Greeting cards aren’t just for Christmas…maintain your card printing business all year long

Rainbow_Greeting_Cards

To stand out among the crowd, encourage your business customers to shift the focus of their greeting card marketing campaigns to other holidays. Greater impact of the recipient of the piece could mean greater return on marketing investment, and you’ll get credit for your creativity in the bargain.

January – Commemorate the political process with a patriotic card sent out in time for Inauguration Day, January 20, 2013.

February – Suggest your clients send out something sweet for Valentine’s Day. As a design bonus, Valentine’s Day cards lend themselves well to eye catching printing techniques like foil stamping. Schedule your distribution to arrive on or before Feb. 14.

March – Sending out St. Patrick’s Day wishes could lead to a marketing pot of gold. Whether it’s a post card offering a St. Patrick’s Day incentive or just a note to remind their customers to wear green on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day greetings are a welcome addition to any mailbox.

April – In 2013 Easter falls on March 31, but even if you aren’t sending out a card to celebrate the Bunny, April is the perfect time to mail out spring greetings.

May – Thanking Veterans for their service with a card on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013, is not only an excellent way to remind your customers of your respect for the Armed Forces, it’s also the right thing to do and can go a long way toward reminding those who served that we appreciate their sacrifices.

June – Usher in the start of summer with a greeting card reminding your clients of some important things to consider as they plan their vacation season. Whether you’re sharing a summery recipe or sun or water safety tips, letting the people you do business with know you care could pay off in a big way for your clients.

July – Happy Independence Day on July 4! A red, white and blue card in the mailbox in July is a sure fire way to work up some goodwill for your clients’ business.

August – The only month without an official holiday, August is back to school month. Encourage your clients to send out a greeting card celebrating the end of summer.

September – Labor Day means sales and incentives, and what better way for your clients to package their special offers than as part of a Labor Day greeting card campaign. In 2013, Labor Day falls on September 2.

October – Decorate your Halloween cards with Goosebumps and using thermography printing when you send out spooky greetings on October 31, 2013. Sending a Halloween greeting card is a great way to scare up some name recognition for your clients in October.

November – Let your clients’ customers know they’re valued and appreciated on November 28, 2013. Sending a Thanksgiving card will beat the holiday greeting card rush and stand out as something different. Your clients will be grateful they took your advice!

When do you send out greeting card campaigns? Do you think your clients get better results than with more generic mailing programs? Share your greeting card experience in the comments below.

PANTONE’s 2013 Color of the Year winner: Emerald!

Pantone

The color experts at PANTONE release their choice for Color of the Year annually, but the choice isn’t an arbitrary one. The selection process takes into consideration a broad spectrum of factors from projected fashion design trends to economic projections and general state-of-the-industry considerations. Described as lively, radiant, and lush, Emerald is a verdant green chosen for 2013 because of its psychological profile—enhancing sense of well-being and security and promoting balance and harmony.

According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the PANTONE Color Institute, “Green is the most abundant hue in nature—the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum. As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal, and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

For more than ten years, PANTONE’s Color of the Year has influenced product development, packaging, and graphic design. PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald can be cross-referenced to all PANTONE libraries including PANTONE PLUS for graphic design. Check out this graphic from PANTONE for Emerald’s complete color technical specs:

Color of the Year as a marketing tool for your business

A powerful marketing tool for PANTONE, printers can use the Color of the Year as a marketing tool, as well. PANTONE has prepared a suite of marketing products from posters to mugs to iPhone cases designed to spark Color of the Year conversation. Using some of these tools to spark conversation with your clients can serve dual purposes.

First, it’s an easy to translate example of your level of industry knowledge. Sometimes jargon in the printing industry is confusing, but everyone understands the concept of a color of the year. While waxing poetic on the virtues of advancement in hot stamping technology might cause eyes to glaze over, the concept of color trends is much more mainstream.

Second, once the conversation is opened about using the Color of the Year in product design, it’s time to start considering places to use the Color of the Year in materials you print for your clients. This can be the ideal time to pitch a new brochure, poster, flyer, or post card concept integrating the new color.

To read more about the 2013 Color of the Year and to find marketing and informational resources about maximizing the impact of Emerald on your business this year, visit PANTONE’s Color of the Year page.

How do you feel about color trends and their impact on independent printers? Are they an innovative marketing angle or too transient to make an impact? Do your customers know about the Color of the Year? And if they don’t, would it interest them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Should Your Business Send A Christmas Card?

iStock_000010944279Medium

If you’re under the impression that sending cards during the holiday season is an outdated business practice, you might be missing a great opportunity to make an impression on clients, vendors, co-workers, or others whose minds you might want to be at the top of in the coming year.

While it’s true that the advent of e-greetings have cut into the tradition of sending cards during the holiday season, the U.S. Greeting Card Association is projecting sales of 1.6 billion boxed and individual cards in the U.S. this year. The ability to customize a card with digital photography, online design templates, and personal messaging has made it easier than ever before to send the very best.

So yes, yes, a thousand times yes — your business should send holiday cards! Even if you’re the decision-maker at the most cutting-edge of online technology business, there is room in your customer relations plan for ink, card stock, and festive stamps. The very act of opening an envelope requires a kind of attention that clicking on a link cannot match. Most people will display their cards in some way, even for a short time, to honor the sender, while your email will be buried under the onslaught of other business correspondence in 24 hours (or even less).

A more important issue is what kind of card to send and how to make your card stand out. Here are a few guidelines:

Get Your Cards Out Early.

Procrastination doesn’t look good for work-related communications, and the same goes for formal pleasantries. Not only do you have to account for the possibility that the recipient might be traveling for the holidays, but you also wouldn’t want to seem insensitive when your client Joshua Goldstein receives his card on the eighth day of Hanukkah.

Speaking of religious observances…

Religious Cards Are OK… If You’re Sure

While it’s best to err on the side of caution, with simple messages like “Season’s Greetings,” it’s also an opportunity to pay respect to a person who celebrates the spiritual or cultural aspects of the holiday season. This is not to suggest you should automatically send the aforementioned Mr. Goldstein a card depicting the menorah without knowing if Hanukkah is important to him. The goal of sending a religious card is demonstrating your level of connection to that person and hopefully deepening it. To that end…

Don’t Send Humorous Cards.

A sense of humor is soooo subjective! The risk of coming off anywhere on the spectrum of “too corny” to “wildly inappropriate” is just not worth the attempt. Save the cards containing terrible puns for your cousin and send the ones with off-color jokes about Santa’s reindeer to the friend you used to cut up with during high school algebra class. You don’t want your business to be equated with the sad trombone sound. Remember, sincerity never goes out of style. Which brings us to…

Adding a Personal Touch.

“Cursive is a magic wand,” wrote Boston Globe columnist Beverly Beckham in a recent paean to greeting cards. Getting everyone in a small office to sign the card is a great way to make your business stand out. Even if you custom-design a card, taking that little extra effort to hand-write a warm message and signing your own name lets the recipient know he or she is important to you.