Blog

We’ve upgraded our Website!

Announcement

We’re excited to announce the latest upgrade to our site!  It’s been a long time coming and we’ve just completed the final testing of the new upgrade.

The entire team at Print Tech has always believed in the saying “The Customer Comes First” as being the cornerstone in keeping our clientele ahead of the competition. We’ve upgraded the look and functionality to help make your experience while visiting with us more enjoyable and user friendly.  Our new layout and design will make it easier for our customers to interact directly with our staff by keeping them up to date with the latest news and updates.  Of course, some of the buttons that you’ve come so accustomed too, such as the “Send a File” and “My Account” buttons still function exactly the same.

Every one of our employees has worked very hard at making this all possible and is currently working on a few more updates that they are all excited to share.

We’d love to hear feedback from all of you, so please spend a few moments just looking through the site and let us know what you think.

 

Say Goodbye to Saturday Mail

As of August 5th, 2013, you can say goodbye to Saturday mail delivery. The US Postal Service made this announcement on February 6th. The USPS has previously stated that it requires congressional approval for this measure, but Congress has been hesitant to allow it. While the USPS doesn’t receive tax revenue, it is still a government agency so, technically, it should be held to the same set of rules.

Say Goodbye to Saturday MailApparently the USPS has decided to make this decision on its own. With that said, will Saturday mail delivery really stop? If so, how will this impact your business? If you are a B2B company, probably not much at all. Most companies, besides retail and food service don’t have weekend hours anyway, so no harm done.

If you are B2C, the impact may be substantial. For those that use direct mail for marketing purposes, there are many beliefs as to what is the best day to receive mail. I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe in Friday and Saturday delivery. This is based on the simple fact that people have more time to read mail on weekends. Monday through Thursday are cut short by a full work day and having to prep for work the following day. If you have kids in school, this only cuts your time shorter. I am much more dismissive of mail during the week because there always seems to be a time crunch.

There is also potential for one less day to negatively impact cash flow for companies. One less day to receive or send invoices could have a substantial effect if you are say… AT&T. Sure, the money will still get there, but tough times make consistent cash flow a necessity.

Should this new schedule kick in, at least it isn’t until August . So if the loss of a direct mail day does affect your business, take time now to prepare and restructure your marketing plan.

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing direct mail services for over 30 years. If your direct mail is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

Get a Quote

Print Tech Home

The Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes – Part 2

Last week we covered the first 3 of The Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes.  If you did not get to read part one, you may do so by clicking here.  This week we cover the remainder.  We hope you find this a useful guide in how to better leverage this technology for your business.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #4 – Not Telling People What to Expect

By not indicating what is waiting for someone at the other end of the rainbow, you reduce the click rate of potential users.  This can be attributed to time being extremely precious, but two other factors play a major role in this.  One is the potential threat of viruses.  You did read that right…  Mistakenly thought to be impervious to viruses, evil doers have recently exploited technology to turn your smart phone into a 1/2 lb brick.  QR codes have proven an efficient way to do this by covering up banner ad QR codes with stickers.  People are more hesitant to scan unless they know where they are going after the click.  Indicating a destination that is tied to your industry can lead to more clicks by showing it to be legitimate.  Second is the ever looming threat of exceeding data plans.  Newer smart phone users no longer have access to unlimited data with mainstream providers like AT&T and Verizon.  This is such a problem that there are apps out there now that exist solely for monitoring your bandwidth usage.  Clicking on a QR now means wasted money for the end user, which leads me to our next sin…

QR Codes

QR Codes Deadly Sin #5 – Not Providing a Click Incentive

Because of bandwidth limits, users must be choosy when it comes to browsing.  Providing a page that allows access to coupons, money saving tips, special offers, etc. will show a higher click rate.  People always need items that will save them time and money.  If you provide a truly good offer, people will follow.  They may even share this with others if you don’t commit the next sin.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #6 – Not Incorporating Social Media

In these days of Social Media, things can go from obscure to viral in a matter of hours.  If you are providing a killer incentive for users to click, you should also make it easy for the user to share.  This doesn’t do much for the user except to let them blather on about the next cool thing they found.  It does a world of good for you though.  Magazines, marketing materials, billboards, etc. all have limited traffic and circulation.  Social Media is the new “Word of Mouth” and needs to be utilized to the fullest.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #7 – Not Capturing User Data

As referenced in the first part of this article, a click on a QR code will give you an IP address and that’s it.  Unless you are the Federal Government, finding a way to trace this back to the details of the end user can be problematic… and illegal too!  Give people a way to provide information to you in exchange for that “killer offer”.  This can be done with simple name and email/mobile number boxes.  Don’t require too much information as typing on smart phones can be a chore.  Just get enough so that you can market to your audience in other ways such as email or text messaging.  Another option is capturing information from the user by driving them to log in using Facebook, Google Plus, etc.  Not capturing information only allows you to engage the end user in the moment and may not lead to future business.

I hope you have enjoyed the article.  If I had to come up with an 8th deadly sin, it would be NOT USING QR CODES.  Leveraging this technology properly can be an extremely successful and cost effective way to promote your business.  If you’re not sure how to get started, consult an expert.  Now you may be part of the DIY crowd, but consulting with someone who has made all the mistakes first and learned the technology will be a much faster path to success.  My last tip?  Get out there and start clicking people!

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing marketing services for over 30 years.  If your lead generation is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

JPGemailLogo

The Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes – Part 1

Believe it or not, QR Codes have been around since 1994.  First utilized in the auto industry to track assembly line IDs, they were never originally intended for the applied uses of today.  Nearly 20 years later, QR codes have achieved mainstream success in the US.  These days, QR codes are a popular, if often misunderstood way to drive marketing traffic.

In my travels as an advocate for this technology I have heard many opinions from many clients about QR codes.  Some people have tried QR codes and have abandoned them due to limited success or lack of understanding.  Truth be told, QR codes can be a great way to drive traffic if they are utilized properly.  In this 2 part article, I will share with you the Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes, or rather a guide of what NOT to do when trying to leverage this technology.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #1 – Drive people to your website

Many QR code users make the mistake of driving people to their home page. This is a practice that does very little for the users. Most home pages offer very generic information and are of no use to the mobile user. Using QR Codes in this manner is also of no use to you. Mobile users can’t usually see your home page well on a tiny screen and it’s usually tough to navigate. Making things difficult will not earn you points and the user will quickly opt out. You also have no way to track the visit, with the exception of an IP address and that is of little use to you for follow-up marketing.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #2 – Drive People to Generic Content

Very similar to driving people to your home page, driving someone to any generic page, even a mobile optimized one, offers you nothing. Although a mobile optimized page of generic content may be easy to read, it offers little to the user. Oh, and remember the tracking thing? The same applies here. Content needs to be rewarding for the user to stay and navigate. How you achieve that really depends on your business. Are you B-to-B? B-to-C? Non-Profit? What your organization does plays a factor in what you should drive people to, but it should never be a page designed to “just get the word out”.

QR Codes Deadly Sin #3 – Not Indicating Proper Use

QR Codes

This is a personal favorite. Reading a trade magazine one day, I saw 5 ads with a QR code just dumped on the page. There were no instructions on what to do. While there are plenty of people that know QR codes and what they do, it doesn’t have to be an exclusive club. Let people know what to do when they see one of these. The curious will look up “QR Code Reader” on their smart phone if you tell them to. Some may still just pass it by, because there is no such thing as 100% effective marketing. There is only maximizing the potential of a particular technology.

I think that’s enough reading for one morning. Go get some work done:-) Next week we will uncover the 4 remaining sins in The Seven Deadly Sins of QR Codes – Part Two.

If you still don’t feel like working and would like to learn about the history of QR Codes, you can always go to one of my favorite places, Wikipedia, to learn more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code.

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing marketing services for over 30 years.  If your marketing is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

JPGemailLogo

Intelligent Mail barcode – What it means for your business.

Intelligent Mail Barcode

What is the Intelligent Mail barcode?

The Intelligent Mail barcode, or IMb for short, is the new standard of mail tracking from the US Postal Service.  While this has been around for quite a few years, it will become mandatory for presorting your mail on January 28th, 2013.  This comes one day after the postage rate increase on January 27th.  The IMb will allow for more accurate tracking of your mail, as it includes much more detailed information than the current standard.

How will the Intelligent Mail barcode affect my business?

Intelligent Mail barcodeThat really depends on how you use mail currently.  If you do very little mailing and are paying full rate postage, it will not affect you at all.  If you are a company that does volume mailings, (for billing, marketing, etc.) then it will drastically affect the way you mail.  Remember that the IMb only applies to presorted mail, therefore it will only affect those that try to receive volume automated discounts.  For those that fall into this category, you will require sorting software updates, a new addressing machine, or a direct mail house to help you process your volume mailings.

What is the benefit of the Intelligent Mail barcode?

There are quite a few benefits to using the IMb.  These will differ depending on your industry and where you reside within your organization.  For sales and marketing professionals, the ability to track your mail will afford you the knowledge of when your prospect will receive it.  Instead of your package winding up at the “bottom of the pile”, you can now follow up as soon as it hits their desks.  For people in accounting and legal, the IMb provides a cost effective alternative to certified mail.  Now you can get delivery confirmation for mere pennies.  For anyone who ships or mails, just having the ability to track mail similar to carrier services such as UPS can be extremely beneficial.  Companies that adopt this method will be able to reduce their overall shipping costs.

  While we all may not be comfortable with change, it is hard to ignore how positive some change can be.  Adopting this new standard will not only benefit the US Postal Service, but also your organization.  This type of win-win scenario will help keep mail relevant for years to come.

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing direct mail services for over 30 years.  If your marketing is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

 

Graphic Design

 

JPGemailLogo

 

 

 

Paper Isn’t Just Good For The Environment – It’s Good For Business.

Paper Isn’t Just Good For The Environment – It’s Good For Business.

I recently came across an outstanding article in Quick Printing Magazine that talked about some of the pros of paper.  Many have been conditioned over the years to think paper = bad, but as it turns out, that’s just not the case.  Since I work for a company with FSC Certification, I was aware of some facts, but a few were a surprise even to me.  The truth is that paper can be good for the environment, as well as for business.

Why Paper is Good for the Environment

  • Paper retains carbon dioxide as if it were still a tree.
  • The paper industry, under FSC and similar guidelines, plants 2 trees for every one harvested.
  • No forest with an established ecosystem is ever harvested for paper.
  • Only 1/3 of paper is actually directly made from trees.  The rest is a mix of sawmill waste and recycling.

Not bad facts.  Aside from this, you have the added benefit of paper being a sustainable and renewable resource. The jobs that are sustained by the paper industry each year are yet another benefit.  So next time you see an email footer encouraging you not to print an email, feel free to do it anyway.  Just be sure to recycle it!

Why Paper is Good for Business

From a marketing standpoint, ink on paper is still the most preferred method of communication.  Now you may chalk that up to age groups, but that’s simply not the case.  Direct mail communication is preferred in almost every communication category by every age group.  This is attributed to a lot of factors, but the main one is the overabundance of digital communication.  People are inundated with emails, tweets and pop-up advertising and have turned a blind eye to much of it.  Here are a few facts on why paper is good for business:

  • 95% of Baby Boomers immediately look through their mail.
  • 87% of Gen X/Y do the same.
  • 56% of Baby Boomers shop from catalogues.
  • 73% of Gen X/Y use coupons received in the mail.
  • Mail is considered more personal by all age groups.

When you put all of this together, it’s easy to see the benefits of paper.  The next time you think about going digital, be it an email, a tweet, or a pop-up, give paper a second look.  You may find yourself doing something good for the environment and your wallet.

 As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing direct mail for over 20 years.  If your marketing is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

Postal Rules Are Changing… Again.

Postal Rules Are Changing… Again.

 With the rising cost of postage and sometimes confusing rules, it’s easy to understand why many are opting for cheaper, do-it-yourself methods like email for marketing. Unfortunately for those that do, they are missing out on what direct mail can offer their clients and prospects. With the recent announcement of the US postal Service “2nd oz free” program, your local post office is doing more than ever to help you get the most out of your marketing. By taking advantage of offers like this and using a trusted direct mail house to help you navigate postal rules, it can still be cost effective and easy to use the one medium that still offers the highest response rates around.

Below you will find some updates on what will be happening with one of the most commonly mailed pieces, the folded self mailer.

Postal Changes, January 5, 2013: Folded Self Mailers (FSM)

•          Length: A minimum of 5 inches and a maximum of 10 1/2 inches.

•          Height: A minimum of 3 1/2 inches and a maximum of 6 inches.

•          Thickness: A minimum of 0.007 inch; (0.009 inch if the height exceeds 4 1/4 inches or if the length exceeds 6 inches); the maximum thickness is 1/4 inch.

•          Maximum Weight: 3 ounces.

•          Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides.

•          Within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.

•          Maximum number of panels, bi-fold, tri-fold and oblongs: 12 for FSM’s constructed of non-newsprint paper.

•          Exception: Quarter folded self-mailers made of a minimum of 100 lb book grade paper may have 4 panels and those made of 55 lb newsprint must have at least 8 panels and may contain up to 24 panels.

•          The final fold must be on the bottom, for oblong pieces, the final fold is on the leading edge.

•          New language added about glue as a sealing method. New language added about a variety of optional elements that can be incorporated in the FSM design such as attachments, loose enclosures, perforations, and die-cuts.

Postal Changes, January 5, 2013: FSM Tabbing requirements

•          Pieces up to 1oz require 2 tabs at 1″ dia.

•           Pieces over 1oz require 2 tabs at 1-1/2″ dia.

•           Mailers can no longer use tabs with perforations.

•           No tabs on the bottom panel.

•           All Folded Self Mailers now require a minimum of two tabs.

•          Tabs can be positioned in 2 places, as illustrated below. Some of the illustrated placements are changes from what you’d see in DMM/QSG 201b, and reflect the various rule changes summarized.

If it seems a little confusing, you’re not alone.  Sorting through postal rules is one of the primary functions of any direct mail house.  If you have any upcoming projects, give your local provider a call.  Companies like ours are all too happy to help!

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing direct mail for over 20 years.  If your marketing is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

Have a second helping of postage… free!

Do you know anyone who doesn’t like free stuff?

I didn’t think so.  Even as an adult, I would challenge you not to get a second helping of ice cream if it was free, even though you know what it means for your waistline.  The US Postal Service has really stepped up their efforts to keep mail relevant and appealing to business owners.  Their latest offering is one of a free 2nd oz. of postage.

In today’s economy, companies are always searching for new ways to stretch their marketing dollars. This has created a receptive climate among many large businesses for the USPS recently introduced 2nd Ounce Free pricing.

“Commercial mailers, knowing that they can now mail letters weighing up to 2 ounces at the 1-ounce postage rate, are leveraging 2nd Ounce Free pricing to make money and save money,” said Gary Reblin, vice president, Domestic Products. “Some of our largest customers, who typically use First-Class Mail to send bills and statements to their customers, are using the extra free ounce for promotional inserts and other marketing materials.”

Did You Know?
Postage can be reduced by more than 50% by presorting your mail.

The Postal Service’s new pricing, coupled with the fact that consumers — including 18- to 34-year-olds — prefer direct mail for receiving brand communications, are enticing companies to use the extra ounce to cross-sell and upsell products and services.

“Credit card companies are now able to market to their best customers — those with the heaviest statements — without having to pay additional postage,” said Reblin. “And utility companies are using 2nd Ounce Free to educate their customers and reduce call center calls. 2nd Ounce Free is also a great way to measure mailing success by including a coupon with a seasonal sales announcement.”

So what can you do with an extra ounce of free postage?

To “make money and save money” with 2nd Ounce Free, Reblin recommends these five tips:

  1. Add a survey or reply piece to learn more about customers.
  2. Include promotional inserts or special offers to already planned customer mailings.
  3. Share company news or build awareness of a new or upgraded product by including a quick announcement.
  4. Include a newsletter or memo to clarify information and reduce call center calls.
  5. Generate new revenue by selling the extra space to relevant business partners.

2nd Ounce Free is meant to stay. It is not a limited-time promotion, but a new price for First-Class Mail presort, automation letters. (It does not apply to single-piece letters mailed by consumers.)

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing direct mail for over 20 years.  If your marketing is in need of a boost, give us a call and see how we can make your marketing sizzle!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

Big Data – How much knowledge of your customers is enough? How much is too much?

  Well it appears that the last post we did on bad data was quite the hit.  With that, it dawned on me to categorize our posts by issues that our readers gravitate toward.  Welcome to the new Data Series from Print Tech!

  A recent read on the website Clickz.com presented a post that discussed “Big Data”.  In the article, the writer discussed how the buzz word “Relevance” has taken a back seat to this new term.  The truth is, it appears to me to be nothing more than semantics.  Relevance in marketing is the idea that you use your knowledge of clients and prospects to deliver messages that have meaning at the group or individual level.  Big data is the relevant data used to achieve those meaningful messages.

  So what’s the point?  Well none really, but it does apply in a sense to my next point.  What information should you capture and how much is enough?

  Since the dawn of sales and marketing, people have been seeking ways to learn more about their customers’ needs.  I myself will ask questions before a meeting in order to deliver a message that caters to their concerns, rather than boring them with big box presentations.  I learned this technique after a few meetings where participants nodded off.

  The availability of data in today’s world can be a blessing and a curse.  Knowing what makes your audience tick can be a powerful tool, but it can also be a massive turn-off with potential for backlash.  Let’s face it, the idea of being watched makes many people in a free society uncomfortable.  The greatest recent examples I can think of occurred at Target retailers.  Target is absolutely one of the best examples of a company that knows how to collect, analyze and leverage data.  What I will present to you is a positive and negative example of their practices.  Hopefully you can make the call on the enough/too much debate when we are done.

Positive – Target Retailers had long been keeping track of customers’ buying habits by tracking their purchases.  After a long period of analyzing data, Target was ready to launch what would become one of the most successful mail campaigns ever recorded.  They created a piece with 20 variable fields and pulled data to offer coupons by product category based on customers’ past purchases.  As the unique barcodes were scanned, Target was able to track exactly who had responded and what they had redeemed.  The result was a 50% lift in response rates over previous static campaigns, proving that proper targeting of your customers can deliver positive measurable results.

Negative – This same approach caused a bit of a backlash when Target started to analyze data perhaps a bit too much.  By looking at purchase histories, Target was actually able to determine pregnancy with certain combinations. (Scary, eh?) In this case, Target started sending coupons for baby clothes and the like to a Minneapolis woman whose buying habits indicated an impending birth.  The issue arose when the young woman’s father checked the mail and noticed this marketing tactic.  The problem?  The woman was actually a teenager and had not told her parents about the pregnancy.  The irate father stormed into their local Target and demanded to know what was going on, insisting Target was encouraging his daughter to get pregnant.  The store manager, having no idea what was happening at the corporate level, apologized profusely.  He called back a  few days later to again apologize and was informed that the teen actually was pregnant!  Now there is no way to prove this, but I’d bet that family didn’t shop at Target again anytime soon.  Good data can be a real asset to any company, but as you can see, a company can go too far.

  So what does this mean for other businesses out there?  It means that proper targeting can enhance your customer engagement and bring much needed revenue to your company.  Just be careful how much information you reveal back to them.  The best place to start for most companies is a good data append.  Scrub your list through a provider to get the basics.  Depending on whether you are B-to-B or B-to-C, those basics can be vastly different, but in a world where data is king, you won’t have any trouble locating someone to assist your business.  After that, engaging your audience with offers in exchange for information will help you get that relevant data to help you truly understand your customers.  And if they willingly give you data, you can avoid any of the unpleasantries that Target experienced.

As an integrated marketing company, Print Tech has been providing data services for over 10 years.
If your data is in need of some cleaning, give us a call and see what good data can do for you!
(908) 232-2287
sales@print-tech.com

Print Tech Home

‘Tis The Season To Do Trade Shows

Two times per year, a brief period comes along that some cherish and some dread. What I am referring to is trade show season. There are a myriad of pros & cons to participation in these events. One of the cons that I have experienced is the cost. Marketing budgets are running lean these days and some companies have stopped attending entirely or, at the very least, diminished their trade show presence. For those that fall into the latter category, one question seems to come up more than any other: “How do we make this event a success?”

There are many ways to get the most out of a trade show, considering you have a limitless budget. If you are fortunate enough to fall into that category, you can stop reading now. For the rest of you, here are a few tips on how to keep costs down and maximize impact at the same time.

1. Getting Attention – Studies have shown time and again that certain things like use of color or moving images draws more attention. Booth technology today allows for use of moving, interactive projected images in ways that could only be dreamed of 10 years ago. If you don’t have this technology today, make an investment. Now part of this blog talks about saving money, so why the investment portion? Two reasons: For one, it will provide the impactful presence you require. For the other, new booths are lightweight and easy to assemble. This saves large amounts of money over time as many can be transported & set up by the user instead of incurring shipping and drayage. The overall savings can add up to be quite substantial. The more shows you do, the greater the savings.

2. Pre-Show Marketing – Come up with a killer offer and let every attendee know about it. Trade shows vary in size, so your cost will be strictly head count determined, but the real value here lies in the ROI. An integrated marketing campaign that leverages print, e-mail, SMS and web interactions has not only a greater impact, but gives attendees the ability to schedule time at your booth beforehand. Starting with mail, discuss your offer and get their attention. Drive them to the web to sign up for a time slot at your booth. Follow up with periodic e-mails, not just as reminders, but also to snag extra attendees who didn’t respond to the mailing. Text the attendees on the floor before their scheduled times to dramatically increase your impact and response rates. The last step is to secure a solid follow-up. Keep your list handy and get those appointments people!

3. Promotional Items – These days, promotional items go far beyond the stress balls and mouse pads of yesteryear. As an attendee of a great many shows, I can tell you have not bought a pen in years, but I also couldn’t name one company printed on those pens. People tend to glaze over most of the company names on promo items. One way to help people remember you is to give them something useful on a flash drive, such as an app. Memory costs have come down substantially in recent years and there are cost-effective tools & companies to generate apps that people can actually use. Make sure the app is branded to your company, and if possible, make it tie to services or products your company provides, leading to potential business driven right from the app.

Whether you attend 1 or 100 trade shows this season, remember that there is little point in doing anything if it’s not done right. Follow a few basic guidelines and get your team properly prepped and you could be changing your tune about trade shows sooner than you think!