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.


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

Universal Printing's Elite Eight!

Posted by Universal Printing on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 @ 03:15 PM

NCAA March Madness 

"It's NCAA

Tourney Time,


- The Legendary
"Dickie V"
Dick Vitale

Yes... Universal Printing produces a bunch of of projects and ships them all across the country and throughout the world, but our base of operations is smack in the heart of North Carolina. Specifically, the Triangle — That happy bustling region that includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, but also encompasses Apex, Carrboro, Cary, and Morrisville. 

Around here, we like our College Basketball!  We're surrounded by 4 of the 12 ACC teams (UNC, Duke, NCSU, and yes I'm counting Wake Forest!) and when it comes down to "Tourney Time," we are right here in the thick of it!

So in honor of "March Madness" and the NCAA Basketball Tournament, we're posting our own "Elite Eight" of our 8 most popular blog posts.  We hope you'll take the time to read or re-read them, or share them with friends and colleagues!  In the meantime, we'll be rooting for Duke and Carolina, and the other ACC teams representing the Atlantic Coast this weekend.

  1. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Coated vs. Uncoated

  2. Tips to enhance your graphic design portfolio

  3. More about Color: Digital Color | RGB vs. CMYK

  4. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Spot Color vs. Process Color

  5. Direct Mail... Back-in-the-day or Future Play?

  6. Choosing Inks for Color Printing - Metallics and Other Specialty Inks

  7. How to Save PDF files for Better Printing!

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


Universal Printing Blog Logo

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


Tags: graphic design, tips and tricks, commercial printing, Universal Printing, blog, Social Media, direct mail, poster printing, Photohop

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... Back-in-the-day or Future Play?

Posted by Robert Moura on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 @ 11:30 AM

With all the talk of social media, cell phone apps, email marketing, spam and the list goes on and on of “relevant” ways to keep in touch with and obtain new clients, I've asked myself if good old fashion direct mail is a back-in-the-day solution or a future play?

I don’t know about you, but I assume that Google and Yahoo know a thing or two about marketing, and I have been receiving direct mail from them recently promoting new ways to advertise my business and promote my products on their sites! Seems like a pretty strong case for direct mail to me. Can you appreciate the irony? Google and Yahoo using snail mail to promote their high tech web services.

Google and Yahoo Direct Mail pieces

Let’s face it, mail volumes are way down. Have you noticed how your mailbox (the physical one that sits outside of your house) contains about one third the daily volume of mail it used to just a few short years ago? Have you also noticed how your e-mail and PDA inboxes are jammed packed with SPAM? Which is the least competitive space to get your clear message through to your clients?

My point is that it seems to just make good sense to be a contrarian from time to time and take advantage of the not so obvious opportunities that occasionally present themselves. There are lots of wonderful gems to be found on the path less traveled!

With cost-per-clicks ranging in the $2 - $8 range a 30-cent stamp (rough cost for an average size direct mail postcard) seems pretty darn cheap. You know it will be delivered to the recipient and you know that they must at least look at it (click it) before they throw it away!

Food for thought – The printing and mailing industry has allowed the e-mail and pay-per-click folks to make some fairly absurd comparisons of the response rates and costs of snail mail vs. pay per click and e-mail blasts. Conventional direct mail Response rates do not necessarily translate equally to click rates. A common sence comparison of facts might surprise you. I’ll do some math next time!

Bob Moura

Tags: printing, commercial printing, printing services, business solutions, Social Media, direct mail

So... it's time we entered Blogiverse...

Posted by Universal Printing on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 @ 01:23 PM

It's true... Universal Printing has decided to enter the Blogging phenomenon.

There are many reasons for a business to establish an internet presence, but why a blog?

Some might ask:
"Isn't that overkill?
"Is it really necessary?"
"Why even do it?"

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, there are several reasons we wanted to start a blog. There's certainly an advantage to having a blog when it comes to search engines, and search engine optimization LOVES blogs. In fact, Google and other search engines rewards sites that are linked to Blogs that are updated often. No harm in wanting more web-traffic and exposure, right?

Also, in this age of "Social Media," a company almost HAS to broaden their internet presence and have a corporate identity that spans well into the web. The web is the way we communicate now. It's where we get our information. It's where we research, and where we shop. When you factor in the impact that YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have had on all of us, it just makes sense to reach out where the people are!

Which really brings us to the main reason: why we Blog... why we bother... why we've bought into the hype: For our customers! If you are reading this, YOU are why we blog. We want to reach our current customers, our potential customers, our future customers. We want to share ideas, hear your feedback, share our expertise, and provide good information. When it's all said and done, it's really just that simple.

So tell us what you think. Give us your ideas on how Universal Printing can become a better partner. How can we help you do your business better? We look forward to your comments.

Tags: printing, graphic design, Universal Printing, blog, Social Media, corporate blogging