Pushing the Envelope

February 27th, 2019

When you think of envelopes, you probably picture a boring white item from the office supply closet. I suggest we look at envelopes in a different light–as a flat form of packaging. Like all great packaging, it should grab your attention, entice your senses, and enhance the brand and product (or message) inside. Envelopes are your first impression – making them the perfect vehicle to convey your brand or promote an offer or upcoming event or to even thank someone. Following are a few ways to maximize the impact of an envelope…

Cover it – Give it a splash of color! If your are using black ink corner copy envelopes for your marketing efforts you need to stop. Flood coat it with your corporate colors or show a picture of the Caribbean resort for your upcoming sales competition. Color and imagery can evoke emotion and meaning or reinforce your brand, and this can be done by conventional or digital printing.

Print Digitally – Digital machines have made giant strides in quality and your point of entry is reasonable. The technology is further along than most design I see today. I find digital color well suited for runs up to 500 qty. It’s a click charge so digital envelopes are great for shorter runs, but you benefit from no inventory, lots of coverage, and the ability to change the messaging often. Personalization can also be used, and you can even address envelopes using a custom font instead of ink-jet addressing.

Convert your Envelopes – Converting envelopes is nothing new – it’s just not used enough. Printed sheets go to an envelope converting house where they are die cut, folded and glued. The costs of making custom envelopes is not as daunting as one might expect. Ideal print runs start at 2500 – 5,000 and you need about 3-4 weeks of production time. The end result can be terrific – especially if matching Pantone colors or using metallic inks – or you want ink coverage that extends over the edge and to the backside of the envelope.

Encourage Interaction & Engagement – Add #hashtags, Tiny URLs, or QR Codes to connect with your digital marketing efforts. Encourage interaction by using an envelope with an Easy-Open tear tab or peel-n-reveal that stands out and creates an element of surprise.

Change up the paper stock – In a sea of #10 generic white envelopes, one in metallic orange will surely draw attention first. There are a number of solid colors, translucent color paper, frosted, as well as those with different textures. Paper is very tactile which gives it an advantage over digital marketing. Think about your values or the meaning of your campaign and find an envelope stock that reinforces this message.

So break away from plain vanilla envelopes, by pushing the envelope. Give us a call – we’re happy to help.

Marketing Trends for 2019

February 27th, 2019

A few weeks ago, I participated on a panel of marketing experts at a chamber of commerce breakfast meeting and was asked “what’s new in marketing trends”? While new apps (Lumen5, Adobe Spark are a few of my new favorites) are cool and can save a ton of time, there are larger trends that marketers need to be aware of. Here’s what we see as what’s going to be important in 2019 – and beyond for marketers.


Trend 1: GDPR Changed Permission Based Marketing… FOREVER

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law went into affect in the US last summer regarding email marketing. Marketers are now challenged to think about how to get people to opt-in versus being added to a list. Even though GDPR is a European law doesn’t mean that it couldn’t affect you, and any e-mail marketing platform worth it’s salt has changed it’s guidelines around permission to more closely align with the stricter regulations. Gone are the days of adding people you met at a networking event to your list and thinking “they can always unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive it”.  While this may feel like more work, look at it this way – true permission-based marketing will challenge you to provide what your target market really wants from your brand – and that’s a good thing! If you’d like tips on how to get the most out of email marketing in the new age of permission, download a checklist of success tips from EMMA Email Marketing.


Trend 2: Be Relevant To Your Audience

With so much content bombarding every one of us on a daily basis, putting out more is probably not going to move the needle for your marketing efforts. Creating more relevant messaging for your target market will. The one and only rule for being relevant is to understand IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! It’s about understanding what your target market needs and wants from you. Stay tuned-in to them whether that’s face-to-face, online or on the phone. Always question how you can server your customer or client better, and use this to guide your marketing language and product or service offerings.


Trend 3: Strive For Engagement

As marketers, we need to shift our thinking from simply pushing messaging out – to engaging in a two-way conversation. Ask your followers to respond to a question; give incentives to share your brand story with their friends and colleagues, and work on building trust via conversations – online or face-to-face.  In today’s climate of online noise, an engaged audience is so much more powerful than a large one, so focus should be on increasing engagement and not primarily on growing list size or number of followers.


How do you plan on marketing in 2019 and beyond?

Food for thought…

February 6th, 2018

If you’re looking to put a tasty spin on your marketing and sales efforts, think food!  Custom designed food boxes can be used to promote your brand; introduce a new product or services, or to simply say “Thank you”.  Food gifts are fun to receive and can be shared in the office. Think of it as a billboard by the coffee pot. Everyone will know who brought the treats and you have 10-20 valuable minutes of a captivated audience to tell your story as you delight them with delicious treats.

Custom Food Safe Boxes are great for:

  • A New Client gift
  • Customer Appreciation
  • Employee Appreciation
  • Thank you for the referral
  • Introduce and cross sell new products and services
  • Conferences and meetings
  • Any special day to celebrate

With the food scene so ridiculously good in Northeast Ohio, our food theme is “keeping it local”. If you know of any local artisans that create goodies, let us know. We welcome any suggestions!

If you’d like to see samples, let’s schedule a meeting. We promise not to come empty handed!

The Power of the Pen (and Paper)

January 22nd, 2018

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou

We love this quote. In fact, it’s hanging on our wall. One of the simplest, most cost-effective ways of making people feel appreciated, loved or valued is to send them a handwritten note.

Building Relationships the Write Way
A handwritten note is such a rare treat these days, and a surefire way to make the recipient feel special. As the Experience economy* becomes more relevant, this is an excellent marketing tool to promote the customer experience.

Go Old School
It’s ironic that now, you can make someone feel special simply by putting pen to paper. There’s something powerful about a thank you note received in the mail vs. receiving a text or email. The extra effort and deliberate thought process involved in writing and sending one is definitely felt and remembered by the recipient.

Be Different
According to John Coleman in an article in the Harvard Business Review, the average home only receives a personal letter once every seven weeks. The stats Coleman cited date back to 2010. I imagine it’s even more a rarity today. What an easy way to stand out!

Tips for Writing Handwritten Notes

  • Don’t fret about your handwriting skills! Your kind words, and the perceived investment in time will make an impression.
  • Keep it to a few meaningful and personalized sentences.
  • Your choice in words – and even the design of the card – becomes a part of the customer experience, and an opportunity for you to express your brand.
  • Build note writing into your marketing and sales process. Carve out time in your schedule each day, or week. Whatever works for you… just do it!

*The Experience Economy, written by Joesph Pine and James Gilmore. 2011. A great business read reinforcing the importance of making unique connections to secure customer affections. (back cover)

Write Like a Marketer

January 15th, 2018

Just about anyone can write. But writing – and writing for marketing – are two very different things. If you’re looking to sharpen your writing skills to attract and retain customers or clients, read on!


Anyone can write, right?

Top 10 Writing Tips for Marketing

1. Ditch the formality. Write like you speak so your market can relate to you. Enough said.

2. BUT, pay attention to grammar and spelling. PLS don’t write like YR 12 year old niece TXTS.  Always run spell check, and have a colleague check for grammar, proper context and meaning.

3. Avoid the “Paradigm Shift”. All it takes is one reference to buzz words like “Bleeding edge technology” or “value-driven mandates”, and people tune out. Use language anyone can understand. If your mom doesn’t know what your organization’s paradigm shift is, don’t use it.

4. Know your target market and write to them. Give them what they need to know when they need it. For example, you’re creating an ad campaign that introduces your company to your target audience. Highlight the main value your clients or customers gain from your products or services. At this point in the buying cycle, they need to know what’s in it for them. Your company history doesn’t matter to them just yet.

5. Know how long your content should be. Email subject lines should be 50 characters or LESS.  A line of text should be no longer than 12 words. A paragraph should be no more than 4 lines.

6. Tell your story. Share your passion – it’s what sets you apart. You may provide accounting services, but so does every CPA. Tell WHY you love maximizing your clients’ income. It will energize you, and your audience will feel it.

7. Brevity trumps long-winded. Take out any filler and fluff. Every word needs to add meaning for your reader. Attention spans are getting shorter. The number of smart phones used to consume content is increasing. Keep that in mind.

8. For headlines, create curiosity and use lively words. But remember to Keep it Super Short (KISS).

9. For blog posts, consistency is key. Don’t post twice a month then abandon your blog for 3 months, only to pick up again 4 months later. Respect your readers time and be concise in your thought. Use bullet points or lists to organize information. Same applies for email marketing.

10. Have one clear and compelling call to action. Everyone is distracted and busy. Your content needs to generate an activity. A generic call to action like “Contact us” will not inspire action. “Click today to receive a free sample” is so much better. Get clear on what you want your market to do. Including a deadline helps!

Want more marketing, print and design info you can use? Just click to sign up.


Donuts and Paper – A Tasty Guide

January 9th, 2018
Paper and donuts image

Click to download some tasty tidbits for printing success

Paper – just like donuts – comes in a wide variety of sizes, styles & coatings. Understanding the terminology of paper and how different types perform on press, leads to a deeply satisfying end result. Just like eating a donut!


Grab your favorite sweet treat, and download our tasty and concise guide to learning about paper, and let’s get started!

The Amazing Beebop Bluetooth Headphones!

January 9th, 2018

Here at RAD Graphics, we fight over who gets to use these just about every day. They sound, look and perform great.

I’ve connected these to iPhones, iPads, laptops and computers easily. These can be ordered in quantities as low as ONE, and that’s what makes these great for showing appreciation to an employee, or thanking a client. These bluetooth wireless headphones have a large imprint size and feature…

  • A 33 ft. wireless range
  • Stereo sound with outside noise reduction
  • Multi-function on-ear buttons
  • Built-in microphone for phone calls
  • Cool gift box

Price for one = $41.50

Price for 50 = $32 each


Get better ROI with Food Gifts

November 9th, 2017

Businesses make significant investments in their holiday gift program, but too often, gift purchases are left to the last minute. The result? ROI is much less than it could have been. However, with a little planning you can be assured of getting the best ROI from your program.

The gifts you send to customers, fellow business associates and employees are a reflection of you and your company. You want to showcase the excellence of your brand by sending a gift that is memorable and exceptional.

Follow these three basic planning steps, and remember, we’re here to help you through the process!

1. Evaluate last year’s program
Think about last year’s program. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like? What went wrong? The answers to these questions will help you get off to a good start with this year’s program.

2. Choose the proper food gifts

  • Gifts for individuals vs. gifts to be shared
    When purchasing gifts for individuals you may want to consider something that serves one or a family. Such as hams, smoked turkeys, or individual gift boxes. However, when selecting gifts for an office environment, options like gourmet towers that can be opened and shared at once are a better choice.
  • The correct gift size
    Choosing the right‐sized gift is an important step. Sending a 12 piece box of chocolate to an individual is fine, but if it is to be shared in an office with 30 people it doesn’t go very far, so it is important to select gifts tailored to fit the recipient. When sending gifts to be shared you will want to send a gift that includes enough for all. We can help you narrow down gifts by the number of people they will serve.
  • Branded gifts deliver more value
    Sending a gift that features your company’s logo on the packaging adds a classy touch and shows that you put extra thought into gift selection. It also helps build your brand by keeping your name top of mind. If you are sending gifts to individuals, you may want to consider gifts that contain a branded item that will be retained long after the food has been enjoyed, such as a cutting board, desk accessory or collectible wooden truck.
  • Special dietary considerations
    Do some of your customers or employees keep Kosher? If so, you will want to select gifts that are certified to be Kosher.

3. Choose the best method of distribution
Personal delivery of gifts is the best way to distribute them. However, because of time and logistical constraints, this isn’t always possible. There are a number of other ways to get gifts into your recipients’ hands…

  • Shipping gifts from your facility
    Shipping gifts from your office or shipping department is a great option if your shipping list is not quite complete at the time you order. Gifts will ship to you as you continue to fine‐tune your list until you’re ready to ship.
  • Shipping directly from the producer
    There are a variety of situations in which it is best to have the vendor ship the gifts for you:

    • Perishable Gifts
      If you are ordering perishable products like hams, smoked turkeys, or natural cheese packages that require refrigeration it is generally best ship those gifts directly to each recipient. It can be difficult to receive a shipment of perishable gifts and then turn around and get them delivered to the recipients in time, especially if you lack necessary storage facilities.
    • Tight Timeline
      If you are on a tight timeline, shipping directly from the vendor can save you valuable time and ensure your gifts are delivered when you want them.
    • Large Orders
      If your order is large, it may be unmanageable to handle the shipping yourself. Simplify the process and reduce stress by having the producer handle the shipping.

When you give a gift, you’re giving an experience. Giving your recipients the best possible experience and in a timely manner will boost your ROI and ensure that your gift and brand will be remembered positively long after the treats have been enjoyed.

RAD Graphics partnered with Maple Ridge Farms as our food gift provider of choice. Maple Ridge Farms gifts are sold exclusively through businesses like ours. They follow FDA guidelines for food handling, labeling and packaging. Their food is fresh and of high quality, and their packaging is beautiful as well as customizable. They offer a wide variety of options and in price points between $10 – $250. Maple Ridge Farms is located in Liz’s home state of Wisconsin – another bonus!

Trade Show Marketing Tips

July 28th, 2016

Trade shows can be one of the most effective and efficient lead generation tools for businesses, but they can be costly too. From design and print of the display and marketing items, the investment can be thousands. And if it’s out of town, even more. Now’s the time to start planning on how to maximize your investment.

Trade show

Get the most out of trade show marketing

Take advantage of the entire experience of the trade show attendee to build awareness, and fill your pipeline. Here are a few tips:

Before the show

  • Months before, strategize on the entire process from the attendee’s perspective. Put yourselves in their shoes and consider what they’re doing, thinking, wishing for and experiencing days before the show, during the show, and perhaps most importantly, after the show. Call a prospect or client and ask for their feedback to get really great data points.
  • How will you grow your list, and generate leads and sales by exhibiting at this trade show? Research sponsorship opportunities to the show in exchange for a list of attendees.
  • If you’re sponsoring, be prepared to receive the list only weeks – sometimes only days – before the show. Ask about timing, and plan to send a postcard or email to generate pre-show sales and excitement.  Add an offer to make reaching out or visiting your booth compelling.
  • Know what your post-show follow up will be so execution can be seamless and timely.
  • During the show

  • Capture interested prospects info. If you have multiple products/services, have them specify what they may be interested in.
  • Have plenty of options for takeaways based on the level of interest and/or quality of lead.
  • If you have a list of attendee’s, consider same day promotions using a text messaging service to draw more folks to your booth.
  • After the show

  • Follow up within 5 days. Remember, good leads can go cold fast. Make sure your follow up includes a few touch points to remind those who may have been swamped with to-do’s when they returned.
  • If sponsoring, ask for a complete attendee list, and plan one more touch point for those you have not gotten response from.
  • Build your list so you can continue to communicate with prospects in the future.
  • Track the results.  Is it worth it to invest in the show again?
  • Maximize your trade show ROI with a well thought out plan to attract, capture and follow up.

    9 Ways to Find Great Content Ideas for Marketers

    April 29th, 2016


    If you’re responsible for creating relevant marketing content for your company, you most likely have suffered from writers block or idea overload at some point.  Create content your market want with these tips…
    1. Recap five interesting things you learned at an event you recently attended.

      Don't let a lack of ideas bring your marketing to a halt.

    2. Re-purpose content from one of your existing presentations or seminars.
    3. In the spirit of recycling, take a look at older content and go ahead and re-fresh and re-use.  Trust me, your market needs to hear the message again.
    4. Ask your sales reps what questions they are most asked. Since they interface most frequently with your clients and prospect, their insight is incredibly valuable. Answer the most commonly asked question, and make sure you capture the way they ask it.
    5. Share a “how-to” tip on a favorite product. Consider video for this. Did you know that including video in emails can increase your click through rate by 300%?
    6. Ask an industry expert to be featured in an interview by you.  Ask your clients or customers in advance what they’d like to know from the expert.
    7. Curate content by compiling industry news – add your opinion or take on it for a personalized touch.  There are plenty of ways to automate gathering information. Set up Google alerts to receive the latest articles in your inbox.  Use an RSS site like Feedly or InoReader to keep up with important news.
    8. Share an interesting or touching story about an employee, or client.  Including the personal touch is becoming more relevant in our increasingly automated world!
    9. Survey your list using either social sites or email and ask what they’d like to know about your area of expertise or your products or services.  Ask open ended questions to avoid “leading the witness”.  You want to get at what’s really on their mind.

    Do you have a favorite tip for creating great content ideas? Leave a reply below.

    Want more marketing, print and design info you can use? Just click to sign up.