applicable for most people. Your customer might use the notepad you gifted them in their kitchen to write a grocery list or a note to their child’s teacher. A notepad might be used at work to jot a quick note to a colleague. You may be surprised to find where the pages of a notepad you gifted a customer may end-up.

Use Data to Personalize Customer Experiences

Chances are you are likely capturing some data about your customers and their experiences with you. You can think about that data as an opportunity to both get to know your customers and to provide them with personalized experiences.

Personalized experiences from brands make us feel understood, appreciated, and respected. When an organization does something that reflects they’ve taken the time to learn a little bit about us, we build on the relationship. We are more inclined to support a business that’s gone the extra mile to tailor an experience just for us.

One easy way to create a personal connection with your customers is to send birthday cards. If you are collecting a birthday month and an address for your customers, you can send a birthday card. Make sure the card is specific to your brand. Think about it as you would any other marketing piece you’re creating. It should align with the look and feel of your brand, be written in your brand voice, and (obviously) convey birthday wishes.

You can make the process of sending birthday cards easy by creating one card and ordering in bulk. Then, each month you can run a report of the birthdays and generate labels. This small gesture of appreciation can go a long way in building brand loyalty.

With over 40 years of experience in the printing business, we have kept our customers at the heart of everything we do. No matter what method you choose, customer appreciation is a great way to build brand loyalty. A little extra effort here can go a long way towards building long-lasting customer relationships.

3 Printing Trends You Need to Follow in 2020

Color Trends 2020 in Printing | MMPrint.com

These three trends are taking off in the new decade.

Welcome to the new decade! A new year always inspires us to think about our goals and opportunities. And, a new decade? Well, that’s an even better reason to imagine the possibilities ahead of us.

These three trends in printing all represent opportunities to set your business apart from the competition. Let each of these inspire you as you plan new projects and campaigns in 2020 and beyond.

Personalization

Expectations for personalization are rising from consumers. Businesses must demonstrate that they understand their customers and tailor their offerings appropriately. Consumers are being presented with so many digital messages and services today. It can be overwhelming to keep up.

One of the best ways to help you stand-out among the constant barrage of digital advertising is to use print. Relevance is key to success here. Consider using postcards to distinctly highlight your products and services. With a striking design, they will catch the eye in a stack of mail and generate the leads you’re looking for.

Even better, is to personalize your message and tailor the direct mail specifically based on a particular market segment. Instead of sending just one postcard for all potential customers, consider creating 2 or 3. Each postcard should have message designed for relevance among that segment of your market. This will help your potential customers feel valued and understood.

Postcards are a blank slate–they can be large or small and the sky’s the limit in terms of the graphic possibilities. This tried and true method for generating leads can be as modern as you want it, especially if you utilize the design trends that we highlight below.

In 2020, you can spark interest and bring new business to the table by utilizing personalized direct mail. M&M is here to help you take advantage of this trend through the full process including design, printing, and mailing.

Pantone (PMS) Color of the Year 2020 | MMPrint.com

Pantone’s Color of the Year: Classic Blue

Color is a fundamental component of most print projects. It’s important to think about how the colors you choose aligns to your brand, your message, and the goals of your project.

You can expect to see a lot of Pantone’s color of the year, Classic Blue (19-4052) in 2020. It’s a gorgeous deep blue shade that’s harkens serenity and confidence. Imagine the sky, right as dusk is shifting to night. This calm and confident blue is very elegant and works for a variety of brand styles.

Pantone began their color of the year tradition over 20 years ago in 1999 when it chose Cerulean, another serene shade to usher in the start of a new millennium. While quite a lot has changed in the world over the last 20 years, Classic Blue remains timeless.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, described Classic Blue as “A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”

We expect to see Classic Blue in print, displays, and promotional products this year. Consider using Classic Blue this year to as an accent color on your next project. It compliments everything from vibrant and neon colors to neutrals.

Minimalism in Design 2020 | MMPrint.com

Minimalist Design

Less is more in terms of design in 2020. Minimalist design constrains the designer to include only the most important information through the simplest visual construct. It requires discipline to eliminate extraneous clutter from a design.

We’re seeing this trend in action everywhere from booklets to business cards and everything in between. In addition to the calming aesthetic it brings, minimalist designs are often easier for audiences to consume. This is a great benefit when it comes to marketing products!

Minimalism pushes us to really get clear about our brand, our message, and our goals. There’s no room for excess when minimalist design is the goal. Exploring a minimal design can help you bring the fundamentals of your message to customers right to the forefront, with no question. It can be very powerful.

Some tips to consider when aiming for a minimalist design on your next project include:

  1. Identify and Cut the Excess

This may sound obvious, but it’s one of the hardest things to do when designing a new project. Ask yourself whether each element in your project is absolutely necessary. If the answer is no, out it goes!

  1. Include Plenty of Whitespace

The one area of abundance in a great minimalist design is whitespace. Whitespace doesn’t always have to be white. We consider whitespace to be any spaces between content. Make sure your content has room to breathe and you’ll be well on your path to a minimalist design.

  1. Choose a Simple Color Palette.

Using one or two bold colors can stand out more than using 5 or 7 colors in a design. Whether you choose a monochromatic palette or one with a handful of complementary colors, try to restrain the number of colors in your palette. Don’t be afraid to stick with the essentials.

And, there you have it–the top three design trends in printing for 2020. No matter what’s trending, the most important and timeless aspect of any successful project is to create something you’re proud of that helps you achieve your goals. At the Marsid M&M Group, we’re always here to help you do just that.

Following other trends in your market space that we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Design a Custom Business Card in Photoshop

Ah, the business card. This humble little piece of cardstock is a networking powerhouse. It follows you in your pocket, on your desk, and to every tradeshow or networking event, you attend. A sleek business card is crucial to a great first and lasting impression for both clients and customers.

Sure, there are sites out there where you can build your own business card online. Most of them use template designs that stick out like a sore thumb among those who look at a lot of these little cards.

So, let’s make something custom. Something that is truly yours.

This tutorial will cover the basics of creating a simple business card in Photoshop using our business card template. If you already have a design, you can use this template to check that your important information is within the cut lines and that your bleeds extend to the bleed line.

If you don’t have a design, well, let’s create one.

Getting started

So, to begin, open the PDF version of our business card template in Photoshop.

Photoshop How to Import PDF | MMprint.com

The default settings will be fine. The only thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the “Mode” dropdown. If you’re intending to print a lot of cards, most likely you’ll be printing them on an offset press. If that’s the case, select CMYK color. If you’re only printing a few cards, you’ll most likely print them on a digital press. Digital presses also use the CMYK color model and ink although some may use RGB. If you’re unsure, it’s best to call the print shop and check. MMPrint.com uses the CMYK model for both digital and offset printing.

If you get it wrong, it’s OK, you can convert to the other color space, but since the colors aren’t exact, you’ll sometimes see a tonal shift.

For this tutorial, we’ll use CMYK.

Business Card Design Template with Guides | MMPrint.com

This is what you’ll see once you open the file. Let’s look at the three boxes on this guide.

Red: This is the cut line. It is the main outline of your finished card.

Blue: Safety line. All logos, text, and important artwork must fall within this line. Why? Well, paper cutting isn’t always exact. This ensures that your important information doesn’t get cut off when the card is trimmed.

Green: Bleed line. If you want a color or picture to go all the way to the edge of the card, it must extend to this bleed line.

How to design a business card

This is the card that we will build today:

Business Card Design Sample | MMPrint.com

It’s a simple design that would work for a variety of businesses. Once you understand how to import text and add shapes, it unlocks a whole world of design possibilities for your business cards. So, let’s break down the process.

Photoshop Guides Business Card Design | MMPrint.com

To start, let’s lay down some guides. This will help us when we have graphics and shapes covering up the template. Click and drag from the top ruler to the top trim line and then release the mouse. As you drag, a blue line will appear and come to rest where you release. If you need to adjust its placement, press V to activate the Move tool. Then, click and drag the blue line and drop it in place.

Photoshop Layers Panel Business Card Design | MMPrint.comOnce you have the top trim line marked, go ahead and mark the left, right, and bottom trim lines. Then, mark the top, bottom, left, and right safety lines.

Go to your layers panel. If it isn’t open, you can press F7 to bring it up. First, rename the layer with the template on it to “template.” Then, click the eyeball to the left of the name to turn the layer off.

Next, press Shft+Ctrl+N (Windows) / Shft+Cmd+N (Mac) to create a new layer. This will be the layer we work with.

Let’s give this layer a background color. With the new layer selected, press Shft+F5 to open the Fill panel.

Photoshop Color Picker Fill Shape | MMPrint.com

Change the Contents setting to “Color,” then select #FFFFFF or pull the color picker all the way to white and click OK. Click OK one more time and your layer will turn white.

Now, let’s put on a logo.

Go to File->Place Embedded and find the logo you’d place to put on the business card. A vector logo is preferred here, but a picture file logo (like PNG or JPG) can work if it as high quality and high resolution. Basically, you want your logo not to have any distortion and to be as big of a photo as possible.

Drag your logo into position. The small boxes on the corners of the bounding box can scale the image larger or smaller if you click and drag them.

Make sure that your logo is not only inside of the trim and safety lines but that it has just a little bit of breathing room from that edge. The reason being, if a trim does come close to the safety line, it can make the space feel tight if your logo is too close to the safety line.

Photoshop Business Card Design Embed Logo | MMPrint.com

Now, let’s add a little flare to the white background.

Let’s open the Rectangle Shape tool. It’s located on your tool sidebar.

 

Photoshop Shape Tool Panel Business Card Design | MMPrint.com

At the top of your screen, let’s set the fill settings. Set the fill to #2274a6 and turn the stroke off by typing 0 in the line width box.

Photoshop Shape Settings Panel | MMPrint.com

Now, draw a large rectangle by clicking and dragging over the right 1/3 of the card and extend it all the way to the top, bottom, and right side.

 

Photoshop Pen Tool Business Card Design | MMPrint.com

Next, press P to activate the pen tool. The pen tool lets you draw lines using anchor points. Set your first anchor point 3.5 in from the left side of the card, starting at the very top of your artboard. Then, draw a diagonal line down to the bottom. Finally, close up any white space by finishing the triangle at the top.

Photoshop Pen Tool Settings | MMPrint.com

At the top of the screen, click the Shape button in your path options. This will create a triangle shape. When you’re finished, it should look like this:

Photoshop Path View Business Card Design | MMPrint.com

Let’s add our text now.

Press T to activate the Text tool. If you don’t see the Character panel, go to Window->Character to activate it.

Photoshop Character Panel Settings | MMPrint.com

For this design, we used Myriad Variable Condensed. You can use any font you want to, just keep legibility in mind. A simple, sans-serif or serif font will look much nicer than a novelty font.

Use the Character panel to control your text. The top two boxes are for your font selection—the first selects Font Family, and the second selects the font type, so bold, italic, regular, condensed, etc. Your selection in this panel will depend on what your font comes with.

Below the Font Family box is your font size. Next to it is your line-height, which should be set to auto unless you’re going to adjust leading yourself.

Under font size is kerning, or the space between two letters. To the right is letter spacing or the space between ALL letters.

Then, we have letter height and letter width. Finally, we have the height for subscript and your font color.

Whew, that’s a lot of options!

For this tutorial, let’s start by writing our tagline, “Discover the joy of music” under the logo in our same blue color from before. For Myriad Variable Condensed, Semibold Condensed, the font size should be 16pt.

Photoshop Text Character Editing | MMPrint.com

Now, to change the “joy” part to a different color and font, use your mouse to highlight only that word. Go back to the Character panel and click Color, then enter #ef811c.  Finally, go to the top of the character panel and in the drop-down next to font family, find the italic variation. For this version, we used Semibold Italic.

Now, all that’s left is to add your contact information.

Press T to activate the text tool, then click on the right-hand side of the card in the blue box area.

Using the same font as before, Semibold Condensed, let’s add text. This text will be a little smaller, at 14pt. Using the same technique as before, make the job title and email address italic.

Photoshop Text Font Editing | MMPrint.com

It really looks like a card now! Let’s add one final flourish and call it a day.

Go back to the shape tool and activate the Rectangle again. This time, color it #ef811c. Draw a rectangle from the edge near the person’s name and title and extend it off the card, like this:

Photoshop Business Card Design Complete | MMPrint.com

How to check your file

It looks great! Let’s just check and make sure everything is in the template. Go to the Layers panel and drag the Template layer to the top. Then, click the eyeball next to it to turn the template on.

Double-check that all important information and elements are inside the trim line.

Photoshop Layers Enable Disable | MMPrint.com

If they are great! Turn that layer off.

Now, let’s save.

Go to File>Save As… and first, save a version as a Photoshop file (PSD). You’ll want this if you ever want to make changes or make alternate versions.

Then, go to File>Save as… and save it as a PDF. This is the version you will send to the print shop. Save it as High Quality Print, and you’re done.

That’s all there is to it!

Okay, making your own business cards can be a lot of work, but your company’s brand is crucial to your networking success. If you don’t think you can handle making a card on your own, that’s ok! Our expert designers are on-hand to create the perfect card for your company.

Custom Calendars are a Marketing Secret Weapon for Business

Custom Calendar Printing Marketing for Business | MMPrint.com

The humble calendar is a bit like a ninja. This unassuming piece of media can sneakily infiltrate the homes and offices of your clients, where it prominently finds itself displayed on desks or walls. Chock full of exciting imagery, promotions, and messaging, this useful promo item not only aids your clients in their day-to-day planning but acts as a personal billboard for your marketing initiatives. Once your calendar finds its way into your client’s spaces, it gives them a front-row seat to your messaging all year long.

Calendars can create incredibly fun, unique, and exciting marketing experiences. Customers also love them, because unlike some of the strange gadgets they get bombarded with at trade shows, these babies serve a practical purpose.

So, let’s discover some exciting ways to take your custom calendar and convert it into a marketing powerhouse.

Plan wisely

Your calendar is an opportunity to connect with your customers 365 times in a year. So, your calendar needs to have some clear goals. Do you want to engage new customers? Retain old ones? Find ways to create more repeat business? Diving into a calendar with a strategy will make it far more successful than just slapping some nice imagery on it and calling it a day.

Go beyond product imagery

Photos of your products are a common choice within the custom calendar sphere and there are plenty of great applications for that. However, a custom calendar that just has stock product imagery isn’t very exciting. When it comes to a picture calendar, there’s a lot you can do with that space. Once you have your marketing goals in mind, think about the message that each month conveys. If you’re a dentist, does a photo of your practice drive clients to book an appointment? Possibly.

Maybe instead, you could collaborate with a graphic designer and content writer to create aesthetically pleasing headers for each month that have inspirational quotes, a funny industry comic strip, or advice.

If product imagery is the way you want to go, try to make the imagery in your calendar unique. Set your products in seasonally correct backgrounds or find ways to delight and surprise your viewers with unexpected photography choices.

Stuff it with promotions

While some customers are pleased as punch to receive a calendar from you, others might need some coercion. It’s never a bad idea to sweeten the deal with some promotions. After all, once you remind them of your service each month, you want something to drive them to your location, right?

For 20 years, Chick-Fil-A was a master case in this area. Not only were their calendars delightful to look at and perfectly branded to their corporate image—they promoted the heck out of their food inside. Their calendars contain coupons and offers every month, which kept their customers exciting and engaged with their calendar all year long.

Brand it and brand it well

A calendar has so much potential for branding, so don’t stop at putting your logo on the front. Slap your emblem on every page of that sucker! No one looks at the cover of a calendar after putting it on the wall, so you’ll want to be sure that your branding is clear each month.

But, remember, branding goes beyond the logo. Your calendar needs to look and sound like your brand, too. That means all copy should fit your brand voice and the colors should match your corporate color scheme.

If you haven’t established a brand yet, today’s the day to start. Consistency among your online, print, and in-store presence is key to winning the trust of customers as they interact with your brand through various platforms.

Use your calendar to combat business slumps

Slow periods exist in every business. Whether it’s right around the holidays, during summer vacation, or maybe right before back-to-school, it seems each business has notoriously slow times that they desperately need a traffic boost during.

So, mark that on your calendar. By that, we mean, add promotions directly to the dates of your calendar that coincide with these slow periods. By doing so, you’ll increase foot traffic during these slow periods.

If you have annual events at your business, be sure to plan their dates while designing your next calendar. Mark popular holidays (and maybe fun, industry-related days like National Hot Dogs day if you’re a restaurant) with a fun graphic and perhaps a special promotion to drive interest in them.

Keep it simple

While we’ve gone through quite a few ideas to make your calendar pop, at the end of the day you’ll need to keep your ideas simple. Every element in your calendar, from imagery to messaging, to the promotions and dates you mark need to have a clear purpose. Your messaging needs to work well within a visual hierarchy each month, which easily draws the eyes from your imagery to the desired interaction with your customer.

The humble calendar takes a little time and patience to put together, but the effort can be well worth it. While other promotional products end up in drawers, your calendar can find its way to prominence in even a cluttered office. While billboards or print ads fizzle to a distant memory soon after a customer’s contact with them, your calendar is a constant visual companion for an entire year.

If you aren’t implementing calendars in your promotional strategy, consider jumping on the train now. With some consideration and planning, your calendar will be the secret weapon to your marketing department always dreamed of.

The Ins and Outs of EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail

The biggest mystery that small business owners always look to solve is how to get their name, offerings, and promotions into the minds and hands of potential customers. It’s a constant quandary. There’s so much noise in the marketing world, too. Do you go with digital ads? Emails? Or do you the classic route with billboards, flyers, and commercials?

Customers are just as inundated with marketing noise as you are. Their inbox is filled to the brim with promotions they’ll never open. They scroll by ads without a glance as they look for friend’s latest comings and goings on social media.

Important business is done through the mail. Our physical mailboxes have thinned out over the years, but people still check it. Did you know that 80-90 percent of direct mail gets opened, only 20-30 percent of email gets opened on a good day?

That means, you can get your message in front of 80-90% of your intended recipients when you send your promotions through the mail.

What is EDDM

EDDM stands for Every Door Direct Mail. When you use EDDM, your messaging is sent to desired recipients through location and demographic targeting and you pay only a small fraction of the amount it would normally cost for bulk mail.

EDDM is especially great, because you don’t have to provide a mailing list or anything. You just have to know what neighborhoods, household types, general locations, or demographics you’d like to target.

What sorts of businesses use EDDM?

Any small business can benefit from smartly used EDDM campaigns. For example, say you’re a restaurant. You’d like to reach local people in your area to get them in try your tasty dishes. You could send an EDDM campaign on a folded postcard that includes your take-out menu and a coupon for their first visit.
How about a local salon? You could send an EDDM campaign that promotes a lady’s night open house or simply introduce your services with a limited time offer. Urgent care facilities are hyper-local and depend on the local community to be successful, EDDM is a great solution for this.

Basically, if you’re a business that would like to generate extra foot traffic coming through your door or eyes on your website, EDDM is an amazing option to consider.

What types of campaigns can I run through EDDM?

If you can create a message through a postcard, you can use EDDM to promote it. Some of the most common ways that businesses use EDDM is to tell their customers about:

  • Weekly, monthly, or annual sales/promotions
  • Featured products and services
  • Business grand opening or new location opening
  • Tell new customers about your business for the first time
  • Distribute monthly news or insights
  • Coordinate a new location launch and target just the service area
  • Increase and keep constant brand awareness

Truly, the sky is the limit. Customers find mailed promotions far more personal than emailed notices, which means there’s a high chance that they’ll read whatever you have to say to them.

What can I send through an EDDM campaign?

EDDM campaigns are for flat mail only. It can’t be enclosed in an envelope or sent on flimsy paper. Whatever you send through EDDM needs to be strong and light enough to be mailed as a stand-alone mailpiece.

EDDM campaigns can be sent on mailpieces with a maximum size of 12″ x 15″ or you can use one of the following standard sizes:

  • 6.5” x 9”
  • 6.25” x 11”
  • 8.5” x 11”
  • 8.5” x 12”
  • 7” x 10” (folded in half)
  • 12” x 4” (folded in half)

Basically, for EDDM, you want a smooth, flat piece of mail that isn’t too heavy (under 3.3 oz). This could include all types of products like:

  • Small or large postcards
  • Take-out menus
  • Business flyers
  • Postcard magnets
  • Perforated coupons
  • Promos with peelable stickers affixed
  • Folded postcards
Request Your EDDM Printing And Mailing Quote Today!
Reach Every Business and Residence In Your Town – for a fraction of the cost and you don’t need to buy a mailing list!

Get a Quote 

What should I include on my EDDM mailpiece?

Think about it like this—these customers are being introduced to your business, potentially for the first time, through this small piece. What do you want them to know? Boil it down to a simple concept. Remember, a lot of your brand can be conveyed with images.

Now, let’s design this postcard with some have-to-have elements:

What problems can your product or service solve for the customer?

When you start planning your mailer, think about what you can do for the customer. While you may want to sing the praises of your business, most people are interested in how you can help their business. Define a problem that your promotion solves and focus your copy on that. From there, begin planning your design.

Start with an appealing, eye-catching picture and headline

People are visual. No one likes to read giant walls of text. The more you can convey with a simple picture and bold, concise headline, the better. You want to catch their eyes as they flip through the mail, so plan these two elements with care.

Plan your colors carefully

Once you know your header and image, you can use a website like coolors.co to create a color palette. Pick colors that match your logo and image elements. Use these colors for your fonts but keep legibility in mind. You’ll want to be sure that any text you use has great contrast when laid on the image. The simpler your color palette the better—for best results, stick to 3-4 colors max.

Call-to-action

A call-to-action instructs customers on what to do next. Ideally, what do you want them to do with the information you just gave them? Pick up the phone? Pay you a visit? Visit your website? Tell them clearly. Add a limited time or expiration date to increase the chances of them doing this action in a timely manner.

Leave room for the required Retail Indicia

EDDM Retail Indicia Postcard Mailing | MMPrint.comYou’ll need to include The Every Door Direct Mail™ (EDDM) Retail indicia in a clear space on the front of your mailer. If you’re not sure what to put here, we can help!

Designing a mailer is a lot of work. Expert design can make a huge difference on how effective your mailing ends up being. If you’re not sure where to begin with the design process, reach out to us. We can handle your EDDM campaign every step of the way. Our expert designers will create the perfect postcard for your message and, after printing and finishing, it’ll be sent on its way to greeting your customers at their mailbox.

5 Print Products to Strengthen Your Urgent Care Facility’s Brand Identity

Printing for Urgent Care Facilities | MMPrint.comWhen a patient seeks out an urgent care facility, chances are they’re not quick to think of one by name—in fact; studies show that their selections are based more on location than anything. So, what can we do to combat this?

How can you get clients to think of your facility, recommend it to others, and seek it out in their times in need?

Internally, you spend time and resources, ensuring that your customers leave your waiting room feeling cared for, listened to, and confident in the information they’ve received. If you’re providing excellent service, the next step is to stand out with name recognition.

Let’s use the time that customers are in your waiting room or interacting with your staff to build a visual brand identity. Here are five printing products that will get your name in the eyes and memories of your customers:

Medical Tri-fold Brochures

medical tri-fold brochures urgent care | MMPrint.comThe time spent in the waiting room is a great moment to reach out to your patients and educate them on topics like common illnesses, immunizations, or emergency preparedness. You can also create and provide brochures for ailments and treatments to be provided by the staff during or after treatment.

These brochures not only serve as an educational tool for your customers; they also build trust with your patients and remind them of your branding every time they look at it.

A tri-fold brochure can provide a lot of information within its six panels, but you’ll want to keep the right balance of imagery and text to entice customers to read it. Keep the text focused and concise, with information chunked into small paragraphs, lists, or graphics for best results.

Get a Quote

Counter cards

You may be familiar with counter cards—they feature an informational graphic mounted to an easel-back and sit prominently on desks and shelves throughout most medical offices. Much like a brochure, these counter cards can educate your clients about illnesses, treatments, or office protocol. Branded signage gives your office a professional appearance while also reaffirming your urgent care facility’s name in their minds.

Counter cards are designed to be read relatively close-up, so be sure that your signage has an enticing photo and a prominent headline. The body text should be brief since this type of sign will probably be read while standing at a reception desk or while waiting for a doctor in a room.

Branded notepads

Branded Notepads for Urgent Care Facilities | MMPrint.comWhen you want customers to remember your name, it’s vital that they’re constantly exposed to it while having the best experience possible. Branded notepads add credibility to your medical office and give a unified, professional appearance. Branded, custom notepads are generally visible as customers check-in and interact with the staff. They’re useful for both the reception and medical staff and give your customers one more visual brand touchstone throughout their visit. These notepads can be used as promotional tools and distributed during networking events or customers as they head home.

Sell sheets

Sell sheets are like a one-page brochure and can be used to promote your facility or list your services with pricing. Within your office, they are the perfect tool for going over costs and services with your patients as they come into the office.

Promotional products

Promotional Products for Urgent Care Facilities | MMPrintIn a similar vein to your notepads, anything your customers interact with or take home should be branded. Consider for a moment, how many bank pens have you accidentally taken in your lifetime? Most of us can honestly say quite a few. Every time you use that pen, you’re exposed to that bank’s name. If you don’t have an account, there’s a good chance you’ll give them a call the next time you’re looking for a new checking account or auto loan, because you’re familiar with their name.

The same can be said for an urgent care facility. Pens, wristbands, water bottles, and hand sanitizers can make great, brand awareness-building giveaways for your customers. They provide the bonus of adding just an extra dash of goodwill.

The key to a great promotional product is to provide something useful, in sight, and easy to reach when their moment of illness strikes.

These are five popular print products that can increase brand awareness in your urgent care office. They can encourage repeat business and referrals from your satisfied customers since they’re more likely to remember where they got exceptional service.

Branding for Urgent Care Facilities | MMPrint.com

Just remember when you go to order your print products to brand, brand, brand. While you don’t want to create a design that is dominated by your branding, you’ll want to be sure that your logo, name, address, and phone number are prominent and professional. As long as you keep providing excellent care, your brand awareness will organically grow just by providing these types of print products throughout your facility.

Five Tips to Ensure your Graphic Design Files are Ready to Print

Five tips to ensure your graphic design files are ready to print

After a lot of head-scratching, pixel-pushing, and consideration, your new brochures or business cards are finally ready to fly to the print shop.

But, wait!

The worst feeling in the world is to get an item back from the print shop and see that it’s cropped strangely, the colors are out of whack, or there’s a glaring typo staring back at you.

So, let’s talk about five things you should check before you hit send on that file.

One More Proofread for the Road

Proofread Your Print Files

On your screen, moments after completing a design is the worst time to check for errors. Your brain is still filling in the gaps and seeing what it thinks it should see, not what is there.

If time allows, walk away from your design for at least an hour. You’ll want to look at it with fresh eyes.

Then, go ahead and print it to scale. Take a critical look at it both at close and, if it is larger than a business card, a few steps back.

Look for images that are out of alignment, text that doesn’t fit quite right, and of course, typos! Check every address, phone number, and email address for accuracy. If time allows, pass it on to a co-worker to perform the same check.

Verify your Color Space

Verify Your Color Space

The RGB (red, green, blue) color space is commonly used for digital pictures, like monitors and TVs. It is the color space you’re viewing this article in. By default, most graphic programs like Photoshop will start you in an RGB color space, as it anticipates that the files created will be used for the web.

CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) is used for commercial printing. In general, when you create a file for print at a print shop, you’ll want to ensure you’re working in the CMYK colorspace. When you first set up the file, you can easily define this by selecting the print presets.

As digital printing has become more common, things have changed and yet, CMYK is still the preferred colorspace for printing.
So, before you hit send, give your print shop a call and ask them which color space they use. This simple tweak can save your new brochure or flyer from coming off the press looking a little off color-wise.

Check your Bleed Settings

Check your Bleed Settings for Best Printing Results

Bleeds are important for any document that is printed edge-to-edge, where the solid colors or images need to go all the way to the edge of the page.

While you’re on the phone with the print shop, verify what they’d like the bleed settings to be. We prefer ⅛” bleeds, but some may ask for ¼” or ½” bleeds to give themselves a little more margin for error.

Take a look at your file in your graphics program. Make sure that all your artwork is extended past the bleed line. Also, ensure that all text and important graphics are within the safe zone which is typically a ¼” from the edge.

Some print shops can provide a bleed and margin template, but if they cannot, just create a margin guide about ¼” from the edge of your document and let no important text or graphics past it. This will prevent any important information to be cut off.

Embed or Flatten your Fonts

You spent so much time designing the perfect document and a big part of that is font selection. To ensure that your fonts print properly, you’ll want to embed them into the file. Fonts are pulled from your local computer, so there’s no way to know if your print shop will have the same font.

First, keep a backup of your file with the text still editable. Then, go into your document rasterize each text layer if you’re using Photoshop. If you’re using Illustrator, convert each text element to outlines.

If you’re sending your file as a PDF (and you should be), you can sometimes embed your font directly into the file. This will make your file size bigger but allow the recipient to edit the text if needed.

Some fonts don’t allow you to share them in this way, so it isn’t always an option. Sometimes, all you can do is rasterize or outline them.

Convert your File to PDF

Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign files don’t email well in their native formats. They often contain fonts and images that are linked to files on your local computer. When the printer opens these files, they won’t see what you see! Missing fonts, images are only the beginning though. Some files can render differently on different machines (especially if the file was made in a Microsoft Office product like Word, PowerPoint, or Publisher).

So, if you’re sending a file to a print shop, convert it to PDF. If your file has bleeds, be sure to check that the bleed settings are turned on as you export the file. A PDF is a special kind of file that will retain the visual formatting of your file consistently on any machine that opens it. It’s a graphic designer’s best friend.

With these five tips, you’re on your way to having picture perfect files every time. If you’re ever unsure of any settings or requirements, don’t hesitate to call your print shop. We love speaking to our customers and want to make sure your file is formatted properly, so you get great print results from our service every time.

If you have questions or need a quote for your next printing job, leave a comment or give us a call at 877-MMPRINT!

Any tips you want to share from experience?

Thermography, Foil Stamping, and more- Ways to Make your Product Pop

Finishing and Coating your Print Product

Everyone is looking for a way to make their products stand out. If, you use Thermography on a business card, foil stamping on your invitations, or UV on your brochures, you know that adding a little extra to your print products can make them stand out from the rest. There are a number of ways to beef up your pieces and make a unique impression. You may be looking for a unique feel or to add some protection. Either way, you should know the available options and what their benefits are.

Thermography

Thermography or raised ink is the process of heating ink to make it bubble and rise. Thermography Business CardsThis can be done in a variety of colors and creates a 3D print effect that is unmistakable and impressive. Business cards, invitations, envelopes, and various promotional materials often use Thermography as a tool. It is a lower cost option than embossing.

Embossing

Embossing also creates a 3D effect on your print product. It is less glossy than thermography but allows you a variety of options. From multi level embossing, to blind embossing, to embossing with foil stamping, there are a number of ways to create a classic look.

Foil Stamping

Foil Stamping creates a majestic product. It uses a metallic foil applied with a heated dye. It creates an unmistakable printed product that is often used by large corporations on annual reports or letterhead.Foil Stamped Business Cards

If, you would like to make an impression that will leave people with a sense of awe, Foil Stamping is the option to go with.

UV or Spot UV

UV is a coating, which, creates a unique glossy look and a layer of protection. Spot UV is applying this process only to a specific area.Spot UV Business Card | mmprint.com
UV offers some protection from outside elements, while, making your print product shine brightly.
Spot UV enhances the look of a certain area of your item. Lighting reflects only in certain angles to make the spot element almost a holographic effect.

 

Aqueous Coating

Aqueous Coating offers a clear coat to protect your printed product from fingerprints and dirt. Aqueous Coating Business Cards
Presentation Folders, Catalogs, and Booklets often use this coating. It helps to increase the quality of the paper, while adding gloss. Aqueous Coating is Eco Friendly as it water based.

Spot Varnish

Spot Varnish is a finish, which, adds gloss and depth to a particular area of a printed product.Catalog Spot Varnish Cover A flood varnish is less common and covers the entire page or surface. Like Spot UV, Spot Varnish adds shine to a specific area.

 

 

Soft Touch Coating

Soft Touch Coating is increasing in popularity as it adds a plush feel and does not affect the look of the item.Suede cards 19 pt with velvet lamination The soft texture invites people to feel and touch the printed product it is coating. Business cards really see the benefits of a finish like this. Soft Touch Coating is also environmentally friendly.

Lamination

Lamination is a common process, which, adds coating to the front and back of the printed item.Laminated Menu It creates protection from creasing, fading, wrinkling, and water. For the latter reason, it is extremely popular with menu printing. There is also a process called velvet lamination, which, is similar to soft touch coating.

Combinations

There are opportunities to combine two or more of some of the coatings and finishes discussed above. It is best to contact a print professional to discuss what options are available for your project. We can, also, determine what suits your needs and budget. There are certain options, which, cannot be combined. So, it is important to speak with a print professional to decide which options are right for your next project.