Why In the WORLD would I go to a Printing Company for Graphic Design?

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 11:45 AM

Universal Printing takes great pride in offering the best of all graphic communication worlds: Award Winning Graphic Design, G7 Master Printer level digital output and commercial printing, and the latest in Direct Mail, featuring variable data and cross-media marketing solutions.  Over the years, we’ve worked with a lot of clients and companies who find themselves getting into a 2- or 3-prong approach with their projects: One company for design, another print, and sometimes even a third to handle the mailing.  Not a very efficient process, in our opinion.  WE always want to focus more on what is in the best interest of our clients.  Here’s a few reasons why a “single source solution” makes sense.

Design + Print is time-tested!

Universal offers Graphic Design, with or without LatteThis concept has been used time and time again in the construction and manufacturing industries, known as Design/Build.  We apply the same same principles at Universal Printing. When the people who are designing a piece are the people who are producing the piece, “unexpected surprises” just disappear!  All of our Graphic Design professionals work closely with other members of our production team, giving us the advantage of keeping current on the latest printing techniques, being familiar with folding and finishing requirements, and also having direct access to paper merchants and their pricing models.

“Less Expensive” is
NOT the same as “Cheap”

Often time, our Design quotes are significantly lower than Agency prices.  Some might think that it’s about the talent of our staff or the quality of our product.  “More expensive” must mean “better,” right?  WRONG!  Our Graphic Design team has won several regional and national design awards, and is comprised of graphics professionals from the fields of advertising, magazine production, and Fine Arts.  The reason WE can offer such aggressive pricing is because we don’t have to cover many of their overhead costs.  They need to pay for their office space, utilities, equipment, and the occasional latte or two. Why help pay for the rent and electricity of THREE buildings?  OUR staff is in our own building, using our digital prepress equipment, so keeping everything under one roof keeps our cost down, which is passed onto you.  It’s just that simple!

It’s all about the Bundles!

Contractors do it. Restaurants do it. The cable TV and satellite companies do it. Insurance companies do it.  EVERYONE recognizes the power of bundling products and services. WE are no different.  When you bundle together design, print, and direct mail, you only have one point of contact to deal with.  One person to coordinate with keeps you off the phone and out of your email inbox, and lets you deal with all the other aspects of your job.  “One call does it all.”  “Set it, and forget it.”  “Have it your way.”  We can’t actually use those slogans, but you get the idea.

No More Finger-Pointing!

Keeping everything under one roof keeps it simple and eliminates unnecessary “he said/she said” or “finger-pointing.” Ever dealt with any of these scenarios?
  • The Mailer says the Designer didn’t setup the address panels properly
  • The Designer says the Mailer stuck unnecessary labels or tabs all over the finished piece
  • The Printer says the Designer didn’t set up their files correctly
  • The Mailer says the Printer didn’t supply enough finished pieces to process the mailing

These problems all go away when the Designer, Printer, and Mailer are all under one roof. We know, understand, and can implement those ever-changing Postal requirements at the Design stage.  Our files will always print without surprises and we’ll always print enough to ensure your entire mailing is processed timely and efficiently.  Not only will we save you time, save you money, and reduce your stress; who knows, maybe we'll even throw in a free latte.

 

 

 

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Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: commercial printing, digital printing, Graphic Design Durham, graphic design raleigh, green printing, internet marketing, email marketing, emarketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, Adobe Photoshop, variable data, cross-media marketing

QR Codes: More than Just Internet Marketing Chic!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 @ 03:10 PM

QR codes are quickly gaining traction here in the US.  With almost 1/3 of Americans (ages 12 and up) carrying smartphones, and given the spontaneous and instantaneous nature of the web, it’s very little surprise that QR codes are becoming accepted at an amazing rate!  Add to this, the viral nature of most marketing strategies, and you get an even broader appeal.  Heck, even the US Postal Service sees the QR code potential, and is planning to run a special Mobile Barcode Promotion later this summer.

 

What are QR codes?

UP sample QR code | Scan it to get directions

QR codes (Quick Response) are 2-dimensional barcodes that were originally designed for inventory tracking.  You’ve probably used QR codes without even realizing it – like when you’ve rented a movie from any of those RedBox machines. The little checkerboard-looking code in the middle of that DVD case is a QR code which is scanned inside the machine to help it know which movies are available at that location. At any time, RedBox knows who has what DVD, where and when they returned it, or if it’s been reserved online and needs to be made unavailable until it’s picked up… all using QR codes.

Most smartphone and web-enabled phones have QR code readers available, allowing anyone to take a picture of any QR code and instantly trigger whatever event was intended.  In most cases, it might be a link to a specific website or video, but can also be used to add someone’s information to your phone's contact list, or to enroll in SMS/text message promotions.  The possibilities are endless, and MANY marketers are jumping at the chance to find now and creative ways to use QR codes.

 

Why use QR codes?

Aside from the “cool” factor which might appeal those who get excited by tech, there are so many practical reasons for using QR codes:

UP sample QR codes | Scan This and SEE!

Connect people anytime, anywhere – So many people have smartphones, and they almost always have them with them.  So if they want to snap the QR code in that moment, they are connected to whatever information you want them to see!    

Update info INSTANTLY – If you plan your QR code and links correctly, you can constantly update or change the information that’s being linked.   So you can update product information, switch linked videos, change the SMS/texting messages, or anything else you want to keep current…. WITHOUT having to change out all your QR coded pieces.

Possibilities are LIMITLESS – You can literally add a QR code to ANYTHING:  Posters, Banners, Flyers, Business Cards, Postcards, Envelopes, T-shirts, Tablecloths, Menus, Napkins, Place Settings, Table-top Displays, Vehicle Wraps, Window Clings, Billboards, and on, and on….  And when THAT list ends, you start to consider how many things you can LINK to: product videos, assembly or usage instructions, social media channels, e-promotional signups, discount and savings memberships,
new promotional information, employees interviews, testimonials, driving directions, contact information, and so much more!

 

I’m convinced!  Now what?

So you want to find out the most creative and innovative ways to use QR codes to help you stand out, arm your customers with up-to-the-minute info, or simple earn some extra COOL points?  Well, a great place to start is by giving us a call and speaking with any member of our helpful staff.  Our team of eMarketing Experts will be more than happy to consult with you on any project, and help you take your flat printed pieces to the NEXT LEVEL!

 

Universal Printing Blog Logo

Universal Printing
Offering quality printing and communications solutions to
Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the Triangle since 1979.
www.universalprinting.com

 

Tags: business solutions, digital printing, Social Media, internet marketing, email marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, emarketing

Guess What!? The Post Office wants to make Direct Mail easier on YOU!

Posted by Universal Printing on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 @ 11:30 AM

Printing and mail go together... like peas and carrots. They just do. Even in this highly sophisticated era of internet based marketing, SMS messaging, and email blasts, there is a strong argument for direct mail. (In fact, Universal Printing president and owner, Bob Moura, has posted 2 great blogs on that topic. If you haven't read them yet, here are the links: Direct mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play? Part I and Part II)

Another thing we can count on, is knowing that the United States Postal Service will ALWAYS change their rules, rates, and regulations. Again... they just do.  But THIS time it's beneficial to YOU!

Last week, the USPS issued a press release announcing their plans to expand "simplified addressing" to businesses. For the longest time, this is something that has primarily only been available to the government.

What does this mean?

In a nutshell, it means that business can now expand their reach to a larger audience without having specific names and addresses. You can essentially address your pieces to "Postal Customer" or "Occupant" and it can be delivered to every residence or PO Box in a particular region.

In their press release, the USPS goes on to explain "Simplified addressing will serve as the on-ramp for many small businesses trying to reach their audiences within a specific geographic range. It will allow them for the first time to take advantage of the most effective marketing channel there is — direct mail."

To review their entire press release, follow this link: U.S. Postal Service to Expand Simplified Addressing for Businesses

USPS announces Direct Mail changes that increase your reach!

Tags: commercial printing, business solutions, internet marketing, Tips for improving direct mail and email marketing, direct mail, response rate

Tweet me... Social Media and Commercial Printing CAN work together!

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Nov 02, 2010 @ 03:30 PM

Jimmy Fallon is one hell of a marketing genius!  Sure, one could argue whether or not he's a talented comedian or a gifted interviewer (personally, I find him to be both!) But despite all of the drama that continues to circulate around Late Night television, he managed to fully brand his show and successfully made it his own.

One thing that he's done a brilliant job of is incorporating Social Media.  Even before his show started, Jimmy was on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter... everywhere!  He regularly tweets his monologues, and even has bits and sketches revolving around Social Media (#hashtags anyone?).   The man just gets it... and has secured a fanbase in his specific demographic.

Twitter Bird gets the message heard

So... how does this translate to Commercial Printing, Direct Mail, or Multi Channel Marketing or any other business solutions we offer. First, let's start with a great Blog carried by the New York Times, discussing the relevance of social media in branding and creating buzz around your message. We've only recently started to use all of the social media channels at our disposal, but we've already seen our followers and fans grow.  Taking part in the conversation has been invaluable. We've seen a rise in the number of estimates we're taking in through our website, and have even started tracking potential business opportunites that have come to us through our social media channels.  

But there's more than just looking at potential business opportunities.  Anyone looking to use social media as a way to "make the sale" is really missing the point of the experience. These folks are also going to be sorely disappointed. All of these social media channels aren't meant to make the "Hard Sell." Their purpose is for creating dialogue;  It's about sharing ideas, seeing what people are asking for, taking part in the conversation.  No one wants to go to a party and spend their time being sold to, but lots of people are happy to share ideas and learn from those who have expertise and information that they might not have. 

For us, one of the greatest joys we get to experience is when a customer comes to us with an idea and no idea how to make it work, or make it affordable, or make it better. We are always happy to share any knowledge and ideas that we have, and the end result is a client who becomes more excited about their project than they were when they walked in our doors. We get excited too, and it becomes a cycle of shared enthusiasm.  When our clients see how important their projects are to us, it makes them realize they haven't just found a vendor. They've found a partner.

There are basically two kinds of people in this industry: The people who take the time to have the conversations and listen to what others are saying and needing, and the people who just are interested in the quick and dirty sale at whatever the cost.  At Universal Printing, we know which one best describes us.  It's all about the conversation, baby!

Tags: commercial printing, Universal Printing, business solutions, Social Media, internet marketing

Direct Mail isn’t going anywhere...

Posted by Universal Printing on Tue, Oct 19, 2010 @ 11:19 AM

For years we've been hearing about the "paperless office" and the death of the printing industry.  While it's true that the industry has been changing, printing is still a very trusted method of communication. What's even more surprising is that even among the coveted 18-34 year old market segment, print is the preferred method of receiving information.

Let me say that again... P-R-E-F-E-R-R-E-D

That statement seems to go against everything we've thought and seen up until this point but, according to ZDNet, a recent study shows that young consumers prefer direct mail over online media for many types of marketing communications.

The truth is, there's something innately trustworthy in a tangible piece of paper in your hands. Holding something physical, where ink, time, and effort has been committed, just seems to add legitimacy. Let's face it, in this ever evolving digital world where more and more people get their news and information from the internet, we must also accept this information with a grain of salt.

So what do we do with this information? How do we reach people in ways that combine the trustworthy elements of direct mail, with the ever evolving presence of the internet. Three simple words: Multi Channel Marketing!

By combining personalized direct mail with variable data printing, adding pURLs (personalized URLs), and utilizing custom landing pages or micro-sites, you can reach your target audience and get your message heard. 

Below is a video link to Universal's multi channel marketing solution, Symphony. Feel free to contact us if you're interested our web demo.

 

Tags: printing, Universal Printing, internet marketing, direct mail, multi channel marketing, pURLs