Tag Archives: marketing

RGB vs. CMYK vs. PMS

It’s time to send your design to print, but you’ve got one big question: RGB, CMYK, or PMS? Choosing the right color profile can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to how your design will appear in print. Pick the wrong one, and your colors may not look the way you want. Here’s a simplified breakdown of each of these three color profiles and when you should use each in your marketing designs.

RGB

RGB stands for “red, green, blue” and is often used in digital design to accurately represent colors on computer screens. To create a color pallet, this profile blends red, green, and blue light waves to give you the exact shade you’re looking for. RGB is best for projects like:

  • Infographics
  • Websites
  • E-Newsletters
  • Online Catalogs

A viewer’s monitor settings can change the way RGB colors are displayed on the screen, so your digital designs might vary slightly on different computer screens.

CMYK

Similar to RGB, the CMYK color profile blends multiple colors together to achieve the right look. The colors used in CMYK are cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), and each color is applied in layers during the printing process to match your chosen hue exactly. You would use a CMYK profile for:

  • Most everyday print materials

This profile is ideal for printed materials, but you should expect very slight variation in your colors throughout the printing process. This is a result of differences in paper, ink levels, temperature, and the process of mixing inks itself. While this variation is barely noticeable, it should be a factor when considering which color profile to use for branded materials.

PMS

PMS, or Pantone Matching System, is the most accurate color profile for printed materials. RGB and CMYK colors are blended in real-time during the printing process, which can create inconsistencies in your color. PMS colors are pre-mixed before printing and each color is applied one by one to maintain consistency throughout the print job.

Given its unique accuracy, the PMS color profile is most often used for:

  • Corporate Branded Print Materials

You also have the option of using PMS and CMYK together to achieve a full color palette for full-color photographs and other multimedia printing projects.

Each of these color profiles has its strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to choose one that meets your specific printing needs. Discuss the possibilities with your printer to accurately display the colors of your design and capture the essence of your branding in the printing process.

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Make Your Mark with Print

Why printed marketing materials are here to stay

Huge chunks of marketing and advertising budgets are often spent on web design and online advertising, so it’s easy to overlook printed materials or to disregard them as unnecessary. But marketing collateral—a catch-all term for all of the media that sells a product or service—still goes well beyond the digital realm. Even the most modern business relies on the distribution of printed marketing materials as important tools for their sales force. They count on it for rich and robust direct mail campaigns, to distribute at industry events and tradeshows, and to accompany their product distribution.

Why it’s necessary

2015-08-20 10.08.34 (1)Marketing collateral is what sets your business apart from competitors. It defines and strengthens your brand, telling the story of who you are, why you matter, and why your target audience should buy from you. On a more practical note, it builds awareness of your business and leads to increased sales.

The most effective collateral leverages both digital and print resources, carefully blending them to accentuate the most powerful and unique attributes of your business. Digital provides accessibility and convenience, while print demonstrates your commitment to longevity.

Back to basics

The exchange of business cards dates back over a century, and remains a respected interaction among networkers today. A strong card design catches the recipient’s attention, making a memorable impression while clearly conveying your style, value, and brand identity.

Version 2Sell sheets and flyers provide information on products or services in an easy-to-read, unassuming format. These pieces effectively convey details that might otherwise be overlooked or forgotten, leaving behind a hard copy for future reference.

Another great tool is the brochure, which can be distributed in print and online format. You can highlight your main offerings while also delving a little more into who you are.

What your business needs

Marketing collateral is essential for business growth in all its forms, but it’s difficult for someone outside your business to tell you exactly what will best suit your needs. For maximum results, consider meeting with a printing company who offers graphic design and copywriting services. You’ll want to carefully consider your audience when choosing and designing the collateral to highlight your products or services. Most importantly, make sure everything is consistent: colors, logos, fonts, and styles should complement one another and resonate the same message across all advertising platforms.

Going the extra page

Beyond the basic pieces—business cards, sell sheets, and brochures—lies a world of enhancements for your marketing collateral. Coil books and smaller booklets go a step beyond the brochure with more facts and figures available for later perusing; this is a clean, sleek way to present industry colleagues or potential customers with a tangible reference.

Version 4Mailed newsletters and postcards help forge a connection with your clientele, and are viewed as more legitimate than a simple email version.

Finally, manufacturers and other industries often require a plethora of print collateral to accompany and support their product distribution. This may include product literature, packaging inserts, training manuals, kits, specialized fulfillment projects and more. Pairing up with a reputable printing partner that is capable of handling high volume printing and unique custom print projects, with all its support services, is key to receiving the adequate support your organization deserves.

Forge ahead

With a slew of printable materials available, it’s easy to find ways to make your business stand out, whether it’s by providing manuals and user guides or including something so simple and effective as personalized notes on custom stationery. With careful thought in choosing the right print collateral, your business will be primed to make its mark.

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.

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!

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!