Wednesday, June 24, 2015

5 Top Tips when planning to print Flyers & Leaflets

A well-designed and printed flyer or leaflet will create a lasting impression on your customers.
Leaflet printing will effectively promote your business and unlike advertising can be easily measured so you know whether they pay for themselves.
However, they also need to be carefully planned and designed or they could damage the reputation of your business.
Flyer printing and folded leaflet printing are both important aspects of the communication mix for small businesses in the UK.  The difference in terminology between the two items is that a flyer usually refers to a single-page of unfolded printed piece of paper or card. 
And in these days of getting maximum value from your budget spend business flyers are usually printed to both sides – either as A4, A5 or A6 size.
Leaflets on the other hand are usually folded or have some other form of finishing.  Traditionally the folding has been designed so that they easily insert into an envelope for mailing.  So a tri-folded leaflet is designed specifically to fit into a DL envelope.
Over the last 30 or so years we have seen some terrible designs and some fantastic designs when customers print leaflets online.  So, this is a very basic outline of some of the best practices when creating this vital and very effective piece of marketing communication.

This is a lesson we have learned with our own marketing materials over the years.  When you wish to get a message to your customers – “less is more” – so be very strict on the word count. 
Do not use blocks of text but always use bullet points in short sentences.
People do not read a lot of text – so the overall word count should be the bare minimum. 
And remember that each line of text has a “Fog Index” – so the maximum number of words in the sentence should be no more than an average of six. 
Use high quality and relevant images for your design that will grab the attention of your target market rather than rely on lots of words.
Remember a good image can be “worth a thousand words” – and this also applies to the type of paper used. 
When we print leaflets with our online printing services we do not use the thinner art papers but tend to offer the higher quality thicknesses.

There is very little new in marketing.  Which is why “Creative Swiping” is so popular for small businesses? 
They will not have the budgets of some larger companies that have been able to test the effectiveness of their marketing communications.
So – look at samples from larger companies and copy their techniques and style.
You do not need to “re-invent the wheel” – but if you are not good at design use a professional designer. 
If you order leaflets using our online printing service there is a maximum cost of £40 for the design element which can re-pay itself many times over.
The general marketing principle is that the leaflet or flyer should attract Attention, generate Interest, create Desire and get the reader to take Action. 
When the space is limited the task is harder.  You need to use bold colours, thought-provoking images and clever word-play.

Everything should be written directly to appeal to your prospective customer. 
Firstly, you should write directly using the terms “you” or “your” not terms that are more about yourself such as “we” and “our”.
Think of between 3 and 5 key benefits.  Any more and you should consider whether a brochure or newsletter format would be a better option.
Ideally these should all be positive and unique relative to your competitors but if this was the case you probably wouldn’t need to any form of promotion at all. 
So try and relate each benefit by phrasing it as if answering their question - “what’s in it for me?”
Then put them in order – so things you do better than your competitors or what you feel you do better should be higher up the list.
Any unique selling point should be incorporated within the headline or title or the very first sentence of the text.
Popular titles focus on powerful selling words – such as NEW, FREE, EASY, DISCOVER, HOW TO and NOW.
There may be no room for testimonials or case studies – but the odd customer quote could re-inforce the sales message.

  1. Not everyone has graphic design training but with modern software it has made it easier to create your own designs.
  2. However, there are common design errors that should always be avoided.
  3. Only use one or two fonts and never go below a point size of 10 – so it is legible. Use bold, italic or different versions of the same font if necessary.
  4. Plan the layout using boxes, borders and highlights but allow plenty of white space in the design.
  5. Keep text away from the “quiet area” around the edges of the page or any text boxes you may create. 
  6. Use contrasting colours that work well with the business branding.
  7. Double- check and proof read everything – especially contact information like telephone numbers.
  8. Don’t put anything on back that competes with the front – but it is ideal for a map, price list, opening hours or the coupon details.
  9. Include all forms of contact information – mobile, landlines, email, website, social media pages.  Use QR codes if you are short of space so customers can link to your digital media.
  10. Remember, we are judged on first impressions.  If the design is not good relative to the competition it will be treated as “junk mail” – if it is well-targeted and designed it will be effective.

What do you want to achieve?  How well you have kept to the rules above should help answer this question.
Unless the leaflet pays for itself it may not be worth printing – which is why there, must be a clear call to action and a way of measuring whether a sale or enquiry has been generated.
The best and easiest method is to have a Special Offer highlighted on your business flyers – only on the production of the leaflet or use of a special voucher code. Ideally this should be time-sensitive but do not make it too short so the printing becomes obsolete before it is used.
Decide the best method of distribution for your target market.  And work out your total project costs – including design, flyer printing and distribution.  

Finally, then determine the amount of response you need to cover your costs and generate some new customers. 
If you are on a budget consider our mono online printing service and just use black text on coloured papers.  This is an ideal service if you need cheap A5 leaflet printing.
However, it is the value of your Special Offer or incentive will determine your likely direct response rates – which if you follow the tips above should be in the region of between 1% and 2% of the total number of flyers printed and distributed.
So as a very basic guideline for each 1000 leaflets printed online and distributed you would normally expect to convert 20 customers.
This is one of the main reasons why printing is such an effective method of marketing for the smaller businesses.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Recycled Paper Printing

We have just completed the printing of two full colour jobs on recycled paper.

A 1000 colour booklets for a local author to be sold in aid of our local charity the Mary Stevens Hospice and some perfect bound Yearbooks for an Academy in Sussex.

These are rare occurrences.  Because they are the first large full colour orders we have printed on recycled paper or card for a few years.

We have printed smaller quantities of business cards and leaflets on specialist recycled papers and some of these lend themselves well to the digital print process as well as on our Heidelberg offset press.

We even have customers who request that their documents are printed on recycled papers.
Using recycled papers for smaller print runs where the paper represents a lower percentage of the total job cost and does not increase the overall cost of printing significantly.

But as quantities increase so does the price differential between recycled and virgin papers.

Why does it cost more for recycled paper?
The printing cost for recycled paper is substantially more than for conventional papers even now we live during times  when we are all recycling more and more of our papers and products.

The domestic collection process has improved dramatically – and most households now fill up a bin with paper and card for collection.  

The same can’t be said for businesses – if we want to take paper to the local recycling centre we are charged for the privilege.  If we generate large quantities of waste paper some companies will collect it free of charge.  But we are not in that league with our small volumes of waste!

Many of the recycling factories currently have stockpiles of paper to process – the problem now is whether it is economically justified to process these or store until more favourable market conditions. 

The paper has to pass through purification and this involves more production costs in terms of power and water.

And with all paper mills suffering increasing costs and price pressures – the cost of virgin papers is comparatively low at the moment and it is hard to make to case for using recycled papers.

Paper merchants are cutting stock levels which could mean longer delivery times for the slower-moving recycled ranges.  And in the world of digital print we need fast delivery!
And so with the exception of newspaper printing, the paper merchants inform us that the sale of recycled sheets has declined by 75% in the past decade.

The principal reasons for the decline in recycled paper usage

·         The simple economics of pricing is the critical factor.  If buyers are under pressure on costs then environmental considerations become secondary.  Recycled papers can carry surcharges of between 20% and 50% and this can result in quite a lot more on the larger print runs.
·         Sustainable sourcing accreditations like FSC are viewed as good, if not better, than recycled papers for the environment.  A classic example is the Woodland Carbon Capture scheme organised by Premier Paper and highlighted in a previous blog.
·         We all like our papers to be bright white as an indication of quality.  High white recycled sheets are invariably going to be more expensive than virgin grades by up to £200 per tonne.
·         The growth of digital printing has not helped – digital production machines are less tolerant than offset presses for the fibres in recycled papers getting into the fuser units.  As a result – most digital printing businesses opt for part-recycled or FSC papers.
·         Do customers really notice?  As a printing business we take a particular interest in the type of paper people use.  But does the average person look to see whether their printing is from a virgin, part-recycled, sustainable of 100% recycled paper?  Probably not.  

Can recycled papers help your brand or environmental positioning?

Whether the recipients of printing are aware the paper is recycled or not is a moot point.  

In most cases it is the recycled symbol or a small amount of text hidden on the back page that identifies the paper source.

For some companies it adds to their corporate branding and they make great efforts to highlight their environmental credentials and responsibility.

However, we have used it very effectively for some applications for very small businesses as well.  

One customer imports fair trade food products and the recycled printing on packaging, stationery and leaflets enhances the environmentally-aware brand image they wish to project.

Another client sells vintage clothing – and we have used recycled card as the basis for very effective printed tags for their shops.

However, for the bulk of our clients in the private sector, recycled paper has dropped down the agenda.  

The public sector, in the meantime, continues to remain a strong advocate of recycled paper.  

When printers are invited to tender for public sector contracts the use of recycled paper is often a pre-requisite to join the approved list of suppliers.

Following Tony Blair’s arrival in Downing Street in 1997 a number of new initiatives were started to promote recycling generally and the use of recycled paper in particular.  

The volumes of recycled papers went up to between 12,000 and 15,000 tonnes per annum in government departments and 100,000 to 120,000 tonnes across local government.

One of the most successful labour party initiatives – “Wrap” – ran out of steam long before the last labour government fell.  

As austerity began to filter through the public sector the absolute overriding priority became the cost of paper and printing.  

So although it is estimated that for every tonne of 100% recycled paper used rather than virgin paper * we save 30,000 litres of water and 3000-4000KWh of electricity – enough for a 3-bedroomed house for a year.

The direct costs were the over-riding consideration because decisions were made with budgetary constraints.

Recycling in the “digital age”
We are now in the digital age and in theory many of the things that have been printed in the past are no longer needed.

Messages at the bottom of emails ask you to consider the environment before using the printer.

And yet, we are generations away from the paperless office that was predicted to come into effect in the 1990’s.

Print continues to be one of the most powerful and effective methods of communication.  But, like anything, it has to be justified in terms of cost above all else.

The amount of “junk mail” we receive through the letterbox is declining but targeted direct mail is beginning to gain popularity again.

Printing is re-defining its position in the communications mix and paper prices are a major part of the decision-making process.

Paper prices are certainly on the rise at the moment and the financial differential may yet place recycled paper in a more favourable financial position before too long.

For more information, visit our website