Archive for January, 2014

Digital Campaigns vs. Print Campaigns

The very basic fact – which has been true for some time now – is that digital email campaigns don’t have as high a conversion rate as commercial printing. The reason: brochures, posters, banners, direct mailers, and similar products are in front of potential customers, and in easy view. For example, anyone who has ever gone through their physical junk mail knows that any flyer, brochure, etc. that is high quality and has a particularly visual ad will easily draw their attention. Thus, they are effective at generating interest in a service or product.

On the other hand, email campaigns are much more affordable and can reach a much larger volume of potential customers than print campaigns can. However, what needs to be taken into account is that cheaper isn’t always better. Most email account holders can and often do delete an ad email without ever reading the actual email. Moreover, most people are bombarded by dozens of emails each day and they most often only pay attention to emails sent from people they know. This makes it difficult for a large number of people to open a digital advertisement email. There’s also junk email filters and spam filters to worry about as well.

Any product from a quality printing company – posters, direct mailers, brochures, etc. – will allow you to reach more people, captivating their interest from even thirty feet away. This is effective even if it’s for a moment or two. Some printing advertisements can be seen as works of art that capture the human eye, and ultimately the person’s interest. Sure, print costs more but it has proven time and again to have the highest conversion rate among potential customers just for the fact that you can’t immediately delete a print advertisement.

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How Does Blogging Benefit Your Business?

When the Internet first gained ground, websites were the main way a business could interact with customers online. Today we have several forms of social media that encourage open, community generated exchanges. One of these forms is called a blog. Blogging allows you to set up a website that is updated on a regular basis, which encourages a more active readership. The more web viewers that check out, return and spend time reading your blog, the better your blog’s site will rank in search results. Here are steps you can take to ensure your blog is benefiting your business.

Using a Blog for a Business

As you set up a blog, which you can do for free using many cookie-cutter blog services, you need to have a set goal. In order for a blog to work for a business, you must be able to measure the results. For instance, perhaps your goal for blogging is to share news related to your latest products. To measure the success of your blogging efforts, you would want to know how many readers are returning to your blog more than once. You also want to know how many of those readers are looking at your products and possibly purchasing these. By setting measurable goals with numerical values, such as the number of visits or the length of time spent on your blog, you can determine if your time spent on your blog is worth it for your business’s needs.

Social Engagement

Whereas SEO, or search engine optimization, once was the key to gaining better page rankings, social engagement is becoming more important. Social engagement goes along with social media sites, such as blogs and Facebook, where social interaction between viewers promotes ideas, products and services. In order for your business to best benefit from a blog, you want to provide plenty of avenues for social engagement. Add a forum and encourage its activity, and respond to all of those comments posted to your blog no matter if they are positive or negative. You should also encourage interaction between your blog and others in your network, as a way to gain exposure for your business to a greater audience.

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Is Email Marketing Still an Effective Marketing Tool?

This is a trickier question than it seems to be. Print campaigns and email blasts both have their benefits and drawbacks. It may be safe to say that in order for companies to truly be effective in their marketing endeavors, both campaigns should be used. That being said, email blasts are not completely dead as an effective marketing tool.

There are a number of reasons why email blasts continue to be part of the business arsenal. If a company sends out a traditional print mail campaign, that company cannot track whether or not the intended recipients trashed the mailer, read it then trashed it, read it and kept it, etc. That is the beauty of email campaigns – you can do what you can’t do with print. Of course, it is important to mention that print campaigns do have a higher conversion rate than email campaigns. But that depends on the design of the printed materials, the quality, and who you’re sending it to.

With email blasts, assuming a company is using an established email marketing system, there are a number of advantages. For one, most of these organizations provide email reports that allow companies to know if their email was opened, when they opened it, how many times it was viewed, if it was forwarded, which links they clicked on, and a number of other useful pieces of information. In turn, this information can be used to then target future email campaigns to certain individuals to ensure that they both open the email and actually read it.

One of the most obvious reasons email blasts still exist is their cost effectiveness. It is much more affordable to have a company create and design an email blast and send it out than it is to design print materials.

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Which Social Media Sites are Most Beneficial?

Social media encourages online readers to interact with one another through comments, likes and web based friendships. While businesses are encouraged to use social media to market their services or products, it can be an overwhelming process. Certain social media sites are more popular, whereas others are targeted for particular audiences. Here are the social media sites you should be focusing on.

Facebook is the most popular social media site with more than 1 billion active users worldwide. Eleven million businesses have pages on this social networking site. Therefore, you can bet you should have one of your own. The key here is to remain active by adding posts on a daily or bi-weekly basis. Additionally, to build up your social network on Facebook, respond to comments posted to your page.

Twitter is the second most popular social media site, attracting more than 200 million active users. While your comments are limited to 140 characters, this fast moving social networking format allows you to share information with a wide range of Twitter followers. Join groups and build your network to expand your horizontal reach. However, keep in mind that the number of followers you have should be approximately equal to the number of people who you are following in order to get the most out of your Twitter handle.

Other social media sites that offer more specific services include YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. YouTube is ideal for sharing videos, which can become viral in an instant. Create commercials, offer how-to videos, and explain your products on YouTube. Pinterest is another visual media site, yet here you are focused on photos rather than videos. You should set up a board, or twenty, that offers helpful tips, links to blogs, and projects that are on par for your target audience. Include “pins” to your own website or blog on your boards for better results.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows businesses, colleagues and job seekers to interact. For your business, include a comprehensive history of your company along with any contact information for potential employees. You should also create a personal profile illustrating your resume details and work history so to attract potential clients and customers.

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Effectively Use Print-to-Web

Switching your marketing strategy from print advertising to digital platforms, known as print-to-web, is not an easy task. Business owners benefit from cutting mailing expenses and upgrade to modern technology standards. Although a complicated process, transitioning to digital publishing is a step towards success, if executed properly. Here is how to use print-to-web strategies effectively.

Start with PDF Magazines

For new businesses, small companies, or establishments new to digital marketing, PDF magazines are a budget-friendly and simple way to start. This form of digital literature allows publishers to keep the same print format but offer a convenient option for those on the go. PDF magazines are easy to create and cost much less compared to printing physical copies but offer few features.

Ease into Flip-Books

A “flip-book” is similar to PDF magazines but give readers more features. Also known as digital magazines, there are different formats available. These online magazines allow readers to search for content, zoom in and out, and advanced features such as bookmarks. Flip-books keep the traditional book format allowing them to view and turn pages exactly as they would with a real magazine.

Understand the Age of Blogging

When the print presence of a business begins to lower or simply does not exist, blogging is the best solution for most types of publications. Blogs are not only cost-effective but they are far more popular now than decades ago. A successful blogging strategy is more effective than most print methods and is easy to distribute. Blog subscribers receive email updates and commonly follow the company’s RSS feed.

Print-to-web is a vital marketing strategy to succeed in business today. More consumers are looking online for products and services without considering a magazine or catalog. Learn more about print-to-web strategies that work for every industry.

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QR Codes and Social Media

Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are massive marketing tools for businesses. However, having a sign, postcard or newspaper advertisement telling readers to “like” your social media profile is not efficient. Enter into the equation QR codes. Also known as a Quick Response code, this is a useful tool for inbound marketing in the hands of potential customers and clients.

How QR Codes Work

A QR code is a square shaped symbol filled with matrix code that functions in the same way as a bar code on a product at the supermarket. Individuals can scan these codes using a digital reader with a camera feature, such as a smartphone or tablet. The information saved within the QR code will lead the user to a social media site, where they are then able to like or comment on your profile. For instance, someone can read about your business in a magazine. If you’ve included a QR code for your social media profile, they’ll be able to scan the code so to connect with your social media page.

Creating QR Codes

Start by utilizing a website that will create a QR code for you. All you need in order to create a QR code is the address to the website in which you want to connect to using the code.

Utilizing a QR Code

Once you have a QR code you can print off a copy of the code and paste it onto various forms of print media. For example, you would want to include the QR code for your social media sites along with your press releases, advertisements, YouTube videos, and business cards. Brick and mortar establishments for businesses often include a QR code linking to their social media page on signs placed strategically throughout the building. By allowing customers to connect to your social media site in a clever and efficient manner, you ensure that more individuals are reaching your marketing platform on the web.

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Dos and Don’ts of a Direct Mailer

Don’t neglect direct mailing just because you’re heavily invested in the online marketing world. Direct mailers are a viable marketing method, particularly if you want to build up your business locally. However, there are right and wrong ways to go about a direct mail piece.


  • Make it clear what the offer is.
  • Provide a call to action.
  • Consider using QR codes on your mailer to send the recipient to a website for additional information.
  • Send out a targeted mailing about specials and seasonal sales.
  • Provide as much information as possible on your products or services to help increase the response rate.
  • Incorporate direct mailing in an on-going campaign instead of a one off, as repeated exposure is necessary to build up brand trust and recognition.


  • Purchase untargeted address lists and waste the time and expense sending out mailers to people who won’t be interested in your offer.
  • Work with designers who have only worked in the online space, and do not understand the advantages and limitations that direct mailer formats have to offer.
  • Send out a single, unsuccessful mailer and decide that direct mailing doesn’t work for you. Direct mail response rates take some time to build up, and you have to send out repeated mailers to see the impact.
  • Check work sent from outsourced printers. If you’re going to save money on your direct mailing costs by outsourcing it to a cheap bulk printer, get some proofs before you send it out.

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6 Tips For Retaining the Best

As the U.S. slowly recovers from the Great Recession, hiring and retaining outstanding Marketing employees is once again becoming a concern. The December 2014 SHRM Leading Indicators of National Employment report projects an increase in both manufacturing and service industry job hiring rates, as compared with a year ago. And human resources professionals are reporting increased difficulty with recruiting across all industry sectors.

The marketing industry is not immune from a tightening employment outlook. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the job outlook for Advertising, Promotions and Marketing professionals will grow 12% over the next decade, slightly higher than the average of all occupations. If you are responsible for managing staff at your marketing firm or within your department, now is a good time to take a fresh look at what your company is doing to retain the best and brightest talent.

Here are a few practical ways to ensure that you keep your best employees on your team for the long haul:

  1. Offer a competitive, complete package of employee benefits and perks: This may seem obvious, but as competition heats up for the best marketing professionals, candidates will be checking the boxes on comparative benefit packages. This includes not only the basics such as medical and dental coverage and 401K match, but also additional perks ranging from paid health club memberships and onsite dry cleaning pickup service to flexible schedules and the option to work from home.
  2. Home-grow your talent: Sometimes your team needs a shakeup. Or perhaps you are taking on a new client or market segment and you need to bring in some expertise that you don’t have on staff. It is fine in these situations to recruit from the outside. But don’t rely on this as your only strategy to grow your team. Employees notice it if no one gets promoted over time, and all of the new bosses come from the outside. That is a sure-fire morale-killer. A better approach is to find a balance between bringing on new hires with specific skills and experience, and offering your team the appropriate opportunities to grow and advance in their career.
  3. Continuous development and training: Speaking of growing in your career, there is no better way to show your team that you care than by offering continuous training and development opportunities. And this doesn’t just mean a webinar on how to use the latest accounting software. Continuous education, opportunities to take classes for new certifications, and allowing staff to explore fields outside their direct experience are all ways to help your team feel valued. Over time this will translate to increased loyalty to you and the company.
  4. Keep an eye on “The Manager Problem”: According to a recent report by the Harvard Business Review ( ), the close link between bad bosses and increased employee stress results in greater employee turnover. When trust and kindness are emphasized as core values in a company’s culture, the result is better employee morale and fewer folks jumping ship to the competition.
  5. Be the top in your class: Business owners aren’t the only ones who want their company to be the best of the best. In an October 8th, 2013 blog post, Chad Halvorson of When I Work ( writes, “People want to work for the winner. Not only does this ensure employment longevity, it also instills a sense of pride.” Take the time to consider what sets your company apart. Then make sure all of your employees understand and internalize it.
  6. Assign a mentor: It is critical that new employees feel welcome and comfortable in the workplace. One effective method is to give the team member a mentor—someone who has been around the organization for a while, is successful and understands the culture and expectations. This is especially important within a diverse organization with team members that come from varied backgrounds, nationalities and ethnicities. The most successful corporations have established mentoring/networking groups that help support and guide high-potential team members toward eventual success.

Try a few of these tips in 2015. You just may see reduced employee turnover, and a happier and more productive team!

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Using YouTube to Attract Attention to Your Printing Business

One of the most important things for any print shop owner to focus on is their marketing strategy.  It’s critical to keep costs low while attracting attention of a variety of people.  For this reason, many small business owners have started posting videos on YouTube.


While posting on Your Tube is free, it can be difficult actually getting potential customers to click on a video.  With millions of available videos, it’s important to make your print shop’s video stand out.  Simply posting a thirty second commercial about your services will probably get a few views from loyal customers, but it won’t do much to attract new business.  Fortunately, there are two strategies that are proven methods of attracting a lot of views.


Funny and unusual videos are among the most popular things that people look on YouTube for.  Make a person laugh, and they’ll probably share the video with their friends and family.  Since most print shops don’t employ a team of comedy writers, however, a funny, scripted mini-movie is typically out of the question.  Instead, consider posting funny outtakes from the shop, brief jokes, or collections of the funniest customer orders.  Of course, make sure you have those customers’ permission first.


A more useful type of video on YouTube is the how-to video.  While these rarely go viral and post large numbers of page views in a short amount of time, the best ones will generate a steady number of views everyday for years.  These videos help potential customers utilize your services.  For example, a video explaining what kind of drawings will look best on a t-shirt will be viewed by people who are working to put together artwork for a print shop.  Odds are, they’ll be looking for advice on which print shop to use, too.

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Applications of Direct Marketing

Direct marketing puts the customer and the business in direct contact with one another, therefore the term direct. The main benefit of using this form of marketing is that the results can be measured using hard data, such as through numbers or statistics. This allows marketers to understand if the applications they are using to engage customers are working. In terms of applications of direct marketing, there are several to mention.

Print Media

Years before there was Internet, print media ruled the world of direct marketing. Today it is still useful, albeit with less of an emphasis. Catalog distribution, fliers and promotional letters are three of the most common forms of direct marketing. Additionally, if your business publishes magazine or newspaper advertisements that encourage a response, such as a survey or coupon to be used in a store, this would be considered direct marketing.

Internet Methods

As email became a commonplace way to communicate, it joined the ranks of direct marketing applications. Often you will see web based forms asking users to submit their email address either for contest entries, a newsletter sign up, or to receive free material such as an eBook. This is another form of direct marketing as it allows businesses to create a database using the email addresses of web users. Blogs that promote interaction between customers are another form of direct marketing online. The website advertisements that encourage users to click to redirect to a business’s page allows marketers to track web users’ activities so they can measure the success rate of such ads.

Mobile Technology

One of the first direct marketing applications using the telephone was through telemarketing. Marketers continue to use this technique. However, the methods have changed from cold-calling to connecting with customers who call in to customer service agencies for specific needs, such as when signing up for a credit card or updating banking information via the telephone. Cell phones with their ability to text message provide businesses with another form of direct marketing. This application allows marketers to reach customers through their mobile devices as yet another means of connecting with potential customers. Often times a text will include a coupon or sales ad that will promote a business, while helping marketers track the users of this application of direct marketing.

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