Alphagraphics blog

Category: Business Printing

Print Rules the Local Marketing Domain

Marketing for small businesses is all about getting to know your local customer base. The flower shop with a 20-mile delivery radius or the bike shop that offers service to customers throughout the surrounding 10-mile areas—these are examples of businesses that have a finite customer base. Being able to recognize and appeal to that customer base is the secret to marketing success, and print marketing could play a huge role in that success. While it’s more important than ever for local businesses to optimize their online presence, there’s also tremendous advantage of presenting a physical reminder of your existence within a particular service area. Sending out EDDM postcards or handing out brochures at a community event can have a profoundly more impactful effect than emails or social media posts. With print comes presence The physicality of print marketing collateral is its biggest asset. When you hand a potential customer a business card or tack up a flyer at your local coffee shop, you’re making a statement that’s real, in more ways than one. And, when you operate a business that exists in the real world—in a local community with a defined presence—representing your physicality with print collateral is doubly effective. To make an even more impactful statement with print marketing, local businesses can even take a stance in their communities. Passing out handouts at a local festival or canvassing local businesses with brochures are ways to reinforce your presence in a physical way. Print is personable One of the biggest problems with digital marketing is how impersonal it can be. Even an email addressed to you pales in comparison to a piece of general print collateral that’s physically handed to you by a person. And, when you consider the many finishes, paper stocks and embossing options of print materials, it becomes very easy to create character with print. Any sales rep will tell you that being able to put a physical piece of paper in the hands of a prospective customer is the very best way to make a first impression. For local small businesses, this is an easy, lasting way to introduce your business and your brand to the finite number of patrons who may indulge you. The accessibility of print Finally, print is supremely accessible for brick-and-mortar businesses—not only in how it’s made, but also in how it’s deployed. You can print a banner or window signage and put it up for all to see, all without collecting a single email address or soliciting a single person. There’s a very passive philosophy to print marketing that benefits local businesses by creating exposure without the pressure of a direct solicitation. And when it comes to obtaining print marketing, there are few barriers to overcome. Print is affordable, making it easy for virtually any small business to budget. It’s also versatile—from large print signage to small handouts, business cards to brochures and beyond. And, of course, if there’s an AlphaGraphics near you, print is also incredibly easy to customize. With design and print professionals on staff, we can help you create the print collateral you need to help your local small business flourish. Stop in today or get in touch with your local AlphaGraphics to learn more about the power of print marketing for local small businesses. Read article →

Print Marketing: Your Physical Complement in a Digital World

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that direct mail has a response rate that’s more than 30 times greater than email marketing. The business is expected to increase in value more than 225 percent by 2024. And this is just a single facet of print marketing today! Billions of business cards and mail advertisements are printed and distributed annually in the United States, and for good reason: customers still like their paper and are more likely to act on it compared to many forms of digital marketing. This isn’t the only reason print marketing is surging, either. The efficiency of print While businesses often feel pressure to go digital in various aspects, modern advances in printing technology have made physical printing more efficient than in the past. Companies can request small numbers of prints on-demand and still have it be cost-efficient. Previously, mass offset printing required a much larger quantity of materials to be printed in order for the printing to be worth the cost, due to the higher set-up costs. Digital printing also allows materials to be produced at a local level, providing advertisers with their materials to distribute much quicker. The return on investment of on-demand printing Printing small projects on-demand—such as promotional materials—is made possible with digital printing. Companies receive a printing order (usually in smaller numbers) and print them as the order is received and processed. The costs with on-demand printing are much smaller for smaller orders due to the set-up costs associated with offset printing methods. Various promotional materials can be produced cheap thanks to digital printing. Materials for key chains and pens can be printed in an affordable, quick manner for trade shows. Mailed advertisements with coupon codes are also commonly produced, as customers are more likely to interact with them compared to an email advertisement. Signs that you see at many stores, including banners and various promotional signs, are often printed through digital printing. All of these examples illustrate the benefit of physical over digital—in cost, tangibility and value. Being able to affordably print a product that can be touched and seen in the real world is equating to a higher return on investment for many businesses in today’s crowded digital marketplace. Versatility is always in-demand Digital marketing has its limits. Pop-up ads can only be so effective and email marketing is often hit or miss. Where these mediums may fail, the versatility of print marketing often succeeds. This makes it an extremely viable complement to digital advertising. Printing packaging for products or branding merchandise for promotions is an undeniable way to improve your marketing capabilities. People may click out of your brand’s pop-ups or delete its emails, but they’re bound to notice packaging or take note of the branded swag you give them. Why? Because these items are tangible and real—more than just pixels that lack form and function. In this way, a wide number of products can be physically printed and successfully used as marketing collateral. From apparel to banners, promo materials to packaging, vehicle signage to brochures and beyond, there’s virtually no limit to the versatility of print products. If you’re looking for ways to ramp-up your advertising and marketing, it may be time to go back to basics. In a digital world, print marketing is thriving once again. See for yourself how print collateral can complement your digital advertising and consult with an AlphaGraphics marketing specialist today. Read article →

6 Ways to Market Locally with the Help of AlphaGraphics

For any small business, being able to reach out to your community and generate local business is the single biggest tenant of your success or failure. Simply put: if you’re not attracting local customers, you won’t be a local business for long! MarketingMarketing locally is much different from marketing nationally or indiscriminately. For one, your geographic focus is smaller, which means your pool of potential customers is more defined. This has pros and cons alike: you’re able to make more of an impression with more of an opportunity, however your chances for success are limited. In other words, marketing right the first time is imperative. Take a look at 6 tips on how to market effectively to your local region and how AlphaGraphics can help better position you for local success: 1. Speak to people: National advertisers are so big that there’s no expectation for them to know your name. Local advertisers, however, are dealing with their own local communities—which means you better be addressing your neighbor by name! In cases of direct mail solicitations or targeted local advertising, AlphaGraphics can help you leverage variable data printing to ensure your local customers are being addressed by name. 2. Print local: Local business begets local customers in a wide range of different capacities. By partnering with your local AlphaGraphics for print products, you’re keeping your local economy thriving and showing your potential customers you’re invested in your community. Likewise, you’ll be forming a network of local businesses that support one another. 3. Local SEO: More than just print products, AlphaGraphics also offers digital marketing and design services. Building your website through AlphaGraphics also means getting local SEO expertise to help boost your profile within your service area. Through local SEO, you’ll get better online exposure when applicable customers search for you, driving business to your storefront organically. 4. Banners and large-print: Nothing stands out quite like a banner or window sign. Foot traffic is higher in local areas because the people who live there tend to walk where possible. Having large signage for these pedestrians helps to market your business to passersby. AlphaGraphics can also help you design large-format signage befitting to your unique needs, to attract local business. 5. Business cards: If you’re an engaged member of your community, networking is probably a big part of your life. And, the king of networking resources is the time-tested business card. Having a beautiful, informative business card that you can hand off to another local business member could mean the difference between your next sale or partnership. AlphaGraphics is here to help you create business cards that legitimize your business in the eyes of your networking community. 6. Quick-print, on-demand: Marketing opportunities can come from anywhere. Maybe you’re sponsoring the local softball team? Hosting a blood drive with the local Red Cross? Contributing to a local 5k fun run? No matter the opportunity, a local AlphaGraphics can provide a wide range of print products to ensure you’re fully capitalizing on that opportunity. From flyers to apparel, large-format signage to promotional items and beyond, we help your business get the word out locally. Make sure you’re giving your local business the best shot at success by partnering with your local AlphaGraphics. We’ll help you get the print products you need, so you can continue doing what you do best: serving the local customers responsible for your success. Read article →

Streamline Corporate Training Materials with AG Online

At AlphaGraphics, we’re always looking to make our printing and marketing services more convenient for our customers. We know that a business leader’s most valuable resource is time—and that’s why we’ve introduced AGOnline: our automated, cloud-based ordering system. First and foremost, AGOnline is a quick and convenient way to order the materials you need to run your business in a day-to-day capacity, But, did you know that it’s also an ideal way to simplify training for every employee coming on board? That’s right: we can help you get the training materials you need to facilitate a streamlined onboarding process. How the AGOnline process works for your business The AGOnline process is as streamlined as it gets. With just a set of login credentials and a specially designed digital storefront, you’ll have access to a full catalog of materials for order and re-order. Here’s how it works:
  • You submit your order or online list of materials;
  • We receive the order in real time and process it;
  • The customized materials are delivered directly to you!
This is ideal for companies with universal training documents that need to frequently be reordered. AGOnline makes this incredibly simple with one-click, on-demand ordering. Let’s take the example of a legal services firm. They’re going to need a bevy of materials for training, such as courtroom displays, contracts, briefs and filing documents. They can quickly and efficiently order these documents whenever they need them. Their unique catalog is always available to them, making ordering new materials a breeze. Time is essential to these professionals. They want to get their materials as quickly as possible so that they can start real-world training with new hires. AGOnline is the best solution for them. Creating materials to fit the needs of your business AG Online is equally valuable for businesses with unique needs. We offer variable data printing capabilities, which allows you to print personalized training materials for a specific employee. As soon as an employee begins working with your company, you’ll have professionally branded materials in their hands that will give new hires an immediate sense of belonging with the company. We allow for a wide range of materials to be catalogued and ordered based on your specific requirements. AGOnline stores everything you’ve ordered in the past in a secure environment—all you have to do is select the quantity you want and make any changes you deem necessary. The order is either sent to your address or stored in a warehouse depending on your preference. No matter what types of training materials you need or what variable data documents you might require, know that they’re always available at a low price and can be sent directly to you. AGOnline was designed with the busy professional in mind. We wanted to create a hassle-free way to send high-quality, customizable materials to all of our customers. Check out how AGOnline can help your business streamline training today! Your local AlphaGraphics will be glad to help you set up your portal, stock it with the necessities and introduce you to the world of cloud-based ordering, so you can focus your attention on more important things: like training your new hires! Read article →
September 15 / 2016
Author admin
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Making the Most of a Web-to-Print Portal: How to Maximize Your Business’ Marketing Efficiency

Any opportunity to streamline a business’ efficiency and processes is an opportunity worth exploring. Most often, these opportunities involve using new technologies and resources to either cut down on the time spent doing a task or reducing the number of steps involved. And, when the opportunity to do both arises, there’s no question that it’s going to translate into major successes for the business in general. A Web-to-Print portal is a superb example of one such opportunity and something that virtually any business can utilize when it comes to streamlining productivity and efficiency. An online print portal gives businesses the ability to:
  • Streamline the print materials ordering processAlphaGraphics Web to Print AGOnline
  • Reduce mistakes involved with ordering materials
  • Preserve digital records of materials ordering
  • Broaden access to critical printed materials
The benefits of a web-to-print portal continue to expound when you look at all of the critical situations they can improve. Take a look at some of the proven, key applications for a print portal that might help to improve the efficiency of your business below. Perfect for multiple locations Because a Web-to-Print portal involves decentralized ordering—anyone with Internet access can use it, from anywhere in the world—there’s no need to convolute the process of ordering materials across multiple locations. What’s more, because the same portal can be used in an inter-organizational capacity, the business itself can rely on centralized approval and billing! And with the option to implement approval procedures for headquarters to authorize orders before they’re processed, locations are able to reap the benefits of autonomy without lacking in accountability. Perfect for remote employees Again, thanks to the widely accessible, decentralized nature of a Web-to-Print portal, employees on-the-go or those working from remote locations are able to benefit. Remote employees can easily order their own business cards and branded materials without having to navigate through home office processes and procedures, and materials can be shipped directly to their location to facilitate seamless productivity. Perfect for sales team autonomy Bureaucracy can be a productivity killer in businesses—the more steps in the chain of command, the more opportunity for error and the longer it’s going to take to accomplish anything. Rather than running a materials order up the flagpole and hoping it gets a sign-off from a higher-up, you can create autonomy in your sales department through a Web-to-Print portal. Create login credentials for specific employees and delegate ordering to them to create accountability and remove the numerous barriers of waiting for a request to go through the chain of command. Perfect for standardized documents Standardized documentation is a critical factor in many day-to-day work environments across a wide variety of industries including medical, legal, insurance, education, non-profit and more. From forms to packet information, brochures to internal documents, a Web-to-Print portal streamlines the ordering process for repetitive print orders, to give you peace of mind that these oft-used documents are just a few clicks away. It’s a rare opportunity to dramatically improve an entire business process, to both save time and money. Web-to-Print portals offer this opportunity and many others to help businesses utilize digital technology to get the printed materials they need to succeed.   Because a Web-to-Print portal involves decentralized ordering—anyone with Internet access can use it, from anywhere in the world—there’s no need to convolute the process of ordering materials across multiple locations. What’s more, because the same portal can be used in an inter-organizational capacity, the business itself can rely on centralized approval and billing! And with the option to implement approval procedures for headquarters to authorize orders before they’re processed, locations are able to reap the benefits of autonomy without lacking in accountability. Perfect for remote employees Again, thanks to the widely accessible, decentralized nature of a Web-to-Print portal, employees on-the-go or those working from remote locations are able to benefit. Remote employees can easily order their own business cards and branded materials without having to navigate through home office processes and procedures, and materials can be shipped directly to their location to facilitate seamless productivity. Perfect for sales team autonomy Bureaucracy can be a productivity killer in businesses—the more steps in the chain of command, the more opportunity for error and the longer it’s going to take to accomplish anything. Rather than running a materials order up the flagpole and hoping it gets a sign-off from a higher-up, you can create autonomy in your sales department through a Web-to-Print portal. Create login credentials for specific employees and delegate ordering to them to create accountability and remove the numerous barriers of waiting for a request to go through the chain of command. Perfect for standardized documents Standardized documentation is a critical factor in many day-to-day work environments across a wide variety of industries including medical, legal, insurance, education, non-profit and more. From forms to packet information, brochures to internal documents, a Web-to-Print portal streamlines the ordering process for repetitive print orders, to give you peace of mind that these oft-used documents are just a few clicks away. It’s a rare opportunity to dramatically improve an entire business process, to both save time and money. Web-to-Print portals offer this opportunity and many others to help businesses utilize digital technology to get the printed materials they need to succeed. Read article →
March 22 / 2016

Cutting Through Advertising “Clutter” with Large Format Point-of-Purchase Signage

“Measure twice, cut once.” This is a motto every construction worker knows, but it’s also one that should be at the heart of every marketing and advertising campaign as well. Why? Because if you don’t measure the needs and wants of your customers, you’re going to have a hard time cutting through all of the other campaigns out there, vying for face time with your target audience! The best way to measure your customers needs and wants is simple: appeal to them at the point of sale. This is where decisions will be made, data will be gathered and “cuts” will be made—customers will act and react to signage, taking to heart the messages that appeal to them and swiftly ignoring those that don’t.   The right sign for the right job Cutting through the advertising clutter at the point of sale isn’t easy. This is where competition for face time is fiercest. To make sure your messages are being seen, you’ll need to tap into a wide assortment of point-of-purchase (POP) advertising materials, using the right ones at the right time to make the cut.   Take a look at some opportunities for POP signage and why the suggested materials will give you the edge in earning customers:   Target: Customers who may be walking past your business on the street.   Suggested materials: Storefront window decals and sandwich boards are going to inspire conversions for passersby who might be walking down the street. Why? These large format materials will be attention grabbing right from the get-go because they stand out in their surroundings—it’s easy to see a sandwich board against the concrete sidewalk or a bright window decal on transparent glass!   Target: Customers who may be driving past your business on the street.   Suggested materials: Printed awnings, brick/concrete graphics, printed flags and exterior signs are all going to help you attract drivers passing by in their cars. You may not think someone driving in a car is getting anywhere close to the “point of purchase,” but it’s important to consider that the right POP signage can expand your point of purchase range. These larger signs can portray graphics further away, inform drivers who may be travelling at a higher rate of speed and inspire action in an instant! Getting someone to pull into your parking lot and swing by your storefront for a moment means one more conversion you didn’t have with the help of large-print POP signage!   Target: Customers not in your general service area.   Suggested materials: Vehicle decals and vehicle magnets make mobile advertising a real and prolific possibility! Whether your truck is out making a delivery or you’re just paying someone to drive around town to advertise, mobile POP signage is going to attract customers who might not usually be within your service area, thus broadening your reach. Moreover, vehicle graphics are eye-catching, meaning they cut through the monotony of competing advertisements to give you a marketing edge.   Target: Unknowing or uninterested customers in your service area.   Suggested materials: For this hard-to-reach demographic, pennant flags, pole banners, printed flags and even brick/concrete graphics are going to be your best chance at attracting attention to your business. Not everyone is interested in your store and there’s probably a good number of people who have no idea you even exist—give people a reason to think twice about ignoring you or make yourself known to them with these eye-grabbing materials. Flags and pole banners appeal to customers looking for intrigue, while concrete graphics can offer a repetitive signal to onlookers—either way, it’ll be hard to not know you exist with these large-print POP materials on your side!   Cutting through the clutter Is your POP signage doing its job and cutting through the clutter of advertisements and prompts that bombard customers at the point of sale? If not, it might be time to take a step back and measure again. AlphaGraphics can help. We know what works when it comes to getting your customers’ attention at the point of sale and can help you create large-format POP signage that’s undeniably effective. Read article →
February 11 / 2016
Author markwood
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Why Should You Be Utilizing a Web-to-Print Portal for Ordering Printed Collateral?

Does your small business or organization require branded products or marketing materials that are ordered and printed consistently? If so, ask yourself: are you reaping the benefits of a Web-to-Print portal to manage and process these orders?   What is a Web-to-Print portal? A Web-to-Print portal is a convenient and streamlined way to get the printed collateral you need, without having to worry about managing individual orders or keeping track of order documentation. It works like this. Your printer sets up a website that has all of your frequently-ordered materials on it: business cards, brochures, sales sheets, flyers, stationary, forms and whatever else you might use on a regular basis. This is your portal—it’s the place where you’ll come to order materials when you’ve run out. It can even be updated and changed regularly as you add or discontinue materials!   How Does it Work? The function of a Web-to-Print portal is simple: you select the materials you need, submit the order, and your request will be forwarded directly to your printer! Your company or organization is billed based on your agreement with the printer, but in the meantime, your order for materials is being fulfilled in real time, so you have the items you need to be most effective on the job. Best of all, the portal is going to serve as an organizational tool for your orders and documentation. No more flipping through binders of purchase orders to see when you last ordered business cards or trying to track down proof of an order for your department head to sign off on!   The Many Benefits of a Web-to-Print Portal A Web-to-Print portal is the pinnacle of efficiency when it comes to ordering printed products. With just a few clicks of the mouse and mere minutes on the clock you can effectively put in an order for everything you need, to be processed quickly by your printer. Moreover, your portal is going to have any and all information you might need before you order: quantities per pack, pricing, turnaround time and other intricate details such as what the stock of the material itself. In this way, you can determine exactly what you need as you order, preventing mistakes that end up costing money. The sheer compartmentalized nature of a Web-to-Print portal is also going to dramatically improve order organization. The portal will have everything from order histories to order documentation and more, all digitized and cataloged to make your life easier! This is the ultimate time-saver when it comes to pulling up specific orders or quality checking your documentation against problems. Finally, let’s not discount simplicity. Ordering printed materials through a Web-to-Print portal is going to be so easy that just about anyone can do it without fail. If your office manager is out sick or you’re delegating the task to someone else, you can have peace of mind that an order is going to be properly placed thanks to the ease of use associated with the portal.   Setting Up a Web-to-Print Portal If your business or organization isn’t already using a Web-to-Print portal to streamline the ordering of printed products, now is the time to start! Contact your local AlphaGraphics today to quickly set up a branded portal that you can begin using in just days! Then, have peace of mind when you place orders through your new portal, knowing that we’ll take care of the rest. Read article →
February 05 / 2016