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Friday, July 30, 2021

                   How to Inspire Action with Highly-Engaging Postcards


What do dentists and direct mail have in common?

New clients! Direct mail has proven to be a remarkable investment for small businesses of many kinds, especially for entrepreneurs looking to grow their client base.

Dr. Diep Truong (of Viva Dental) gave direct mail postcard marketing a try in 2011. After streamlining a process for mailer design, demographic targeting, and ROI reporting, this Indiana-based facilityconsistently experienced a 400% ROI on their postcard campaigns, with a 50% conversion rate of inbound calls for scheduling appointments.

As 2020 kept people closer to home, attentiveness to direct mail has grown. As a result, response rates are high, and now is the time to invest in sharp, unique direct mail campaigns! Postcards are a particularly good investment, with oversized postcards garnering one of the highest direct mail response rates.

According to recent statistics, 23.4% of consumers say they would respond to relevant postcards of interest to them (compared to 7.9% for letter-sized envelopes).

Ready to wade into the water of a new postcard campaign? Here are a few steps to success in 2021:

Take a Multi-Pronged Approach

One of the biggest trends direct mail is seeing is the consolidation of online and offline advertising.

Take a multi-pronged approach to generating leads, so your social media ads prompt curiosity, but your print ads pack some punch with greater neurological impact.  

Keep it Simple and Succinct

People are busy, and if they’re going to look at your mail, they’ll need a good reason.

Make sure your postcard leaps off the counter with unique imagery, splashy colors, a memorable catchphrase, or an unbeatable offer. And remember, when it comes to direct mail, less is more. Postcards that are sharp and straightforward will communicate much more than those packed with content.

Grab Emotions

According to one Harvard marketing study, 95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously.

If people’s hearts are in the driver’s seat, then direct mail should aim straight at this target. Research shows that the primary emotional appeals that prompt action are:

  • Fear
  • Greed
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Flattery
  • Exclusivity
  • Salvation

Experiment with Specialty Branding Features

Because postcards are so economical, there’s lots of room to add embellishments.

Try haptic coatings, embossed logos, foil-flecked accents, or even scents.  When Sunsilk co-creations wanted to snag more customers, they decided to add an experiential element to their designs. Its gorgeous lime and hot pink postcards came with a tiny shampoo sample attached and a scented trial as well: “scratch to smell the new fruity fresh fragrance of this apple-coconut shampoo!” Customers may not sniff shampoo in the store aisle, but a scented postcard is irresistible!

Specialty branding makes a stronger impression on readers as they physically interact with your marketing. So build curiosity and engagement with these fresh, creative designs.

Postcards Inspire Action

Postcards are distinct, direct, and easy to read.

50.9% of people say they find postcards useful, and direct mail as a whole is especially inspiring to young people. Because many people today are glued to their phones, millennials, in particular, say that postal mail inspires them to action much more often than email (in fact, 30% say direct mail is effective in getting them to visit a website, go to a store, or make a purchase).

When you are ready to take your postcard marketing efforts to the next level, sign up for a personal consultation with one of our mailing experts. Our work-in-progress partnership will simplify each step and position your business for maximum impact!

Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO:www.printcafeli.com


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 Raster Images vs. Vector Graphics – What’s the Difference and Why is it Important?


Do you ever wonder why something you printed turned out pixelated or blurry?

That’s because the image used was raster -- meaning that it’s composed of pixels that can only be scaled to a certain degree. Therefore, to achieve a crisp and clean look, a file must be vectorized. Confused? Don’t fret. Continue reading to understand what these terms really mean.

Raster Images

The most common form of raster images are digitized photographs, detailed graphics, or scanned artwork.

Raster images are pixel-based, meaning they’re composed of a grid of individual pixels in which each pixel is coded in a specific hue or shade. Because raster images are pixel-based, they suffer from image degradation (this is not a disease, rather an effect of a cause). The same way a photographic image gets blurry and imprecise when enlarged, a raster image gets rough and jagged.

In order to maximize the quality of a raster image, the resolution must be high. Meaning from the time the image was created, it must be created at a high resolution, as it becomes much more challenging to take a low-resolution image and attempt to enlarge it to a high resolution. This is nearly impossible unless you have the right equipment. The most common raster file formats include JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PCX, and BMP files.

Vector Graphics

When understanding vector graphics, think of geometric shapes such as polygons, lines, curves, circles, and rectangles.

These graphics are mostly images that have been created or designed rather than images that were captured or scanned. Examples would be a business logo, a t-shirt design, or the graphics in a catalog. Vector images are quickly and easily scalable. There is no limit as to how large or how small a vector graphic can be scaled. No matter what size, the graphic will never look pixelated or blurry. Because these graphics aren’t composed of millions of tiny pixels, they’re much more efficient and versatile when developing and printing. File formats most commonly used for vector graphics are AI, EPS, SVG, and sometimes PDF.

Both raster images and vector graphics are used for printing purposes. Neither one is better than the other. Applying the knowledge of why their differences are important will help when deciding how to create an image and the best option for printing.

Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO: www.printcafeli.com


Friday, July 23, 2021

                       How Print QR Code Cards are Marketing Genius


Business cards, postcards, and other print marketing pieces with QR codes can be extremely effective in developing support for your business, especially when starting from the ground floor.

Utilizing the Graphic Ease of a QR Code

The QR code is ideal for an immediate and instant connection to a large range of audiences because it doesn’t require a lot of comprehension.

Instead, the technology behind the QR code uses what people are already carrying, a smartphone or image-reading mobile device. So, all that needs to be done is for your audience to use the mobile device camera and capture the QR code. Then, it automatically provides a hyperlink to the given digital information associated with the specific image.

Effective Communication

Unlike QR images on doors, posters, or websites, did you know the QR code on a card or postcard can actually be retained better?

While one QR code can easily be scanned right away, the problem is when a viewer has multiple QR codes to deal with. They start scanning and clicking, and soon enough, the first code is forgotten, and the second or third becomes the attention focus.

However, with a business card or postcard, one can store it quickly and then remember it again later when there’s more time. That retention often makes printed QR code handouts far more effective overall from a marketing perspective.

Affordable and Budget Competitive

One of the best advantages of printed QR code postcards and business cards is how cost-effective they are.

Small businesses and cost-conscious larger players can all take advantage of print orders for low market expenses and high-impact results. Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO: www.printcafeli.com


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

                     Add Zest to Summer Designs with 10 Hot Color Combos


It has been said that color is a power that directly influences our soul.

A common obstacle for designers is choosing colors. And you should not take this choice lightly! There is great energy in certain combinations – a good color palette will be unique, seductive, and harmonious.

Warmer seasonal temps offer a great chance to color outside the lines with playful, lavish options. Need inspiration? Here are a few feisty blends for your summer design toolbox:

10 Feisty Blends for Your Summer Design Toolbox

1. Cool Gray – Neon Orange – Plum Purple

These call-to-action colors bring a sense of health and vibrancy, with an air of sophistication and an invitation to adventure.

2. Magenta – Vibrant Turquoise – Black

Fire up confidence with bright shades that bring flavor and fun!

3. Sapphire Blue – Shadow Gray – Neon Yellow

Like a bright peacock feather, this gorgeous blue-green combination brings a royal, confident air to any page.

4. Bright Green – Dark Violet – Lava Gray

Like a sunset dip in the Caribbean, these rich colors satisfy the soul in a lush, confident array.

5. Flaming Fuchsia – Black – Sandy Tan

Want to steal the stage with your design? The bold contrasts in this palette exude vibrance, feminine strength, and a rugged road for the journey.

6. Solar Yellow – Electric Blue – Charcoal

When you want to add punch to your page, the rich extremes of this triad bring a fluorescent finish that is fierce yet fun!

7. Pearl Aqua – Cyber Grape – Daisy Yellow

These colors bring a burst of energy with bright hues and an interesting, sophisticated contrast.

8. Lime Punch – Cool Gray – Tangerine

Heat up appetites with this tropical, zesty arrangement that will compel people to give your business a try!

9. Terra Firma Green – Magenta – Sunlight Yellow

Like interwoven threads of a tribal mosaic, the sharp contrasts in this palette bring a sense of depth, mystery, and variety.

10. Carnation – Dark Lilac – Peachy Rose

Like a seashell deposited on a white-washed beach, this royal blend awakens a sense of purity and opulence, projecting an air of poise and splendor.

Find Your Favorites in Nature

Still looking for just the right blend? The natural world is a great place to look.

-- The sunset is not just orange; it is apricot, bronze, mauve, and amber.

-- A tropical beach is not just blue; it is turquoise, coral, tan, and chartreuse.

-- A poplar tree is not just green; it is a mix of jungle green, lime, silver-green, light brown, cool gray, and white.

When you find a natural image that inspires you, snap a photo and take it to the drawing board. Sample distinct colors from different parts of the photo and examine which hues move you the most. Most compelling swaths from nature include a system of colors ranging from dark to light and intense to soft. Find what is unique and powerful about these grand images and replicate them in your own seasonal designs.

The psychological association of a color can often be more potent than a visual impression. So be intentional (but brave!) with your summer palettes, and let these blends sell for you!

Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO: www.printcafeli.com


Friday, July 16, 2021

                   7 Instagram Tips for Graphic Designers

By 

April 23, 2020


Can you believe that by this October, it will have been a decade since Instagram was first launched? Graphic designers, in particular, have been using this popular social media platform to promote their design services since the beginning. Over the years, however, Instagram has become saturated with talent, and now it’s a real challenge to stand out.

Countless social media gurus have taken it upon themselves to provide Instagram tips for graphic designers, but as times change, so do strategies. In our article, we’ll take some of the most outdated, clichéd Instagram tips for graphic designers and transform them into practical strategies that are perfect for standing out.

7 Clichéd Instagram Tips for Graphic Designers

  1. Write a bio
  2. Show off your best work
  3. Write captions for your images
  4. Use popular hashtags
  5. Post often
  6. Switch to a business account
  7. Connect with influencers

7 Useful Instagram Tips for Graphic Designers

1. Write a clear bio that resonates with your audience and include a link.

It’s not about whether or not you have a bio (you should know already that you need one). Rather, it’s about what you put in it. You have a 150 character limit, and it’s the only place you’ll be able to link to anywhere. Here are the top 5 things you need for a standout Instagram bio:

  1. Your name. If your Instagram handle doesn’t make it clear what your name is, include it in the bio.
  2. Your services. Tell them what kind of designing you do.
  3. Something personal. This should be something that people can relate to, or something quirky that makes you stand out.
  4. Link to portfolio. This is preferably your website instead of just another social media account.
  5. A city. This is becoming increasingly common because Instagram users want to know where you’re based.

Other optional things include a hashtag (no more than one) and emojis (best used as bullet points).

Here are a few good examples.

lucasyoung on instagram lucas young
Source: @lucasyoung
myvectorplayground on instagram carina czisch
Source: @myvectorplayground
timothygoodman on instagram timothy goodman
Source: @timothygoodman

2. Make your gallery a portfolio.

The old advice of showing your best work is good, but just like a portfolio, you should also show images and/or videos of your processes. Between your completed masterpieces, you can post other things (including Instagram stories) such as:

  • Works in progress
  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Before and after images
  • Happy clients using your designs
  • Concept development

Here are some good examples.

moritz.adam.schmitt on instagram Moritz Adam Schmitt
Source: @moritz.adam.schmitt
homsweethom on instagram Lauren Hom
Source: @homsweethom
junedigann on instagram June Digan
Source: @junedigann

3. Write captions that bring value to your audience.

Like your bio, your captions need to do more than just exist. They need to exist for a reason.

Here are some good reasons for your caption’s existence:

  • Getting your audience to interact (through swiping, comments, going to bio, etc.)
  • Teaching your audience something that they wanted to know
  • Entertaining your audience so that you get more followers

Here are some bad reasons for your caption’s existence:

  • Explaining what the picture is (if they can’t tell, that’s not a good sign)
  • Telling your audience what the design is for (usually they won’t care unless it’s for a very high-profile company)
  • Telling everyone to follow your account (you can do this in the caption, but there should be more than just this or else nobody will bother)

There are three very important things to keep in mind when writing captions:

  1. Keep things easy to read. This means splitting up long sentences and paragraphs, using emojis, etc. Don’t write novels because your audience will generally not read them.
  2. Make things interactive whenever you can. Get your audience to comment when possible to build community and loyalty. Just make sure you respond to their comments too.
  3. Keep it relevant to the picture or video. Not only is a disconnect confusing, but it also makes the audience feel like they’ve been ripped off.

Here are some examples of good captions.

willpat on instagram Will Paterson
Source: @willpat
designbylaney on instagram Laney design
Source: @designbylaney
m81creative on instagram Marlo Biasutti
Source: @m81creative

4. Use relevant hashtags that range from popular to specific.

Hashtags are ultra-important in Instagram, but that doesn’t mean you should just use as many as you can and always aim for the most popular ones. You should use both popular hashtags and ones that are more specific.

Popular hashtag example: #graphicdesign

More specific hashtag example: #pasteldesign

Very specific hashtag example: #corporatelogos

Popular hashtags help you show up on more feeds, but you’re less likely to get noticed because those feeds are refreshing regularly with hundreds or thousands of posts. Specific hashtags may show up on less people’s feeds, but they help you get noticed more because there is less competition.

5. Post regularly with a predictable schedule.

People like knowing what to expect, and when to expect it. If you’re posting daily, choose a consistent time of the day. If you’re posting a few times a week, choose the same days of the week for doing that.

Space out your posts so that it looks like you are posting regularly instead of dumping all your posts and then disappearing for three weeks. It helps you look more active, which will encourage people to follow you. It also keeps people following you because you don’t spam their feed.

6. Track your results

If you just want to track likes, comments, and follows, you can do that without a business account. But if you’re serious about growth and track more metrics, then an Instagram business account is a must-have. It allows you to track the following:

  • Post reach (how many people see it)
  • Post impressions (how many times it has been seen)
  • Profile visitors (how many people visit your profile)
  • Link clicks (how many clicks the link in your bio got clicked)

Having this information helps you make wiser choices about which posts to promote and what kind of posts to publish in the future.

Here’s what you can expect to see from Instagram analytics.

instagram business insights
Source: Instaboom

7. Connect with relevant influencers (and think like one yourself).

Don’t just reach out to any and every influencer. Instead, ask these questions first:

  • Would I actually enjoy working with this person?
  • Would my target audience like this person?
  • What value can I provide to this influencer?
  • What value would this influencer provide to me?

And last but not least, think like an influencer yourself. Support brands and issues that you care about. Choose who you say “yes” to carefully. Think about how your audience would react to your content. You may not have the same number of followers as some of the big name influencers on social media, but you have some followers, and that means you still wield a degree of influence. Use it wisely and resourcefully.Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO: www.printcafeli.com


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

  Why 2021 Direct Mail Marketing Still Matters for Retail Food Businesses


While people are finally able to obtain a vaccine for COVID-19 and the ability to travel, move around, shop, and dine out is increasing, restaurants have a long hill ahead of them before getting back to a business “normality.”

In fact, entire behavior patterns have changed in people after a year of completely living at home and avoiding regular work presence, school, commuting, and traffic. And that means businesses have to work extra hard in diversifying how they produce income and revenue channels to stay viable.

Many restaurants realized early the only way they were going to stay in business was to boost their ability to handle delivery, ordering out, pick up, and other forms of fresh-cooked food transfer to customers who could no longer dine in.

While people generally tried producing their food regularly at home, overall, Americans are used to picking up and eating out. So, the demand never actually left; it was stifled by COVID restrictions.

However, even now, many communities are still maintaining social restrictions to prevent new COVID infections until vaccinations are fully in place at every age level. That means restaurants and food preparation businesses have to continue leveraging direct mail to be heard, seen, connect and remain on the attention radar of customers.

4 Reasons Direct Mail Works

1. Direct mail is almost always local.

The most likely customers that can and will visit a restaurant from the surrounding area are the primary target for print mails.

2. Direct mail is significantly lower in cost than other marketing channels.

This is a key factor for food businesses that are already strapped and trying to stay in breakeven with the loss of income thanks to COVID.

3. Direct mail has a higher return on investment.

The return on investment of a simple print card mailer can be thousands upon thousands of dollars when a customer responds to an included call to action.

Add in the additional benefit of discounting, and that same customer is likely to buy even more, increasing a business's revenue and cash flow per sale.

4. Direct mailers should be designed to be re-used.

Customers love the ability to use a marketing tool or coupon repeatedly.

And that creates both business retention and a greater amount of income stream for a restaurant or food business, again the primary goal of the effort in the first place.

Now is the Time

Restaurants and food businesses that rely on retail traffic shouldn’t be waiting for social restrictions to lift further.

Marketing takes time to have a positive effect, which is why direct mail efforts need to be sent out on a cyclical basis, pushing and reminding folks of a restaurant’s presence and availability.

As people keep being reminded, especially as they start commuting to work again, the food business will become viable and convenient for a warm meal, even if it is still takeout or delivery. Card stock direct mailers can help tremendously. So don’t wait for the market to reappear. Get out there and chase it now!

Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO: www.printcafeli.com

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Employ This Unique Question-Storming Technique to Drive Creativity in Your Team

 


A well-known pastor once said this: “It takes guts to get out of ruts.”

In truth, it takes more than just guts. It takes inspiration, which is what drives courage and fuels life and new energy. When your team wants to create brain flow or stimulate innovative ideas, asking the right questions and getting others to ask them with you is one way to start.

The Question Formulation Technique

Most people spend a lot of time worrying about giving the right answers.

But an answer can only be as powerful as the question it addresses. If you work with teams, one of your goals should be to draw on each person’s unique strengths and creativity. But this can be a challenge if you can’t get the ball rolling.

If you want to try a different launch point for your next creative gathering, consider the Question Formulation Technique (originally formulated by the Right Question Institute). Here’s how it works:

Design a Question Focus

Pick a problem or challenge that is important to you. It should be clear and stimulate new lines of thinking. It should not be a question.

Establish Rules

Start by setting a time limit of around 5-15 minutes. Agree on this ahead of time and set a list of parameters before brainstorming begins. Brainstorming rules could include:

  • Encouraging people to ask as many questions as possible
  • Refraining from stopping green light thinking to answer, judge, or to discuss the questions posed
  • Asking everyone to submit at least three questions
  • Writing down every question exactly as it is stated

Produce Questions

Now it’s go-time.

Use your question focus to formulate as many questions as you can. Aim for 50 questions in 15 minutes to give your team a brain jolt.

Improve Questions

Once you have a list of questions, the next step is to try to improve them.

For example, you could change yes/no questions into open-ended phrases. You could modify a generic question by adding specifics (changing “how can we preserve heat loss in drafty spaces?” to “how can we increase heat efficiency by 20 percent?”)

Sort Questions

After brainstorming, your list will seem a bit jumbled.

Drill down by sorting questions into common themes then prioritizing the most critical areas. Choose 3-4 categories with the most potential and rank them by importance.

Take Action

Now ideas can take flight.

After ranking your categories, decide what you need to do next to generate creative solutions. Do you hand off a concept to a design team? Work with a consultant to flush out possibilities? Maybe you want to take the top-ranking question and have another “question-storming” session to flush out specifics for this concept.

Reflect and Reframe

Before closing your session, reflect on what your group learned and how you might assimilate these insights into your work. This may uncover hidden assumptions or reframe the way your team approaches its next obstacle. And give positive feedback on the discussion that just happened.

Teaching people to ask questions and partner in decision-making can fundamentally change the synergy of your team!

Need some fresh ideas? Contact us today to get started! 516-561-1468 or FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF OUR MARKETING PRODUCTS GO TO: www.printcafeli.com