Despite claims that all marketing is headed for the web, printed marketing materials can be crucial to your small business. Brochures, business cards and other printed materials can help you stick in a prospective customer’s mind in a way that a website may not. After all, it’s easier to keep a business card than it is to keep track of a business website. The importance of your printed marketing materials means that you need to make sure that they’re high quality. In some cases, that can mean paying extra to get the best printing — but if you know the facts about getting your marketing materials printed, you can often find better deals with better printers.
However, knowing what’s important when it comes to using a printer can be rather tricky, especially if you’ve never had anything printed before. In order for you to understand what’s involved with the printing process, here are 5 facts you need to know.
5 Must-Know Facts about Printing
- Design is an add-on: No matter what printer you work with, you’ll find that his or her primary business is definitely not design. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a printer with a good design staff, but the cost of the design work will almost always be more than you can arrange through an individual designer. If your preferred printer recommends a designer or two, it’s fine to check them out — but you’ll often find a better price by looking for a designer on your own. The only drawback with bringing in your own designer is that you must make sure that your designer gets the printer’s specs. An experienced graphic designer can tell you exactly what specifications he or she needs to complete your project.
- Not all printers are created equal: Different printers offer different specialties. Online printing solutions, for instance, offer good quality service on relatively simple projects. If you need a business card — and you already have the design — you can get them printed up with high quality and low expense by going online. But those same printers just can’t offer as good a solution on anything even a little out of the ordinary. In those circumstances, you’ll be better off with a printer you can describe your needs to in person.
- Paper makes all the difference: While the weight or brightness of a paper may not seem important, it can make a huge difference in how your marketing materials turn out. You have to know throughout the planning, designing and printing portions of the process just what paper you are going to use — a change in materials at any point can change both your budget and just what your designer and printer need to do to guarantee a quality product. Printers are very aware of this fact, and a good printer will walk you through your paper options if you ask.
- Go local and make a deal: If budget is a concern whenever you’re thinking about a new marketing project, it’s important to build a close relationship with a local printer. Small print shops have more flexibility to make deals. If, for instance, you’re willing to work with the paper the printer has on hand, it can make a major difference to your budget. It is important, however, to keep in mind that paper costs are on the rise, reducing just how much of a bargain you can make.
- Consistency is crucial: No matter how many copies of a particular marketing piece you’re printing up today, you’re probably going to have to go back for another batch at some point. Business cards are a good example — you’ll probably be using the same business card design for quite a while, and you want each printing of your business card to look the same. That means going back to the same printer whenever you can. If you want to make sure your business cards match your brochure (and it’s definitely worthwhile to do so), you’ll also want to be able to go back to your designer.
With these facts in hand, you can set out to find a printer capable of completing your project — within your budget. As you work through a few printing projects, you’ll find that you’ll pick up more information about printing and what kinds of materials you can use to market your business. But you’ll also find yourself coming back to these simple facts time and again.
If all of this information seems like too much to process, you could hire someone trusted to do it all for you. Most marketing companies, including SmallFuel, will handle all of these details and be able to make informed and insightful marketing decisions based on your needs and marketing goals.
What do you do? Any tips or suggestions we’ve left out?
Top image by kubina.