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Most businesses know that print marketing is not dead, despite the proliferation of online and digital options. When it comes to these printing services, it’s generally worth paying a little more for good quality, since that will convey the best possible message to your customers (or prospective customers). But before you ever get around to having something printed, there are a few things you need to figure out. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to keep your next printed project on track and help you get the best possible return on investment for your company.

  1. What Products Will Be Most Effective?

    Choosing effective products starts with one of the most basic tenets of marketing: identifying a target audience. Do you need something printed that will help people remember your company from a trade show or fair? You might consider bookmarks or another promotional gift with your company’s logo on it (studies show that people are far more likely to remember a company’s name if they receive a branded gift from that company). Do you want to bring in street or pedestrian traffic? Large format banners and signs are probably your best bet. Do you want to create an inviting environment for people who are already in your store? Aisle signs and custom floor graphics can set you apart from your competitors. You can always ask your printing company for ideas if you’re stuck.

  2. Should I Hire a Graphic Designer?

    This is a big one, especially for small businesses where cost is always an issue and people are used to wearing many hats. It’s possible to design a good print advertisement without a degree in advertising or graphic design. However, it’s important to remember that the psychology behind every aspect of a print product — its copy, the colors and shapes it uses, the fonts and font size that are incorporated, etc. — can either bring in or drive away customers. With that in mind, it’s sometimes wise to hire a freelance marketer or designer to ensure a high ROI for the project.

  3. Do I Need Digital or Offset Printing?

    There are two basic options offered by commercial printing companies: digital and offset printing. The former works a bit like a larger version of your home or office printer, whereas the second is a traditional process in which the ink is transferred onto an intermediary medium (a plate) before it is applied to your paper or product. If you’re looking for rush printing services, then you almost certainly want to go digital; because no custom plates need to be prepared for this procedure, it has a very fast turnaround time. Digital printing can also be less expensive if only a few copies of a project are needed. However, if you need many copies and have planned in advance, offset printing can have a lower cost per unit. Your print company will be able to give you more specific guidance based on the details of what you’re having printed.

What other questions should people ask before taking advantage of printing services? Share your tips in the comments.

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