One of our frequent blog-visitors would like to share his ideas with visitors to Reprographics 101. Vern, thank you.
Know you are always interested in receiving reader feedback, so just thought I would pass along a few ideas in the attached word document…
All the Best to You,
205 West Wacker Drive, #322
Chicago, IL 60606
A City of Chicago Certified MBE
Here’s what Vern would like to share with visitors to Reprographics 101:
Just wanted to forward along a few thoughts on how small, independent Reprographic Service Providers might employ a few cost-conscious marketing efforts.
We are just such a company (a handful of employees), so we don’t have huge sums of money to invest in marketing the company. Primarily Imaging & Printing Corporation (www.imaprintcorp.com) provides Reprographic Services, but also does Poster & Sign Work, and Business Document Printing (color and b&w copy and duplicating).
Here are a couple of areas that we’ve spent money on in the latter half of this year for marketing that don’t really break the bank:
· EDDM Retail Promotional Mailings, and
· Website Development (a reasonable($) design and hosting service)
1) EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) Mailings:
I don’t know how much you know about this new service announced by the Post Office in the Spring of this year – but we think it’s a great way to promote your business for a rather small investment. So far we have done 7 mailings (2 different pieces); we primarily promote the Poster & Sign portion and the Business Document Printing side (for promotional offers) of our business.
This program was specifically designed by the Post Office for Small Businesses, i.e., mailings must be >200, but <5,000 pieces. You could Google “EDDM Retail” or just go the USPS website for more info. It takes only an hour or two to figure out how to do an EDDM mailing – and everything you need to do is on-line at the USPS website. Basically you just:
· Log in to the USPS site and go to the EDDM Retail Section
· Define the Geographic Location for your Mailing (Zip Codes)
· Pick the Specific Carrier Routes you want deliveries to
· And, fill out the forms (specify number of pieces per carrier route, and cost sheet –which is calculated for you)
Here are the Highlights of this type of mailing:
· Cost – Each Piece is only 14.2c to Mail
· No Mailing List – Carriers Drop to Everyone on their route (we especially like this being in Chicago where nearly all buildings in the downtown area are “secure” – I can’t get into the building across the street from our business, but with this type of mailing I can certainly mail to their business)
· No Bulk Mail Permits – You don’t deal with the bulk mail business unit at the post office, just drop off your mail at the post office counter like you would mail a letter or package.
(There is a standard Indicia, as well as standard address, that you print. And yes, no mailing list means no variable print – bulk print your pieces).
· No Sorting Machines – This is nice. Know how a lot of direct mail gets seriously abused by those sorting machines; well, direct carrier drops never see the sorting machine – carriers just pick up your bundle(s) and deliver (so it’s not all scratched up or otherwise marred).
And the caveats:
There is a size and weight restriction which is posted on the USPS website which needs to be paid attention to. The USPS doesn’t want this type of mailing to “interfere” with their first-class business, so the size of the piece needs to be a “flat” size as defined by USPS (basically a little larger). We actually like this a lot because it gives you more real estate to define your message in – one of our mailings was just stuffing our company capabilities brochure into a “license plate” sized envelope (which met the size standards) that we had imprinted with our return address, EDDM indicia, and mail address – (see attachment).
The little larger size also has a chance of standing out in a stack of mail better. We’ve done mailings with over-sized postcards. There are a few on-line print companies that specialize in EDDM mailings – we used a company in Florida (Sonic Print) the last time we printed postcards …here’s the link to the EDDM portion of their site:
Our All-In Costs for the mailing (design, print, mail) was about 45c per piece – nearly the same as a first-class stamp..
We had a freelancer design the card, Sonic printed it (heavy stock, coated cards which we don’t have the capability to do), and the mail cost was 14.2c a piece.
We use this type of mailing mainly for promotion, but there is obviously a sales opportunity here should someone have the right manufacturing capabilities and want to put together a targeted program for this type of mailing…
And now on to 2)…Website Development….
We’ve been struggling for a while to put up a site that we could easily make changes to, and that wouldn’t cost us a ba-zillion dollars for development and upkeep of…
At Graph-Expo this fall we came across a company that offers hosting and “templatized” sites for small printers, the company is Printer Presence www.printerpresence.com
Previously we had been using our plan room service provider – ReproConnect – as our main website, but that avenue is fairly limiting…both in flexibility of offering other services outside normal reprographic capabilities, and also of being able to make content and design changes yourself…Joseph and his team at ReproConnect are great to work with, and very accommodating…but there is only so much that can be done in that framework.
We signed up with Printer Presence a little over a month ago, and in that time have gotten to a point where we are pretty happy with what we have now as a website.
How a “templatized” site works is:
· You pay a one-time setup fee (the package we chose was $2,000, but the Graph-Expo special price was less 20%), and pay a monthly hosting and support charge (our package is $150/mo).
· Chose a Design for the overall framework of your site, and start adding content
· Your provided with a Dashboard (they call it Springboard), that you work through to implement any changes (they start you out with a bunch of default settings and content)
· You do not have to be a web designer, know any HTML, or be otherwise geeky in any way to put up a professional looking website. I’m a sales/marketing guy and I do the work on our site (my only skill is Photoshop from a photography background).
We find this solution to be flexible enough for our needs, the price is right, and we’re able to make any changes we want without paying huge programming or other fees. Printer Presence has been great with support (phone, on-line help, user forums, etc.) in helping us implement the design changes that work for us (well worth the monthly charge).
Aside from web hosting, they also offer ala cart services like SEO, an E-mail campaign manager, marketing kits, etc…at a pretty reasonable price; so a very complete, configurable package can be put together. Anyway, we’ve been pretty happy with them.
Our site is www.imaprintcorp.com
Another reprographic service that also uses Printers Presence hosting is http://www.newfaxcorp.com/
If you would like to compare design differences…
Please feel free to do with this information what you want, if anyone can get an idea that might help their business, so much the better.
Appreciate what you do with the blog in keeping us informed,
Imaging & Printing Corporation