NEW YEAR NEW START

Green shoots….. new start. So nearly 2014 ‘Carpe Diem’ – seize the day, ‘He who dares wins, Rodney’.
All words of encouragement to start your own business and make it rich! BUT make no mistake it won’t be easy and it MUST be done right! Consider is it worth it, or if you don’t take the plunge, will you always wonder what if?
Before getting started you’ll need the business plan, market research and of course what is easy to overlook, the ‘Brand’. Your brand is what gives your company its identity and of course an important part of the brand is the stationery and leaflets you need in order to market and promote your business. 
SAVE REAL CASH - thanks to the Print Doctor

SAVE REAL CASH – thanks to the Print Doctor

The problem is money, it always comes down to that. The business plan and market research you can do yourself but the branding and stationery needs investment, but there are ways to reduce costs……
Remember the following tips and you will save money.
Think about colours and style. If you see a letterhead or business card with a font or colours you like, save it. Look at the competition to see what others in a similar business are doing and how they project their image. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and there’s no point reinventing the wheel, but you can still inject your own individuality to ensure you stand out from your competitors.
When you visit your friendly printer, ask if they have Business Star-Up packs. These will consist of business cards, letterheads, invoices and compliment slips, everything you need to get started and will save you money.
Business Start Up PacksOften you can get a deal on artwork too! So flutter your eyes, use your best powers of persuasion or twist your printer’s arm!
If you decide not to go for a pack, then remember the unit price drops dramatically the greater the quantity. As a rough rule of thumb, if you double the quantity the cost rises by only 50%.
All printers charge for mixing the colours, so a two colour letterhead is cheaper than a four colour letterhead.
If you need letterheads and compliment slips order them at the same time and you’ll only pay for the mixes once!
We have produced Business Start-Up Packs for years and you don’t have to be a start-up to take advantage, so grab a deal.
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WHAT COLOUR IS THIS?

mcdonaldsYour corporate identity is the key to you recognition! Whether you are an established business or a start up business! Think of the golden ‘M’ of Mcdonalds, the green and yellow flower of the BP logo or the yellow and red shield of Shell! What do they have in common… colour!

But how do you define your corporate colour? It is not as straight forward as you think – the dilemma is Pantone or CMYK! When it comes to print there are two methods of producing a colour. The universal method is the Pantone matching system, a colour is defined by a number. By looking up the number in the Pantone book you get the recipe that tells you which colours and in which proportions give the colour you desire! Better still it is a world wide system, so make sure you know the PMS number of your corporate colours! So if you have leaflets printed in Japan, or a menu printed in the U.S.A your corporate style is safe.
The issue is you need to maintain your corporate identity’s colours and you want to use them in a brochure or leaflet with colour pictures. The problem is that a picture is printed in a different way and uses the CMYK process. CMYK? Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black. By printing these four colours in varying proportions you can generate all the colours of the rainbow. But the problem as we will discover in a future blog is that some colours will not reproduce faithfully. For some companies when producing a brochure or report and accounts or menu, then printing a fifth or six or even more colours are used to maintain the all important corporate or house style!
The problem is some colours do not reproduce faithfully to the ‘Pantone ‘ book. The problem can be exaggerated by the paper if coated or uncoated paper is used then the colour will appear different, as can be seen in the earlier blog ‘ALL THAT SHIMMERS IS NOT GOLD-OR AT LEAST DOESN’T LOOK GOLDEN?’
ph_main_logo [Converted]House style is king! The importance cannot be over emphasised, so how you deal with colour matching across all aspects of promoting your business is paramount. The advice from the ‘Print Doctor’ is to take advice. We are here to help, just ask. Our advice is free and we have the experience to assist you and your company, but if you prefer ask you printer he will be keen to help you!
The golden rule is no matter what, a leaflet, your letterhead or business card the colour should ALWAYS be the same. The bottom line is… no matter where your business is based in the world and where in the world you want to advertise or have your printing produced, REMEMBER your PMS number! It is your image, your identity!

 Whatever you do this Christmas remember have a great time and your family is what’s important not the material world!

Live long and Prosper

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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Show you REALLY care this Christmas

Every year I receive e-cards and a note saying ‘we have decided to donate the money we would have spent on Christmas cards to charity and instead sent e-cards’! Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a ‘Scrooge’ and I have my favourite charities, but does everything in life convert to a monetary value? 

For example, ‘Honey I have sold the children and given the money I received for them and the money we would have spent on their upbringing to charity. Is that OK with you’? Well no, the thing that defines humanity is ‘caring’, making an effort for the people you care about.
So do you care about your clients? Your family? Would your life be as complete or as happy if you did not have them? Then prove it, show you care. Make an effort and send a proper card, something that shows you care and you went the extra mile for a friend!
So if you are going that far show it comes from the heart.. send a personalised card. A card with a picture that has meaning, the name of the person YOU care about loud and proud inside. It needn’t cost any more in terms of cash, but you may have to put some effort into it… so are they worth it? DO IT!
50/50 Deal

Your Picture, Your Text… Your Love!

The present doesn’t last and will be broken in a month but the sentiment lasts forever. Everyone remembers a good deed, a hand stretched out in friendship. So ask yourself are your friends worth a proper card and yes give the charity donation as well. So you may be £50 worse off in your bank balance but in the account of your life the credit is incalculable.

Have a great Christmas, show you care, show the love.
Live long and prosper.  :)
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It will do it … But should it?

At the risk of sounding like or becoming a ‘grumpy old man’ it seems to me that we have become infatuated with computers! As time goes by this love affair with technology has made the human race look like a load of love struck teenagers. Blinded by over charged hormones, blinded to common sense and logic. Dribbling and muttering inanely about new technology.

Get a life!

Now I understand that youngsters on a limited budget need to text their friends for reasons of economy, but grown ups with the ability of speech and a modicum of intelligence are perfectly capable of using the telephone. But oh no, they would much rather send an email, then become enraged if the recipient does not respond! The chances are that they missed a ‘dot’ out of the email address and it was never received! But oh no now logic has completely flown the coupe instead of telephoning you to find out why you haven’t responded they send another email to… wait for it…. the same email address!! The final insanity of this is they are probably doing this on their mobile TELEPHONE!

You want to get a message out… leaflets and letters are great! People like them they have worked for hundreds of years! During the war both the enemy and the allies dropped leaflets… they won’t be dropping IPads!

If a computer is capable of doing something that doesn’t mean it should, if it is quicker to pick up a telephone and have a totally interactive conversation which is quick simply and readily understood my adults use the telephone. I go to meetings and someone wants my number instead of taking my business card or scribble it on pad, they get there phone out and waste my time while they try and find the screen or try to work out how the wretched thing works, then try to type on a keyboard even smaller than there intellect! What’s worse it is happening all around me hours are wasted! Notes are great quick easy and permanent, and you can sketch something or draw a map on a pad or the back of an envelope (now that is recycling!) try that on your telephone.

If you want to send greetings to someone send them a card, don’t send an e-card because its is free and then claim you are actually saving the planet! All that shows is you made no real effort it means absolutely nothing and has all the sincerity of a bank manager! If you care show it!

It’s going to Hurt!

For nearly 100 year the quality of sound systems and televisions has increased year on year to the point where massive plasma TV’s and superb ‘all around sound’ are the norm. So what do we do? Start watching on and listening to computers or even worse mobile phones! Or at least we try what we actually do is watch that little round thing go round and round while it apologetically claims to be ‘BUFFERING’. Buffers are what’s on the end of railways line, the ultimate safe guard against a crash. Using these mad devises will cause your intellect to crash and drive your addled brain into the buffers! OUCH!

If you want to know more about traditional and far more sensible solutions to communication problems just call Promotion House Limited.

You know I do feel better for that… live long and prosper!

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What if your client forgot YOU?!

In the last Blog I dispelled the myth that the concept of ‘viral marketing’ was a new one and a product of the Internet. 

The other myth which needs to be dispelled is the idea that SEO (search engine optimisation) will in some way keep your companies name in front of the prospective or indeed existing client. The nonsense about this notion is that the client is going to stop what they are doing, interrupt there productive day and spontaneously look for you! Why is the client going to keep searching for you on the web?

So what can be done to make sure your client notices you without intending too or going out of their way to do so? The answer is obvious well established and proven beyond dought! In fact there are two solutions so you have a choice!

The two solutions to the problem are calenders and desk jotters ‘Oh Yes’ I hear you moan but listen to the argument and compare that to a web based solution (if you can find one that works).

The Marketing Tool… THAT WORKS!!

I have found that desk jotters are the most effective way of reminding your prospect about YOU! It is the only marketing tool I use to promote Promotion House that our clients ask us for. Now (November) is the time I am asked ‘are you doing desk jotters this year’? January onwards ‘have you got a new desk jotter’ as they wave last years doodled, dog eared jotter and in some cases jotters from years gone bye and why??? BECAUSE THEY ARE USEFUL! So people want them, keep them, use them and YOUR name is in front of them literally for the whole year and longer! How can they forget you? The design we use have the calender around three edges our contact details at the bottom. Our logo as a watermark in the middle. The jottors owner won’t throw it away because their important notes, phone numbers etc. are all over them.

The recipient will remember YOU for the whole year!

The other solution is the calendar and don’t say ‘oh yes’ and yawn! Think if they have been around for years and there is a reason.. could it be because they work? People keep them because they are useful, decorative and they work. Always use a design with room to ad comments on each page. I make notes about my MOT (as there is no other reminder) dentist appointments as I want to forget these and this is why your client will keep and use it! I use both marketing tools. The calender costs from as little as £1 per calender for a whole years publicity, sounds like a bargain doesn’t it?

To find out more ask Promotion House always happy to help!

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THE NEW VIRAL MARKETING TOOL?

The original and still the best Viral Marketing

Like a lot of things said about the internet, it just comes down to re-inventing the wheel!

The nerds among us will say that the latest form of marketing is ‘viral marketing’ and that it is spread like a virus using social media. Poppy-cock! There is nothing new about viral marketing and I will give you just one example… the humble printed pad.

The ideal way to market YOUR company consider this, you go to an event be it a breakfast net working event, a exhibition or you just cold call a prospect. You give out or leave to be taken an A6 pad with your company details, see photograph, the recipient picks it and keeps it…why? Because it is of value and will be useful and fits in there pocket or can be left in the car or by the telephone. Every time they write a note they see YOUR name, they can’t help but see it.

But it does not end there this is a true virus and like true viruses is passed on person to person, the recipient writes on the pad tears off the note along with YOUR details and gives it to… well, there best client maybe, HM The Queen well maybe not but it is a possibility no matter how remote! Your message delivered free without you lifting a finger.

I know at least two people who go networking meetings that I go to and take several pads and give them to their clients do I care? NO! All are potential clients! The virus spreads.

I use pads printed by Promotion House in colour and they are very cost effective and very good quality but more over… They work!

The proof: I went to a meeting the other day I had never been to before and I had never met the person on the door. BUT they were writing on one of my pads, I wondered what journey it had been on to arrive there. Now that truly is viral marketing.

If you want to know more click this link. You don’t want your business to catch a cold.

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MAKE IT A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS – DO IT YOURSELF!

This year more than ever the material world seems to be coming apart and the true meaning of Christmas seems to be lost. So this year is the year to ‘do it yourself’ when it comes to Christmas! Christmas Cards made by you for your loved ones may not be as polished the ones you buy at the shops but they contain so much more love!

Go - On Make Your Own!

Remember a few basic rules and spread a little love this Christmas. Simple rules, for example:

  1. Use card at least 250gsm or your cards WILL fall flat!
  2. Remember to use uncoated card, if you use a gloss or silk coated material felt pens and other types of pens will not dry and you will just end up with a smudgy mess!
  3. Make sure your card fits the available envelopes, A5 cards fit a C5 envelope and A6 cards fit a C6 envelopes, for more information. What size do I need?
  4. Use the right glue and be safe PVC glue is ideal for paper and will glue your glitter! Glitter glue pens are also available.

You can have your own picture and text!

 Not sure your creativity is up to it? There are many web sites such as, http://www.cheapleaflets.me/ where you can have your own picture on the front of your cards and your own message in the inside. These can cost a little £50 for 50 cards and 50 envelopes, A5 size on a 330gsm board. But be careful there are rules to follow particularly with the picture:

  1. Make sure the picture is in focus.
  2. Make sure it is nice and bright and colourful
  3. Make sure there is plenty of background around the subject as the edge of the picture will ‘bleed’ off the edge of the card and be trimmed off.
  4. Make sure the picture is the same shape as the card, A5 is a rectangle a square picture will have to have a gap on the sides or be enlarged to fit the width but then you may cut something off you wanted to see!

 Whatever you do this Christmas remember have a great time and your family is what’s important not the material world!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor – Need more help visit the Doctor

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PADS, PERFS & NUMBERS BUT WHY!

Loads of Orders

So you read the Print Doctors Blog and followed the advice and produced really effective and really economical leaflets, or maybe your menu was so mouth-watering in it’s presentation that you are now rushed off your feet with orders, so how are you going to take them, and control them?

It doesn’t matter if you are receiving your order in your restaurant or on the doorstep or in the showroom the answer is the same. In the age of computerisation we find here at Promotion House that people almost more than before are using NCR Pads…. N-what? NCR=No Carbon Required. It is usually 80gsm although there is a 170gsm board weight but available for the bottom sheet only.

The reason why the computer just doesn’t cut it are many you have instant copies, you can draw a sketch, use them anywhere, they can be numbered, have the conditions on the back, be contained in a book, the flexibility goes on and on.

Pads, Pads, Pads

A pad can be any size, and the parts can be the same or all different, for example some fields on the form can be obscured on some parts if there is sensitive information. They can be made into a book with some parts perforated and can be removed while others aren’t and stay in the book. If required, they can be perforated across so perhaps there is a tear off section at the bottom.

Usually the pad has a grey board back to make the pad rigid, it can have a cover that wraps around which has the added advantage of being tucked between the sets to avoid writing through more than one set! As I write this we at Promotion House are producing a pad for a well known store for returned goods, it has three parts, grey board back and a cover, it is numbered in two places on two of the parts and only in one place on the third. The third part is on 170gsm board weight. A complicated pad, which totally four fills the complicated use it is required for

Points to remember:

  • The middle sheet is the most expensive so if you don’t need more than two parts, don’t have them!
  • If you press too hard then you can go through to the set below the one you are using, insert a card divider!
  • There is a special glue which magically glues the sets as sets, so you can give a salesman just one set!
  • There are a choice of colours so plan what would suit your product or service.
  • A pad can be plain paper, makes a great promotional gift, a message pad with your name & logo you give to your clients.

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor – Need more help visit the Doctor

 

 

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IT’S A BIND – BUT IT’S NOT BONDAGE!

Bondage is a Bind

So Shakespeare you’ve written your novel the history of your really, really – yawn exciting life, but how are you going to present it to the world? Well of course you have to print it but how to finish it? Depending on the subject the binding can make a huge difference. Books are practical things and binding can aid the ease with which your book can be used.

At Promotion House we print all types of books, and the type of binding we advice depends on the type of book  you are publishing, for example lots of societies, clubs and fund raisers etc. produce ‘Recipe’ books, these use recipes contributed by donors. The best way to bind such a book is to ‘wire’ bind it, this is like have a large thin spring coiled around the spine. Why I here you say? Well consider being in the kitchen your hands are covered in flour, and the book has the usual type of binding (perfect binding) the book keeps closing and refuses like a spoil child to lay flat, and drives you mad. The wire binding allows the book to lay completely flat! This has many applications for books. Think of some examples, music score books lay nice and flat on your piano, Liberace wouldn’t be without it! Working on your car your hands covered in grease, the manual stays flat on the bench ….. perfect! There is another option to wire binding, that is ‘comb’ binding, it is cheaper than wire and has the advantage of being able to be re-opened and more pages inserted. It isn’t as ‘pretty’ to look at and not as durable, but it is an option!

Proper Binding lasts for Ages

The conventionl paper back binding is ‘perfect binding’ this ideal for books when not being read they stack tight on the shelf they have durable stitched binding. The usual method is to print the book in sections, then stitch the sections together and then glue the spine and the wrap around cover to the book then a final trim and the book is perfect! At Promotion House we print all types if books and finish them all in the most appropriate way.

Finally there are of course other options, such a injection gluing similar to perfect binding but no where near as durable. If you want to be able to remove the leaves or ad leaflets and such additional pages, then of course you can drill the pages and put them into a ring binder. Ring binders come in all colours and capacities. Even having pockets on the covers and spines for adding cover pages.

So there are the options whatever the book there is an option to suit!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor – Need more help visit the Doctor

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LITHO VERSES DIGITAL BUT WHICH WILL SAVE ME MONEY?

In an earlier blog we discussed the history of printing. But currently there are two methods of printing these are Lithography and Digital, but which will save me money?

Why is there never a simple answer to what appears to be a simple question? To answer the question it is necessary to explain something of how both processes work.

An Offset Litho Press

Lithography requires printing plates these are generally made of aluminium, and require fitting onto the machine and registering the different colours into the correct fit and mixing the inks, even on the latest machines that do not require plates these are very expensive. All of these set up costs are the same if you print 1 copy or 1 million copies. Therefore the greater the quantity the lower the unit cost, Lithography is ideal for longer runs.

Ideal for small runs of Business Cards

Traditionally if you wanted 50 business cards or 100 leaflets it was not worth printing them using the Litho method, because in the case of business cards they could end up costing almost one pound each and you would be afraid to give them away! But no longer now we have Digital Printing, based on laser printer technology, the unit cost is based on the ‘click’ charge and machine costs and is the same no matter how long the run. The problem is that the unit cost is relatively high! So ideal for short runs as the quantity goes up it reaches a point when the set up costs of litho are less than the ‘click charge’! An ideal use would be a restaurants menu which may change daily. At Promotion House we have found the break even point is around 500 copies it depends on the size of the sheet and how many images you can get on a sheet! The other unique advantage of Digital is that you can mail merge, (personalise each copy) i.e. number or ad a name and address!

BUT BEWARE…

  1. The toner is fused onto the paper with heat, if you have your letterheads printed digitally then in your office you use a laser printer on your computer to print the letter the heat from your laser could lift the digital image from the paper making a mess inside your laser printer! This isn’t a problem in ink jets as there is no heat.
  2. On older Digital printers the image can crack when the leaflets are folded so they need to be scored first.
  3. NCR material (used for Pads) will not feed very well in Digital machines

An HP Digital Press, NB The C,M,Y,K Toners

CONCLUSION …. AT THIS POINT IN TIME Digital presses are cheaper for short runs with the caution regarding letterheads.

Using the correct method will save you money!

Live long and Prosper

The Print Doctor

 

 

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