Distribution services

August 11, 2009

mailmanDistribution is yet another service that a client of yours may need. And you thought you were just an artist…

After a client finishes a design with you, and they have their print order completed, they may want some help (or ideas of what to do) in getting their order out to their target audience. Sometimes if their print order is something light and handy such as a postcard mailer, flyer or even a brochure, they might ask your opinion on distribution services. Normally there are four ways to do this: • Mail them out • Hand them out • Leave them in places where people can pick them up • Email There are many different types of distribution services out there that will do all of the above for a price, and some of your clients may be able to afford these services (a lot of printers, including PS Print, offer distribution services at affordable rates), but some clients prefer to do it themselves. If this is the case, you can seem ultra informative and provide your clients with these tips on self distribution: Mailings Give three business days for mailings to be received, and four days for locations extremely far away from your location (such as cross-country). If your mailing requires the recipient to respond back to you by a certain time, create what I call the three-prong deadline. Original Deadline → Late Deadline → Real Deadline The Original Deadline is two weeks before you will no longer accept any responses. This is the deadline that you put on your promotional material as the “official” submission cut off date. The Late Deadline is one week before you will no longer accept any more responses. This is not an advertised deadline. When people call or respond to you very close to or after the original deadline, they are going to ask if you are still accepting responses. You then tell them that your real deadline is the Late Deadline. The Real Deadline is when you will no longer accept any more responses. The reason for the other two deadlines is to give those who are late and would still like to participate with your project time to get their information to you and keep you from running behind in the meantime. Hand outs For hand outs, make a date/time for your team to do this. Find out what events are going on where your target population will be in attendance. Gather your team together and make sure they are well informed about the details that will be beneficial for your target audience to know. When they are asked questions about location, price, deadlines, rules on participation, etc. they should know them and be able to promote your event or business well. Email distribution There is always the option to send out e-mails about your business or advertise online. This is a great way to send out advertisements quickly and frequently. The same time management rules apply as far as brainstorming, text creation and design. E-mails can be sent out immediately once your design has been loaded onto an e-mail distribution site. This significantly cuts down on your distribution time and cost. During your brainstorming session, determine whether e-mail distribution would be beneficial to your cause. Is your target market computer literate, of age to use the computer, or have frequent access to a computer? Do they check e-mail often? Do they know how to –and would they be willing to-- respond back to you via e-mail, online registration or other web-based communication? Do you have e-mail addresses for your target audience so that you can send communication online? Do you know the URL’s of the websites where your target market would most likely see your advertisement? If the answer to most of these questions is “yes,” you might want to consider this marketing technique. Keep in mind, that e-mail distribution is not free unless you send your advertisement as a regular e-mail attachment or as an inserted picture. If you want to send an e-mail blast that will give you a template to work from where you can just import your own text, links and pictures, you’ll need to use an e-mail distribution company. Most of them offer free-trials, but almost all of them require that you set up an account and pay a monthly fee to use their services (prices vary, most are below $20 amonth). If you plan on using this type of distribution often, it might be worth it to subscribe to this service. What do you think? Have you offered a client advice on distribution services?

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.