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The Power of Paper Holiday Cards and Print Marketing

Your Business will Make an Impression with Real Paper Holiday Cards

I’m a designer by trade, but I’ve recently spent some time in the book publishing industry as well. When I found myself among these noble, literary traditionalists in 2011, the ‘digital revolution’ was well under way, and publishing houses were abuzz with speculation and even a bit of hand-wringing about the future of the printed tome. At the time, I’d been working in printing for close to ten years, and even I wondered if print was indeed rasping. Publishers were busy adapting their products and workflows to accommodate the e-reader, the hand-held device, and eventually, the tablet. The transition wasn’t too painful, but it was a necessary toil, and by 2014, as we collectively waited for the other shoe as they say, e-book sales began to level off and print editions ticked back up again. This after some years of decline following the 2007 launch of the Kindle garnered sighs of relief all around, and mine was not just for the paperbacks. I was thrilled to have been vindicated in my belief that print marketing—the ever artful greeting card included—and its impact could not be replaced by ones and zeroes.

Some Praise for the Digital Revolution

Reducing paper waste in any office environment is a good thing, I’m sure we can all agree. It’s simple enough for a company to establish guidelines for what needs a paper trail and what doesn’t. Supply and storage costs can be spared when we shift our notions about what actually requires a hard copy. While we’ve been doing this—while we’ve been altering our perspective on what should be printed, it seems we’ve rediscovered the artistry of printing technology, thus demanding the best from both media.

The Deeper Impression of Print

Research has shown that printed marketing (direct mail, for instance) is easier on the brain than digital advertising—requires less cognitive effort. This extremely brief article points to a deeper emotional impression with something that you actually hold in your hand. Therein lies the key. I’ve sent a sum total of three e-greetings in my entire life. Back in ’06, I thought they were adorable. But they don’t feel the same, to send as well as to receive. Something you can touch is more personal. It’s yours, you can put it in your pocket and count it among your possessions. Web ads have their usefulness, but in the end are mere flickers of light.

The Impression of Paper Holiday Cards

Greeting ‘scrolls’ and handmade paper cards were being exchanged as early as the 14th century at least, as this fantastic four minute video will attest.

Fast-forward about 600 years and it seemed it was all over for Santa and Cupid, and for the artists who would render them. I started receiving e-cards in the early 2000s from family members who lived out of state. Those communications were quickly forgotten, but every year during the holidays, I get a fresh giggle when I remember a Christmas card my uncle once sent me that featured “Tater tots with their eyes all aglow.” I’m not kidding, and I know it’s hokey as heck, but the little photo of crispy spud treats with googly eyes and endearing grins hand-drawn onto them made an impression that has lasted almost 30 years.

The Planet Also Likes Your Card

It didn’t take long for the results of the digital revolution’s impact, for good or ill, on the environment to come back as data points. Those who pay attention to such things found that digital communication comes with its own set of complications, environmentally speaking, in the form of electricity consumption and CO2 emissions. Early cries of ‘Go digital, go green’ were well-intentioned but just plain false, and now constitute ‘green-washing.’ It turns out, a more targeted  demand for paper products, (packaging, fine printing, etc.) in conjunction with measured application of digital media for communication creates incentives for effective forest management. Again, it’s all about utilizing both technologies to their utmost potential. Bottom line: printed marketing makes a strong emotional connection, so put it to work for your valued business communications. And enjoy browsing our extensive collection of holiday cards for business!

 

 

 

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Small Business Marketing – The Essential UTM Creator

If your responsibilities as a marketer include managing your company’s email or newsletter, then you know how important it is to also track the results from those campaigns using UTMs* – and a handy UTM creator will make your life easier. You may have links to several articles in your newsletter, or you may be using a call-to-action (CTA) to connect readers to your Facebook page or Instagram feed. Either way, you’ll want to track each CTA with unique UTM parameters, so that you know which items are of most interest in engaging your audience. (For you data-driven marketers out there, a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) is simply a tag appended to the end of a link, which allows you to track specific campaigns and traffic sources in your Google Analytics account.) Many of you may already be creating UTMs, but struggle with building and keeping track of them in an organized way – at Cardphile, we sure did until now. We’ve just recently discovered this genius little UTM Creator and wanted to share it with you! You can even hook it up to your bit.ly account and it automatically generates and saves your new shortlinks to a spreadsheet.

Step 1: Visit effinamazing.com, click on “Get it” and follow the steps in the great instructional videos for a free trial (no affiliate marketing for us – we just like the tool). If you like it, it’s only $5/month or $50 for a whole year of unlimited use. That’s a bargain in our book.UTM creator tool for marketers

Step 2: Watch the videos, sign up and connect a gmail account (see our tips below), then grab the Effin Amazing UTM Builder extension from the Chrome Web Store and add to your Chrome toolbar. utm creator setup videos and support

Step 3: Connect it to your bit.ly account, set your presets and you’re off to the races!the essential UTM creator tool for marketers

A couple tips that have worked for us:

  1. Create a shared gmail account if you want multiple team members to have access to the same tool and saved google docs sheet.
  2. Consider re-using your shiny new UTMs for recurring items – like your logo header in a monthly newsletter for example.

*If you’re new to using UTMs – you’ll find a very thorough explanation about what they are, and how to use them to accurately track your referral traffic, by downloading this free ebook, The Ultimate Guide to UTMs, written by the folks at effinamazing.com (yeah, funny name but super helpful people).

We hope you’ll enjoy this great little time-saving tool. Let us know what you think!

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There’s Nothing Worse Than Bad Business Cards.

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Professional looking business cards are a marketing must.

There are many things you can learn about a company by their business cards; identity, clarity and corporate image to name a few.

Nothing says you mean business more than an awesome business card. Cards that really work are the ones which need no introduction. The recipient knows what the company does before they are introduced and a lasting impression has been successfully set.

As a member of the design profession, I have a personal interest in how firms and individuals handle this. I’m not obsessed, but close. I have two groups of cards that I have been collecting—the great, well designed & printed business cards and the… not so great. Within a small circle, my collection has become known as my reference library, my house of cards! When the opportunity arises, I also like to track the progress a company is making over time. Although business cards are just a small piece of paper, they also seem to function as a corporate weather vane.

High quality business cards represent your firm when you’re no longer in the room – don’t let them say the wrong things about you!

Generally speaking, when times are tough, a lot of companies seem to cut back in the wrong areas. Nothing screams that your business is in trouble like cutting back on the quality of your business cards. That’s the equivalent of telling your staff that every day is casual Friday.

Recently, I had a meeting with representatives of a large corporation. The interesting thing about the meeting was that not only had they scaled back on their business card printing quality but on the paper quality as well since the last time we met. This struck me as odd, because “quality” was part of  their core mission statement. One could assume that this was probably a good example of someone within the organization looking for places to cut costs and thinking that targeting the business cards was a good option. Shortly after the meeting, the company publicly announced that they were in the middle of a reorganization and cut-backs. Because of their size, the cost “savings” realized by choosing flimsier business card stock and cheaper printing probably amounted to a somewhat substantial savings on one level. However, on another level, it telegraphed trouble and probably wasn’t the impression their front line sales people wanted to leave with their clients.

For fun, I’ve compiled a list of the Bottom 10, painfully obvious, business card infractions.

 Each one on the list has been well represented in my pile of memorable business cards – but for the wrong reasons.

1. Dog eared.
2. Thin paper.
3. Dirty.
4. Raised thermal printing—usually in black ink.
5. Your name written on someone else’s card.
6. More fonts used than on a ransom note.
7. Cliché clip art.
8. More text and contact information than a phone book—if you’re old enough to remember them.
9. Not using the second side for clear branding.
10. Random graphics that don’t support your brand or type of business.

So don’t do any of that. Send your business card files to Cardphile and we’ll make sure you end up with high quality, printed business cards that look great at a price that won’t hurt. (Online business card ordering available here in April.)

What are your business card pet peeves? Let us know what you like – we listen!

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4 Client Communication Tools That Work

The Professional Services Management Journal, PSMJ, can be a great resource for professional firms and their marketers. In particular, of course, we appreciated their mention of the value of the “two-minute” touch (including a hand written note to your clients).

In a nutshell:

  1. Schedule weekly calls for active projects.
  2. Assign one primary contact to pursue feedback.
  3. Ensure your project manager is keeping a to do list and checking things off.
  4. Make frequent “touches” – and a hand written note card is the perfect vehicle.

Goldilocks would approve—Cardphile has the perfect solution for your note card dilemma. Our custom, corporate logo note cards sport your own full color logo on the front, and are just the right size for a short note of thanks, appreciation or congratulation. We call them client communication tools, but you might call them business thank you cards.

Client Communication Materials