The Power of Color

Red, green, or purple: color choice greatly influences buyers

Pantone-Color-of-the-Year-2013-1When drafting a print job, the decisions can be overwhelming. What weight of paper will work best? What binding option meets your needs and budget? One tool that is more powerful than paper, binding, or any other print selection is the simple—or not so simple—choice of color.

Most people know that different colors can call to mind a variety of emotions or moods, such as a blue room feeling cool or a yellow dress seeming springy, but color affects the psyche on an even deeper level, playing a role in emotion to the point that it impacts purchasing behavior. Before you pick purple because you like it, or green because it’ll show up well, take a moment to investigate what your audience might be thinking about your color scheme.

Neutral colors

Neutral shades, such as black, ivory, white, tan, brown, and grey, form the basis for many simple, streamlined products. Apple markets mainly in black and white, and has cultivated their sleek sophistication in part due to their neutral color scheme. Neutrals make excellent backgrounds for more vivid images or commentary, but when used alone, run the risk of feeling bland, sterile, or stark.

Warm colors

Red, orange, and some shades of yellow comprise the warm color family. This is where you can find the intense emotions—passion, energy, and vibrancy. They can create feelings of happiness or exuberance, but also alarm. Used sparingly, bursts of warm color are excellent attention-getters; when they overwhelm, however, they are one of the fastest ways to turn your market off.

Cool colors

The phrase ‘cool colors’ doesn’t refer to how trendy the colors are, but sometimes they can be the hip choice. Blue and green, the main cool colors, are known to be calming and soothing, which can serve to drive consumers to those choices, particularly in health and wellness markets. However, they can sometimes seem staid or aloof. Purple invokes luxury, or superiority, depending on how it is used.

Common perceptions

One important factor to keep in mind is that your material, like the rest of the world, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Purple might perfectly meet your needs, but it can also connote femininity, which may not jive with your goal. Green means go, or means nature—or, to the coffee-inclined, is inextricably linked with Starbucks. Balance the emotional weight of colors with what your audience might be connecting them with already; as with Starbucks, careful and consistent color marketing can eventually tie you so closely to a specific color that it becomes paramount to your brand. Make your choice with care, and then embrace your colors.

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The Resurrection of Print Media

F-sellsheet-keystoneWhen Does Print Trump Digital?

In today’s tech-centric world, it sometimes seems like digital media and advertising is pushing print into becoming obsolete—but there are some arenas where print will always have the edge. It’s a medium that can be directly targeted to your audience, and is believable and accessible to those you’re trying to reach.

While many believe that digital is the new frontier, and that all efforts should be concentrated there, the reality is that print is as relevant as ever—particularly with more and more competitors disappearing from the print world. It’s becoming more of a free game, which means you can seize valuable opportunities to reach your market.

Hitting the Target

One of the most obvious benefits of print marketing is the ability to localize your advertising. Internet ads are everywhere, and most people simply skip over them. If you limit your marketing to the web, you’ll have a more difficult time seeing a return on your investment.

Print allows you to deliver your message to specific people, whether it’s through targeted placement in niche magazines or localized mailings to nearby potential customers. You can much more effectively reach your audience when you focus your attention where it will matter most.

Tangible & Credible

Even with the prevalence of the Internet, there is still a certain legitimacy associated with print media. Newspapers, magazines, and flyers can last much longer than a browser window on a computer. There isn’t the same overabundance of print ads as there is online banners, so it’s easier to get more focused attention for your advertisement.

Local marketing in particular gains credibility by being in print: a business card or leaflet picked up from a coffee shop billboard is more likely to be remembered and followed up on. Additionally, unlike popup and banner ads, print doesn’t carry the risk of electronic viruses.

Anytime, Anywhere Accessibility

It can sometimes be easy to forget that not everyone has ready access to the Internet, or the desire to connect digitally. Older Americans, those without personal computers, and individuals who simply prefer to connect in the tangible world will be entirely missed by digital marketing. To fully encompass your target audience, it’s important to consider people who may fall outside the computer world. You want your message to reach as many as possible, so don’t restrict it to a screen.

Your Brand, on Paper

Print media also provides an invaluable method for one of the standbys of marketing: branding. Consistent fonts and colors help to strengthen your visual identity, and they’re easier to maintain across a variety of print methods.

Instead of following the crowd into all-digital advertising, set yourself apart by targeting your ideal clientele with a message they’ll be sure to see—and likely to respect.

What is a QR Code?

Example of a QR CodeA QR code stands for quick response code, and is a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode that allows anyone with a smart phone or dedicated QR barcode reader to scan it and be directed to other data.  The code is a square design of black and white pixel pattern (check out the photo).

While QR codes have been around for the last decade (primarily in Japan – where they were created by Toyota), they have just recently started becoming very popular in the United States by the growth of smart phone mobile tagging.  QR codes allow for an individual to scan a code and be directed to a website URL, email, phone number, or other text.  These QR codes are seen in magazines, on advertisements, business cards, signs, coupons, or any other object that might refer to further information elsewhere.

Generating your own QR codes is simple and free, and can significantly help your business’ marketing!  By providing a QR codes on your printed materials, you make it easy for your audience to connect with you digitally — right then, right there.

Here are some examples of where you can place a QR code:

  • Business Cards
  • Brochures
  • Product Packaging
  • Ticket Stubs
  • Receipts
  • Direct Mail Advertisements
  • Catalogs
  • Magazine Advertisements
  • Billboards
  • Side of Vans or Trucks

And here are some examples of what you might link with a QR code:

  • Contact Information
  • Company Website
  • Facebook Page
  • Instructions
  • Directions To Your Business Location
  • Coupons or Special Offers
  • Free Downloads
  • Customer Feedback Forms
  • Youtube Videos
  • Related Articles
  • Contests

Talk with your printer about adding a QR code to your future print materials, or include a QR code today to your existing documents (we like the site http://qrcode.kaywa.com).

Want more info on how to use a QR code yourself?  Check out this youtube video:

http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/ZYDbFTai0iE?version=3&hl=en_US

Comment and let us know how you are working QR codes into your company’s marketing!

What is a bleed?

If you’ve ever submitted files for print, you’ve probably heard the term “bleed”. Not quite sure what it means? Understanding this simple concept will help insure that your documents are printed as you intended.

Flyer without BleedFlyer with Bleed

A “bleed” refers to print elements (images, backgrounds, etc.) which extend beyond the trim area of a printed piece. It allows a printer to trim the document to its exact size without any danger of white space showing up along the edges of the piece. Slight shifting can occur during printing as a result of paper, printing, or trimming variance. We recommend a minimum of 1/8’’ bleed on all edges of the artwork. Remember, any artwork which extends into the bleed area will be trimmed away! You will want to make sure no text or other critical content extends into the bleed area of your document.

What Is a Bleed - Examples
For a complete illustrated example of how to set up your artwork with a bleed, download a free digital copy of our “What Is a Bleed?” tutorial. It includes a complete example of an 8.5×11 flyer correctly placed within a design template.

Before you begin designing your next print project, visit CDSPrint.com to download a free design template!

8 Areas to Save Money on Your Next Print Job

Cut Print CostsSaving money wherever possible is always a necessity for your business, and we understand that.  Before placing your next print order, read these tips and adjust accordingly to make sure you are getting the best price possible!

Paper

Keeping your options open when it comes to paper can go a long way when it comes to saving money on your printing. Generally, it is most affordable to use a printing company’s house stock versus specifying a specific brand. Because they purchase their house stocks in large quantities, they have pre-negotiated costs with their paper vendors, which translate into cost savings for you. If you have a general idea for the color, texture, quality, and/or weight of the paper you’d like, discuss those preferences will your printer. Ask them to recommend a few of their house stocks based on your particular preferences. Your printer will be happy to show you samples of their house stocks and discuss the most cost-effective options that align with your vision and your budget.

Ink

If you are printing in smaller quantities, keep in mind that black and white is significantly cheaper than color.  Each page printed in color can easily triple or quadruple the cost for that page, so if possible, try to choose your color pages wisely. Even cutting just a few color impressions can show a significant decrease in the cost of your print order.

If you are printing in larger quantities and have a full multi-color layout, it is generally more cost effective to allow all your colors to be printed using 4-color process (CMYK) vs. specifying specific Pantone colors.  Pantone (PMS) colors are specialized inks that standardize color reproduction. They can be purchased by your printer specially for your project, but they will cost you.  Unless you need a very specific color due to franchise requirements (like Tiffany’s for example), your printer should be able to closely match your preferred color using the four color blends.

Quantity

If you are a fan of keeping your print materials up-to-date, take a second to re-think your quantity.  Consider printing “on-demand”.  It can save a lot of waste (a lot of space, a lot of trees and a lot of dollars)!  Some printers will offer to store your artwork and will be happy to make requested changes before each printing.

Size

Before beginning the design of your print artwork, ask your printer if the dimensions you have in mind could be slightly altered to get a better yield.  Let them know that you are flexible and interested in the most cost-efficient suggestions.  Sometimes 1/2 inch can make a big difference in how efficiently you are using each sheet of paper.  Not only will this save you money, it can also save you time.

Design

If you want to outsource the designing of your artwork, try to find a printer who has in-house designers. Some printers offer free or low cost graphic design as a value-added service. A printer who offers this service can save you hundreds of dollars!

If you decide to use an independent designer or design company, ask for a general estimate of the amount of hours that it will take to create the piece. Make sure the design artist knows your budget before beginning your graphics and job layout. Without a set budget, over-designing can certainly become an unexpected, unintentional expense.

Time

Try to place your print orders 2-4 weeks in advance to ensure that your printed materials arrive on time and within budget. If a longer time-frame isn’t feasible, watch out for “rush” fees! Another option is to try to find a printer who offers “on-demand” services (as previously discussed). Printers who specialize in digital, on-demand printing are used to working with limited schedules and are generally much more flexible.

Organization

Have one person in the office responsible for ordering the printing for your company. Your printer will be able to best educate an individual on the options available for your printing job if they are speaking to someone who is familiar with placing a printing order and organizing the company’s print projects.

Consistency

Develop a relationship with a printer that fits your printing needs well. A printer who has worked with your company before will be most familiar with your print projects, which will save you both time and money. Printers also generally show greater priority to a regular customer’s needs and wishes.

 

Let us know if these tips helped you, or if you have any other further suggestions on saving money.  We would love to hear them!

Improve Your Facebook Page With 10 Easy Tips!

cdsPRINT.com Facebook PageFacebook IconWhy is Facebook marketing so important to your company’s business? Facebook currently has more than 500 million active users, and that number grows everyday!  Half of all those active users log in at least once a day, making the time people spend on Facebook per month a whopping 700 billion minutes. Because of the pages feature, Facebook offers a great way to attract online visibility to your company. The greatest thing you must understand about Facebook before creating your page is that trying to directly convert users to customers will cause your page to fail.  Facebook allows you to attract attention and build relationships with users, but not actually sell products.  The goal of your Facebook page should be to attract people to your company website, gain visibility of your name, and build trust among the community. This will result in sales, but you must be patient.

The following are 10 great tips to creating and building a successful Facebook “Fan” Page:

1. Make sure you update regularly on your wall.

This means posting status updates, pictures, or Youtube video clips for users to see on their newsfeed.  The wall posts are what ultimately draws attention to your company or product.  If you have a consistent flow of new material going up each week, you will attract others to comment, follow, and engage more often.

2. Although you should update regularly, you should not update more than 1 or 2 times a day.

Because most people will only interact with your content through posts that show up on their newsfeed, too many updates in one day will cause certain posts to be lost in the steam.  Do not import your tweets from twitter as status update because those will often flood out valuable posts and annoy your fans!

3. Engage followers through status updates that draw them into comment.

Ask stimulating questions or for personal opinions on situations.  Give suggests and ask for critique.  These all promote conversation, which establishes a relationship between your company and the user.

4. Mix up posting content. 

Do not make all your posts on your wall about the same thing, or in the same format.  Although it is great to link your latest blog post on your Facebook page, if someone goes to your site and that is all they read on your wall, post after post, it might get boring and tiresome.  On top of that, those who respond to your posts will most likely only be avid blog readers.  Switch things up by posting a YouTube interview, a picture of a new product, or a link to an interesting article.  This will stimulate variety.

5. Networking on Facebook is beneficial to your company!

As long as networking is done properly, it will help improve traffic to your page.  “Like” partners and other companies that are in a similar industry as your own company, but only if you are there to add value to those other companies’ sites.  Do not get labeled as being only self serving.  It is a good idea to like other pages that are outside of your industry so that you can reach a broad range of viewers who might not have heard of your business before.  Make sure to comment on those pages’ material and make your name known on their site.  Not only will this help improve your relations with other companies, but it will also draw in attention to your name from those who have liked those other pages.

6. Make your page visually appealing.

Pick a profile picture that adequately relays the image of your company.  Remember that Facebook is a site for individuals and their personal expression.  Marketing your company well means that you want to position your page so that people want to make it a part of their identity expression.  If the site is outdated or unattractive it will not draw in users.

7. Take advantage of the new photo space at the top of your page.

With the new Facebook profile/page format there are five photos that show up at the top of your page in the form of a banner.  Take advantage of this space to make your site more visually appealing.  Choose the photos wisely, and make sure to include information and links in the description box of those photos that will direct users to your regular website or blog.  When someone clicks on an image in your banner, that single image will pop up in a separate window.  Having additional information and links right below that image will only help lead users to other company content.  Get creative and provide free offers or contests in those boxes as your site grows.

8. Take advantage of the new spam filter feature. 

As an administrator, you are able to edit your site so that posts that include key words that you have forbid do not show up on your page.  This is a nice way to keep your page looking professional.

9. Make sure your messages are clear!

Clear, fool proof messages ensure that all will understand your updates as they are browsing through your page’s wall.  It should be noted that wall posts do not always show up in chronological order to other viewers.  Make sure that your posts need not be in a specific order, as it may confuse your viewers and make your page look unorganized if you assume posts show up by date.  If you provide a special deal or offer in your status update, make sure to include when the promotion begins and ends.

10. Organize the links on the left side of your page so that the landing page link is at the very end of the list.

This will allow users to see all of your apps and navigate to more of your site content easier.  Making things simple for the viewer is always of great importance.  If something is hidden, most will not explore to find it.

What are your tips for marketing your business on Facebook? Let us know in the comments!