81% of American Households Open Direct Mail

Myth: Americans throw away most of the direct mail they receive, unopened. A 2006 USPS Household Diary Study found that only 16 percent of American households choose not to open direct mail. The vast majority, 81 percent, opens and reads or at least glances through the direct mail they receive.” (NewPage & Education, 2010). Make the most of your direct mail campaigns and incorporate a QR Code and your social media sites.

QR (Quick Response) Codes are a way for your customer to continue engaging with your business. All they have to do is have a smartphone, download the app to scan the code, then scan it! Link your QR Code to digital business cards, landing pages to a website, videos, forms for the customer to fill out to enter a contest, coupons . . . something that gives them a reason to scan the code. If you’ve recently opened a restaurant, sent out a mailer announcing your opening with a QR Code on it that links to a discount for their first visit, or ask them to follow you on Twitter or “Like” you on Facebook. Whatever you decide to use, just be sure to tell them what you want them to do . . . otherwise that code and  those social media icons have no call to action. But do QR Codes really work? In market research done by Comscore, 6.2 percent of all smartphone users do scan the codes. (Melanson, 2011). So let’s do some math . . . If you send a mailer to 1,000 potential customers, 810 of them will have opened and/or actually read it, and at least 50 of them will have engaged with you some how offline.

Recently, a college used a postcard to gather information about potential new students with a QR Code on it. On the back it was a blank form for them to fill out and mail back to the school. If the potential student didn’t want to take the time to fill it out by hand, they listed their website so there was the  option to fill it out online OR they could scan the code with their smartphone and fill it out right then and there. By giving options, you’re not leaving anyone out.

To add personalization to your mailer, use VDP (Variable Data Printing). VDP allows each direct mail piece to  be individualized to the recipient; it “let’s your company continue its Direct Mail printing while adding variable factors such as your costumer’s name, address and a personalized message that directs every individual consumer in a different way. Response rates proved that when consumers receive a letter directed to them personally,with a private name and address . . . they are most likely to open it and give it a closer look.” (Directmailinsider.com, 2011).

If you have questions about generating QR Codes or using VDP in your next mailing, contact us.  

 

Melanson, D. (2011). Comscore finds 6.2 percent of smartphone users scan the QR codes. Retrieved September 14, 2011, from http://www.engadget.com/2011/08/13/comscore-finds-6-2-percent-of-smartphone-users-scan-qr-codes/

NewPage & Education (2010). Big Change. NewPage Corporation. (#14 Getting Personal).

Retrieved September 14, 2011, from http://www.directmailinsider.com/articles/what-is-vdp-variable-data-printing-and-how-can-it-help-your-business/

Keeping it Classy

 Black and white printing is a classy way to portray depth of emotions and “color”. When using only black ink on white paper, your images have the ability to appear in the broad range of grayscale which gives it that classy look. What allows the printed copy and photos to appear in grayscale are the thickness of the dots. There are always 300 dots per inch (dpi), but the thickness of the dots allows for more ink to be placed on the paper – more ink, the more black it appears.

Prairie Country, Then and Now is a book about railroads and trains between the time frames of 1969-1973 and 2007-2010. The book is in all black and white. One of the authors of Prairie Country, Then and Now, Robert P. Olmsted, had this to say about the printing of his book;

” . . . I would like to thank the pressmen who handled the job, as it was obvious every effort was made to give me the ‘black’ blacks I feel are essential to good B&W work.”

Check out the photos below of Lance Detwieler, the one color pressman, and Dwight Voth, a Printing Consultant!

The buttons he is pushing allow him to adjust the density of the ink.

This photo is of Lance and Dwight Voth, Mr. Olmsted and South Platte Press' Printing Consultant, checking out the press sheet.

Lance using a loupe, a high-powered magnifying glass used by printers and those in the graphic industry. He is analyzing the quality and precision of the dot pattern.

Lance is putting in a new plate for the next set of press sheets. The plates are made of a flexible aluminum that has had the image put onto it using Computer to Plate (CTP) technology. The blue areas on the plate receive the ink to print the photos and text onto the paper.

Remember More News by Reading it in Print

For the past sixty years, numerous studies have investigated how people recall news across different media. A very recent study by the University of Oregon compared online news and print news.

They found that by reading your news in print you remember significantly more of the news stories, topics, AND the main points versus reading it online. But why?

Reasons print news has better recall:

  • Online news is short-lived; the article may be there one day and gone the next, implying it’s not worth remembering.
  • By reading a news story online, the article may be archived and accessible at any time making it unnecessary to store the news in your memory.
  • There are fewer distractions with print media compared to online; typically there are ads right in the middle of online articles.
  • Online newspapers give the reader a vast selection of readily available articles which can take away from an article’s importance.
  • Online news stories may take several clicks to different screens to finish the article, while print is fixed to one or two pages.

How should you incorporate print into your marketing mix? By using direct mail and catalogs.

According to the 2011 Direct Marketing Association Statistical Fact Book, “52.4 percent of consumers read direct mail from merchants. More than 53% found merchant mail ‘useful,’ while 16.8% responded to the merchant offers.” So with 300 mailers, you could possibly have 26 people responding to your offer.

In NewPage’s “#14 Getting Personal” publication, their sources found that “catalogs had the lowest cost per lead . . .“ and an average response rate of 4.92%.

What do you need to be a successful self-publisher?

Self-publishing is both exciting and challenging. It is important to realize that the left side of your brain has done the creative work and that the right side is needed to launch your publication as a business venture. Many authors love this aspect of achieving their goals, and some will want to work with a partner or staff to take care of the details. Mennonite Press has helped many first time authors over the years, and can offer resources and consultation to help you make the right decisions along the way.

Below is more information about self publishing from one of Mennonite Press’ Printing Consultants, Judy Entz:

The books we print are for self-publishers who maintain all the rights to their publications.  Good candidates for truly self-published books are ones where the author:

1) Has connections with their audience and can pursue them directly and retain 100% of the proceeds of the sale of their material.

 2) Has enthusiasm for engaging audiences that can directly benefit by their research and experiences.  

3) Has the wherewithal to handle the business decisions and package your writings in an affordable and successful way to reach that audience.

We can help you with all of these indirectly by producing a professional and appealing book for you.  We can also develop advertising materials to help market your book.  Our design staff can start with a title and a word processing file and interpret your message graphically; we offer consulting and editing if needed; we recommend obtaining an ISBN and can place the bar code, register Library of Congress and Copywright as your agent; we also have warehousing and order processing services. 

I encourage you to order our booklet, “Self-Publishing, Planning for a Better Book”. It is written by one of our owners (and past manager) who has been in the publishing business for many years. It is packed with helpful hints and answers to questions that too often go un-asked. 

Early in the self-publishing process, it is a good idea to obtain a quote in a range of quantities. Even though the page count or page size may change, it will help you plan and we do not mind updating it later.  The quote request form gives you practical choices. If you would like assistance with filling out the form, or would like more information about self-publishing, please call or email:

800.536.4686 OR 316.283.4680

Reliability@MennonitePress.com

Young Adults Prefer Offline Marketing Offers To Online

http://blog.firespring.com/2011/07/29/do-young-adults-prefer-offline-marketing-offers-to-online-infographic/ 

Color Correcting

In the prepress department, Mark Young, Prepress Technician, is responsible for many vital roles of a job before it is ever hits the presses. He handles file ready images (jobs that do not require design time), operates imposition software and creates plates using Computer to Plate (CTP) equipment.

Part of handling file ready images includes color matching or color correcting. Digital cameras, scanners, and computer monitors generate colors based on RGB (Red, Green & Blue). These colors are created by adding light to change a black appearing screen. Screen color is called additive color because light is added to create color. When printing, plates are made based on the colors CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black).

Mark uses a computer that has been calibrated so what he sees on his monitor when color matching, is remarkably close to what is seen when the job is printed. Color matching, or correcting, often includes removing glares from the image, cleaning up backgrounds, and increasing brightness of colors. Often times, when a camera is used to take a picture of something, it doesn’t capture the true colors and affect you experience when seen with the naked eye. Having long ago developed an excellent reputation for critical color matching, Mark is always able to put the “real” back in “real”isitc with all the jobs he works on.

When color matching is necessary, many times the customer will send over the item(s) or picture from where the image ready file originated. Once the color matching is done, an Epson proof is created. From this proof, Mark can compare the proof, the item and the computer screen to see where there is variation, if any, to make changes. Once the final changes have been made, he then makes the final proof for the customer to see. When the proof comes back from the customer with an OK, Mark will fine tune the job, and then make the four plates: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Each of these plates, like Mark, play a central role in making certain a job looks its best for the press!

In the picture above you can catch Mark working on pieces for Sandra Malone of Sandra’s Folk Art Studio.

Choosing a Commercial Printing Company

Are you wanting to self publish a book? Need to have posters designed for an upcoming event? Maybe you just need business cards or envelopes printed for your new business? Whatever your print job is, be sure you are choosing the best commercial printer for the job… but how?

1.    From Quote to Shipping

 Be sure the printer you choose has the capability to handle all the services. From beginning to end: from the quote, to having your project shipped (to you or your customers). A printing company that has the ability to keep your job in one place until it’s ready to be shipped also has the ability to do quality control throughout the whole process.

2.    Competitive Pricing and History

 The price of your printing project can prevent you from proceeding, but if you go with a cheap printer, sometimes the quality can go out the window. By choosing a commercial printing company that has a long running history of business, you’ll know they’re reliable, efficient and know they’ll have competitive pricing in the commercial printing market. Also, if they have respected organizations that they print for, that’s a good sign of a trusting, reputable business.

3.    Printing Consultants and Printing Advice

 Commercial printers should have someone you can speak with about your concerns and printing options and choices. Printing consultants can show you paper options and samples from previous jobs to help you make the best decision for you.

4.    Design

 Sometimes having an idea is only half the battle; finding a good designer that can put that idea on paper is the other half. Commercial printers that offer an in house design team can have their designer sit down with you and listen to your ideas to be sure your ideas come to life as you see them.

Since our beginnings in 1902 as the print shop for Bethel College, the people of Mennonite Press have been dedicated to fulfilling a historical commitment: to do all our work in a way that stresses excellence and reliability. As we have grown, we have not forgotten our roots. These values have allowed us to become a highly respected commercial printer from coast to coast.

 For more information:

www.MennonitePress.com