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

Spring is coming - freshen up your design, printing & marketing!

Freshen Up for Spring Promotions!

Spring is coming - freshen up your design, printing & marketing!

It’s time to put our marketing hats on for March, which promises to be a very busy month indeed. The new spring season starts on 1 March by the meteorological and climatological calendars, or on 20th March, the official Spring Equinox, if you’re going by the astronomical calendar.

Then, on the 26th of March, there are two further milestones. Firstly, the clocks go forward due to the Daylight Saving Hours and secondly, it’s Mother’s Day!

Spring clean your sales & marketing collateral

Whichever way you look at it, March is a time to gear up a notch or two on your sales and marketing campaigns because, officially at least, winter is all but over! Perhaps it’s a good time for a spring clean of all your sales and marketing collateral — it’s a great time to freshen them up, particularly if they’re now looking tired and “so last season“!

Update your imagery

With the snowdrops and daffodils already out and other flowers appearing any day, it’s a sure sign that you need to put some colour and life into your marketing literature to reflect the coming season. Promotions & marketing for Mother's DayFlowers, sunshine, blue skies and cheery birds will be the order of the day for many marketing campaigns when it comes to imagery. Bear this in mind for pack shots, lifestyle photography and promotional illustrations because ‘mood’ and ‘feel’ are all important for marketing literature. What’s more, there will be no getting away from flowers for Mother’s Day promotions either, when it arrives on the 26th.

Make the most of the marketing milestones

If you’re in charge of marketing concepts, content and design, always try to work out how you can piggy-back the various milestones from a marketing perspective … but plan ahead or you’ll simply miss the boat!

So, the message is: make the most of every opportunity and ensure that your business or organisation looks the part for the new season.

Perfect printing for promotions

Marketing departments for shops and businesses selling lifestyle-related products or services may need to start thinking about leaflets, flyers, brochures and perhaps even catalogues to show off their new spring offerings. Printed banners for spring marketing promotionsWindows can also display posters and banners for any spring sales or product launches. Pubs, cafés and restaurants should start thinking about Read more

Seasons greetings

Season’s Greetings & All Best Wishes for 2017!

Season's greetings

“Season’s Greetings” to one and all from everyone at the London Bridge, Clerkenwell and Victoria branches of Firstpoint Print, London. Thank you, too, for all the graphic design and printing work that you’ve kept us busy with throughout 2016 — we couldn’t have done it without you and really appreciate all the work. Thank you.

Our very best wishes to everyone for the New Year. May 2017 be happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous for everyone. Together, we can make it a great year!

Best wishes,
The whole team at Firstpoint Print.

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

Adding value and improving ROI with personalised printing

Adding Value with Personalised Printing

Adding value and improving ROI with personalised printing

Imagine, for a minute, that you’re visiting a conference, trade fair, or are meeting a supplier and they hand you a full colour printed brochure or catalogue that addresses you by name, right there on the cover as part of the beautifully printed and designed graphics. Not only does that give you a great first impression, which alone is priceless, but it also says a lot about the person or organisation handing it over to you. They did their research. They thought ahead. They are proactive. They are highly organised and professional — and they did this just for you. They really want to work with you. You are important to them.

So, already, you have a good feeling about the possible partnership. Let’s take this a step further though; if you open the catalogue, booklet or manual and continue to see your name or company name mentioned, the impression is even greater. The people that handed it to you really want to do business with you!

Now imagine that the piece of literature has elements of graphics, text and information in it that only applies to you and your organisation — and no other. Perhaps your company logo is even featured in the printing. This is one piece of sales or marketing literature that you are not going to discard in a hurry! Although it is professionally designed and printed, there is stuff in there that is for you — and you alone. These guys really mean business!

This is personalised printing at its very best

We mentioned Personalised Printing in our ‘Variable Data Printing’ post before but here we’re building on that to show the types of ‘real world’ use such personalised printing allows — ultra close targeting leading to incredibly high engagement levels. Now that’s impressive — and represents just the kind of return on investment you should be looking for from your sales and marketing literature. Sales and marketing collateral that delivers. When planned and executed well, it delivers an exceptional first impression and much warmer prospects. Prospects that are far more likely to convert into customers, or repeat customers. Read more

Firstpoint print clerkenwell EC1 branch

Our Clerkenwell Branch – in the Spotlight

Firstpoint print clerkenwell EC1 branch

Beginning this month we thought we’d put the spotlight on each of the individual branches of Firstpoint Print. First, we’ll take a look at our Clerkenwell branch.

Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell, EC1

Our Clerkenwell branch is based in St. John’s Lane, in London’s EC1 region. This is conveniently situated just a few minutes’ walk from both Farringdon and Barbican stations. As such, this professional printer is within very close reach of local businesses and organisations in any of the following areas:

  • Angel
  • Bank
  • Barbican
  • Blackfriars
  • Clerkenwell
  • Covent Garden
  • Euston
  • Farringdon

  • Finsbury
  • Fitzrovia
  • Holborn
  • King’s Cross
  • Leicester Square
  • Mansion House
  • Monument
  • Moorgate

  • Old Street
  • Pentonville
  • Russell Square
  • St Pancras
  • Shoreditch
  • Temple
  • The City
  • Whitechapel

So, if you require printing and design work and are in one of those locations, our Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell branch will be a very convenient choice.

For those further away, the Clerkenwell branch also has online facilities which allow artwork files, briefs and quotation requests to be uploaded easily and quickly. Moreover, the EC1 facilities include an entirely online web-to-print facility which allows customers to prepare, save and edit their own design and artwork then simply click a button to send it to print. Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell then takes care of the rest and customers will have a quotation, proof or finished job with them in no time at all.

What can Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell supply?

Like all the Firstpoint Print branches, the Clerkenwell branch has an in-house creative and technical team so can produce graphic design and artwork should customers not be supplying their own. Once we have artwork we can supply a digitally printed proof for approval and sign-off prior to committing to a full print run. We can then produce the final printing whether it’s to be lithographically printeddigitally printed or printed on our large format printing presses. Like other branches, Clerkenwell also offers a full print management service as well as its innovative web-to-print service that we described above. With all these services available in-house, customers of Firstpoint Print Clerkenwell benefit from the very best mix of high quality, unbeatable speed and extremely competitive pricing. Read more

Printing terms & jargon - explained

Printing Terms & Jargon – Explained

Printing terms & jargon - explained

It’s sometimes easy for printers to forget that not everyone will understand some of the common terms and jargon that is spoken within the industry. For example, printers may refer to ‘process printing’, ‘CMYK’, ‘bleed’ or even ‘trapping’. But what do each of these actually mean? Here we explain …

Above the fold
This refers to the part of a document which you first see, for instance the top half of a document or, for websites, the part of a web page which you see without having to scroll down vertically.

Accordion fold
A way of folding a document or brochure so that it concertinas open/closed.

.ai file
An Adobe Illustrator file type (usually used for vector graphics like logos, charts or illustrations).

Ampersand
The letter &, meaning ‘and’.

Art paper
This is a type of paper, commonly used in commercial printing, which has a coating of a clay-based compound, to give it a very smooth surface on which the printer’s ink will sit without absorption. This usually results in the best type of printed result (e.g. saturated colours and good contrast).

Artwork
The type of professional digital file supplied to commercial printers, from which to print (if digital printing) or make plates (if litho printing). Click here for a guide to supplying artwork.

Binding
The fastening together of pages (e.g. of a book, manual or brochure). Examples include perfect binding, wiro binding, saddle stitch binding, hard binding and soft binding.

Bleed
An extra extension of images or graphics beyond the edge of a printed page or sheet (usually 3mm in width). This makes sure that, once trimmed, any images or graphic which extend to the edge of the sheet do not have an unwanted white margin.

Blind Emboss
An unprinted image, formed in relief, using a metal ‘die’ which is forced against the paper or card under pressure. Read more

What we can print

We print almost anything!

What we can print

We’re often asked if we print particular items, for example, “Do you print NCR sets?” … “Can you overprint envelopes” … “Do you do packaging” and so on. Well, the good news is that our answer is nearly always “Yes!” We can print any kind of stationery item, virtually any item of sales and marketing collateral and almost any type of large format graphics. However, it goes way beyond those simple categories — take a look:

Stationery

We regularly print:

  • Business & personal stationery
  • Letterheads
  • Continuation sheets
  • Compliments slips
  • Business cards
  • Corporate envelopes

Sales & Marketing Collateral

The following are no problem at all:

  • Brochures & booklets
  • Catalogues
  • Manuals
  • Flyers & leaflets
  • Newsletters
  • Folders
  • Annual reports
  • Labels and stickers
  • Variable data mail shots
  • Direct mailers
  • Pop-ups & cardboard engineering
  • Overprinted envelopes
  • Programmes
  • Postcards
  • Name tags
  • Point-of-sale signs
  • Point-of-sale flyers
  • Corporate manuals
  • NCR sets
  • Forms

Packaging

If it’s printed digitally or via litho printing, then packaging is also no problem here at Firstpoint Print. For example:

  • Cartons
  • Pillow packs
  • Sleeves
  • Header cards
  • Hanging packs
  • Labels
  • Swing tags
  • CD and DVD inserts and covers
  • Printed dust jackets for books;
  • Sample packs and swatch packs etc.

Large format printing

Need something printed large? No problem — we can produce all this and more: Read more

Guide to online marketing, part 3

A Guide to Online Marketing: Part 3

Guide to online marketing, part 3

In part 3 of our guide to online marketing we cover some tips and tricks relating to more advanced online marketing activities. These include an introduction to Search Engine Optimisation and the use of paid services such as Google AdWords, along with some simple, common-sense actions you can take in order to convert ‘new’ customers into ‘repeat’ customers. Many of those tips can also be applied to physical stores and businesses of course; not just online marketing, as you’ll see.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search engine optimisation (‘SEO’ for short) involves the sometimes slightly technical ways you can improve your site’s pages or blog’s posts in order to give them a potential ‘lift’ in the search engine rankings. It’s very worthwhile, after all it’s better to potentially appear on page 1 of Google for your product or service than being buried on pages deeper into the search results.

While a full course in SEO is beyond the scope of this relatively short blog post, there are some fairly quick and easy SEO tips and tricks you can implement yourself, particularly if your website has a content management system (‘CMS’) with the right in-built tools (Firstpoint Print can of course help with that if your site needs an upgrade – we also do website design and development in case you didn’t know):

Meta tags

  • Make sure you write well-crafted meta tags for every page and post on your website. The meta tags are largely invisible to humans but are avidly ‘read’ by search engines as a way to find out what your page or post (and site as a whole) are about, which then helps them to decide, at least partly, how high your page or post should rank for search queries being entered into the search engine. Any good website content management system should allow you to change these meta tags within admin so ask your webmaster where to look if this is new to you.
  • The title meta tag should be a 60-70 character (roughly 8 to 11 words max.) synopsis of what your page or post is about, ideally in proper sentence structure, not just a list of keywords;
  • The description meta tag should be a longer version of the same thing i.e. a 24 words (max.) description of what your page or post is about, written again in proper sentence form;
  • The keywords meta tag should include a list of 10 to 24 of your post or page’s most important keywords, each separated by one comma and one space. Use single words and do not repeat any word more than once within this tag (so printing, printers, litho, digital, large, format, brochures, leaflets, flyers, london (etc) would be correct but printers in london, printing in london, litho printers (etc) would be wrong due to the repetition of ‘printers’ and ‘london’ — that approach being a common mistake which I see all the time). Note also how the keywords tag is best in lower case as most people use lower case when searching online;
  • In all 3 of the above meta tags use your page or post’s most important keyword(s) only once, preferably at or towards the start of each, and do not repeat them again in any one of the tags (however they should appear in all 3, i.e. once in each if important).
  • It’s actually easier to write these meta tags in reverse order, i.e. keywords tag first, then the description tag, then the title tag last. That way the most important keywords can be identified and put into order easily in the keywords tag, then that can be used as reference when writing the description tag. Finally the title tag is often a shortened version of the description tag. (Editor’s note: I use this approach myself, including on the post you are reading right now).

‘Alt’ tags

  • ‘Alt’ tags are the little image descriptors which pop up when you hover over photographs and images when using web browsers like Internet Explorer (however they may not show in other browsers like FireFox). They are useful for SEO and can be used in a similar way to the meta tags as they are visible to search engines whether or not they are visible to human visitors. If your site has a content management system it will usually allow you to enter ‘alt’ text (short for ‘alternative’ text) into a field when adding an image. If you can’t spot where, ask your webmaster where to look.
  • As with the meta tags, use your page or post’s most important keywords at the start of the first photo’s ‘alt’ tag. The words you enter should describe the image concerned. However, particularly if this is the first editable image on the page/post, they can also include your page or post’s most important keywords (in sentence form not a list) which will help with SEO if done correctly. As with meta tags, try not to repeat any one keyword more than once. So if your main keyword or phrase (e.g. ‘Printing services in London”) is mentioned in your page or post’s first alt tag (for the first photo) then don’t mention that keyword/phrase again – if you can help it – for photos further down the same page or post.

 Internal linking

  • If your page or post mentions or refers to another product or service on your site or blog, make sure you cross-link (hyperlink) to the page or post concerned. That helps both visitors and search engines what the ‘target’ page/post is all about and helps a little with SEO. The concept might make more sense with the following example which shows several hyperlinks each aiming at a different target page or post: We are a printer based in Central London with graphic design, lithographic printing, digital printing and large format printing facilities.
  • Note how we’ve also made the internal hyperlinks bold (this helps with visibility as well as SEO);
  • Note also how the links have been put on the relevant keywords.

‘Search-engine-friendly’ titles and sub-titles

  • If your website or blog is built on a search-engine-friendly platform (like the websites we supply at Firstpoint Print) then in admin you will usually have a choice of heading styles called ‘Heading 1’ through to ‘Heading 6’ (or they might be called ‘H1’ through to ‘H6’ etc.). If so, these are usually ‘search-engine-friendly’ heading and sub-heading styles. Heading 1 (or h1) is usually automatically reserved for your page or post’s main heading, so usually you don’t need to worry about that. However, SEO professionals usually recommend that most pages and posts should include sub-headings throughout the text. This not only helps visitors to pick out areas of particular interest and to structure the page, but also potentially helps with SEO (for better search engine positions), particularly if those sub-headings use those pre-set heading styles mentioned above and include your all-important keywords and phrases.

While these simple SEO techniques usually help to improve search engine rankings, we should mention that, these days, they are seldom enough all on their own to take you to page 1 on Google; you need to keep the long-term momentum up on everything else we’ve taught in these guides in order for that to be possible, realistically, unless you happen to be in a very tiny niche with very little competition. Google and their like have made us have to work very hard, these days, for free page one rankings — but it is possible with great care and persistence. Indeed, at the time of writing, the site you are looking at right now ranks very well for our targeted keywords and phrases so the hard work can and usually does pay off eventually.

Google AdWords

If your site is not yet ranking ‘naturally’ on Google or your SEO and online marketing efforts are not yet seeing results and bringing qualified traffic to your website, then consider signing up to Google AdWords so that you get some ‘instant’, qualified traffic using their ‘pay-per-click’ advertising model. Read more

A guide to online marketing (Part 2)

A Guide to Online Marketing: Part 2

A guide to online marketing (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our Guide to Online Marketing we outlined how to set up the right foundations before actively engaging in online marketing activities. Those good foundations will really pay off in the long run. Now, in Part 2, we explain how to engage with your target audience. This is the real key to online marketing success, both directly as it encourages prospects to become customers and indirectly because of the positive knock-on benefits to search engine rankings.

Engage Customers on Your Website

Rather than assuming that the building of your core website is a one-time activity which is finished after you’ve added content about your company, products and services, go a step further and think of it from a potential customer’s point of view. What else would they like to see when they arrive at your site? As well as showing decent product/service photographs and detailed text content and specifications etc., one of the best things you can add to your site is ‘Social Proof’ which, as the name suggests, is visible proof that you offer a good service and that your products or services are liked by people who have bought from you before.

Social Proof Improves Trust

Many online purchasing decisions come down to one word — trust. So — on your website add some genuine testimonials, recommendations, reviews and quotations from happy customers who have tried, and liked, your product or service in the past. Testimonials will naturally come to you if you offer a good product or service and communicate well with those who have ordered or enquired. However, if you’re just starting out, you may not have any testimonials or reviews yet. So, be proactive and simply ask a few early customers for their thoughts on your offering and, of course, for their permission for you to publish them and then you can get the ‘trust’ ball rolling. Publishing testimonials, reviews and displaying genuine ‘star ratings’ on your website can be the difference between whether someone orders from you – and whether they go elsewhere. This is known as ‘social proof’ and is like gold dust when it comes to online marketing. Indeed the likes of Amazon and eBay have whole Social Proof systems built into their sites so that visitors can check out the vendor and their feedback history, as well as a star rating for many of the products, although you do not need to go this far when you’re starting out — more sophisticated social proof systems can come later.

Fast, Responsive Feedback

Live Chat is another feature which can be seamlessly and easily added to your website, particularly if Firstpoint Print has built your website for you. This feature allows customers to interact with you via a live messaging system, right there on your website. The system allows site visitors to tap out a query which you can instantly respond to. Again, a quick response of the right nature can be the difference between the prospect ordering from you and becoming a customer, or going elsewhere. Many prospects actually prefer live chat on a website to calling by phone, however it should only be used if you have someone at the ready at all times when the system is live because there is nothing more infuriating than being ignored, particularly when you’re a customer who is virtually ready to buy. So if you add Live Chat to your site, make sure it is used well and, for example, deactivated when nobody is around to deal with the incoming enquiries. Another tip for Live Chat is *not* to bug site visitors by forcing a pop-up message onto their screens asking them if they would like to chat. If they want to message a query, they will click the appropriate live chat button on your site and do not need to be prompted. Moreover prompting them the moment they arrive may well scare them off — people do not like the feeling that they are being watched.

Feedback forms & contact telephone numbers and other means of communication are, of course, an absolute necessity on websites and they should be easy to find. At all times you simply must give your potential customers the chance to ask questions, after all they’re likely to spend good money and therefore need to be sure they’re making the right decision by buying from you. You should also make your physical address easily found on your site. If you don’t, you will immediately lose trust from your visitor, who should be able to find out where you or your organisation are based. Many in the UK, including myself, will be looking to buy from a UK-based business so don’t fail this simple test of trust.  Tell them where you are on a contact page or perhaps in a ‘footer’ area on every page.

Customer Satisfaction is Paramount

Customer satisfaction usually comes down to: Read more