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Archive: January 2017

Simple Marketing Automation Will Save You Time in 2017

Automation is the way of the future and in the coming years, it could determine the success or failure of many businesses. Those that adapt and streamline their automation will be able to save money, conserve resources and innovate on a better scale than those that don’t. It’s important to start thinking now about how you can start automating different facets of your business. Perhaps the easiest place to start investigating automation is through marketing. There exists a number of relatively simple tools for marketing automation that allow business owners to get a feel for the process and to instantly improve their day-to-day capabilities. Let’s take a look at a few automation tips and tricks across different marketing mediums! Email automation Chances are, your business sends emails regularly—be it a newsletter, sales email, receipt of purchase or something else. If you’re still manually sending emails, this is the first place you should think about automating. Email platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact and others come equipped with automation scripts built in, allowing you to cut down on the effort you put into sending an email. For example, it’s possible to create a month’s worth of emails ahead of time, schedule them all and automate their dissemination throughout the month. For a more advanced automation example, consider the possibility of using variable data in emails. You can set up triggers that automatically take a customer’s name from a form submission, insert it into an email and then send that email—all without you ever having to touch it! Social media automation Businesses that can succeed on social media are businesses with brands that flourish. If you’re putting in a ton of time on social media but seeing very little in the way of returns, it’s a sign that automation might be in order. Use platforms like HootSuite or TweetDeck to schedule social posts throughout the month, so you’re not spending countless hours per day investigating newsfeeds. Through these platforms, it’s also possible to investigate what time of day your posts are best sent and what type of response or reaction they’re getting. To take things up a notch, consider using a program like IFTTT (If This, Then That) in conjunction with your social posts. This program allows you to create “recipes” for your social channels—for example, “if someone posts a picture to your Facebook wall, download that picture automatically.” Print marketing automation If you use business cards, flyers or letterhead, the opportunity for print marketing automation is within your grasp! Consider working with AlphaGraphics to open your own agOnline web-to-print portal. A print portal will allow you to automate the order and re-order of these essential products, among other printed collateral. It’s a quick, efficient, effortless way to keep your tasks in line, while maintaining a hands-off approach. Seek out automation! The above are just a few examples of how you can automate in 2017 with relative ease. Make no mistake—this is just the tip of the automation iceberg! Once you become comfortable with basic automation, start looking for other ways to streamline your various marketing prospects. Then, start investigating automation in other aspects of your business. The secret to automation is experimentation and you’ll never know if something works unless you try it! Read article →

How to Optimize Your Large-Format Printing

Large-format signage is a cornerstone of any business’ marketing plan. From the window signs that announce your next sale, to the trade show banners displaying your company branding, going big with your print materials means getting noticed when it matters most. But just because you make a message bigger doesn’t mean you’re making it more effective. In fact, large-format signage comes with its own special set of rules and guidelines to ensure its effectiveness. Take a look at a few essential aspects to remember when you’re designing bigger print pieces and why they’re so important: Remember resolution If you’re using photos, text or anything else outside of a vector graphic to design a large-print piece of collateral, be mindful of the resolution you’re using. Many people make the mistake of designing a large-print document that’s not quite true-to-size and when the time comes to print, they’re left with blurriness or distortion that sullies the entire piece of signage. The solution to preventing resolution issues is to design with the appropriate dimensions and resolution, right from the outset. Remember that programs like Photoshop allow you to scale your document to your needs—take the time to adjust the height, width and resolution to be conducive to your print needs. Use vector images and text Vectoring all of the images and text on your large-format design is imperative to a crisp, clean finished piece of collateral. Vectoring—as done by programs like Adobe Illustrator—allows the program to render shapes at any size or resolution properly, via the use of geometric equations. Simply put, if your dimensions need to be changed or altered for print, you can rely on vectored graphics to automatically adjust, without compromising resolution. De-clutter and focus More space doesn’t mean more room for eccentricities on your large-format items. The more items you try to cram onto a poster or banner, the harder it’s going to be to discern the message of that banner. Keep it simple and focused, and leverage your extra space to reinforce the core message. On this same token, make sure you’re accounting for all of the essential components of a good design, including branding elements, a clear call to action, and inspiring content. Understanding depth Large-format printing has a unique feature that must be considered for success: depth. People seeing your message from far away might not have the same experience as someone looking at it up close, which means they could be getting a different visual message. Make sure you consider the design of your larger signage at varying distances. For example, have a mockup printed and stand 3 feet away from it, then 10 feet, then 20 feet—at each distance, pay attention to what features of the signage stand out and which ones are lost with depth. Print large, print loud! Large-format print can be a critical and highly effective part of your business’ marketing efforts… when it’s designed properly. Remember to take into account the above tips that are unique to larger designs. Or, to make sure your large-format signage is perfect the first time around, get in touch with your local AlphaGraphics large-print experts today! Read article →
January 05 / 2017
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