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Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Custom Printing: An Approach to Integrated Marketing

A few weeks ago while visiting with a book printing client of mine, I made a few suggestions about promoting three new titles this small publisher was about to produce with my help. He and his wife had a website and some marketing postcards, and they had asked my opinion of how to approach the promotion of these new print books.

I was excited about the helping this couple, so I closely reviewed this publisher’s printed and online materials to get a sense of their current marketing strategy and hopefully help improve it.

My Approach to Their Website

First of all, the three print books I have helped him and his wife produce have been glorious, with French Flaps, deckled edged cream paper, and a heavy cover stock. They epitomize the tactile qualities that only a good print book can provide.

I reviewed the publisher’s website and made these suggestions:

  1. He and his wife should have a goal in mind. The website should be more than an online brochure. It should reflect the visual branding of their books, and it should invite the reader to contact the publisher and order more books, sign up for a mailing list, or whatever else my client wants the reader to do. But it needs to encourage the reader to actually do something.
  2. The website should be simple and easily navigable, with links to print book descriptions, a publisher’s contact page that can accept reader address information, and perhaps a calendar of the book launches and other promotional events the publisher hosts periodically. These links should be immediately visible at the top of the web page, and should perhaps be accompanied by a large image that reflects the tenor of his and his wife’s publishing house. I don’t think the website needs a lot of pages. Only a few, with immediately visible contact information, will do nicely.

My Approach to Their Postcard

The publisher suggested that we create a marketing postcard that would ask for information about the reader to create a book sales list and a subscription newsletter. I encouraged him and his wife to also link electronically back to their website, perhaps using PURLs (personalized landing pages), which would give a consistent look to the promotional campaign.

The postcards could be inserted into the books, so readers could immediately get back in touch with the publisher, get on a mailing list, and continue a dialogue about the book. I thought that a tie between a print book presence, a marketing postcard, and an online presence would reinforce each of the three marketing initiatives. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to not only insert the marketing postcard into the books but to also send it to a select list of prospective buyers.

My Approach to The PURLs

My client could add a web link to the postcard text that the recipient of the postcard could type into his or her browser to connect to the publisher’s website. Or the publisher could include a 2-D barcode (known as a QR, or Quick Response, code that the reader could capture with his or her smartphone). This could send the reader to the publisher’s website. If my client wanted to go further, image recognition software now exists that would allow the reader to point his or her smartphone camera at a photographic image on the postcard (not a QR code) and be linked to the publisher’s website.

My Approach to Their Signage

My client and his wife also attend trade shows. As a small print book publisher, they can expand the visual identity reflected in their books, marketing postcards, and website by choosing from a number of trade show graphic devices.

They could cover their trade show table with a table-throw, which could have their logo and identity information emblazoned on the side facing the show attendees.

They could also produce banner stands (large format print graphics that could completely surround their space at the booth), or smaller collapsible graphic stands.

Some of the banner stands are miniature, and would go nicely on the top of the table. Others are larger, and could be placed on the floor for a more dynamic look (one at a time or three or more side by side). And the most dramatic large format print graphics would completely surround the back of the booth, providing a startling view of the color, imagery, and tone of my client’s publishing house.

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