Why You Should Hire an Expert Designer

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A few weeks back I noticed a leak through the drop ceiling in my basement. The reason for the drop ceiling was to cover the ugly pipes that ran across the ceiling that fed to the rest of the house. I opened up a panel in the drop ceiling expecting to see a hole in one of the pipes where the water was leaking from. When I pointed my flashlight up at the pipes I noticed a drip that came from above the pipes leading me to believe that these pipes were not the source of my leak. A localized section of the floor boards above were saturated and panic set in. The leak was coming from a pipe leak somewhere in the walls or floor upstairs.

What made the situation more complicated was that it was in the same spot where the pipes fed up to the radiator and the showers upstairs. Multiple possible sources of the leak prompted me to get some outside advice. I called my stepfather and father in law and for two days we examined and hypothesized about the source of the leak, all the while the water kept dripping. I was convinced it was in the floor directly above and wanted to start ripping up the floor tiles to find the source while my step father believed that the source was a leak in the pipe in the wall that led upstairs to the shower and wanted to rip open the wall. My father in law thought the leak was traveling all the way across the floor boards from the dishwasher in the kitchen.

I was almost about to get some tools and start hacking away at the floor and walls before I came to my senses and decided to call a plumber. What happened next was both embarrassing and a great relief. Literally five seconds after I explained the problem to the plumber he shined his flashlight up at the ceiling, put his finger on the top of one of the water pipes and said, “Here it is.”

I said, “No the water is not coming from those pipes, it’s coming from up above, look at the ceiling above, it is all wet.”

“No, it’s right here. Feel it. There’s a small pinhole leak on the top of the pipe and the pressure is making it shoot up at the ceiling  and then dripping back down causing the appearance that the leak is coming from above.”

I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked, the problem was so simple and much easier to fix than I had anticipated. I didn’t need a jack hammer after all!

So by now you have guessed the moral of the story. Sometimes it’s just best to pay for expert help from someone who knows exactly what they are doing. This applies to your promotional and advertising materials just the same as it does the leaks in your home. I have seen many brochure, logo and flyer disasters created by some well meaning but inexperienced clients that I was able to easily remedy. If you are not experienced with design, composition or general marketing principles hire an expert and you can avoid making costly mistakes like I almost did!

For expert help with designing and or printing your promotional and advertising materials please don’t hesitate to visit our website www.promotionlotion.com

Creating a Postcard That Sells

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In this modern era of electronic communication it is sometimes easy to forget about some of the more tangible and effective modes of communication like direct mail postcards. Using postcards in tandem with e-mail and web promotions as part of a broader campaign can help to bolster sales and keep in contact with important customers.

Over 100 billion pieces of “junk mail” get sent every year.  This shocking statistic should tell you two things. First of all, direct mail must have some degree of success if companies are continuing to spend billions of dollars on it each year. Secondly, with so much “junk mail” you will have to do something special in order to stand out and keep your direct mail from being considered “junk.”

You can help your direct mail postcard from being considered “junk” by doing some work before you even get your postcard designed. You can tailor your mailing list so that you are sending the postcard to a receptive audience. By crafting a targeted mailing list you can greatly reduce the percentage of readers who would have no interest or need for your product or service. Take some time to consider the niche groups or industries that would be most likely to have a special interest what you have to offer. Most mailing list vendors offer the option to select your targeted recipients by using NAICS codes that relate to certain industries. For example, if you are a Real Estate Lawyer that wants to reach Commercial Real Estate Property Mangers you could narrow your list down to the recipients that fall within that category. Categories can be broken down even further for even more refinement and targeting.

Secondly, you have to highlight the value that you are offering. Your headlines have to grab immediate attention by alerting your potential customers to the fact that you have something of value to offer them. Let them know how you can save them money, time or from some sort of inconvenient hassle. This encourages the viewer to read the rest of your message. DO NOT lead with headlines that highlight your services, company name or history. These are all secondary pieces of information that do not have strong enough sales appeal to warrant taking up valuable headline space.

Once you’ve established what your Unique Value Proposition is you can now fill the customer in on important details. Be sure to include only important information so that you can have enough negative space in your layout to allow the design to breathe. Sometimes overcrowding the layout with text can make the message hard to digest. Be economical and sparing with your choice of copy.

Finally, be sure to include a call to action urging your prospects to take the next step. Whether you want them to call to order, sign up for your newsletter, or visit your website, make it bold and clear. If possible, offer time sensitive incentives to encourage quick action. “Order by June 30th and Get 10% Off,” is a good example of this practice. This creates a sense of urgency and will push interested parties to act quickly in order to take advantage of the limited time offer that you’re offering.

Taking some time to plan your postcard campaign can really make a significant difference in your results. contact Promotion Lotion today for your postcard design and printing project.

Tangible Marketing

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Stop being cheap and lazy- it’s costing you money!

I just called you cheap and lazy and right now, because you might feel offended, you are considering whether or not you should continue reading this article. The smart business person will read on because they have capability of digesting the hard facts without taking them personally, but that’s for another article.

Now that I’ve made a bold statement it’s time for me to justify it. Computer technology has come a long way over the years and has made a lot of our lives much easier. Automated emails and online advertising can save you time and money as a business owner, but only if used wisely and in tandem with more traditional methods of marketing and advertising.

The exponential expansion of web content aids in the dilution of any ad or marketing piece that is floating around in this virtual jungle. Because web ads and emails seemingly cost very little in comparison to print media, a credibility problem can arise even without apparent justification. For example, ABC Services, for lack of a better generic name, decides that they are going to cut costs by sending out all of their direct marketing material electronically. They abandon their postcard campaigns and design a fancy HTML newsletter. By sheer virtue of the fact that this campaign costs almost nothing, it undermines their goal of establishing trust with their potential customers. ABC Services made no perceivable investment in conveying their message which will most likely be deleted immediately.

That is not to say that Eflyers are not useful or effective, quite the contrary, but without being used in conjunction with a tangible marketing/advertising piece like a sales letter or a postcard, their effectiveness is not optimal.

A large part of branding and sales is psychology. You have to win the trust and confidence of your potential client. Making an investment in reaching out to them with an offer is one way to do this. The fact that you have spent time and money on developing a direct mail postcard or a sales flyer shows that you have confidence in what you are trying to sell.

Even when you spend money on online advertising the results of that investment are fleeting unless you have enough of a budget to consistently keep your offer in the consciousness of the customer. The big boys can afford this- most of us can’t.

Tangible marketing pieces also have a longer shelf life, especially if they serve a purpose beyond a mere sales pitch. That is why you’ll see business cards with calendars on the backside or bookmarks with a prominent special offer or promotion.

Don’t be cheap and lazy and take the easy, yet ineffective path. Visit Promotion Lotion today to see the variety of ways we can help you reach out to your existing and potential customers with tangible marketing materials of your own.

Getting The Most From Postcard Marketing

custom postcard design and printing

One of the most popular forms of direct marketing is the use of postcards to reach your target audience. Postcard postage is much cheaper than standard first class postage and the postcards themselves are relatively inexpensive to produce. However, if your direct mail campaign is not properly planned, and the postcards are not strategically designed your response rate will suffer. This article will outline how to effectively plan a direct mail campaign that will yield favorable results.

First and foremost you have to ask yourself if direct mailing is worth it for you. Marketing experts agree that the standard response rate for a direct mail campaign is 1-2%. Let’s break this down a little bit: If you spend $350 on 5000 postcards, $1200 on postage and $200 on a mailing list of 5000 prospects your expenses total $1750. If you yield a 2% response rate that means you have 100 positive responses or sales. How much you make per sale will be the final determining factor in deciding whether or not direct mail campaigns are a worthy investment.

Let’s say you sell novelty t-shirts and make a profit of $10 per sale. At a 2% response rate that’s 100 sales yielding $1000. This is $750 less than it cost to run the campaign and it is a major loss. However, if you sell custom furniture at $50 profit on each sale, the postcard campaign will yield 100 positive responses totaling $5,000. This particular scenario shows a major gain and would be quite worth the investment.

Once you’ve crunched the numbers and figured that a direct mail campaign might be worth your while, it is time to plan your campaign. Setting up the right plan is the key to making sure you achieve at least a 1-2% response rate. The basic elements of the plan include selecting your mailing list, writing effective marketing copy, including a special offer, and making a strong call to action.

Selecting the right mailing list is the cornerstone to overseeing a successful direct mail campaign. There are many list brokers that sell leads that can be custom tailored to your needs. For example, if you sell high end automobiles you would most likely want to target those with a specific income range. Most list brokers make it possible to narrow down your mailing list according income range as well as many other criteria.

Once you’ve selected your target market and purchased your mailing list it is time to actually design your promotional piece. This is where most campaigns go wrong. Most people aren’t familiar with the proper marketing techniques that ensure a better response rate. For example, they tend to highlight the features of their product or service rather than emphasizing the benefits the consumer will reap by purchasing this product or service. Prospects are not really interested in YOU, they are interested in THEMSELVES. By highlighting how your product or service can alleviate a burden they might have or save them some money you are on your way to grasping their full attention. For example, if you are a landscaping company you do not want your headline to read “Over 20 Years Experience!” This headline does not appeal to the needs of the prospect. Try instead, “Spend your weekends relaxing, not weeding!”

This particular headline uses the alleviation of a burden as its marketing approach and would be much more effective than the former.

Including a special offer in your message is crucial to its success but you don’t have to give away the farm. A simple discount for first time customers is enough to cut through the competitor’s offers and give your prospect the incentive to consider you first. Again, it is important to first crunch the numbers and calculate how much you can afford to discount and still come out ahead. Other special offers might include the offering of small gifts, coupons or gift certificates.

The “call to action” statement is a phrase in which you urge your prospect to be proactive. CALL NOW, ORDER NOW and SIGN UP TODAY are just some of these phrases that we hear everyday. Often times these statements will be tied in with the special offer to give them some more teeth- ORDER NOW AND SHIPPING IS FREE!

Though these statements may seem superfluous countless marketing experts agree that they work. They motivate the prospect to take that extra step and move beyond just considering your offer to acting on it.

Once you decide that postcard marketing is for you, adhering to these guidelines will help to ensure greater response rates which ultimately lead to more sales.

For more about postcards that can be designed to fit your needs please visit: www.promotionlotion.com