It seems everyone’s pushing for online marketing these days. No doubt it’s because creating a web presence for your small business is an incredibly cost effective way to spread the word. It’s not the only way, though. Believe it or not, there are a number of ways to market your business that have nothing to do with its website. One of the most time tested is print marketing.
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Top Online Printing Vendors
Today, there are a number of websites designed to help small business owners design and print all kinds of traditional, print marketing materials from their office or home – and the possibilities extend far beyond business cards. Today’s online print marketing vendors can help you create essentially anything one might find in an office setting, with your business’s name on it, such as:
- Banners, pamphlets, stationary, or checks
- Greeting cards and invitations
- Promotional items like magnets, calendars, coffee mugs, t-shirts and pens
- Branded USB flash drives, phone cases, mouse pads, and more
When well designed, materials like these can mean the difference between bringing in a new lead and getting lost in a sea of competitors marketing strictly on the Internet. That being said, it can be difficult to find a vendor that works well for you – simply because there are so many to choose from!
Things to consider when picking an online printing vendor
Creating print marketing materials from home can be extremely cost effective, but only if you’re working with a vendor who has simplified their website to allow for ease of selection, design, and order fulfillment. When shopping around, there are a few important categories you can use to compare vendors.
Printing Process & Quality
If you’re running a small business, you probably already know that, 9 times out of 10, you get what you pay for. This rule holds especially true for print marketing vendors. The promise of printing your logo on just about anything is enticing, but it only really comes true if the vendor uses quality printing methods. Really the only way to test if a given vendor’s prints will be good is to do a trial run; so, before you go and order 500 customized bottle openers, to be given to all new leads, place a smaller order to make sure they look good Their quality will reflect your business.
Design Tools & Selection
Part of the allure of online print marketing is that it can be utilized by anyone with a minimum amount of computer literacy – no graphic design experience required. At the same time, some vendors make the design experience easier than others. Almost every vendor will have some form of logo upload, but the drag and drop design features present on each website will vary greatly. Playing around on a few different websites to find one that you’re most comfortable using before you order can help to ensure the highest quality end product possible.
Customer Service & Support
Ordering 1000 custom printed, promotional key chains and having them sent to your doorstep is just one of the many miracles made possible by modern day logistics. Things don’t always go so smoothly, however. As with any online service, finding a print marketing vendor that offers quality customer service and support is key. This, too, is something you can play around with. Simply give the support line a call while you’re designing something, play dumb, and see how they respond. A good vendor will be patient and helpful, and that’s a vendor you’ll want to keep around.
Pricing and Options
Print quality, design interface, and customer service aside, at the end of the day you’re going to want to find a vendor that’s affordable. With most vendors, it’s usually a case of “the more you buy, the more you save,” but some of the more established companies offer weekly deals and even premium membership accounts. It’s best to find a vendor with pricing options that work for you. Will you just be printing some business cards once? Or do you intend to embark on a full force print marketing campaign?
Shipping – Cost and Speed
When print marketing your small business, it’s important to remember that results won’t be instantaneous. That because, unlike email, print marketing materials have to be physically shipped! That being said, the best vendors around are the ones that offer expedited shipping. You will pay more for this service, but if you’re trying to meet a deadline it can be worth the cost.
Once you have narrowed your selection down to one or two high quality vendors, you’ll find that your formatting possibilities are virtually endless. Say you want to put your message onto paper with words. The question then becomes: What size paper (and how many words)? Most print marketing services can help you create anything from a standard sized business card to an 8×3 banner. In between there’s postcards, flyers, and brochures. The beauty of print marketing is that, in a lot of ways, it’s still more versatile than a website. Print marketing allows you to reach an audience wherever they may go, regardless of any smartphone, tablet, or other type of computer.