It’s Time to Start your Easter Marketing Campaign!

It's time to start your Easter marketing campaign!

Easter is just over two weeks away at time of writing. So, if you’re responsible for your organisation’s marketing, now is the time to get cracking with your Easter marketing campaigns — while there’s still time! Printing and distribution will take a little while even with fast digital printing like we have at Firstpoint Print. So, if you haven’t already started working on design, images and copy for your Easter promotions, time is now of the essence — the message is make a start now!

Good Friday falls on the 14th of April this year, with Easter Sunday on the 16th and Easter Monday on the 17th

Easter is a great time to send customers news about your company, organisation, services and products. After all, spring is now in its full glory, the days are suddenly lighter and longer and generally there’s a lot to look forward to as the sun makes his appearance more regularly. With all of that, spirits are lifted and people will be out shopping – and shopping online – more and more. The sunny weather and pleasant outlook puts people in spending mood, so make the most of it!

Easter Imagery

The flowers are firmly out, the birds are singing away in the trees and out in the countryside we’ll soon start seeing the newborn lambs and bunnies hopping and jumping around in all their cuteness. It’s all classic Easter imagery and so flowers, rabbits, little yellow chicks and, of course, eggs will all be perfectly placed in your Easter marketing campaigns. You can commission illustrations, but we’re all lucky today to have many online image libraries available to us. These will allow us to search instantly for suitable marketing images for Easter, without breaking the bank and without slowing us down. So — we can have our Easter imagery ‘same day’ and hit the ground running with our Easter marketing campaigns.

Design & Artwork

Let us know, of course, if you need help with design and artwork for your promotional pieces — we have in-house graphic designers who are available whenever you need them. They can make your Easter promotional literature and graphics look eye-catching, enticing and turn them into great sales pieces to boost your bottom line.

“Easter is an *eggciting* marketing opportunity. Don’t miss it!”
(Sorry; we just couldn’t help it!).

Printing your Easter Sales & Marketing Pieces

It goes without saying that, at Firstpoint Print, we’d be delighted to supply free quotations for printing and production of your Easter sales and marketing literature. We’re litho printers, digital printers and large format printers with facilities all in-house within the group, so we’re in the perfect position to offer the keenest pricing, highest quality and fastest turnaround times in the business. So, you can be sure that you’re getting good value as well as high quality printing and an all-round eggcellent service. (Apologies again; we just can’t help ourselves!).

Marketing with Easter ‘Cards’

Printed & personalised Easter greetings cards are great for marketing purposesHow about sending out Easter cards to your customers and prospects? Timed to coincide with Easter, people will be expecting them to arrive so they’re sure to be opened (unlike some other types of mailer). A perhaps sneaky, but effective, marketing approach which is rather akin to a Trojan horse. The Easter card can perhaps consist of a general Easter greeting along with a special offer or sale of some kind, voucher code or news about some new product or service that you’re rolling out for Easter.

Personalised Printing

If you have a good database we can even organise a mail-out for you and use our personalised printing service to personalise each card so that it arrives addressed to the individual recipient by name. It makes for a more successful mailing campaign with a much better open-rate, for sure.

It’s the same for other mailed pieces, whether they’re printed brochures, mini catalogues, leaflets, flyers or simply letters sent in branded envelopes. We can print them all — and personalise any of them if you supply the database (contact us for the simple technical guidelines). Here’s a more comprehensive list of the types of printing we can supply.

Venues: How to Maximise your Easter Bank Holiday Bookings

If you offer sit-down meals and drinks to the general public then you’ll want to Read more

Printed newsletters - the great communicator

Newsletters – the Great Communicator

Printed newsletters - the great communicator

Printed newsletters are a great way to keep both clients and employees up to date with news about your products, services and organisation as a whole. While electronic newsletters like PDFs and e-newsletters try their hardest, they’re too easy to skip past and potentially overlook completely. In contrast, physical, printed newsletters can grab the eye and engage your audience right from the word go and they are far more natural and enjoyable to browse through anyway, with no zooming required. When their content is designed well and your headlines are well crafted, printed newsletters have definite read me appeal; they catch attention and virtually invite people to pick them up, take a look and flick through. Subsequently, they can also be passed around and shared. For businesses, they can be left in strategic locations such as coffee tables, waiting rooms and receptions as well as being distributed through direct mail for a far ‘softer’ sell than flyers, adverts and suchlike.

“Printed newsletters are a great way to keep both clients and employees up to date with news about your products, services and organisation as a whole”

Tips & Tricks for Successful Newsletters

  • Design them professionally (our graphic designers are available to you if needed).
  • Write your copy (text) carefully and methodically, then spell check, grammar check and check again. Ask a colleague or two to also proof read them before they go to print. You only have one chance for a good first impression and mistakes will look unprofessional.
  • Feature one particularly prominent article or news piece on the front cover and use a high quality image to make it even more appealing to read. You need to grab your audience’s attention!
  • Design and printing of newsletters - tipsEngage your readers with a wide array of news items, so there’s something of interest to everyone.
  • Try not to be too ‘salesy’ with regard to new products or services being featured. Sometimes a case study or guest review can be more convincing and will avoid people being switched off by a ‘hard sell’.
  • Try to include items that are not only ‘news’ but are also useful to your target audience. Carefully researched articles, case studies and unique market insight, for example, mean that your newsletter is far more likely to be kept by your audience (thereby representing a longer term reminder of your services or products).
  • A contents listing on the cover, perhaps in a side margin, is a useful way to help readers get straight to the articles that most interest them and to see what’s on offer at a glance.
  • Encourage other readers to sign up to your newsletter list by including a simple means of doing so (perhaps in the corner of the cover using a contact email address or mini form — or a link to an online sign-up).
  • Include one or more ‘fun’ items in every newsletter issue, for example a competition. Prizes are good but make sure they’re genuine and fair and that details are published for any winners in the next issue; after all, news of winners is great PR.
  • Don’t forget CTAs (calls to action) and ways that readers can, of course, contact you easily for more information.

Printing options

Printed newsletters can have Read more

Your Marketing Calendar for 2017

Your marketing calendar for 2017

Your calendar can be an amazing source of marketing opportunities. Keeping your eye on key dates throughout the year will help you to keep up with the larger companies and organisations that use carefully timed marketing communications as a matter of course. So, just thirty or so minutes spent with your calendar, or 10 reading this post, can help you to hit the ground running and kick-start a carefully orchestrated marketing strategy for the year. A couple of examples will demonstrate some of the many opportunities that you’ll discover through such an exercise then, below those, we include suggestions for a full marketing calendar for the year as a whole. If you find this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it!

Valentine’s Day Promotions

At time of writing it’s mid January so, right now, you could be gearing up for a Valentine’s Day promotion in just under a month’s time. For example, come February 14th, I for one would open what I perceive to be a Valentine’s Day card if it arrived through my post box on that day. I’d open it for sure whereas I would ignore most other ‘non-themed’ junk mail, of the nature that arrives every day. Think of your corporate Valentine’s card — and most of the other ideas below — like they are a Trojan Horse; you are grabbing attention for your marketing or sales message under the guise of something people actually want to open and read! It’s a sneaky, but ingenious marketing approach.

Easter Promotions

During February, you could be thinking about an Easter promotion timed for March, helped along with images of eggs, Easter bunnies and little yellow chicks! Consider, perhaps, use of those popular little puns in your marketing headlines (for example, “We’re Egg-cited to Announce …” and so on). In case you were wondering, Good Friday falls on 14 April this year, with Easter Sunday on 16 April and Easter Monday on the 17th.

Those are just two of the many, many timely marketing opportunities that present themselves to you every year, if you think ahead and plan for them.

An At-a-glance Marketing Calendar for the Year as a Whole:

  • 1 January: consider a New Year’s Day or general New Year promotion come January 1st.
  • January itself is the start of the traditional sale season and is a great marketing opportunity (see our last post).
  • 25 January 2017:  consider a Burns Night promotion for your Scottish clients and prospects.
  • 28 January 2017: consider a Chinese New Year promotion (2017 is going to be ‘Year of the Fire Rooster’).
  • 14 February 2017: make the most of a Valentine’s Day promotion.
  • 28 February 2017: possibly launch a Shrove Tuesday promotion, particularly if your niche involves food.
  • 17 March 2017: St Patrick’s Day could be a promotion opportunity for any Irish clients.
  • 26 March 2017: consider a Mother’s Day promotion.
  • 1 April: an April Fools’ Day promotion could be fun!
  • 14 April to 17 April 2017: make the most of Easter for another promotion.
  • 22 April: an Earth Day promotion could be useful for ‘green’ promotions.
  • 23 April: a St George’s Day promotion perhaps.
  • 1 May and 29 May 2017: consider a couple of ‘Bank Holiday’ promotions – perhaps a sale.
  • 18 June 2017: Father’s Day presents itself for possible promotions.
  • 7 and 28 August 2017: some August Bank Holiday promotions perhaps – again, maybe a bank holiday sale.
  • 31 October: it’s Halloween so theme your promotion accordingly.
  • 5 November: a Guy Fawkes Night promotion could help your marketing go off with a bang!
  • 23 November 2017: Thanksgiving promotions for your American client base perhaps.
  • 24 November 2017: Black Friday and …
  • 27 November 2017: Cyber Monday promotions can really make the most of people’s shopping sprees in the run-up to Christmas, particularly while they’re in spending mode.
  • 25-26 December: plan a Christmas and/or Boxing Day promotion to grab those last minute sales.
  • 31 December: a Hogmanay promotion for your Scottish audience perhaps.

Promotions Around a Key Moment in Time

The list could go on, including marketing activity timed to Read more

Logo and corporate identity design

The Importance of Great Logo & Corporate Identity Design

Logo and corporate identity design

A great logo and corporate identity is probably one of the most important investments a company or organisation can make. After all, the logo and the accompanying visual ‘identity’ are one of the first things prospective customers will see. As such, they’ll send out an overall impression about that company or organisation and prospects will use it to form a near instant judgement — and usually one that sticks. A well-designed, modern logo and visual branding will usually lead the onlooker to naturally assume that the organisation in question is professional and modern. In stark contrast, an untidy, poorly designed or outdated logo will have the opposite effect. So it’s important to get it right — first impressions tend to stick and the long-term health of the organisation is at stake if you get it wrong.

Logos & Corporate Identities – What’s the Difference?

First, though, a clarification; the logo is the symbol associated with the company or organisation, whereas the corporate identity refers to the wider visual look associated with that organisation (think of it as the branding). That visual identity actually includes the logo but also governs the ‘house’ colours, fonts and design style that go with it. By using a house style in a predefined way, everything associated with the company or organisation has the same feel and look, so naturally builds brand awareness and a cohesive approach to communication and marketing for the organisation in question. One only has to think about the branding for large organisations like The National Trust, Coca-Cola, Heinz and Virgin to see how they each have a particular house style, each with their own corporate colours, fonts, visual style and logo.

Corporate Design Manuals

In fact, many companies and organisations produce a ‘corporate design manual’ which is a complete guide to their visual corporate identity. It will usually contain a guide, including examples, of how to use — and how not to use — firstly, the logo. This will include colours, proportions, positioning of the logo, logo variants (for example the logo as used on a white background and a perhaps different variant of it for use on dark backgrounds) and rules governing the minimum space that should appear around the logo and so on. Corporate manuals also include similar sections outlining the rules for house fonts, house colours and even house layout styles for such things as letterheads, compliments slips, business cards and other stationery, brochures, adverts and so on. By carefully setting up the design rules and, through corporate manuals, making sure they’re adhered to wherever in the world they’re used, businesses and organisations enhance their brand awareness and become more quickly recognised.

Buying Into Your Brand

Indeed, some brands have this all down to such a fine art that people identify with the brand and are proud to show the world that they own that company’s products. Apple products are a classic example of this. Nike trainers, with their famous tick mark, are another — many people like to be seen with such things in their possession, almost like a status symbol. Yet another example is Beats headphones with their funky, modern but simple ‘b’ logo. Now imagine that last example with a boring old ‘b’ using Times New Roman or Courier instead and you’ll quickly see how that whole offering could have failed miserably … and that’s an example using just one letter as a logo! When your corporate identity and logo offering expertly encourage ‘buying into the brand’, that buying in by your target market will quite literally lead to more sales and increased profits.

Read more

Print & Design Support for Your Marketing Campaigns

Printing & design for marketing departments

So let’s assume you’ve got your marketing strategy in place, have written your copy and you are now ready to start production of each marketing piece.

Design & Artwork

Now you need some great design to back up your marketing message. If your company or organisation has it’s own in-house design team, then great. If not, you need look no further than our own graphic design team, which is on tap for you whenever you need it, here at Firstpoint Print. Our designers would be happy to take your brief and turn it into something attractive and eye-catching, communicating your message in just the right way for your target audience. On your approval of the design, they’ll finalise the finished artwork files for you, ready for the printing stage.

Printing

There is printing … and there is great printing. After investing time, money and effort to get this far, it would be a great shame to cut corners and rush things at the final hurdle. So it’s worth taking a moment to think about the most appropriate printing processes, paper and finishes to be used for your marketing pieces — rather than rushing in and wasting the opportunity. As we’ve said in previous posts, putting thought into the extra touches and detail can make a huge difference to that all-important first impression — and you only get one chance to do that!

“putting thought into the extra touches … can make a huge difference to that all-important first impression”

Firstpoint Print can help more than most other printers because we have both litho printing (for total Pantone colour matching accuracy and larger print volumes) and digital printing (for fast-turnaround jobs and low-to-medium quantities). We also have in-house large format printing for those extra large print-outs like posters, in-store displays, roller banners and exhibition panels. So, with all those facilities available within the Firstpoint Print group, we can *optimally* print pretty much anything — just one supplier, for all your sales and marketing literature. The mixture of different printing processes also ensures that you get the best possible pricing and the most appropriate process for each printed piece.

“the best possible pricing and the most appropriate process for each printed piece.”

What types of marketing pieces can we print?

It would almost be easier to say what types of marketing collateral we can’t print – as there are so few – but here’s a list of Read more

Top 10 tips for tip-top printing

Top 10 Tips for Tip-Top Printing

Top 10 tips for tip-top printing

Following publication of our design tips in the last post, it made sense to put together our top tips for successful printing too. After all, what use is great design and communication if the printing lets it down.

Although the ultimate process of putting ink onto paper is down to the skills of your chosen printer, there are a whole host of things you can do, before handover, to give your job the very best chance of looking great once printed.

1. First, read our ‘Top 10 Tips for Great Design’ post

… from earlier this month.

Why? It’s jam-packed full of tips to make the content, message and look of your piece absolutely as good as it can be. Here’s the link.

2. Use the right software

Why? Because professional printing works best with professional design and artwork software. Some of the higher end settings and functions are simply not available with ‘desk-top publishing’ software, while ‘Office’ applications like Word for Windows are simply not designed for use with high-end printing. If in doubt, use the services of a professional graphic designer — or indeed a printer who has them in-house, like Firstpoint Print.

3. Check your images are saved correctly

Resolution needs to be at least 300dpi (dots per inch, which is effectively the same thing as pixels per inch or ppi).

Related: If images include ‘rasterised’ text (text saved as an image rather than as editable text), also make sure that the resolution is 300dpi or more, at the final size.

Why? This will ensure that the images and rasterised text are sharp and legible. Anything less than 300dpi will make them look soft, fuzzy or, even worse, pixels will show on the final printing. Better still for text, use ‘real’ text or ‘vectorised’ text instead of rasterised text — see below …

4. Check your font settings

Before handing over artwork files, make sure any ‘live’ fonts are either 100% embedded or converted to vectors (‘outlined’ as it’s known in professional artwork packages like Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator).

Why? Failure to do so may result in unintended font substitutions or even missing or unexpected characters appearing in the final printing.

5. Check your image modes

Coloured images like photographs need to be in CMYK mode, not RGB or Indexed Colour.

Why? Leaving them in RGB may result in Read more

Top 10 Tips for Design

Top 10 Tips for Design

Top 10 design tips

Whether you’re designing your own sales or marketing material, or getting a professional to do it for you, there are some important factors to bear in mind during the creative process. Getting them right will improve the visual appeal of the piece, speed up the understanding of the message or offer you’re trying to communicate and increase your Return On Investment (R.O.I.) in terms of both time and monetary cost. So, here are our Top 10 Tips for making your design a resounding success.

1. Don’t rush it

Take it carefully and methodically. Rushing your sales or marketing piece will not lend itself to great design, nor to clear communication of your message.

2. What’s the message?

Before you even start looking at the design and feel of your sales or marketing collateral, carefully consider exactly what overall message, service or offer you are trying to communicate. It may be obvious to you, but you need to make sure it’s crystal clear to prospects who are not aware of your product or service. So, make it clear and make it appealing.

3. Get your copy right

Your text, also known as ‘copy’, needs to be just right, before you start designing. Distil it down, keep it simple — you have only seconds, or fractions of seconds for your audience to decide whether to read on or to simply ignore your attempt to communicate. Aim for something punchy and easy to digest, even at a quick glance. Your copy needs to be balanced well, including your main headline, sub-headings, body text and any bullet points. Including those elements can help someone to understand your service or offer even at a glance — people are usually in a hurry. Read more

30 Great Printing Resources (part 2)

30 Great Printing Resources (Part 2)

30 Great Printing Resources (part 2)

Yet More Tips, Tricks & Technical Guides for Getting the Very Best Out of Your Print

Here we continue where we left off in the last post, with the second half of our library of extremely useful print-related resources. These further tips, tricks and technical guides cover things like envelopes, paper sizes, foil blocking, raised print in all its forms, folders, roller banners, variable data printing and why you should use it — and much more. Follow the guides to ensure that you get the very best return on the investment you have made into your printing.

16. Folders

Printed folders come in many shapes and sizes and demonstrate various levels of complexity. Whether used to hold a simple business card or several internal brochures and more, there can often be more to folders than meets the eye. Here’s a handy guide to what’s possible.

17. How to Print Economically

Make the most of your design and printing budget with our handy guide to keeping a lid on printing costs. Here’s how …

18. Roller Banners

Our guide to roller banners – what they are, what they can be used for, sizes, artwork specifications and some examples. Learn more here.

19. Raised Print

If you’d like to add a new dimension to your printing and print something in relief, here’s a handy guide showing how to make your printing stand out.

20. Fonts

Our guide to using fonts in your artwork, including ways to make sure what you design is what you end up printing. Embedding fonts, outlining fonts and more, right here.

21. Printing – Under the Magnifying Glass

Printing under the magnifying glass: our close-up guide to using tints, mixing inks or tints, use of black(s), dot formations and how these differ between litho, digital and large format printing processes. Learn more in this guide.

22. Paper for Printing — A Beginner’s Guide

A beginner’s guide to paper for printing, whether coated, uncoated, recycled, textured or something else. Read our guide here.

23. UK Paper Sizes — A Handy Reference

UK paper sizes – a handy reference. Includes the ISO series of sizes including A sizes (‘A4’ etc.), B, C, D, RA and SRA sizes plus many more. It also includes a few other useful facts that may surprise you. Here’s the guide.

24. Variable Data Printing: for Personalised Print

Variable data and its use in truly personalised printing. Learn all about it here.

25. ‘Print on Demand’ & its Benefits

‘Print on Demand’ – what it is, it’s key benefits, how you can use it to your advantage and where you can get it. Here’s the guide.

26. Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know about Envelopes

Envelopes – our handy guide telling you Read more

30 Great Printing Resources (part 1)

30 Great Printing Resources (Part 1)

30 Great Printing Resources (part 1)

Tips, Tricks & Technical Guides for Getting the Very Best Out of Your Print

Looking back at some of our older blog posts, it’s clear that we have some pretty good printing-related guides and resources on the site. So, we thought we’d pull them all together in a handy ready-reference for our readers — a complete library of useful print-related resources at your fingertips. These tips, tricks and technical guides cover things like creating better design, preparing technically correct artwork, using the most appropriate colour spaces and generally making better choices to ensure that you get the very best outcome from every printed job. Some guides are even downloadable for you to keep. Here are the first 15 of 30 guides …

1. A Guide to Preparing Print-Ready Artwork:

One of the most important and popular guides on our site: how to prepare print-ready artwork that is technically correct in its set-up, to give you the very best printed results. View or download the PDF guide here. Also, see #13 below.

2. The Best PDF Settings for Your Artwork

Covering similar ground to #1 above, but in far more detail, we next have a guide to the settings that you should use when saving your artwork in PDF format. View or download the PDF guide here. More information is also available to read online here.

3. The Difference Between CMYK and RGB

A guide explaining the difference between CMYK and RGB colour modes and when to use each, for example when saving your full colour images. View or download the PDF guide here. More information can also be read online here and here.

4. Digital vs. Litho Printing

At Firstpoint Print we’re lucky enough to have both litho (or ‘lithographic’) and digital printing. But which technology is best for your particular print job? View or download the PDF guide here. More information is also available here and here.

5. Using Transparency in your Printing

Modern page layout and image manipulation software now allows you to control the level of transparency in your images and artwork layers. However, there are some pitfalls to avoid if you’re intending to print with transparency effects. View or download the PDF guide here. More information is also available to read online here. Read more

Firstpoint Print Victoria branch

Our Victoria Branch – in the Spotlight

Firstpoint Print Victoria branch

In the third and final post of our 3-part series highlighting individual branches, we go to London’s SW1 to take a closer look at the Victoria branch of Firstpoint Print.

Firstpoint Print Victoria, SW1

The Victoria branch of Firstpoint Print is located on the Vauxhall Bridge Road, being the A202, roughly halfway between Victoria Station and Vauxhall Bridge itself. This means that the commercial printer is perfectly situated to serve individuals, businesses and organisations located nearby in such areas as …

  • Battersea
  • Belgravia
  • Brixton
  • Bond Street
  • Charing Cross
  • Chelsea
  • Embankment
  • Green Park
  • Hyde Park Corner

  • Knightsbridge
  • Lambeth
  • Lancaster Gate
  • Leicester Square
  • Marble Arch
  • Mayfair
  • Nine Elms
  • Oval
  • Piccadilly Circus

  • Pimlico
  • St James’s Park
  • Sloane Square
  • Soho
  • South Kensington
  • Vauxhall
  • Victoria
  • Westminster
  • & Southwest London

As with all Firstpoint Print locations, the Victoria branch is also happy to supply printing services less locally including to customers in the Southeast of England and the UK as a whole. With overnight courier services being so fast and reliable these days, and online ordering available on the Victoria website, the branch can be the commercial printer for pretty much anyone, in any location. More about our online services below …

Firstpoint Print Victoria’s Printing Services

The Victoria branch has just about every printing-related service and facility that you could possibly ever need. We have in-house graphic designers who can cater to all your creative design and artwork requirements. We have digital printing presses ready and waiting for your quick turnaround, low-to-medium volume colour printing, duplication work and ‘on-demand’ printing. We have litho printing facilities that are perfect for single colour, spot colour or full colour medium-to-high volume print runs with the ultimate high quality results. We have large format printing machinery standing by for anything that you require in a large size, whether it’s a simple poster or a full-scale exhibition stand, display, pop-up system or roller banner. Read more