Tag Archives: brochures

Which is Better, a Company Trifold Brochure or Sales Sheet?

Company trifold brochure 15$ discount on graphic design Connection Group

Your company website is live, you have business cards in hand, and now your’e ready for some leave behind print marketing materials. Small businesses often start with a standard, every-company-has-to-have-one-trifold, and others use company sales sheets. Whether you are a start-up company or second stage business, when choosing between a company trifold brochure and a sales sheet, first consider how you plan to use your print materials.

Company Tri-Fold-Brochure

Three panel brochures are standard letter size (8.5” x 11”) sheets that are folded twice, horizontally.  The paper is usually creased in equal thirds, resulting in three panels on each side of the sheet totaling six panels for the entire piece. Designed to fit into a standard #10 envelope, trifold brochures are also known as #10 brochures for this reason. Brochures can be a combination of any amount of colors. Trifold brochures can be simple black ink with text only or full color, effects, die cuts and short folds. A trifold brochure template can open horizontally, custom brochures can be designed to also open vertically. You can choose a z-fold brochure or roll fold brochure, depending on the order in which you want the viewer to read each panel.

A custom company trifold brochure or brochure template, is often a gateway introductory tool. Brochures can be many different sizes and shapes, with multiple folds, single or multi-page. Multi-page brochures are, in essence, marketing booklets designed to wow the audience and support the corporate brand. Brochures with sleeves and die cuts can be used as folders that hold inserts. The shape chosen is dependent on how the print marketing piece will be distributed, along with amount of information to be communicated, and the style in which the company brand, product brand and services brands will be presented.

When a company trifold brochure is most beneficial:

  • point of sale (check out)
    retail store
    bank
    pharmacy
    restaurant carry out menu
  • direct mail – fits easily into standard #10 envelopes
  • general company information
  • display in brochure racks
    coffee shops, travel bureaus / Welcome centers, chamber of commerces,
  • event promotion
  • other….

Sales Sheets

Sales sheets are standard letter size (8.5” x 11”) sheets that are not folded. They can be one sided or two sided, full color, one, two, or three color. One sale sheet could cover everything or multiple sheets may be needed to highlight individual products or services, pricing, etc. Sales sheets may also be designed for specific target markets. For instance if your company sells products or services to manufacturing firms and also to end users, your sales literature will need to be adapted to each audience.

A Sales Sheet By Any-other-name….

The term sales sheet is often interchanged with: sell sheets, brag sheets, capability sheets (capability statement sheets), product cut sheet, flyers, inserts, specification sheets (spec sheet), data sheets, and one sheets (often used for Professional Speakers, authors and other creative talent such as models and actors.) There are some differences in the content in each of these items but the purpose typically serves the same end – to promote.

When a sales sheet is most beneficial:

  • leave behind after a sales presentation
  • part of sales kits for use by sales staff or independent sales representatives
  • company manufacturers or offers multiple products or services
  • after sale literature for customer reference

Each marketing item that is designed for printing can also be included in digital format for posting to your website. All print items can be shared electronically in emails, posted to social media, and as downloads from a specified page on your website.

Do you need help with the design or writing of your company trifold brochure, sales sheet or booklet? Are you in need of a promotional kit with sales sheets? Connect with us today. We’ll plan a face to face meeting to discuss your ideas or schedule a phone consultation to clarify goals and outline marketing solutions.

A World Without Graphic Design

All the discussion about the red cup and the sans serif Google logo got us thinking about how large of a role graphic design plays in our world.

Life just wouldn’t be the same without it. Can you imagine running shoes without a Nike swoosh? A holiday tree without a Hallmark ornament?  Jonathan Goldsmith without a Dos Equis? Or heaven forbid a frat party without a red solo cup?

The desire to make things pretty while adding a semblance of order is why I went into graphic design to begin with. Recognizing the difference it makes in peoples lives gives me purpose.  I’m not a surgeon saving someone’s life or a Peace Corp worker feeding the hungry. I am a graphic designer who creates the annual giving campaign for an environmental education center, and a website for a non-profit who helps to feed and educate children in Africa and brochures for sustainable building products.  I make things pretty and hopefully catch peoples attention and get positive messages out to the world.

So go ahead, change your profile pic to an Eiffel tower with a peace sign in support of France, throw some change in a red kettle, catch the Macy’s parade and dance all night in your Manolo Blahnik’s. However you choose to express yourself, love your brands, love the world, love graphic design and art and how it connects us all.

What would your world be like without graphic design?

Share with us what you would miss most if there was no such thing as graphics design? We’d love to hear.

 

What’s The Best Way to Get into Your Customers’ House?

direct mail campaign infographicsDirect mail campaign pieces are the key to get into your prospects home AND hang out a while!

A recent Royal Mail Market Research “The Private Life of Mail” study researched how mail is filtered, handled, discussed, shared and filed at home. By following how mail interacts in the home revealed beneficial insights for brands. For instance the study discovered an average piece from advertising mail or a direct mail campaign stays in the home 17 days! I dare you to get a Facebook ad to be so consistent!

The custom infographic on the right highlights other results of the study including:

  • 23% of mail is passed around
  • People place 24% more value on something they can touch.
  • 57% say it makes them feel more valued.

Nearly 40% of homes display mail.

Of course people display the mail they receive that is attractive, informative and if it stands out from the pack. Studies show if the design and message of a direct mail campaign lands flat the chances of winning shelf space are pretty low.

Direct mail campaigns are perfect opportunities to increase brand awareness and keep you at the top of  your customers mind. Wouldn’t it be great to know your recent postcard mailing was deemed refrigerator worthy? Be sure to show your brand in it’s brightest light. When planning your next mailing be sure to budget time and costs for custom graphic design and professional print. Yes desktop publishing apps allow you to create your own postcards or print brochures and you can even print them on the inkjet printer you have next to your desk. Be honest with yourself.. If the piece your just created came across your desk, what would you think of the company that sent it to you? Does professional or cheap come to mind? 

Stay Connected with Professional Print Communications

Direct mail campaigns are typically made up of postcards, brochures, catalogs, etc. However, direct mail is not the only entry into your customers homes.   Think about other print pieces customers or prospects may hold onto. These ideas could range from one  affordable postcard with an appointment reminder, an attractive brochure with a unique fold or special paper stock.

Think about what you might hold on to. How about thank you cards, greeting cards, coupons? The longer the piece stays in the home. the more often your name is in front of people who enter the household depending on where the mail is displayed.

E-mail marketing, social media. and mobile advertising can drive powerful results. However, as this study shows people still appreciate the tactile and personalized nature of mail.  The next time you are planning to reach out to your customer, remember  a combined marketing campaign always offers the best results – and mail is a highly cost effective component to include in any combined marketing campaign.

Now what are you waiting for? Call us today for a consultation. Take advantage of our August special for 25% off graphic design services. Through August 31 graphic design services also include logo designs, infographic creation, brochures, digital graphics and more. These custom graphic design marketing items can be reused time and time again.

 

Professional Printing Checklist – preparing a digital file for print

Professional printing checklist grpahic by Connection Group

In the age of digital apps, conscious budgeting and google images, small businesses are creating print marketing materials in-house. This isn’t always easy to do, but it can get simpler. Follow this professional printing checklist to prepare a digital file for offset or digital printing.


Professional Printing Checklist – Print File Preparation

  1. proofread it
  2. have someone else proofread it
  3. check with your printer about pricing options
  4. make sure document is created in the correct size (consider proportions)
  5. quote any original text (cite author)
  6. use only photos and graphics you have permission to use
  7. photos and images must be in cmyk format or a specified Pantone ink or black
  8. images must be 300dpi resolution at 100%
  9. Print your file on a desktop printer check color, layout, flow of information
  10. Check the fold. Are copy and images formatted in the panels as intended?
  11. Save the file as a high-resolution print quality pdf (Adobe Acrobat file)
  12. Send to print vendor

(Professional Graphic designers see note below)


Whenever possible it is helpful to receive a physical proof of the document from your print vendor. If an in-person proof is not possible a digital proof from the print vendor helps verify the file transferred as designed.

Talk to you printer if you need help preparing a document. Graphic designers and printers can make adjustments to your layout if you request these services. Layout and design services are based on an hourly service fee. After the initial proof, industry standard is time-based billing for additional editing and proof services.

If all of this sounds greek to you Connection Group and other graphic designs firms can print and design sales sheets, brochures and postcards for you. When hiring a professional design firm  expect expertise in design and print.

Design:

  • professional layout
  • font and color selection.
  • create custom graphics
  • photo art selection with licensed access to stock photography and art

Print

  • recommendations for print cost savings
  • choosing standard paper sizes (for cost savings – unique sizes can be used also)
  • paper weight
  • follow US postal service print regulations for first class and bulk rate mail

Additional Print Preperation Step for Professional Graphic Designers

Along with the above professional printing checklist, there is a couple of extra steps of file preparation for graphic designers who are preparing files for publishing. You already know to choose quality fonts and consider graphical effects,  color theory  and the type of digital art, vector vs raster, which software is the best to use for page layout,  etc.

If you are using Adobe InDesign for preparing page layout files for professional printing projects always package the folder prior to sending the final file to the printer. Choosing package under the file menu in InDesign will create a complete folder for your final document. There will be a copy of all the files, fonts, graphics and photos used in the document nested in this folder. This helps for future retrieval when the document is re-ordered and requires changes.

The other benefit of packaging a file is that InDesign runs a test for pre-press of the entire file. This pre-press test looks for missing fonts, missing graphics and photos, use of  RGB  or other color models in graphics and photos within the document. This pre-test allows you to go in and make edits to the print file elements prior to sending it to the printer vendor. The more work you can do to create a trouble free file, the lower the printer fees, time delays and  the higher quality end product.

Remember to add crop marks, printers marks, trim marks and bleed on your final pdf before sending it off to your printer too. Good luck with your print project, call us if we can help.

Stay connected!

Connection Group is located in mid-Michigan. We love to work face to face with our clients in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and everywhere in Michigan in between. Our digital design and online print service ordering area serve St. Petersburg, Florida to Vancouver, Canada from south to north and New York, New York to Big Bear California east to west. National on-time service paired with genuine small business attention.

Small Business Marketing – 5 Steps Towards Mastering Your Marketing Plans

Set your course!

For the next 12 month I will be posting small business marketing tips and a worksheet will be available to walk you through the exercise. These exercises are taken from our e-book Mastering the Art of Marketing.  Click Here to Receive your FREE 2015 Small Business Marketing Plan Worksheet and Sign up for Connectivity. I chose this formatting so small businesses or solo-preneurs with limited staff and time may be able to take on business branding and marketing in monthly bite size chunks. All of the worksheets relate to small business marketing, branding and advertising for small business growth

Five Steps Towards Mastering Your Small Business Marketing Plans and Editorial Calendar

Following is your first exercise to get you rolling – let’s build a marketing plan! These questions can be answered in short
time by those directly involved in growing your business.

1. What are your business goals for 2015?

Are you adding a new product line, want to increase sales, want to start selling online? Identifying top priorities can help you stay focused. CAUTION: Avoid making everything mission critical! Try to choose one main focus for the year and break it down into bite size chunks. Choosing to increase sales by 35%, plus launch a new product or service, plus expand from a regional company to serving the entire nation is probably too ambitious.

Give yourself time to build on one main focus for the year with obtainable goals.

Write down your top 3 goals on your worksheet.

2. Who is your audience?

Is your product or service available in one region or can you serve the world? Do men relate or only women? What is the age range?

Identify these 3 main demographics and consider more details as you hone in.

  1. Geography
  2. Gender
  3. Generation

3. What is the best method to reach your market?

Where can you find your audience? Snapchat, Linkedin, forums, local expos/events? Right now Tweens are on Instagram and posting Vines, the Senior demographic still love their newspapers, Facebook, and TV’s (with ads included not much tivo-ing happening with this group). Hobbyist frequent Pinterest, specific online forums and discussion groups. Find out where your audience is and get in front of them.

List your top 3 Methods or Media choices on your sheet.

4. Determine your budget – Time and money

How much money and time can be allocated monthly to marketing? How much do you think your competition is spending? Small businesses sometimes believe they have more time than money, but time costs money. If you are not skilled at marketing can you save your time, money, sanity, and reputation by turning it over to a professional? Spend some time on research getting cost estimates for some of the methods you are considering for your company marketing. What is the cost to bring your website current? How much is a radio spot? How much would a brochure or flyer cost? Is there ROI in internet marketing and internet advertising? Make the calls
and get the numbers. If you do have more time than money right now, what do you feel comfortable tackling on your own? Determine what marketing efforts can extend your dollar farthest to keep connected with your customers all year.

List you top 3 Small Business Marketing Elements on your sheet.

5. Commit to Paper – Create a Marketing / Editorial Calendar

Do you have trade shows or annual events you attend or host? Do these require printed invitations, e-vites, advertisements, banners? Focus a few months in advance to get your marketing pieces in order. Think about your monthly marketing. Will you be creating regular blog and social media posts? Save time by creating an editorial calendar with topics to cover each month, plan your discount offers, sales, consider holidays, industry awareness weeks/days,

(Green companies could highlight 2015 as the Year of Light, National Arbor Day, restaurants could announce National
Soup week, etc.)
List the Top 3 Calendar Items on Your Sheet

Good luck!  Remember taking time now to complete this exercise can set your course for the entire year! If you need help contact us. Have questions, post them below, you never know others may have the same question and you will be helping them. COme back next month for another small business marketing worksheet!

Stay connected!

Is the Facebook Business Page Dead?

facebook-social-network-graphicA full decade of Facebook. Can you believe it? Some days it still seems crazy that over a billion people are visitors of this one website. Other days it seems as if it has always been a part of our lives. In such a short time feeding Facebook business page news feeds with funny stories and trend setting tips has created a world of narcissist and overnight millionaires.

The reigning king of social media has continually made changes over the 10 years to keep us coming back. Marketers are like mice on a wheel trying to keep up. We have experienced many late nights editing slides before a large presentation because Facebook did an overhaul the day before a big social media marketing consultation. Most recently, changes to the Facebook business page newsfeed algorithm has left businesses and social media marketing companies scrambling. Over night companies were angered seeing that only 100 fans of their 8000 fan base actually saw their posts at any given time.

Why the big change in the Facebook Business Page Algorithm?

Facebook surveyed a sample of their users and asked how often they want page posts to come up in their profile news feed. Based on the response, Facebook has reduced the amount of Facebook business page posts that come up in users personal news feeds. This makes your Grandma in Florida happier because she can see more posted cartoons about the polar vortex Michigan is experiencing. Marketers and social media managers are left wondering whether they should bother recommending their client to dedicate man hours to post to their Facebook business pages. If few people are going to see them why spend the time and payroll dollars to create Facebook posts?

For companies who have relied heavily on their Facebook business page to sell and market their products or services it will be important to look at other ways to get back in front of their audience. A business marketing plan that is not so reliant on Facebook may help. Certainly a new Facebook business page marketing strategy is in order to determine how best to drive traffic to the Facebook business page based on the new algorithm programming.

So how can you drive traffic to your Facebook business page news feed? sample tagging facebook business page in page post

  1. Buy more Facebook ads (come on now, who ever said you could get free social media marketing?)
  2. Embrace link sharing (posting links of stories off site, or to other pages, etc.)
  3. Share more visuals and media-rich content (graphics, photos, videos)
  4. Leverage other social channels – encourage your followers in other social media channels to engage with your Facebook business page
  5. Include your Facebook business page URL on all your marketing materials
  6. Include a link to your Facebook business page in your blog posts and your email signature
  7. Include buttons for liking and sharing your Facebook business page on your website and in your email signature
  8. Tag other pages in your posts to gain interest for that page followers. (Example: Our Connection Group Facebook Business Page shares a web link from Mashable’s website and tags the Mashable Facebook page that post is shared to some of the Mashable Facebook page fan base. If fans are interested in what we’ve posted they stop in check us out and like us – bonus!)

Anybody who has posted to Facebook recognizes that visuals speak louder than words, this is not lost in the new algorithm either. Facebook has decided it doesn’t like all those wordy, story posts and is reducing sharing of text based posts to newsfeeds at a higher rate than those with links and visual content. Gone is the day of likes from viewers for your text heavy posts, the sharing of penned customer testimonials and even those inspiring #mondaymotivation quotes. So how are you going to keep in the game and post compelling visuals? It’s not like you can just steal Google images and post them legally. (Remember we’ve covered this before.)

Creating more visual and media-rich content for your Facebook Business Page:

Nxtwall trade show booth

Sample of photo used for Nxtwall Faceboook business page post from trade show.

  1. Hire a graphic design and marketing firm to create original social media images, icons, graphics, Facebook cover photos, based on your brand visuals. (Have we met? 🙂 )
  2. Purchase art, photos and videos from stock art websites. (Shutterstock, Veer, etc.)
  3. Have employees compile photos of the office, meetings, products, customers (get signed photo releases!), etc. for posting
  4. Have customers share photos (you could even create a photo contest around this concept!)
  5. Photos from company events, trade shows, holiday parties, etc. (double bonus because these will reflect the company culture clearly to viewers.)
  6. Create original infographics pertinent to your industry

When you tire of viewing all the “Look Back” videos Facebook developed as their anniversary gift to users, it’s time to think about your investment in your Facebook business page for the next 10 years. Will Facebook decide that increased business page posts in users news feeds are more important than keeping happy users? Will Facebook ads get cheaper? Suddenly I feel like my mother when she asked me if my room was going to clean itself.

Since Facebook advertising has been under scrutiny lately as well, I feel like we all need to take a step back and put down the kool aid. I’ve heard too many otherwise smart start up business owners question whether they should build a website if they have a Facebook page. That question could easily be a complete blog in itself.. Hopefully they will find this post and never ask that again.

Please understand I have fun on Facebook, I love connecting with old friends and family across the miles and I also like supporting my favorite customers and brands too. It’s about keeping it in perspective.

Before I descend from my pedestal I will ask one last question. Why is your company so invested in building the Facebook brand and not investing in your own brand vehicles? Balance out your marketing. Play in social media, build your brand, connect with your customers there and meanwhile build professional websites, network with real people, explore forums dedicated to your niche market, create professionally printed brochures and leave behind print literature people can use, attend and display at trade shows. Don’t be enticed by the billion users, identify how many clients you really need to succeed and figure out the best channels to get your message to them. If you need help with this piece give us a call today or follow our facebook page for tips and resources. Sorry, couldn’t resist!

Stay connected!

STOP STEALING FROM GOOGLE!

copyright symbol graphic with colorful graphicEver wonder what your name means? How will you find out? Look it up in the tome, the Dictionary of Names from Oxford University Press? No, you will do what I did and Google it. Go ahead, do a search, see what you come up with.

In searching ‘what does my name Connie mean’, Google graciously returned 8,280,000 results. Granted I did not go to every website citing the information. I went to four. All had different results. One spoke of the history of the name and how it is derived from Constance (I thank my parents for being kinder than that). Another provided a pretty little graph showing the popularity of the name (seems Connie peaked in the fifties) my third attempt landed me on a page filled with ads and a three word descriptive answer to my inquiry; ‘Connie means knowledge’. I really think I am much more complex and warrant more than one descriptive word! So, I took a chance at one more, which I believe is profoundly more accurate. This website states the meaning of Connie means “Queen of the House – a determined but also an awesome person who can always make you feel good and is a boy magnet.” Absolutely! This is what I am going to tell everyone my name means! So what that the website designers Mom was named Connie and people can enter their own interpretation of the name. I choose to believe.

To all writers, professional assistants, marketers, students, authors, please don’t limit your research to a Google search!

Don’t go to results page 72, click the link you think nobody will ever find and plagerize the content for your next newsletter, term paper, or website. That is stealing AND it could be completely inaccurate information! After reviewing multiple sites and finding similar facts you can then compose an original article or paper. If you are using proprietary information, quotes, statistical research, remember to cite your source and respect those who came before you and did the work.

The internet is getting smaller every day. Once I post this blog entry I can randomly select a sentence from it and do a search. Every website who has used my sentence will be returned in my Google search.

This also goes for Google Images – ugh, don’t get me started! When you search Google Images please note the disclaimer that states “image may be subject to copyright” that does apply to you too. What’s the best solution? Find the original owner and pay them for use, or hire a professional graphic designer or photographer to create an original solution. Appreciate the wonderful web of knowledge we have access to and share your wisdom, don’t steal others and think you will get away with it.

What are the consequences of Copyright Infringement?

If you use a copyrighted work without permission and your usage is not exempt under the law, you are infringing on copyright. If the copyright holder discovers it, they can then sue you for actual damage or loss of profits. The holder/owner may also choose to seek statutory damages up to $150,000 for each infringement. So if you have stolen a logo and used it on your business cards, letterhead, brochure, signage and website, etc. the copyright holder can sue you for statutory damage for each, or $750,000. Here is a list of damages and profits of copyright infringement.

If you use a copyrighted work without permission and your usage is not exempt under copyright law, you are infringing upon the copyright holder’s rights. The copyright holder can sue you for actual damages or loss of profits. The copyright holder may also seek statutory damages up to $150,000 per infringement. See Section 504 for additional detail.

Copyright law is not limited to just United States Citizens. In an effort to address international use concerns as the world wide web expanded.  The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 signed by President Clinton addressed this issue by implementing two 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Depending on if you are citing an entire website or citing a specific article or page within a website following are the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style standards to follow for proper citations:

· If you can’t find all of the information, cite what you can find in the recommended order for each.
· In these examples we have provided them as single spaced; you should double space citations in your list.
· For more information on MLA citation styles, refer to the handbook and the website.

To cite an entire website that you have referenced in your work :

Title of Database. Date of electronic
publication or latest update. Name of
sponsoring institution or
organization. Date the information
is retrieved <URL

Example:  Connection Group Web and Design Tips. July, 2011. Connection Group. August, 2011, www.connectiongraphics.com

To cite a webpage, cite a blog or cite an online journal article use the following format:

Author. “Article Title.” Journal Title
vol.issue (Year): pages.
Date retrieved information
<URL>.

Example: Sweet, Connie. 10 Baby Steps for Small Business to  Grow in Social Media.
Web and Design Tips, 17 (2012) 1. Retrieved August 25, 2011, from
http://www.connectiongraphics.com/tips/

Be original! We are ALL connected.