5 ways to get the most out of your store signage

Signs are important. They’ve always been important. They’re never not going to be important.

They act as simple visuals to grab the attention of your customer, but like most things in the marketing and advertising space, they can be done wrong.

That’s why the team at Pel Hughes has put together five ways to get the most out of your store signage:

 

 

  1. Monitor Condition

 

If you’ve used the same sign for several years, it’s more than likely looking a little worse for wear. The edges might be tattered, the coloring could have faded, there might be a stain that just won’t go away.

So what do you do about it?

Get a new one.

Nothing makes a business appear more apathetic than displaying its name and services on a trashed sign. Customers know you see it, and they’ll simply assume that you don’t feel the need to make a change.

Even though this might sound dramatic, they’ll take that personally. They’ll see it as a reflection of how you see them and your business – undeserving of the best.

 

  1. Change it Up

Everyone and their mother wants to be clever these days. Advertising is a game of wit and relevance, and that means the landscape (and your messaging) must constantly evolve.

There’s a chance you had a brilliant sales promotion idea last year. Or maybe you thought of a clever little blip to post on a sign to entice your customers to enter.

But how long ago was that? How many people have passed once, twice, three times, and have gone from thinking “that’s clever” to “wow that’s been there a while….”

You must never give your customers the impression that you just don’t care, and a dated or passe sign will do just that.

Keep it fresh, change it up, and show that no one else cares about your brand more than you.

 

  1. Pay Attention to the Basics

We love clever. We love cute. We love….customers who know the name of your store, how to contact you, and when your doors are open.

This rule is pretty simple: don’t let the art of a gorgeous sign overwhelm the necessity of basic business information.

Do you have a sign that lists business hours? Do you have a phone number on display?

If not, fix it. At the end of the day, your customers need to walk away knowing when they can come back and find the door unlocked.

 

  1. Use High Quality Images

If you want a sign that is image-heavy, you better have some high quality files and a printer with the technology to print them the right way (we know a place).

There is nothing that says “amateaur” more than a pixelated image blown up in a storefront window. Customers will see the image, notice its low quality, and assume that you are what you display – low quality.

Don’t let them think that. Print better images.

 

  1. Watch the Pronouns

Last but not least, language is important. When trying to establish a degree of empathy with your customer, it is important to use “you, your, and you’re” to help them visualize using your product or service.

You want to create a dialogue with your customer, and you can do that by speaking directly to them.

 

Have questions about how to create the most compelling signate for your store? A Pel Hughes, we take this stuff pretty seriously, and we would love to have a chat to talk sign strategy. Give us a call today.

Brochure best practices

Contrary to popular belief, the age of brochures isn’t dead.

Yes, digital is the new normal, but that doesn’t mean that print lacks punch.

Brochures are a fantastic way to quickly introduce your product or service, and they act as a physical reminder of your brand.

But it’s easy to get them wrong….

We’ve all seen the bad ones, right? They’re in horrible fonts with offensive colors and feature low quality images.

And what does that say about the brand? Nothing too great, that’s for sure. We make thousands of snap judgements during our day to day, and how could we not?

We’re ambushed with endless messages, and the ones that look the least promising end up dismissed.

But there’s a way around getting tossed to the wayside! It just requires you to make marketing materials that are relevant, sharp, and ultra-clear in meaning.

 

Here are our 5 Tips for making the best brochure possible…

 

  • Determine your objective

 

 

In short, know what you’re trying to convince your audience to do. Are you trying to increase sign ups to a class? Drive sales of a specific product? Educate people about your business?

Figure out what the specific purpose of your brochure is, and then keep that objective in mind as you create each sentence of copy and add images. Everything should relate back to that objective.

Ask yourself: what am I trying to get my customer to do?

 

 

  • Focus on the headline

 

 

Your headline should reflect your objective.

Are you trying to sell something? Educate? Drive sign ups? Figure out what that objective is, and then create a headline that tells people what you want them to know.

For example, if your brochure is advertising a product or service, the headline should let your customer know what that product or service is and what it can do for them.

It’s all about clarity and brevity when you’re trying to grab the attention of a busy person, so use the headline for all it’s worth.

 

 

  • Use concise language

 

 

Who has time (or is willing) to look words up or read a sentence twice?

No one.

At least, no one wants to have to work that hard.

Keep your language easy, and make your point. Use active language rather than passive (“do” rather than “be done”) whenever possible, and make sure that the information essential to your objective makes it into the brochure.

Whatever you do, do not get bogged down with excessive information or accolades your company earned. While these are important, they will bore readers if not limited.

Make your reader know that you are an expert only where it is relevant, and even then, keep it brief.

 

 

  • Limit your font use

 

 

We beg you – pick only two, maybe three fonts to use within your brochure.

It’s easy to become enamored with the options, but too many styles will come off as unprofessional, inconsistent branding and might just distract readers from the important information you are trying to convey.

They say that less is more, and we can’t disagree.

(And we probably don’t need to mention this, but remember that the answer to “should we use Comic Sans??” is always NO. A resounding no. We don’t care if it’s just a bandwagon thing by now. It is ugly.)

 

 

  • Get amazing images

 

Last but not least, please make sure your brochure images are high resolution, high quality, and preferably original.

If you need to, hire a photographer. If it’s not in the budget, invest in finding other professional images. This is absolutely vital to maintaining the integrity of your brand. A low quality image immediately reflects poorly on your business, and it does very little to inspire confidence in your readers.

Ready to make some gorgeous, sales driving brochures? Give us a call today!

 

Are all printing companies created equal?

No matter how digital and tech-savvy you are at your marketing firm, you’re more than likely still going to need printing services from time to time — for signs, for direct mail outs, for networking invitations, and much, much more.

On the surface, it might seem that all printing companies are created equal, but a little research on your end will show that’s not the case. Whether it’s unexpected fees or how long it takes for product delivery, there are big differences between companies, and it’s important for you to recognize them.

 

What should you look for when choosing a printing company?



Here are some things you should do before choosing a printing service:

  • Read the online reviews: We all know that some people live to post needlessly hateful reviews online, but for the most part, online business reviews and customer testimonials can be very helpful when looking for a company. If you see a company with several great reviews and only one or two bad reviews, versus a company with several bad reviews and only one or two good ones, it will give you a better idea of which company is better equipped for your service needs.
  • Research pricing options: Don’t you just hate saving money? Oh, you don’t? You like saving money? Then you should definitely shop around for a good deal on your printing services. When it comes to printing companies, always read the fine print. Many printing services will throw in unexpected, hidden fees.
  • Look at the big picture: It may seem like a great deal — no minimum on ordering or free shipping — but how long will that free shipping take to get to your office? Or, what if the company won’t give you a sample of what you are ordering? There are a lot of factors to consider, and a “bare bones” printing company might not be able to provide everything you need.

 

What questions should you ask?

 

When you consult with a printing company, ask them the following five questions for insight on whether they’re the company for you:

  1. Can your machine print on (this) type of paper and thickness? Insert the kind of paper you need.
  2. Can your company match pantone colors?
  3. What are the binding options? I want this specific binding. Does your company offer it?
  4. Can I see a sample of something similar you have already done?
  5. Will I see a proof before you print for me to give final approval?

 

We all know that it’s not the easiest thing to do, but choosing a printing company is a very important part of your business. 

 

Contact Pel Print, Today!

How to choose the best paper for your message and brand

When it comes to methods of modern communication, sometimes paper can seem like a vestige of the past. We tend to get caught up in the digital words and graphics of our modern world.  

But what about the power of the tactile?

The impact of giving your customer something to touch and experience?

When you allow your customer to hold onto something, you might just make a multi-sensory first impression – and they do say those are the most important.

Paper is almost as important – if not more important – than the design that is printed on it. That’s why we believe that choosing the best paper for your message & brand is critical.

We’ve spent years learning how to use this ageless medium to the advantage of your brand, and we know that when it comes to paper, there are two categories that are the most important:

 

  • Weight
  • Finish

 

Weight

Weight is linked to thickness, so generally, the thicker the paper, the higher the weight. For reference, copier paper is referred to as 60# text, while business cards would be printed on what we call 100# cover.

Typically, the higher the #, the more impressive your message will look.

Note: Paper weight is sometimes stated using the “#” symbol. For example, “20#” means “20 pounds per basis ream of 500 sheets.”

As for the thickness – in general, the more a sheet of paper weights, the thicker and/or stiffer it is. This is often measured by caliper, which is typically given in thousandths of an inch.

Some Guidelines:

  • 20~24# – Standard weight paper
  • 24~28# – For ordinary posters
  • 80~100# – Preferred weight for most business cards

At Pel Hughes, we can print on anything from 24# bond to 130# cover.

Finish

Finish has to do with the final texture of the paper. The most popular finishes are high-gloss, semi-gloss, silk, and uncoated. After the product is printed on the paper of your choice, additional finishes can be added such as spot gloss or soft-touch.

Coated finishes are treated with a sealant that lends them specific characteristics, such as high level of glossiness and a stiffer feel. This coating gives papers a waxy finish with a varying degree of shine, provides protection from wear and tear, and reduces the level of ink that a sheet can absorb.

Coated paper is ideal for:

  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Postcards
  • Packaging
  • Photography
  • Magazines
  • Art books

Uncoated finishes have an untreated surface and are often less reflective than coated finishes. These papers usually lend a softer look to projects because the ink is absorbed into the paper, which diffuses its vibrance. Embossing often works best on uncoated papers because their finishes are softer and are less likely to crack. Their lack of coating also makes them easier to write on, making them ideal for use as:

  • Letterheads
  • Newsletters
  • Envelopes
  • Stationery

Both coated and uncoated papers have a range of finishes to choose from, but you’ll usually find more variety when it comes to texture with uncoated stocks.

Can you believe that these are just the basics?! There are so many weight and texture options that it would make your head spin. If you’re not sure what weight and finish to go with and want to explore your options – we’re happy to help!

Contact Pel Hughes today to get started on your printing needs!

 

Katie the Komori: Louisiana’s Only H-UV printer

We’ve got a new family member at Pel Hughes, and she’s a big beauty. She wasn’t the easiest piece of equipment to get through the door,  but now that we have her, we’re never letting go.

Please allow us to introduce you to….. Katie the Komori!

Her specialty is H-UV printing, and we’re pretty thrilled to say that we’re the only business in Louisiana offering her capabilities.

Why is this worth celebrating, you ask? Here’s the deal..

The traditional printing process involves the application of ink to a surface. The solvents within the ink evaporate into the air as the pigment absorbs into the paper.

With H-UV printing, that waiting and absorbing and evaporating is a thing of the past.

In Katie’s world, H-UV ink is applied to a surface and then exposed to UV rays, resulting in instantaneous drying.

Advantages of Immediate Drying

  • Less time. And we all know time is money.
    • UV curing systems shorten the time it takes to get from the receipt of materials to delivery because drying and finishing work (like cutting, die cutting, and folding) are performed “in line.”
  • More space
    • When you don’t need to wait for items to dry, you don’t need drying space. Plain and simple.
  • Better quality
    • H-UV printing is a powderless process, meaning that powder granules won’t be scattered all willy nilly.

Advantages for the Earth

  • Katie’s H-UV system produces about one-fourth the CO2 emissions of a traditional UV curing system
  • No ozone discharged
  • Fewer Volatile Organic Compounds produced

Advantages for your Product

In addition to the time saving, environment-aiding functions of our new friend, Katie also just makes a better looking product. Rather than letting ink dry traditionally and slowly spreading out after application to the surface, her ink dries instantly – frozen exactly where it was placed. This means more precision and higher contrast for a crisp, bright image – images that stand up to weather and fading like no other printing product in history.

To put the cherry on top, special effects like coatings and glosses happen in-line, again cutting down costs while giving you the option to create truly tactile experiences for your customers.

KATIE THE KOMORI: LOUISIANA’S ONLY H-UV PRINTER

Translation: H-UV printing technology has the capability to print a world of promotional items for your business in addition to your direct mail and marketing needs.

Curious to see how she came together? Check out this time-lapse video!

Interactive print? Is that even possible?

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When it comes to print ads, there are thousands of different ideas and concepts that can be employed and used. How do you make your print interactive? Though it may seem like interactive print is something that is unattainable, it is far easier than you might imagine. Here are three ways that you can make your print interactive and really get your readers and viewers involved.

 

1    QR Codes- Everyone has smart phones these days, something that proves as a distinct advantage to the individual or the company that is using print ads. A QR code is a block code that can be read by QR readers on smart phones. These codes can lead your viewers to websites, other content, videos, other advertisements, and so much more. These codes are easy to make, easy to use, and incredibly fun.  Put them on a postcard, for example, leading scanners right to your corporate website!

 

2    Purpose Driven Ads- Another great way to amp up the interactivity of your ad is to create an ad that can be used for something else; an ad that has a purpose. This could be something as simple as an ad that has perforated edges and can be popped up to create a 3d ad, to something as complicated as an ad that can be made into something else. This will allow companies to make their print ad and convey the information they need while creating an ad that is fully interactive and completely memorable.

3    Wired Ads- There is a whole new genre of this, that is fully interactive because it has been wired. This means that the ad actually does something. It could be anything from playing music, to reading a message or changing the color of a picture. Whatever it is, these ads will be highly interactive. While they can be great, they do sometimes cause problems and tend to be more expensive.

 

By following these tips, your company will become a creative and memorable business. Remember: Interactive ads are a thing of today, not a thing of the future.

Are Bindery Services Worth The Investment?

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Full-time staff at excellent bindery service companies are skilled at quickly performing graphic arts binding and print finishing solutions. You’ll actually find lower expenses when using professional bindery experts because your temporary employees often make errors and waste materials simply because of the learning curve for each custom project. Small companies literally do save money partnering with other companies for operations they need occasionally, rather than hiring another full-time staff member with all the benefits. Bindery outsourcing is not only a cost savings, but you have a guarantee the job will be ready when you need it, and the result is a perfect product.

A bindery specialist company provides professional finishing for any type of document or print media.

  • First-time perfect binding
  • Spiral and wire-O punch and binding
  • Crisp folding service when needed
  • Die cutting, perforations, and scoring
  • Hand-work, fulfillment, packet assembly
  • Saddle stitching, finish over-stitching on fine work
  • Perfect touch, clean gluing
  • Assembly like in pocket folders and professional packets
  • Precision laminating

Managing the bindery staff on a daily basis is a perfect method of operations control. We also take precautions when selecting a team for each project, they are screened and trained for specialized skills because our employees are the hands-on difference that insure your finished orders look exceptional every time.

Need Help Fast?

Give our friendly and professional marketing and customer care staff a call to discuss options like bound flip-books, homeschooling materials, any custom print work assembly, seminar workbooks, family tree booklets, bulk order reports, analysis or power point follow-along reports, custom cookbooks, or glossy print catalogs. We can service all of your multiple media bindery needs! Just get in touch with our team!

How Printers Can Improve Their Marketing Efforts

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Marketing materials, especially for franchised companies with a strong online presence, is important to the branding of your merchandise with your name and logo. An online store for your marketing materials is no longer a convenience for your clients but a necessity and expectation. There are plenty of companies that specialize in such sites to make management of your online store quick and simple without need to hire an in house employee specifically to fill that role.

Latka Communications is one such company with a proven track record of success with filling the needs of company marketing materials and the handling of their orders. They specialize in providing your custom printing solutions, with custom printed items from newsletters to books. Items can be published to your website, or mailed in physical form directly to a client or to a retail storefront. This service allows you to focus on your own job of running the company successfully while we take care of the daily chore of providing these solutions to your clients.

The solution should be simple to use and easy to explain, with affordable set up to get your online store up and running. Latka Communications makes your job easier by accounting for shipping logistics by incorporating shipping with confirmation, verifying placement of an order through email, and allowing for re-order and replenishment purchases based on your client’s use of the product. Billing is customizable according to your company’s needs.

Latka Communications offers the perfect service for your online site service of marketing materials. Visit the website to see these most commonly offered features along with more detailed descriptions of customization options. By incorporating and using their knowledge and experience you can help your company increase profits through online sales.

How Can Traditional Print Take on a More Active Form

How can traditional print take on a more active form? This question, if not the answer has gained a lot of traction in the past five to 10 years. Why? Because there has been trend for books to be published and marketed in ways that really didn’t exist prior to 10 years ago. The same can be said of magazines and even newspapers.

Amazon has become a dirty word in many publishing circles. Authors can publish their work in nontraditional ways, including doing so on their own without the benefit of a publishing company. The Fifty Shades of Gray trilogy sold millions and millions of copies, and it was originally self-published without a paper version. Those success stories can turn traditional publishing on its head.

What can traditional publishing do to remain relevant? One of the first steps is to ensure that it doesn’t ignore the new forms of publishing. Harvard Business Publishing is an example of how electronic media isn’t forgotten, but it is even embraced. Authors and books are discussed on blogs. Electronic media spreads the word about new books and authors. The book is then published and it can succeed or fail on its own merits. It won’t succeed or fail based on whether it is published on the written page or only via a tablet.

Another solution is to run fewer initial copies of the paper books. Books that are released in conjunction with electronic media, as well as on the page can be successful. Once again, word must be spread, and that will be more likely to be successful when the word is spread online. People are online, like it or not, hyping the opening of a book online only makes sense.

Traditional media may not ever be what it was, but that doesn’t mean it is going away. Book publishers who want paper books to succeed will need to learn how to adjust, and if they do, their products will survive.

Ideas for Your Next Print Marketing Campaign

Ideas for Your Next Print Marketing Campaign

Print marketing is certainly not dead, as some internet devotees would have you believe. It still holds an important place in your overall marketing plans. Here are some ideas that will help your next print marketing campaign stand out from the rest.

Print Marketing Is More Unique

The competition for customers online is extreme, which makes it more difficult to stand apart from other companies in your field. Since most businesses focus on internet marketing, print media helps you to grab attention.

When you see ads in your email, how long do you usually spend looking at each one? Long enough to delete it, or perhaps to mark the email as spam. Checking your postal mail is entirely different, according to Marketing Profs. You probably bring your mail into your home and at least glance at each piece, before throwing some of them away and keeping some for sales in which you are interested. This means that print materials may receive a good deal more attention than online ads.

Print Marketing and Social Media

Many companies use social media sites to engage their customers and potential customers. Look back a bit farther. Before there were social sites online, there were business cards. Handing someone a business card is a social contact in the most basic sense. You can also integrate print marketing with social media.

Print Media with QR Codes

More people than ever connect with companies like yours online. The technology is still developing, and as it does, print media develops ways to use it. A QR code, that unusual square logo that Smarthphones can read, allows potential customers to scan your print media into their phones, and be taken to your website.

QR codes are customizable with various patterns and colors to integrate into your next print marketing campaign. This type of technology can connect people to your website, but it can do more. It can also play videos or distribute files, or share features that will encourage potential customers to seek you out and engage with you, and even share your company sales with other potential customers.