Convertible Solutions MultiLoft® Smooth Sheets

Convertible Solutions’ MultiLoft® line of papers offers a smorgasbord of thicknesses and textures to help meet your customers’ variety of needs.  Not long after we introduced MultiLoft, we introduced the Smooth sheet and matching insert.  The smooth sheet gives customers a brighter, bluer white with an even, smooth texture that gives the finished piece a polished, professional feel.   

MultiLoft Smooth sheets are available in both 16pt and 12pt to make sure that any digital press can produce the piece you need.  Once printed and sealed, sheets can be cut into cards of any size or even die cut into specialty shapes for coasters, ornaments, or one of a kind pieces.  Add even more dimension to the piece by pairing the smooth sheets with any of our color inserts, or by offering dual textures with wood, glitter, or even a soft touch for the opposite side of the card.

Click here to see all of our MultiLoft sheet options.  Call 866-832-0217 or email info@convertiblesolutions.com with questions.

The Easel – 5 Design Trends You Should Be All Over

“This is going to be my greatest masterpiece.” That’s the mindset every designer should embrace when it’s time to do what you do best. As you get ready to put your thoughts into motion, remember to embrace every new idea. Following are the leading design trends happening right now, compliments of the Adobe Design Team:

  1. 3D Design – After several years of design “flatness,” there’s a new sheriff in town – 3D. Bringing your life to work in 3D enables you to recreate the world around you and construct new environments and dimensions. Expect to see 3D elements to enhance web pages, and create AR and VR experiences. 3D also will expand into the world of typography, with three-dimensional typefaces that pop off the page and catch the eye.
  2. Minimal meets bold color – The “less is more” mindset has dominated design in recent years. While the trend will continue, it will take on the shape of clean, uncluttered visuals that can help view content on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets. The color pops will continue, as designers take advantage of 70’s inspired palettes with bright colors and gradients. These color combinations lend themselves well to smooth the duotones and fades.
  3. Realism + Flat design – The combination of flat and real-life objects will challenge the way we see design. The chaotic mix of solids will take on the futuristic feel, as they often appear 3D. Flying and floating elements will add to this effect and the overall abstract aesthetic. With a presence in fashion and editorial photography, often combining digital 3D objects with traditional photo shoots, expect to see this technique expand to mainstream advertising.
  4. Eclectic – As pop culture pushes for authenticity and transparency, designers will have to get real, too. The resulting shift in illustration style celebrates the imperfections in art. Look for more projects featuring freestyle doodles, stains of color, unique brush strokes and organic textures. The eclectic shift will push designers away from rigid, grid-based layouts and toward a more asymmetrical approach. Doing so will create a feeling of raw, kinetic movement. The trend currently is happening in packaging design.
  5. Open compositions – Say goodbye to framed finishes and hello to free-flowing final products. Open compositions make people feel like they’re seeing one beautiful piece of a bigger picture. Elements fly on and off the page with ease, creating a glimpse of infinity. The power of open composition is its ability to tap into the audience’s imagination and spark curiosity. See web designs.

Thanks for taking a bit of time to spend on the creative side of Convertible Solutions! If you are a creative, or just interested in creative things, take a moment and send your address to info@convertiblesolutions.com for a free subscription to Paperbilities Magazine.

Meet the team – George Fry

As Executive Vice President, George Fry is an integral part of Convertible Solutions.  His 49 years in the print industry gives him the tools to develop customers, helping them to grow their business, while also pushing Convertible Solutions growth.  However, when we asked him what his FAVORITE part of the job was, he was quite sure that it was the afternoon naps, of which we have photographic evidence.  George loves being spoiled by his wife (and ALL of us in the office pay for that!), as well as eating food that he has not prepared.  He enjoys travelling with his family and between work and pleasure has been to 42 different countries.  After his 2 children grew up and moved out, he proceeded to adopt 2 Chihuahuas, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a Great Pyrenees, and a sheep which he won’t actually name.  George regularly graces the office with his musical renderings and can sing anything from Rod Stewart to Minnie Riperton to Michael Martin Murphy with gusto.  

Does 1:1 Printing Really Make a Difference?

1:1 printingMore and more, we are hearing about 1:1 printing, print personalization, or variable data printing, to achieve higher response rates and better ROI. But does personalizing by name, geographic location, or demographic information really make that much difference? Can’t you just achieve higher response rates with a better offer? An over-sized postcard? Or a really great design?

These things do increase response rates, but they aren’t replacements for a personalized approach. Consider these research findings:

  • 56% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name.  (Accenture)
  • 59% of consumers say that personalization influences their purchase decisions. (Infosys)
  • 84% of consumers say personalization makes them more likely to open a direct mail piece. (InfoTrends)

Personalization works because it’s, well, personal. From a consumer perspective, 1:1 printing is less about what’s good for the marketer and more about what’s good for them.

Why does it work? Just think about how you are being marketed to. What motivates you as a consumer? When you shop online, you are asked to register so that the site can greet you by name. Cookies follow your every move so that when you return, the page views are customized to your purchase or viewing patterns. At the grocery store, your receipt is printed with coupons based on the items you just purchased. When you receive mail from your financial advisor, it contains information only on those funds in which you have invested or that are relevant to you based on your past investment history.

Consumers—all of us—are used to being marketed to on a 1:1 basis, even if we don’t think about it this way. Personalization has become so ingrained in our experience that we barely realize it anymore. If you aren’t incorporating personalization into your print marketing (as well as your email and other digital channels), you are out of step with marketing’s cutting edge.

Need help personalizing your next print or multichannel marketing campaign?  Let us help!

Measure Success Of Your Marketing Efforts

Creating a personalized print or multichannel marketing campaign takes significant investment in time, energy, and resources. You want to get maximum return on your investment. How do you know what is working and what isn’t? You have to measure the results.  

Measuring results goes beyond determining ROI. Sure, it’s important to know what kind of return you are getting, but it’s just as important to ask why you got the results you did. What factors influenced the conversion rate and value per sale? Why was this campaign more or less effective than the one before?

Say you give respondents a chance to win a sweepstakes for $500 if they log into a website and fill out a survey. The campaign generates a 5% response rate with 28% of those responses converting to sales of $200 each. It’s important to calculate the ROI on this campaign, but it’s equally important to test which parts of the campaign were responsible for the results and what happens if you change them.

For example, what if you increase the incentive to $2,500? Does the response rate go up? If so, does the dollar per sale increase, as well? Or does it not have a significant effect on the response rate or value per sale at all?

Don’t stop at one or even two tests. Analyze over time.

  • If you increase the incentive even more, does the response rate continue to go up? Or does it flatten out?
  • Does the effectiveness change based on the audience you are targeting?
  • Does a sweepstakes to win a free mountain bike motivate one audience, while a Nintendo Wii motivates another?

Mix it up, and test, test, test. This is critical intelligence that will help you refine your programs over time and get the maximum results out of your marketing dollars.

Need help? Just ask!

Effective Branding And Its Importance For Your Business

effective brandingEffective branding is one of the cornerstones of any viable marketing strategy, and if you have an interest in growing your business, it is one of the most important parts of your business plan. Effective branding creates an enduring perception in the minds of your customers and distinguishes you from your competitors. An investment in branding can pay off in several ways.  

  • Increase mind share –  When you want a soda, you think of Coca-Cola or Pepsi. If you need a tissue, Kleenex comes to mind. Are you top-of-mind in your market segment? The sensory components of printed materials engage readers on an emotional level, connecting customers to your brand in a way electronic marketing can’t match. Consider incorporating a gloss varnish, embossing, a distinctive die cut, or one of the many textures now available in papers and other substrates.
  • Build loyalty – A memorable experience with a quality brand creates loyalty, which translates not only into the likelihood of a repeat sale but also an increased probability that the customer will buy related items from the same brand.  
  • Benefit from referrals – People who have never used your product or service may still recommend it if they’ve encountered your brand enough times to develop a sense of familiarity. Printed collateral can be more visible to the casual observer as the prospect doesn’t have to consciously seek out your message. Be sure to include your social media information on your printed products.     
  • Command a premium price – Effective branding can lift your product or service out of the ambit of a commodity, so you have buyers eager to pay more for what you’re selling.  Many companies sell coffee, so what makes people stand in line and pay top dollar at Starbucks?  
  • Lower your marketing cost in the long run – Although you have to invest resources to create a strong brand, once it is established you can maintain it without having to re-tell your story. Many budget-conscious marketers rely heavily on electronic media, but research shows that people still prefer print.  We simply don’t have the same visceral reaction to an e-brochure as a professionally printed piece.      
  • Less risk for the consumer equals more sales for you – If someone is put on the spot to make a decision, he will most likely choose the brand-name supplier.  Consider monthly postcard marketing so prospects interact with your brand regularly.  Printed materials have the advantage over electronic media based on portability and permanence.

Effective branding is a continuous process.  Evaluate your brand’s market position periodically to make sure it’s fresh and relevant.  

Sales Literature That Sells

sales literatureSales literature is some of the most important content your business creates. It stands in for you when you’re not around, carrying your brand identity and reputation to the marketplace. It plays a crucial role in your business and needs to be planned out carefully.

The first place to start when creating sales literature is what you’re going to say. Keep your content focused and on point. It’s tempting to overload your documents with every capability and feature you offer, but this can overwhelm and disengage someone who is just learning about you. As they move through the sales funnel, you can introduce them to more information moves them toward converting. At this stage, however, the content should be intriguing and the call to action persuasive enough to inspire the reader to learn more.

Once you have your copy set, the next step is the design of your sales literature. You have just a fraction of a second for someone to decide whether or not they’ll pay attention to your piece. Your design must grab people by the eyeballs and refuse to let them go. Focus on a few tidbits that are important for your audience to know. Awards your business has won recently or facts that will motivate them to action (e.g. 9/10 customers rate our rug cleaning service as heavenly). If your content is the meat and potatoes, your design is the plate presentation. And as anyone on Food Network will tell you, we eat with our eyes first.

Whatever your create, be sure that it fits in with your overall marketing plan. Is the objective to drive new sales, cross-sell to existing customers, or communicate better with your stakeholders? The appropriate format (postcard, circular, product data sheet, package insert, newsletter) will naturally follow. Combinations of different elements—paper types, colors, repetition—can produce powerful subliminal effects, so it is important that you work with a professional designer. Be sure you also consider portability. An oversized piece might gain attention, but what will make someone pick up your piece and take it with them and then pass it along to others?

Even the best sales literature isn’t going to close the sale by itself. What it will do is provide outstanding sales support, reinforce your message, and stay behind as your brand messenger. So pay attention to your sales literature and give it the attention it deserves.

3 Tactics To Build A Future Proof Business

tactics to future proof businessA future proof business may seem impossible with how rapidly the world changes. There’s a few ways to ensure that your business is around for decades to come; though none of them have to do with evolving technology or the latest software. These tactics focus on people. Both your customers and your employees are vital to future proof business in ways that are nearly ironclad.

Do you approach your marketing as short or long-term investment? Increasingly, marketers are taking a long-term view, developing plans to focus on results over months and years as opposed to boosting sales in the next few days or weeks. In this view, marketing has a twofold purpose: to foster immediate sales and to plant seeds for tomorrow.

You must first identify the factors that will further your company’s long-term marketing goals. You might not have a perfect understanding of every looming competitive, economic, legal, sociological, or technological force, but you can be aware of trends in your industry. Arm yourself with information on the longevity and profit potential of your present market’s lifecycle as well as emerging market opportunities so you can begin positioning your business for the future.

These 3 tactics will help you build a future proof business regardless of business size or budget:

  1. Provide Customer Service That Sets The Industry Standard – An angry customer is a golden opportunity to turn them into one of your most loyal customers. If you go above and beyond every single time you will develop a reputation that could be the difference between you and your competitors.
  2. Cultivate Elite Customers – Your best customers, those who are easy to work with, who really like you, and who have a positive history with your company, are a goldmine of quality referrals. Strengthen existing relationships and build new ones by giving your top clients and their guests special offers, insights, and previews of your innovations.
  3. Create Top-Of-Mind Awareness – Not everyone needs your product or service today, but many will at some point in the future. Capitalize on your vision of emerging needs and trends, communicated using our suite of multi-channel marketing tools and techniques, to get your product in front of tomorrow’s customers now.

It takes time for the seeds you plant today to germinate into future business. Essential to all of this is to communicate effectively with your target audience. Consult with us to learn how our technology and expertise can support these efforts.

Logo Redesign Tips

Logo redesignLogo redesign should be approached with the same mindset as updating your home to add some curb appeal. No, really! Your logo is the front porch of your business. It is the image that will likely be the first impression for many prospective customers, so it’s not a project that should be approached lightly. A good logo is an up-to-date visual representation of your brand. It should give your audience(s) a positive feeling about your business. So, don’t open MS Paint, draw a big rectangle, and put some big font over it. That is…not ideal.

If you are considering a logo redesign, here are some things to discuss with your designer (that you’ve vetted thoroughly):

  • What do you want your logo to say about your business? 
  • Who are your competitors and target customers?
  • How will you implement your logo? Print? Web? Social media? This will allow the designer to create a logo that is appropriately scalable.  
  • If your logo relies on gradients, reflections, or other digital effects, how will it look embroidered on a shirt or imprinted on a promotional item? An easy way to figure that out is to look at your logo in its simplest form.  Does it hold its own in black-and-white?  

Answering these questions will help your designer position your brand appropriately, both for the market and for the intended marketing uses.

Let creativity abound. There’s no single formula for creating an effective logo.  Consider the highly visible Microsoft, Olympic, and Starbucks redesigns.  Microsoft unveiled its first new logo in a quarter of a century last year, adding a splash of color and a graphical element to its name. Similarly, the new Olympic logo spelled out Rio 2016 and used the yellow, green and blue of the Brazilian flag. Contrast that with the latest Starbucks logo, which uses only one color and no reference to the Starbucks name or coffee. The green, twin-tailed mermaid represents the brand’s personality rather than the product.  

If logo redesign is important to these marquee brands, it’s certainly something for your business to consider. However, test market any changes with your target audience before embarking on a full-scale redesign. The price of a logo redesign (again) is more than just the cost of the image. It’s the expense of rolling it out across your enterprise.

Don’t enter a logo redesign lightly. Have questions? We’re happy to help!

Digital Printing: How To Take Advantage

digital printingDo you think of digital printing as an output technology or a marketing model? The reality is, it’s both. If you don’t think of digital printing this way, maybe you need to think more broadly about digital print.

Traditionally, marketers have used digital presses to save money and “right size” their print volumes. Print on demand and just in time document management save companies tons of money every year. Marketers who are thinking only in terms of production, however, are missing opportunities to think from a strategic marketing perspective, as well.

Say you take a booth at four industry trade shows per year and print 10,000 brochures to give away. From a cost and logistics perspective, you can use digital output to produce 2,500 brochures at a time. This allows you to minimize your upfront investment and update products between shows. Plus, you don’t need to figure out where to store the extra 7,500 brochures after the first trade show is over.

You can think about digital production from a marketing perspective, as well. Each show might draw a slightly different demographic of attendee. By capitalizing on the benefits of digital production, you can break down the runs into four highly targeted segments. This way, you can tweak the selection of products, messaging, and offers for each show based on who its attendees are and what they are looking for.

As another example, let’s say you are running on a tight budget. You can use digital presses to print and mail only to a portion of your list and have lower out-of-pocket costs. From a marketing perspective, you can also think about how you want to split this list. Do you want to mail only to your highest volume customers? How about your bottom 10%? Try to reactivate dormant customer relationships? By targeting the mailing by customer profile or demographic, you can get a better response from mailing to this portion of your list than you would have from mailing to the entire thing.

These are simple examples, but they illustrate the difference between thinking about digital printing as an output technology and as a marketing model.

How are you thinking about digital printing?

Imagine the Paperbilities® and discover new ideas for your next stellar print project. Our customers share creative samples and ideas to get your mind moving away from that blank screen or page and into an outstanding finished product. For your viewing pleasure -- Enjoy!

Paperbilities®

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