Your school has a rock solid mission, a trusted commitment and a respected brand. What strategies do you use to motivate alumni and benefactors to respond to your calling? If your development, marketing and communications programs are like their counterparts around the country, they are under constant scrutiny. Are they working in today’s information-heavy and competitive environment?
The marketing communications landscape is changing for today’s schools
As the most progressive and trusted printer for educational institutions in the Southeast for more than 30 years, Perfect Image understands your marketing opportunities and challenges. We are immersed in the communications strategies, ideas and technologies that schools are using today, very effectively, to move their constituents to act.
We’d like to share a few ideas, trends and resources we believe are relevant for our educational clients and every institution of learning:
1. How technology has changed the way schools engage alumni
When we got to the part about not being afraid to ‘rock the boat,’ we knew this was a must-read for others. We learned over a decade ago that we had better be More than a printer in this digital age. That meant throwing off the old-school manufacturing mindset and placing ourselves squarely in the shoes of our clients and their market realities. Not afraid to rock the boat, we started focusing on how technology can help schools nurture their relationships with graduates. That is real talk, and it confirms the importance of our own multichannel marketing capabilities for today’s schools.
2. Key recommendations for attracting charitable contributions to your school
The horizon is promising for fundraising. Dive through the good news and get to the recommendations for attracting higher giving.
3. The guiding principles in this 2013 report still ring loud and true
Don’t be dissuaded by the age of this report. We see these 12 guiding principles of alumni relations every day, and how they continue to stand the test of time.
4. Some best practices, ideas and news that relate to alumni engagement
This is a refreshing and informative blog dedicated to alumni relations. You’ll find interesting news stories and trends that might spark ideas for your school.
5. The power of print always motivates people to act
These 99 tips from the Perfect Image team are proven in making direct mail perform.
Nothing beats authenticity in marketing
The best marketing communications ideas will complement your mission, like they do for a college prep school that serves students around the world. To welcome newly accepted students and their families, the school staged an event complete with a passport and foods from every country represented in the student body.
“We went for authenticity,” said Wendy Sheats, the school’s director of Marketing Communications. “The passport is particularly symbolic as we serve students worldwide. With the nuances of an actual passport, the booklet gave families an official school document entitling them to take this journey to their new home. Perfect Image partners with me to bring strategy to how we print, and that the way a piece is printed carries our message through paper recommendations, weight, lithographic printing vs. digital printing, and more. It was an exciting and successful event that really gave our new families a taste of our school. It let our culture shine through.”
Ira Jackson, president of Perfect Image in Atlanta, tells clients to print for these reasons: Inspire, raise eyebrows, move people to act and drive your brand. Otherwise, why print? Perfect Image steps beyond traditional print services by helping educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and small/mid-sized businesses move that needle.
“We understand your resources and budgets are not the same as larger organizations,” says Jackson. “Perfect Image caters to your current, real world needs. Your opportunities and challenges are distinctive so you need More than a printer.”
What’s in it for you at Perfect Image?
Our 5-Star Concierge Approach to Your Needs
- Strategic Consultation
We care about your big picture. After more than 30 years in serving some of the nation’s biggest brands, we know how to help you get more from print. It’s about helping you spend what you have in ways that build return on your full marketing communications investment.
- Strategic Planning
We measure twice and cut once. Our intake at the start of your project, followed by a detailed project brief, ensures we’re on target prior to initiation and results in the most effective print or multi-channel communications.
- Marketing Support Partner
Print doesn’t stand alone in your marketing mix. Perfect Image has the systems in place to complement your multi-channel communications requirements. We’re a one-stop shop that blends and manages your print and electronic/online communications outreach.
- Personalized Service and Support
A true marketing partner is on full alert. We’re your second set of eyes. We support your organizational dynamics, stay accessible and attentive, keep our finger on the pulse of your jobs, provide regular updates unasked and make door-to-door deliveries on time.
- Creative Resources
Top talent drives higher ROI. Perfect Image provides access to great designers, graphic artists, developers, photographers and writers when you need creative resources.
“Customer service is always responsive and efficient, and able to adapt to our needs. Perfect Image’s ability to meet deadlines without compromising quality also sets them apart from other printing companies we have worked with.”
Meharry Medical College
For the last 24 years, Ira Jackson has owned and operated Perfect Image, a progressive commercial printing company in Atlanta. Not only has Jackson’s industry seen epic technological shifts, but so, too, has Jackson shifted through dramatic cultural times and changes. Peek into his world view in Rhodes Magazine: http://www.rhodes.edu/stories/changing-world-changing-worldview
Developing marketing that appeals to Millenials can be challenging. The highly digital and socially connected demographic uses media in unprecedented ways. A research study shows that print reaches all ages including Millenials. This study of the platform reach of millenials provides great insights to support a multichannel marketing campaign that includes the impact of print.
PrintInTheMix.com shared this recent study by Experian examining how print is a part of the equation.
Consumers move between multiple devices and media platforms many times each day. Experian Marketing Services tracks the U.S. reach and usage of 11 different media platforms.
Looking at a typical week, Experian finds TV still has the greatest reach, but mobile is rapidly gaining ground. In fact, among Millennials (the generation of young adults ages 18 to 34), mobile ties with television when it comes to reach, with each platform reaching 94% of these young adults in a given week.
What will be a surprise to some is that traditional media — newspapers, magazines and radio — also does well reaching the 18-34 year-old age group.
Looking at a key sub-group of Millennials — the 52% of those who rank above average when it comes to being early adopters of technology — traditional media still plays a key role in their lives. In the 7 days prior to the survey, 93% watched TV, 83% listened to the radio, 66% read a newspaper and 62% read a magazine.
According to Experian, “Millennials represent upwards of 80 million consumers. Nearly two-thirds are under 30 years old, almost one-quarter have a college degree, 34 percent are married and many (60 percent) own a home. They have an average discretionary spend of $11,317.”
Source: Experian, The Digital Marketer Report 2013, accessed March 21, 2013.
As you approach your upcoming marketing projects, consider how Perfect Image’s team of design, production and technical experts can help you get the most out of your important print expenditures.
Variable Data Printing or VDP is a powerful print solution that allows for personalization and incorporation of variable data you have about your customer base. By combining your data and recipient information with the power of quality print marketing you can increase your response rate and unlock the power of direct mail. VDP is such an expansive platform that allows for us to push the envelope on what can be done with the data we have about our customers. Compelling design, value added offers and conversion focused copy can yield your business conversions and new business.
The team at TargetMarketing.com put together a useful list of the top variable data printing tips and personalization. Check out this great article by Ethan Boldt.
Personalized mail pieces take care of job No. 1: get attention. Even better, by using content that’s relevant and unique to each prospect, that attention has a much better chance to turn into action than with the traditional direct mail piece.
A Vertis customer focus study asked adults, “Which of the following makes a difference to what direct mail you open?” Sixty-six percent responded with “customized name.” Because using a prospect’s name is only the beginning of VDP, consider how much better response can be when all the capabilities of text, imagery and offers are properly leveraged on a mail piece.
In the brand new DirectMarketingIQ report, “Variable Data Printing: 6 Case Studies,” we cover campaigns (both small and large) that used data in inventive and ultimately successful ways.
Here are four tips from the report:
1. Use the Right Data Elements
“There’s a wealth of information that is typically available in a marketing database,” says Devyani Sadh , CEO, founder and head of client relations ofData Square, a data-driven solutions provider. “It is important to only use data elements that are predictive and can be correlated with response. Additionally, the usage of data will be most effective when there is differentiation within the customer or prospect base.”
2. Include Relevant Images
“Pictures that reinforce a particular interest will also help get the attention of your customer/prospect,” says Pegg Nadler , owner of Pegg Nadler Associates, Inc., a database marketing consulting operation. “The image can be contained in the letter, order form, buckslip or outer envelope.”
One case study revealed that variable data mailings that feature relevant images can exceed normal direct mail response rates by double digits.
3. Great Data Can Help Deliver on a Brand Promise
In a sector like education, where prospects are willing to provide marketers with data, the possibilities of variable data promotions are limitless. One variable data promotion delivered on the Ivy Bridge College brand promise of a personalized educational experience, where each student gets a coach and can hand pick classes and schedules to fit their lives.
4. Relevant Content Can Include Personalized Freemiums
Creative and relevant content will resonate with the audience and personalized products like T-shirts incentivize response. The Postal Service planned a cross media campaign where customers could visit a PURL and personalize their own T-shirts with humorous content. With a 7.5 percent response rate, this campaign exceeded average direct mail response rates by four times.
As you approach your upcoming marketing projects, consider how Perfect Image’s team of design, production and technical experts can help you get the most out of your important print expenditures.
The web and digital marketing has created significant shifts in the way organizations market and present their brand. This development has presented a recurring question whether print is dead. Print is alive and kicking. As a printer that works with a range of non-profit and higher education organizations we know that it’s alive and well and is an irreplaceable medium that supports brand marketing in unique ways.
Forbes magazine examined this very issue in their article Print is Dead? Not so Fast. Here are 7 reasons why print is alive and well.
Is print dead? This is a question that has been buzzing around the marketing world since the rapid surge of the Internet and social media. While many businesses have completely migrated their advertising efforts to the web because of its cost effectiveness, exposure potential and convenience, print still maintains its stance as a powerful and necessary component of an ad campaign. Let’s take a closer look at print media and some advantages it has over its digital counterparts.
A print piece is a physical thing. Magazines and newspapers can stay in houses or offices for months or years, while Internet ads can disappear into cyber space instantaneously.
There is something about print that gives a sense of legitimacy. The saturation of popups and banner ads on the web can be overwhelming and the fear of spam and viruses is enough make people weary of clicking. There is no imminent danger in a print ad.
Print ads are excellent for solidifying your brand identity. Your ads should have a consistent aesthetic in terms of fonts, colors and types of images to establish brand recognition.
Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.
Consumers are more engaged when reading printed material, unlike websites, which are often skimmed in as little as a 15 second visit. A study shows that people read digital screen text 20% – 30% slower than printed paper. (Alshaali & Varshney, 2005)
Less Print Ads
With more and more businesses relying solely on the Internet for their advertising needs, the decline of print publication can actually be used as a marketing advantage. The publications are less crowded, allowing more room for your ad to shine, and possibly even cheaper prices for that ad space.
Placing QR codes on printed pieces is an excellent way to bridge the gap between print and web. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code will take you to a homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.
The best way to market your business is to utilize as many channels as possible to reach every corner of your target demographic; this should not exclude print. Although it is likely that most emphasis, in terms of advertising, will be executed online, there still exist those who revel in the glory of the printed page and it’s important to reach them. Finding the right balance between various media will ensure a steady revenue flow, an increase in sales and new customers.
Our team at Perfect Image can help you balance your marketing approach to include print and digital marketing in your outbound efforts. Give us a call so we can help you create quality print marketing to support your brand and balance your digital marketing efforts.
Making the phone ring and sales occur is truly a science. Reinforcing the talents of the business development team with effective direct mail appeals can help warm up those cold call solicitations.
Al Lautenslauger from Entrepreneur.com compiled a great list of 99 Tips for Direct Mail Marketing that we wanted to share and hope will help you as you prepare your next campaign. If you’re stuck and need some ideas to make your campaign work, this list of 99 tips will help get you back on track.
Direct mail is one of the most important pieces of your marketing plan. Developing and executing the campaign can many times be a thankless job. Today’s mailing regulations can get complicated–postage rates are changing and the flood of mail makes it harder to stand out. The right message is very important and must get to the target prospect in the right way on a frequent basis. Capturing your reader has to happen fast and your reader must be motivated to take action.
Here are 99 direct mail marketing tips to ensure that you get the right message to the right target–in the right way.
- Give a free gift to increase response
- Highlight the free-gift offer prominently
- Use short copy to tease the reader to read further or respond
- Minimize the use of buzz words
- Make your offer easy to respond to
- Prove any claims with details to add credibility
- Ask for the order right away
- Use graphics and color to support the message and text
- Offer a free trial to eliminate risk
- Hire a professional copywriter for your content
- Hire a professional graphic designer
- Make your offer easy to understand at a glance
- Promise many benefits
- Give many reasons to buy
- Use all the formatting available with taste
- Have your direct mail reviewed by an objective third party
- Use colored paper to make impact and save on printing costs
- Consult with a direct-mail specialist
- Use a reply card or other reply mechanism
- Put a headline on the envelope
- Survey customers about what they’ll respond to
- Include postage-paid return cards or envelopes
- End a page with the middle of a sentence to encourage more reading
- Personalize as much as you can
- Use a Post-It note for greater impact and attention
- Make the offer very prominent in the copy
- Use a no-risk guarantee
- Keep track of target recipients, replies and follow-up
- Tell the whole story
- Keep paragraphs short
- Break up long copy with graphics or white space
- Don’t dwell on history or background
- Offer a free-trial period
- State your geographical service area even if its global, national, regional or local
- Keep the sales pitch positive and highlight the benefits
- Include a call to action; tell your readers exactly what you want them to do
- Use a “P.S.”–its one of the most frequently read parts of the copy
- Make it easy to purchase: credit cards, terms, etc.
- Offer a discount for a quick response and order
- Make a simple order form for faxing
- Always put a sense of urgency and deadline in your copy
- Put a picture of a phone by your phone number
- Put testimonials at the top of the content and by the call to action
- Use typestyles that are easy to read, not a mix of them
- Have a call to action at the beginning, middle and end of your copy
- Use free information, free samples and a free demonstration as a marketing hook
- Offer a free consultation in addition to the free information hook
- Separate features and benefits (emphasize benefits)
- Use bullet points and small segments of information
- Use subheadings and subtitles
- Include a toll-free number if you have one
- Get your readers involved with a contest
- Use a tear-out coupon or one with a printed perforation
- Ask plain questions and offer a simple solution
- Put in a photo of yourself or an associate’s to personalize it
- Make promises; keep promises
- “Free” is still a motivating word–use it and highlight it
- Use handwritten notes or comments on your direct-mail piece
- Guarantee customer satisfaction
- Offer proof of the benefits
- Include case studies and success stories
- Restate your offer often, especially at the end of the communication
- Use captions, sayings or titles under all photos
- Order your mailing list or compile it way in advance of your execution date
- Test your list and use “Address Correction Requested” to clean your list
- Mail to vendors as well as target prospects
- Outsource things you don’t do best: printing, mail prep, design, etc.
- Put yourself on all mailing lists
- Work with a list broker to tighten list specifications
- Test different copy, headlines and offers
- Use graphics on the outside of envelopes
- Measure results and calculate ROM (Return on Mailing) dollars
- Code your mailings to measure response
- Mail frequently to a smaller subset of your list
- Plan and prepare enough mailings for three months at a time
- Use color
- Do a co-op mailing with a fusion marketing partner or power partner
- White space is good–a clean look is professional and easy to read
- Print in large quantities to take advantage of cheaper printing prices
- Use mailing pieces as handouts and for sales kits
- Mail to PR contacts
- Self-mailers are read more than stuffed envelopes
- Postcards are very efficient; usually both sides are looked at
- Print on the flap of the envelope to increase exposure
- Create excitement: “Act Now!”, “For a limited time!”, “Hurry while it lasts!”
- Deliver stacks of left-over printed items to trade organizations
- Its OK to send the same piece over and over for consistency
- Mail to educational institutions
- Create fun for you and your prospect with your campaign
- Tie other marketing to your mailings
- Put your website address on all mailing pieces
- Odd shapes work, too
- Mail with stamps get opened before metered mail
- Include pre-stamped reply envelopes
- Don’t delay your mailing by trying to mail in bulk on one day
- Include a business card in a letter
- Lumpy mail gets attention–it gets opened and gets a good response
- Have a conversation with your prospect
- Publicize your direct-mail campaign
Hopefully you’ve found one or two–or even dozens–of tips for your next mailing. They’re easy tips for any business to use, and are guaranteed to increase your customer response rate.
Ready to put some of these tips to work? Our team at Perfect Image can help you design and print your next direct mail campaign. Our team has over 30 years of experience creating effective print marketing solutions.
Make sure your branded print marketing is growing with your company.
Print is alive, well and contributes to the bottom line. Developing quality print marketing collateral is one of the best investments you can make in your brand. Your brand needs a great website and also great print marketing that informs your prospects on your strengths. Your brochures and print marketing speak for you when your sales team isn’t present and there isn’t access to your website. The team over at Entrepreneur.com composed this great list of Top 5 Tips for Professional Marketing Materials.
Every company needs “literature,” printed pieces that do a careful and well-thought-out job of presenting its products and services: catalogs, newsletters, product sheets and brochures, letterhead, presentation folders, specification sheets, case histories or application sheets, special event brochures, annual reports, manuals, technical bulletins, posters, product insert sheets, labeling, recruitment materials and so on.
With the increased availability of powerful desktop publishing systems and software, many companies decide to meet these needs internally.
Resist this impulse. Your homegrown materials will betray their off-the-cuff origin to most of the people who read them. Appearance is reality in marketing, and you have to look as professional as you are.
Here are some tips in dealing with the literature needs you’ll face as your company expands and grows:
- Get a logo and stationery package designed professionally. Do this, and don’t change it for at least 10 years. Either hire an advertising agency to create it or a design studio/graphic artist. Don’t try this yourself, no matter how artistic you consider yourself. A professional artist will make sure your stationery materials reflect your corporate personality, while maintaining a clean and professional look. They will look good in color and in black and white; they’ll reproduce well in smaller sizes; they’ll fax clearly; and they’ll simply be more attractive than what you can expect to do yourself.
- Learn the principles of solid graphic design. Understanding graphic design is a lifetime’s work, of course, but some reading and a sensitive eye can teach you a lot. Get hold of some graphic design books at a local bookstore and educate yourself. All your printed materials should follow fundamental design principles:
- Keep the look clean and simple. Don’t overload the reader visually. Use a graphic grid to align the different elements in an orderly fashion.
- Use heads and subheads to lead the reader. When the reader turns the page, where will he or she look? Use heads and subheads to provide scanning points to keep the reader moving along.
- Avoid too much type. Pages filled with writing are not appealing to the reader. Break up the copy with photos, illustrations, cartoons, charts and so on.
- Use white space. Avoid a crowded look, despite the temptation to make use of every inch of paper you are paying for. White space serves as a visual frame for the rest of the content on the page.
- Stay with standard formats unless you have a good reason not to. All of us have grown accustomed to the standard 8-1/2″ x 11″ format for print materials. Even our filing systems are made for things that size. If you go with an unusual size, your pieces may not lend themselves to being filed easily for reference.
- Put a caption with each photo. We all want to know what we are looking at. And a caption gives you the chance not just to identify your product but to remind the reader of the benefit.
- Use charts and graphs rather than tables. A brochure is a visual document. Use graphics to boost visual interest and make numbers meaningful.
- Be sure your materials have a “family look.” Every piece of literature doesn’t have to look identical, but they should all look planned as a compatible unit. Imagine your literature laid out in front of you on a conference table. Does it all look like it comes from the same company? It should.
- Invest in good photography. Small companies sometimes scrimp on getting good photos of their equipment, their job sites, their equipment in use or their accessories and supplies. Strong, professionally done photography will set you apart from other small companies. Your customers want to be reassured of the quality of your product. Amateur snapshots give a very damaging impression of your professionalism. Good photography is an investment in your future.
- Appoint one person as lit boss. Your literature needs will be ever-changing, with trade shows, with new products and markets and with normal growth. You must have one person responsible for anticipating future needs, handling literature production and maintaining inventory. Untended literature grows increasingly less useful and more frustrating. Every new piece should have a written rationale, audience description and content outline, not unlike the rationale you develop for a piece of advertising copy.
Do you need help with marketing, design and print of your marketing materials? For over 30 years our team at Perfect Image has been a trusted resource to non-profits, higher education and marketing professionals. At Perfect Image were More than a printer and look forward to helping you develop stellar marketing materials.
While newspapers and magazines transition from print to digital, e-commerce is expanding print marketing by sending customers catalogs with a multi-touch approach towards reaching customers. Josic Media shares more details on the upswing in print marketing through e-commerce.
Magazines and newspapers all over the country are turning away from print and moving towards digital because they are realizing a huge loss in revenue. Major media companies all over the country have been announcing layoffs and transitions towards more digital content.
Ironically, e-commerce companies have started turning towards print media to boost their revenue. While this may seem contrary to the major trends, it is actually growing. Online retailers like Rent the Runway, JackThreads, and Birtchbox have started sending their customers actual catalogs. Printed catalogs sent in the mail.
According to Ethan Trask, from One King’s Lane, “Putting money behind print doesn’t necessarily seem like the first thing you’d think of doing, but we all love products here, we love magazines and books, so I think that bringing our brand into the physical space is really important.” He went on to say, “It helps people become more active with our brand.”
Another way in which e-commerce stores are turning to print media is through the production of ad-supported magazines. These are magazines that feature mostly items available through the website. Net-a-Porter, a luxury e-commerce website, recently launched Porter. Porter is their new bimonthly fashion magazine. Priced at $10 an issue, it is filled with items that can be purchased through Net-a-Porter.
According to Kate Davidson Hudson, co-founder of Editorialist, “We were making an effort to find out how we can be at all of our users’ touch points throughout their day…the big missing piece of that puzzle, ironically, was having a tangible medium to connect with them on.”
Despite these recent moves, many are wondering what the ROI is for these ventures. An analyst from Forrester Research, stated, “There is a case to be made that print marketing still has a place…as a lot of other marketers cut back on print marketing, there’s an opportunity to stand out more. It’s not perceived as clutter p nobody has a bad impression of magazines – and it can be a very useful way to drive traffic to your core property.”
Print marketing continues to be a proven solution for results. It’s not a competition to determine whether digital is better than print. The truth is that both yield significant benefits.
The American Genius shared a great article on the top three ways print marketing still beats digital marketing and include:
1. Use Your Home-Field Advantage – With the current trend of increased support of local businesses, this is your time to really network within your community. A great way to do that is through print marketing—post cards, brochures, posters, flyers, and catalogs. Depending on your target market, you can drop off your marketing materials to other local business that would benefit from your product or services, set up a booth at a local event and hand out informational packets, or send them through the mail to local residents. Some consumers would rather go someplace with a physical storefront than just browse online, and with the use of print marketing, you can reach a whole new demographic.
A little something extra
2. Give Your Customers a Little Extra Attention – Send your customers, whether longtime or new, a little something in the mail now and again. Let them know that you appreciate their business and remind them of upcoming sales, discounts, and specials. However, there is a required balance to this method. You want to send them enough correspondence to let them know that you’re aware of them and their loyalty, but you don’t want to spam and annoy them—that will only drive them away. If you can, personalize the letters, cards, or flyers. This doesn’t just mean you put their name on it. For example, send them something for a birthday or holiday.
As an example, the realtor I used to purchase my first home sends me a card and a five-dollar give certificate to a local ice cream shop twice a year—on my birthday and on my home-buying anniversary. It’s a small, simple effort, but it goes a long way. To me, this shows he’s willing to give his clients a little extra attention. In turn, this keeps his services at the forefront of my mind, so I can recommend him to others or so I can use him again with my next home purchase. Sometimes digital media just isn’t the same as a letter in the mail.
Expanding your reach
3. Introduce an Entirely New Target Market to Your Company – There’s no debate that there is a different set of people who only stay abreast of things through digital and online means and those who prefer the “old-fashioned” way—physical books, newspapers, magazines—to using modern technology. So, instead of choosing one method over another, why not use both? Yes, many of the ways to market your company online are free—blogs, social networking sites, and sometimes even creating your own website.
And yes, it costs money to use print marketing. But they each have their unique benefits. Depending on the nature of your business, you may not be solely targeting the youngest generation of digital-lovers. Perhaps you’re targeting an older, more mature age group or business professionals who don’t have time to surf the web for leisure, but make time to read a magazine or physical newspaper each day. Or, maybe you just want to cast a wider net. Whatever your reason, using print media to reach a new demographic will keep you a step ahead of your competition—who, undoubtedly, is relying on digital marketing.
Redefining the benefits
It’s time to redefine the benefits and usefulness of print media. It may not be hot, new thing in modern marketing, but it has its roots. It has stayed around so long for a reason. Make use of print marketing where you can and combine it with your current digital marketing efforts, and you’ll see the results. A successful entrepreneur always uses all available resources, and one of them is still print marketing.