The business card is an old dog that’s learned quite a few new tricks.
A lot of different print work comes through our doors at Paw Print, but business cards consistently remain the most popular order. Business cards trace their roots back to 15th century China, when visitors left “visiting cards” at the homes of businessmen they hoped to meet with. Over the centuries these cards evolved to convey a variety of information, but one thing remained constant: they were designed to make an impression.
Often a business card is one of the first things a customer or potential client will receive from you. A well-designed business card can go a long way towards creating a favorable impression of your business, as well as generating engaging conversations between you and your customers.
The history of print is rooted in letterpress. We’ve come a long way from the hand set type of a traditional printing press. And while digital printers make printing fast and affordable, we haven’t left our roots behind just yet.
One of the biggest hurdles of direct mail? Getting people to open the envelope.
Postcards and self-mailers have the advantage of standalone, eye catching content. The graphics are immediately visible, compelling the recipient to read on.
But for many mail pieces, an envelope is essential. Using an envelope doesn’t have to be limiting, however. In fact, today’s printing technology allows envelopes to be more personalized and attractive than ever before. Customization turns envelopes from basic commodities to effective direct marketing tools.
Why Direct Mail?
In our digitally saturated world, direct mail stands out:
Consumers regularly rate direct mail as more personal than email
When you consider the word “branding,” what comes to mind? You may think of well-known companies like Apple or Target, that advertise on a large scale and whose characteristics are immediately recognizable to most of us, who come into frequent contact with them.
But the concept of branding is just as important for small businesses as it is for large companies. And, it’s an essential piece of increasing awareness for nonprofits as well.
The obvious reason for nonprofit organizations to spread awareness of their brand is to increase donations and build a reliable donor base. However, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, many nonprofits are stepping up their brand management in order “to explore the wider, strategic roles that brands can play: driving broad long-term social goals, while strengthening internal identity, cohesion, and capacity.”
Why Should You Build a Brand?
Like any other entity, your nonprofit has a unique set of goals, characteristics, and stories. When you bring these together to form a recognizable and repeatable persona, you have a brand. The first thing most people think of when they hear the word brand or branding, is an entity’s logo. While this is one branding element, it’s only the beginning. The style, graphics, and words your organization uses to communicate all convey your brand.
The place: a recent introductory meeting with the newly-hired Marketing Director of a local established and respected mid-sized company.
The topic: the state of the company’s marketing collateral.
This is a good-sized business selling big ticket services that regularly invoice in the $100,000 to $1M range. Yet, you would never perceive this when handed one of their business cards or company brochures.
The firm was seemingly still holding on to their start days, when print collateral was designed in-house using Microsoft Word, then printed on the company copier. That may have been appropriate and practical then. But given the size and capabilities of the company now, the state of their print collateral imparts a huge perception gap on the brand. This company was attempting to continue to grow business and generate leads. However, the amateurism of their branded handouts did not match the professionalism of their work.
When asked about the details of the paper stock you are choosing for a print project, do your eyes glaze over? Do terms like basis weight, points, and color cast sound like Greek to you? If so, here is a quick list of basic terms to help you better understand the process.
When we think about great direct mail results, we tend to think about the list, the message, and the call to action. However, things like the size, shape, and texture of the piece play a key role, too. Let’s look at five considerations for creating standout mail pieces.
Need something to make your printing pop? Create an eye-catching piece that will get your business noticed and remembered by adding a foil stamp to business cards, invitations, stationery, and other promotional materials
When you think about printing you may be thinking of a printed sheet as a flat, 2D product. But in fact, what makes print such a compelling and effective medium is its physicality. Holding a printed item in your hand, whether it’s a brochure, postcard, or envelope, is shown to increase marketing success. Print boasts a 70% higher recall over digital, is trusted 34% more than digital, and is easier to process—92% of individuals ages 18-23 find it easier to concentrate on and process printed content.
Print has power. And when you’re able to get your printing in front of potential lead, you’ve got to make it count. You can make your printing more powerful by using artistic techniques like embossing and debossing.
It’s no secret that digital printing revolutionized the print industry. It has allowed commercial printers to print more, faster, while maintaining quality and consistency across a print job.
And those are all good things. However, the beauty of printing lies in its versatility. While sometimes a short turnaround time is needed, there are occasions when producing a piece using more traditional and artistic techniques is better suited for your brand or message. These so called “old school” processes aren’t as commonly seen these days, but the impression they leave is one of quality, craftsmanship, and class.