Print Advertising Feels Like Printing Money

Print Advertising Feels Like Printing Money

Wouldn’t it be great if you could print your own money? Life would be so much easier, right? Well, maybe not, but here’s a little secret that feels like printing money: print advertising. 

Print Advertising is Like Printing Money

Good advertising can go a long way for your business. Sometimes it’s hard to explain what good advertising is, but you know it when you’ve seen it. Whether it’s a heartfelt image or a tagline that makes you think, there’s just something about incredible advertising that has a way to move and motivate you. 

Good print advertising can inspire you to make a change, donate to a cause, or purchase that cool, new tech device. It provides everyone who passes it, holds it, or takes it out of a mailbox the chance to see that printed information. And, since print advertising is often locally targeted, it means that you can create a far more personal connection to your community than you can with digital ads. 

Every time someone sees your printed advertisement and, in turn, goes in and buys a product or service from you, you’re essentially printing your own money! These customers may have never come to your business and purchased your product or service without seeing the advertisement. 

You Like What You See, You Buy What You Like

Picture this: You’re walking down the street. Maybe you just finished grabbing a coffee with a friend, and you’re heading back to your car. You check your watch to make sure you’re still on time to pick up the kids from school. You look up and there, on the side of a building, is a poster for a brand new product one of the local boutiques is offering. It stops you in your tracks as you gaze up at it. It’s incredible! How come nobody else ever thought of that before! You pull out your phone and snap a picture, so you remember to pick up the item later. 

All of this is the power of print advertisement. People pay little mind to online advertisements, and TV ads are often on while the viewer is off grabbing another beverage from the kitchen. Print ads, however, are there regardless of what a person is doing and how often they pass a certain intersection. And every time someone sees the advertisement and buys something, you’ve just printed more of your own money.

So, what are you waiting for? Now is the time to start printing your own money in the form of print advertising!

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Why You Should Never Cut Corners in the World of Print Marketing

Why You Should Never Cut Corners in the World of Print Marketing

In business, to say that you should make every dollar count is an understatement. When dealing with uncertain economic times, budgeting decisions matter a great deal. Improving your profit margins and increasing your bottom line is always a top priority, which is why the instinct to try to cut corners to save a few dollars here and there is a natural one.

It’s also an instinct that you would do well to fight, especially when it comes to your print marketing.

Marketing is About Communication and Communication Matters

People who feel like it’s okay to cut corners with their print marketing are probably not understanding what their marketing collateral is supposed to do. If you look at a flyer or another piece of print material as only an information exchange, things like paper stock and print quality probably aren’t going to be high on your list of priorities.

However, those things should make the top of the list because print marketing is about more than just an information exchange. It’s about opening up a line of communication with your audience that will be mutually beneficial to everyone involved. It’s about creating a meaningful experience with a person, one that doesn’t just inform them about your product or service but that also gives you a competitive advantage. 

As a “top-of-the-funnel” medium, print is important because it guarantees you the nearly undivided attention of your readers – the same attention they often give to magazine and newspaper content, as per the American Marketing Association. Why, then, do you think it’s a good idea to get someone to focus their attention on something that isn’t the best quality it can be? Is that the impression you really want to make?

That’s precisely the decision you make when you try to cut corners when talking about something as mission-critical as print marketing. If you can only make one first impression, it serves you well to make it the best one you can. Nothing makes a worse first impression than a low quality, easily ignorable piece of print marketing making their way into someone’s mailbox (or worse – your store window). 

How to Save Money Without Sacrificing Quality

Instead of cutting corners across the proverbial marketing board, consider cutting out certain elements wholesale if you’re trying to stretch your budget as far as it can go. Take a look at your existing marketing channels and see what is working and what isn’t. Cut anything at the bottom of the list and funnel some of those funds back into your marketing so that you can double down on the print materials that are striking a chord with your target audience.

Not only will you still be able to save a little money, but the remaining print collateral that you’re using will come out all the better for it. Even one incredible piece of print collateral is more effective (and more important) than ten low-quality ones.

Investing in Marketing is an Investment in Your Business

A solid piece of print marketing collateral will not just get someone down off the fence and turn them from “potential buyer” to “customer.” Nurturing that line of communication at the right time can turn someone from “one-time customer” into “brand advocate” and beyond, too.

But that’s not going to happen if you cut corners on something this important. According to Quickbooks, inadequate marketing has been proven to stunt your business’ growth. Is that a chance worth taking, all in the name of saving a few bucks in the short-term? We certainly don’t think so. 

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Avoid These Common Print Marketing Mistakes for Visually Compelling Content

Avoid These Common Print Marketing Mistakes for Visually Compelling Content

Compelling images are the perfect way to attract attention and create an emotional connection with your customers and prospects. Avoid these common mistakes as you design newer and richer content moving forward. 

Mistake #1: You Didn’t Keep It Simple

Why do you think audiences have gravitated towards visual print marketing content over the last few years? If you thought “because people are bombarded with information these days from nearly every angle,” you’d be right! From the moment people wake up in the morning, their smartphones are sending them emails and push notifications. They’re wading through dozens of blog posts. They’re reading massive reports at work all day long. Information is everywhere, and it can often feel overwhelming.

Solution: Make your print marketing visually impactful, and easy to read and interpret.

Visual print marketing is an excellent way to relieve people from these stresses – or at least; it’s supposed to be. It can allow you to take your message and wrap it up in a way that is easy to understand and a refreshing change of pace from everything else.

Think about it in terms of infographics. Infographics are an incredibly popular form of visual content because they take complicated ideas and break them down to just what you need to know and nothing more. Apply this same concept to your print marketing designs. 

Mistake #2: You Failed to Account For Light

When you’re leaning so heavily on your visuals, you MUST account for the number one factor that can destroy the feeling you were going for – light. 

How that gorgeous new flyer or banner you’re creating looks on a computer screen and how it looks in a store window in your neighborhood can be very, very different depending on the lighting quality of the area, the direction of the sun, and more.

Solution: Ask yourself how light will affect every decision you make, from the richness of the colors you’re choosing to the specific type of paper (and finish) you’ll be using. 

Accounting for these simple mistakes will put you ahead of the game and on your way to stunning and compelling visual print marketing.

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3 Tips for More Emotional Print Marketing Collateral

3 Tips for More Emotional Print Marketing Collateral

Despite what you may believe, most people don’t rely on information when it comes to making a purchase. While people do love to do research in advance of parting with their hard-earned money, they rely much more heavily on emotions to guide their decisions. Therefore, it stands to reason that if you want to motivate someone to take action, you should work hard to inject as much raw emotion into your print marketing collateral as possible. Luckily, there are a few key tips you can start using today to accomplish exactly that. 

It’s All About Those Colors

Even if you don’t want to fill your marketing collateral with text that drives home emotions, there are a number of subtle steps you can take to instantly provide a richer, fuller experience for your readers. Case in point: depending on the colors that you choose, you could be saying a great deal with your marketing collateral without actually saying anything at all. 

Do you want to create a sense of urgency, for example, to really sell how important it is that someone place an order RIGHT NOW before your inventory is gone forever? Rely heavily on the color red to do exactly that. Note that red is also a great way to encourage someone’s appetite, which is why it’s used so heavily in marketing campaigns for fast food restaurants in particular. 

Do you want to leave someone feeling calm, tranquil, and powerful? Green is the perfect way to do that. Black is often associated with authority and stability, while purple is a perfect way to signify wisdom and respect. Even oranges and yellows can be a great way to promote optimism, something that would be ideal if you’re sending out marketing materials in advance of a product or service launch to build anticipation.

It’s Not About “Me.” It’s About “You.”

If you really want to convey emotion in your print marketing collateral, shift the focus of your copy to place the emphasis squarely on your consumer where it belongs. Don’t speak to a large group of people; speak directly to one person for more intimacy. Don’t write copy filled with technical specifications about the product; write directly about the experience someone gets and the problem it solves when using it. 

At the end of the day, you’re conveying all of the same information; you’re just doing it in a more emotional way. It’s the difference between “this great new product has X, Y, and Z features” and “you have an important problem, which this product solves in X, Y, and Z ways.” Both are technically correct, but only one cuts right to the heart of the matter (no pun intended).

Tie Emotion Into Your Call-to-Action

Finally, learn how to insert as much emotion as possible directly into your call-to-action for the best results. Don’t just say “Contact us today for more information.” Think about the emotions you’re trying to play to, first. If you want to create a sense of urgency, say “to find out how you can take advantage of this deal before it’s gone, contact us today for more information.” 

Always try to leave someone with a strong feeling when they get to the end of your copy, be it happy, sad, excited, etc. Exactly what they will feel will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but if you can leave them feeling SOMETHING, they’ll be much more likely to take that next step. 

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Using the Senses to Your Advantage With Print

Using the Senses to Your Advantage With Print

It’s well established that print and digital marketing are two entirely different beasts that each require their own unique approaches to reaching their intended audience. 

Print Goes Closer

Whereas nobody would argue that digital excels at convenience (since you can essentially reach a person at all times during the day or night), nothing can top print in terms of intimacy. People already believe that receiving actual mail is much more personal than an email containing the same message. On top of that, print provides the ability to physically share a piece of marketing collateral with friends and family members.

According to a recent study commissioned by Martin Lindstrom, however, the benefits of print don’t end there. All of the senses that play a key role when someone has an emotional experience, from touch to sight, to even smell, can all be incorporated into your print campaigns thanks to advancements in technology.

The Science of Senses

In Mr. Lindstrom’s study, it was revealed that if you’re able to engage three or more senses with a piece of print collateral, you have the potential to increase not only brand engagement but also brand awareness by an incredible seventy percent. Many senses, with smell being mentioned in particular, are directly tied to the way the human brain forms memories and how it processes emotions.

Harvard Business School took this research one step further by doing an experiment with, of all things, pencils. Participants in the study were handed two sets of pencils, ones that had been treated to smell particularly nice with tea-tree oil, and ones that were completely untreated. Two weeks later, they were asked to remember specifics about each set of pencils. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the people who had unscented pencils remembered about seventy-three percent less information than those who had the scented pencils.

Using This to Your Advantage

In many ways, this means that while it is always important to focus on how your print collateral looks, you should never fail to take advantage of opportunities to engage a person’s other senses as well. This could include using a thick or textured paper stock to make a direct mail piece feel differently from every other piece of mail a person received that day. As the studies above suggested, it could also include using scented paper or other elements to engage a person’s sense of smell. Not only could this help a person remember your brand, but it could also be a great way to play with your very brand identity.

While print marketing has its advantages over digital, marketers need to work hard to offer a truly unique experience to audiences that they will NOT be able to recreate in the digital world in which we now live. Engaging all of a person’s senses is the perfect way to accomplish precisely that. 

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Cover Versus Text: What Paper Thickness Means For You

Cover Versus Text: What Paper Thickness Means For You

If you’ve ever stepped foot into a print shop or ordered a print job online, you’ve most likely been faced with what can be a daunting question: What kind of paper do you want? Then, that feeling of panic sets in, much like when you’re faced with the paper or plastic question in the checkout line. Your mind races to quickly analyze “the most eco-friendly option” while the customers behind you silently judge you.

Fear not! This crash course in paper weights will make you a paper expert in no time at all.

What Does Paper Weight Refer To?

Without getting into too much talk about the technicalities of certain paper types and offset weights, the answer is really pretty simple. Paper is generally measured in pounds per 500 sheets (a.k.a. one ream) of the standard sheet size assigned to the papers in that category.

Example: Bond paper has a standard sheet size of 17” x 22” (also called “basis size”). If 500 sheets of bond paper weigh 20 pounds, that paper is classified as 20 lb. bond. You might also see this represented as 20# bond.

There are paper stocks that are heavier or lighter than the above example, so you will sometimes see 16# or 24# stock as well.

What Do The Different Paper Stocks Mean?

In commercial printing, you’ll generally see four categories of paper stock:

1. Bond
2. Book
3. Text
4. Cover

1. Bond Paper

Bond stock is most commonly used for letterhead, copier paper, and laser printer paper. Similar to bond stock is writing stock. Writing stock is typically pricier than bond. It has shorter fibers, making it softer. It can be used for company stationery and sometimes contains a distinctive watermark. Writing stock can also be made with a variety of finishes.

Standard weights for bond/writing stock are 16#, 20#, 24# and 32#, with 20# being the most commonly used for in-house applications. Use 32# stock for resumes or competitive business documents to really impress!

2. Book Paper

Book stock can come in coated and uncoated varieties. Their weights vary from 30# Bible stock to 115# book stock. Bible stock is very thin paper, so named because it is usually used to print Bibles. Other book stock uses include magazines, catalogs, posters, and booklets.

The basis size for book stock is 25” x 38”, so 500 sheets of 30# Bible stock will weigh…you guessed it – 30#!

3. Text Paper

Text stock is a higher grade of paper used in projects requiring a better quality paper. It’s a bit thicker than your standard bond copy paper. Text paper is often used for brochures and flyers, some magazines, and thin posters. Text paper weights range from 60# to 100#.

The basis size for text stock is 25” x 38”, so 500 sheets of 60# text stock will weigh…you got it – 60#! (You’re picking this up amazingly fast!)

4. Cover Paper

Cover paper (also called “card stock”) is heavy paper used for projects like business cards, postcards, and rack cards. Like text paper, weights range from 60# to 100#.

Because cover paper is a thicker stock, it has a smaller basis size (24” x 36”) than text and bond papers. The equation is the same, though – 500 sheets of 80# cover stock is going to weigh 80#.

Paper Choice and Quality

As you may have guessed it, the heavier the paper, the pricier it will be. Some people may have the tendency to skimp on paper weights because they don’t think it’s that important. Psychologically, when people feel a lighter weight paper used on something they instinctively feel should be heavier, they make a value judgment about your company, product or service. Clearly, this is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Next time the paper choice question comes up, you can relax with the comfort of knowing that you are now a paper pro!

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Print Coupons Are Valuable Tool for Driving Business

Print Coupons Are Valuable Tool for Driving Business

With the advent of the Internet and mobile technology, it may seem that print advertising has gone by the wayside. However, that is simply not true. In fact, there are still many legitimate, valuable uses for print advertising. One of those opportunities is coupons.

We see coupons in grocery stores constantly. Every Sunday paper has coupons that give customers incentive to try new products or new versions of older products. Why is that? Simply put, coupons work.

So how can you use coupons effectively if you’re not running a grocery store? Here are some ideas to consider:

Return Business

Coupons are one of the best ways to obtain return business. For example, consider creating a “Buy 10, Get 1 Free” card. This type of coupon works well for businesses that sell multiples of the same type of product. Examples might include “Buy 10 earrings, Get 1 Free” or “Buy 10 ink cartridges, Get 1 Free.”

Another option is to offer a coupon to every customer who makes a purchase, inviting them back into your store or to your website. Choose a specific dollar amount or percentage off the customer’s next purchase with you. You can track return visits to see how much business this method generates.

QR Code Coupons

If you’d like customers to visit your website, you can create coupons with QR codes that will take them to a specific landing page on your website where they’ll find a special offer. Since the QR code lands on one specific page, you can track the number of people who use it to see if your clients respond to this type of advertising. An example could be a limited time offer on a specific product or service that you’re promoting at that time.

Mixed Promotion Coupon

Another incentive for driving business is to match a special event with a discount coupon. Start by creating a flyer that announces the event with a coupon attached as a reward for customers who choose to attend. This type of advertising works well for a business that can demonstrate products. For instance, an art supply store might offer demos of specific products for customers who present the coupon. The combination of the demo and the coupon offer the incentive for return business.

New Business Coupon

Everyone loves a bargain, especially if they’re shopping for something expensive. If your business offers higher-priced products or services, a price-matching coupon might drive new business. For instance, if you’re in the car industry, you could develop a coupon for new customers that offers to match their best offer on a specific model car or a free service if you can’t match the price. Since higher-priced items trigger budget-conscious shopping, this type of coupon will drive new business to your door. Try partnering with related businesses to help distribute your coupon, add the coupon to the newspaper bundle, or mail it to local consumers who fit your target base.

Creative couponing reaches customers looking for a bargain. If that bargain is fulfilled with exemplary customer service and support, the result is often a stronger a relationship that leads to referrals and return business.

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Printing: Greener than You Think

Printing: Greener than You Think

Everyone who’s worked around printing has undoubtedly heard the same mantra at least once or twice: Save a tree — don’t print. While it’s true that climate change is a major challenge facing our nation and the world, the idea that printing is contributing to deforestation is a misconception. Research indicates that the number of trees in the U.S. is actually on the rise. Tree farming — the source of most paper products — is the cause.

In reality, printing is a sustainable industry that actually benefits the environment. Let’s debunk a few of the myths surrounding printing… and discover why it’s greener than you think.

Myth #1: The Number of Trees in the U.S. is Declining

Actually, the opposite is true. Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization indicate that forest growth has exceeded harvest for more than 60 years; in fact, forest growth volume is 380 percent more today than it was in the 1920s. That means that the country is actually home to 20 percent more trees today than on the first Earth Day in 1970.

What’s behind this growth? A few factors, including:

  1. Expansion of national parks
  2. Population shift from rural to urban areas
  3. Sustainable tree farming

Number three is especially significant for the printing industry. Every day, those who privately own and manage forests, tree farms, and tree plantations plant about 4 million trees — or three times as many as they harvest.

Myth #2: Printing Kills Forests

Only about 11 percent of harvested trees are used to make paper (while 53 percent are used for fuel and 28 percent for lumber), so that “think before you print and save a tree” saying isn’t accurate.

In fact, printing actually contributes to the increasing number of trees. How? When there’s a healthy market for sustainably grown trees, landowners are much more likely to continue using their land to grow and maintain forests, rather than sell land off to developers. The more land that’s used for sustainable tree farming, the less pressure there is on primary forests to produce wood fiber.

Myth #3: Going Digital is Better for the Earth

As it turns out, not so much. Do you know what materials are used to manufacture those iPads, smart phones, e-readers, and laptops? Let’s compare e-readers and books.

Materials: An e-reader requires extraction of 33 pounds of minerals and 79 gallons of water; a book requires two-thirds of a pound of minerals and 2 gallons of water to produce.

Manufacturing: Making an e-reader requires a heavy energy input of about 100 kilowatt hours of fossil fuels and produces 66 pounds of carbon dioxide; a book requires 2 kilowatt hours and produces about a pound of CO2.

Health Impact: The adverse effects on human health — such as toxic emissions — of making an e-reader are 70 times higher than that of making a book.

Disposal: E-readers contain toxins that can leach into ground water if not properly recycled; a non-recycled book decomposes in a landfill, generating about twice as many emissions as the manufacturing process.

A few other facts to consider: In the U.S., more than half the energy expended on paper manufacturing comes from renewable resources, and printing is a one-time input of energy. Digital devices, on the other hand, require constant energy. Plus, Americans generate more than 13 million tons of e-waste per year. Overall, the environmental impact of one e-reader is equivalent to about 100 books, according to the New York Times.

Given the numbers, it’s easy to understand how printing contributes to a greener Earth.

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Business Card Marketing: Evolution of the Smallest, Most Versatile Marketing Tool

Business Card Marketing: Evolution of the Smallest, Most Versatile Marketing Tool

Quick: Which single piece of marketing collateral combines two old adages — “first impressions are the most important” and “a picture is worth a thousand words” — and proves them both true?

It’s the trusty business card, of course! Given the wealth of information this compact little marketing tool holds and delivers in just a few inches of space, it’s no surprise they’ve been popular since the 1400s. Today, business cards are still evolving, with ever-more creative designs and options.

A Rich Past: The Social History of the Business Card

The forerunner of the business card stretches back to 15th century China. At that time, royals and aristocrats would send their servants to the homes of other members of the upper classes, bearing “visiting cards,” announcing their intent to pay a visit.

Two centuries later, the practice caught on in France. During Louis XIV’s reign, visiting cards became all the rage in high society circles. Proper gentlemen and ladies handed out “calling cards” as a means of social introduction and as a way to request a meeting. Over time, the practice became more formal, and many rules surrounding the use of calling cards came into play.

The practice made its way to England and across the pond to the U.S. in the mid-19th century, bringing a strict etiquette along. For instance, a married woman had to hand out her husband’s cards along with her own, in order to avoid seeming risque. Also, the way a card was folded conveyed a message. These early cards were usually engraved on glossy paper and, along with the caller’s name, often featured a design such as a family coat of arms, flowers, or hearts.

Reaching Into the Business World

Around the same time, calling cards began making their way into the world of commerce. Known as trade cards, these early business cards were used both as advertisements for businesses and as maps to point the way to stores. Trade cards were usually printed using woodcuts or engraving and used monotones. They featured the name of a merchant, their address, directions to the business, and often a reproduction of the store’s sign.

Unlike social calling cards, the use of trade cards wasn’t limited to the upper classes. After the widespread use of the printing press created a boom in print advertising, trade cards became less of an advertisement and more of a way to introduce oneself and one’s business. Most were printed on white card stock with black ink, a trend that continued until recent decades.

Today, business cards are just as ubiquitous as ever — but much more creative in design.

The Boom of the Creative, Innovative Business Card

As digital and printing technologies continue to improve, so do business card designs. Long gone are the days of monotone cards with little to no personality. Instead, many people choose to create business cards that truly reflect their business and their own unique personality. In doing so, they make their company stand out to potential customers.

Some of the most innovative and clever cards integrate functionality into the card itself; for instance, a jeweler might create a card that folds into a ring sizer, a tire company might print a tread gauge on the bottom of the card, or a tailor might choose a folded card that can be unfolded and cut into a measuring tape.

Some modern business cards are just plain fun, such as restaurant cards that can be folded to look like little menus, or cards with cut-outs in the middle to create finger puppets.

Of course, your business cards don’t have to be over the top to show creativity. Just a little something different can make them stand out in a sea of traditional (boring) cards.

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Boost Your Marketing With Postcards

Boost Your Marketing With Postcards

You probably get at least a few postcards in your mail every day. Have you noticed that you always look at the front and usually flip them over, too? Postcards are incredibly hard to resist because there’s something compelling about that small, stiff card stock.

Postcards are experiencing a revival as business owners and marketers are rediscovering the powerful impact postcards can deliver. What’s so great about postcards? Postcards have several advantages over many other marketing channels.

  • Postcards are less expensive to print.
  • They don’t require envelopes or other inserts.
  • Postcards provide an instant visual connection with the recipient.
  • The limited space for copy and graphics forces you to get to the point quickly.
  • Recipients don’t set them aside to read later, leading to instant reaction.
  • Postage is often lower than with other forms of direct mail.
  • Postcards are great for personalization (with variable data printing – VDP).
  • Postcards work very well in driving website traffic.
  • Postcards are fantastic to use in a series sent over time to educate, engage, and drive sales.
  • Graphics and copy are easier to create.
  • Postcards work well for both short-run and larger-volume orders.
  • Postcards make great appointment reminders, thank you notes, and follow-up cards.

Think of postcards as mobile mini billboards. They get your message across and can travel at very economical rates.

Of course, postcards do have some limitations. They’re obviously not great for any type of promotion or campaign that needs lots of space for copy due to the size limitation. It’s also not easy to generate direct sales with a postcard campaign. However, postcards are fantastic for creating awareness and generating sales leads. In fact, it’s hard to beat postcards for economical lead generation campaigns.

Postcard Creativity
Postcards can be created in traditional sizes, as well larger sheet sizes. They can be die-cut with custom-size shapes in order to stand out and create attention. Postcards can be made from very thick card stocks, laminated, and even made from plastic stock. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Using Postcards
Direct mail is only one way to use this powerful marketing tool. You can also include postcards as part of a media or brand identity kit; as a promotional handout at trade shows and networking events; and as part of a sales letter insert.

Marketing Takeaway
The humble postcard is a powerful counter-measure to digital marketing. As more people are turned off by spam emails and other digital waste, they’re paying more attention to postcards. Postcards have a higher read-rate than many other marketing mediums because they are easier to digest quickly.

Postcards have a place in your marketing campaigns. If you use eye-catching, powerful design in addition to strong, to-the-point copy, combined with a call to action, there’s a great chance your target audience will respond the way you’d like when you use postcard marketing.

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About Acme Printing

Joe Printer, owner of Acme Printing

Acme Printing has a distinctly human approach to the printing business. We always figured that putting people before profits just made good commonsense.

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