One Critical Component Missing from your Brochure Design

brochures by mmprintSometimes a business card just isn’t enough to leave behind when you visit a potential customer. Sometimes, customers come into your facility and want to learn more about your products or services while they wait or to take back to the office or home.

Sure, you can tell them to visit your website; there’s a lot of information and pictures there. But how sure are you that they will actually visit your site? How do you know that they will remember to do so?

Well by furnishing them with a printed brochure, you can rest assured that they have the information they seek, in their hands, ready to read. No computers to turn on, no website addresses to type, just a simple informative brochure in their hand ready to be read.

Online and Offline go hand-in-hand

Your brochure is a selling tool, it serves as a convenient hub to introduce your service or product, it can contain information about you and/or your business and a way to contact you. Now here is the way to extend the power of your brochure to actually make the sale for you: add a QR Code.
Yes, by adding a QR code to the inside or outside of your brochure, the potential customer can scan the QR code with their smart phone, go to a mobile-ready website that is formatted to make it easy for them to actually place the order for the product or schedule an appointment for the service you offer.

Read more about how to properly execute a QR Code campaign to get the best results from your efforts and save money on postage when using direct mail services.

 

Brochure Inspiration for Advertisers and Graphic Designers

Printed brochures come in many sizes and shapes. Of course we have to offer you a nice collection of beautifully crafted brochure samples to get your creative juices flowing and to end this post with some motivational visual inspiration.

 

Brochure by Brandzigners

Brochure by deviantonis

MSC Brochure by SherifShaaban

MineralKat Brochure A4 by pho3nix_bf

 

Brochure by ksteward

CropLife Brochure by jpz001

 

brochure by SeventhDesign

brochure by Amy Moen

 

Saving Money on Direct Mail with QR Codes

Although QR codes are quickly being adopted by major companies and industries, adoption is moving slowly throughout the small business sector.

In an effort to promote Direct Mail and create awareness of the benefits of using QR codes in Direct Mail, the United States Postal Service is offering a special postage discount during the months of July and August 2011:

Direct Mail marketers and mail houses can save 3% on their First Class Presort Mail and Standard Presort Mail postage simply by including a QR Code that must be easily visible on the outside of the mail piece. Simple as that.

 

Although the savings can be substantial, it is important to keep in mind that if your Direct Mail campaign is not thought out thoroughly and optimized for success, then all of your efforts and cost of printing and postage will go to waste.
On the bright side, you can always learn from your mistakes.

Direct Mail is about trial and error and consistency; improvement and repetition. I don’t think any one Direct Mail campaign can be the one or the best one for that matter.

 

Printing and Mailing Services Banner

 

If you are thinking of taking advantage of the 3% postage discount and this would be your first QR Code Direct Mail campaign, the following paragraphs will help you begin with an advantage.

Incorrect Use of QR Code QR Code Malpractice

Creating and Reading QR Codes is easy and FREE! But the biggest issue lies with what happens after the QR Code is scanned.

Obviously (or maybe not obvious enough), a QR Code is scanned with a smart phone which typically has a screen size between 2 to 4 inches. This being the case, wouldn’t you expect to be taken to a mobile-friendly website that is compatible with your smart phone’s screen size?
Well, believe it or not, this is a very common mistake made by marketers that makes the whole Direct Mail/QR Code campaign a complete failure.

Let’s say your Direct Mail piece is a postcard that promotes a new product that you are selling and the customer scans your QR code. The customer lands on a mobile friendly page that contains a great description of the product but does not have a Buy Now! button anywhere on the page. The purpose of your Direct Mail piece is to offer a product that you sell, yet a way to purchase the product is not easily made available. This Direct Mail campaign can pretty much be considered a lost sale opportunity.

QR Code Best PracticesQR Code Best Practices

A complete Direct Mail campaign using QR codes must include a mobile landing page where a call to action is the main focus of the page. Whatever the purpose of your Direct Mail campaign is, it should reflect in your mobile landing page.
If your QR Code directs the user to a video preview, make sure the video is formatted for mobile screens and should start playing right away.  The purpose of a smartphone is accessibility and convenience – No downloads!

 

The following are a few key rules to follow to create a successful Direct Mail QR Code campaign:

  • Use a vector QR Code in your artwork to make sure that it prints clear and works 100% even on low megapixel cameras. I find BeQRious lets you generate vector QR Codes you can download in PDF format easily
  • Test your QR Code on at least 4-5 different QR Code scanning apps and different smart phones before printing the whole run
  • Include information on how to scan the QR Code
  • Your QR Code should direct the user’s mobile phone directly to the landing page
  • Your Landing Page must load quickly, keep images to a minimum
  • Include Call-to-action buttons or links such as “Buy Now!”, “Sign up here!”, or “Call us now!”
  • Keep the focus of the page on the purpose of the campaign and the Call-to-action buttons/links
  • Make your QR Code link using a link shortening service such as goo.gl or bit.ly (free versions) so that you can track the number of scans and other analytics

How have you used QR Codes in your latest

Direct Mail or Marketing Campaign?

Please share any lessons you have learned when using QR Codes in Direct Mail campaigns below…

Magical Graphic Design: Houdini

Harry Houdini with his mother and wifeHarry Houdini once said:

My brain is the key that sets my mind free.”

As designers, the key is to keep the creativity fresh and inspired. Thinking outside of the box and out of the ordinary.

Harry Houdini was a creative innovator. His public acclamation came from showing people what they had never seen before, making that which was thought impossible seem possible. Although, for him it was a daily routine. He said it best:

“My professional life has been a constant record of disillusion, and many things that seem wonderful to most men are the every-day commonplaces of my business.”

Yet his inspiration is suggestive of the inspiration that drives a graphic designer to keep designing whether for profit or not: To go beyond the norm and create or build fantasy where none is found.

Here are some fascinating designs inspired by or dedicated to Harry Houdini:

 

The Great Houdini

The Great Houdini by Tena Letica

 

Houdini Records

Houdini Records

Harry Houdini by Derkert

Harry Houdini by Derkert

 

Houdini by Google

Houdini by Google

 

The Handcuff King

Houdini - The Handcuff King

 

Magic by Cruenta

Magic by Cruenta

 

A Kind of Magic by ReptileCynrik

A Kind of Magic by ReptileCynrik

 

Have any Magical Design Tricks to Share? Please do so in the Comments Below

3 Key Marketing Tips for the Modern Real Estate Agent

In today’s fierce Real Estate market you have to stay on your toes. Marketing your open houses, agency, available properties and yourself as a Real Estate agent is a key component to drive business, sales and changing that For Sale sign into a Sold! sign.

As a printing company we get to see what is new and what is working across different markets using different strategies. Here are some key marketing tips inspired by what we have seen work best for real estate agencies and agents in their marketing efforts:

Content is King

1. Apply the Content is King Concept to your Real Estate Marketing Efforts

To begin with, most home buyers want to know what they are getting and how much it costs; They peruse through the property listings on your website and find a few pictures, a list of features and a few bullet points with a sales price which gives them the skinny on the property. But where is the value?

Content is King is a phrase well known to today’s internet marketers, SEO gurus and social media experts. It’s a very successful concept on the web and has been for years, these days even more so. Content adds value to a product beyond its functions or assets. Is there a positive story behind the property, the street or the town? Did someone famous or worth mentioning live there at one point? Content can give a property personality; transforming a house for sale into a home for sale. Words can influence, that’s why Content is King.

 

For Sale Sign with QR Code 2. Modernize your Real Estate Marketing Materials

With the sharp increase in consumer purchases of smart phones, it is a big mistake not to consider incorporating mobile into your Real Estate marketing.

As a home buyer, I can remember the frustration caused by seeing a beautiful house with a for sale sign outside as I drove by and saying to myself: “I can’t wait to get home and look up the listing on that house!”
By the time I got home I had forgotten the address, the Real Estate Agency that was selling it and of course, I didn’t stop to write down the phone number on the sign.  For the Real Estate agent this meant a lost sale or a lost lead at the least.

Behold, the QR Code. It began as a special barcode to track car parts and has evolved into the connection between offline and online marketing. The QR Code can be scanned with a smartphone to display information or initiate an action on the mobile phone.

A For Sale sign with a QR Code on it can lead a person who is interested in the home to a mobile friendly website where they can view pictures and contact the seller or Real Estate agent. QR Codes can also store contact information directly into the mobile phone’s contact list simply by scanning the code. QR codes are open for personal and commercial use. Here is a list of free QR Code readers and generators.

 

Personalize Communications Variable Data Printing VDP3. Personalize Communications

Real Estate agents and agencies have access to a vast amount of data about potential customers and their interests. Too often, this data goes unused to its full potential when in reality, it is bursting with value.

There is a little hidden gem that doesn’t seem to get the exposure it deserves…yet! Only the big ad agencies and corporations seem to be using this technology to their advantage. The printing industry is currently experiencing a digital evolution and from it we have the birth of Variable Data Printing, also known as VDP.

Variable Data Printing is the personalization of each individual piece in a print run. Let’s say you have a database of 5000 potential home buyers and in that database you have details about the type of homes these potential home buyers are interested in purchasing: Cape, Colonial, Ranch, two family, etc.
In your magnificent database of real estate information you also have access to all of the listings of homes for sale that have these features.

Now tie it all together. A printing company with Variable Data Printing capabilities can take your database information (usually in MS Excel format) and customize each printed piece with information pertaining to the recipient such as their name and information related to their home buying interests such as images and open house dates.

Here is a sample Postcard with Variable Data Printing

 

Real Estate Variable Data Printing VDP Postcard

 

Here are the Variable Data Fields:

 

Variable Data Fields in Real Estate PostcardVariable Data Printing is a remarkable technology will absolutely increase your read rate. Most generic postcards are glanced at and discarded. If the recipient sees their name on it, they have a higher probability of reading all of your content and contacting you.

 

 

Have you used QR Codes or Variable Data Printing in your Marketing? What other technologies are you using in your Real Estate Marketing Campaigns?

Please comment below

Refreshing and Tasty Design Inspiration

Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother’s womb.
Jean Arp

When in need of inspiration I always turn to nature. Curves, colors, shades, reflections, beauty; You name it, she’s got it.

Here’s a healthy dose of inspiration:

INDIVIDUALISM POSTER by fatihtokoz

Rebuild the Aesthetic Poster by gomedia

poster by solo designer-d32lw4j

Killer Grapes Poster by GraphZ

Tropical by Creatunco

Print Infographics by Rhysbol

Fruit by sweetchantal1989

FRUIT RAIN by illugraphy

cherry stick heart-shape by dkraner

updated fruit poster by sweetmisery11

Becoming Reality vII

 

Quick Fun Fruit Facts:

  • Avocados are commonly used as vegetables. Botanically they are fruits.
  • Very few fruits contain fat: avocados, olives and nuts are the only ones with significant amounts.
  • Cranberries, Concord Grapes and Blueberries are the only major fruits native to North America.
  • Strawberries, bananas, grapes, apples and oranges are Americans favorite fruits in that order (2008).
  • The Red Delicious is the most widely grown variety of apple in the world.
  • There are 3,236  people in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name ‘Orange’
    (Mark Morton, ‘Gastronomica’, Fall 2010)
  • Grapes are about 80 percent water.

 

Is there something in nature that you find inspirational to your design?