Electro Image LLC

Businesses looking to use print marketing as a way to enhance their brand need to be aware of their budget. The cost of printed efforts like postcards or banners depends in large part on the audience size and intended function, enabling St. Louis businesses to be flexible in utilizing methods that fit their budgetary needs.

When used correctly, promotion of your products and services will be an investment rather than a cost, paying for itself with increased brand exposure. To maximize your return on investment (ROI), visit your printer with an initial budget in mind. Here are 5 steps to help you determine your ideal budget when printing your promotional materials:

Know What You Have

Going into any promotional activity without knowing basic numbers is never advisable. Prepare by calculating your current business expenses as they relate to your revenue and see just how much money you have in order to expand your business and/or increase brand awareness.

Be sure to take inventory of current printed items available to you for promotion. Any spending is wasteful if it merely duplicates already existing materials. If you find a banner in storage that still matches your desired brand identity and message, use it and focus the budget on creating compelling new printing initiatives.

Estimate Prices

You should find out just how much your desired printing projects would cost. This will require a number of individual steps:

  1. Determine your goals and the tactics that accomplish them. Are you looking for brand awareness or emphasizing customer retention? Do you frequent or host events for your prospective customers, or do you rely on drive-by messaging to gain business? Depending on your promotional goals, you will need very different printed materials. Advertising flags are perfect for events, but will not work as well as yard signs to get the word about your business out to your audience quickly.
  2. Find potential partners. Once you have narrowed down exactly the type of printing project in which you would like to engage, it’s time to find a printing company that can become your partner in accomplishing your goal. Prices vary greatly based on the printing company you use, and may include added costs based on graphic design, custom options, and more.
  3. Specify your audience size. Many St. Louis printers offer bulk discounts if you are looking to print items like postcards or business cards in high quantities. But of course, printing 10,000 postcards when your audience list consists only of 1,000 potential customers makes little sense. Instead, find a happy medium between the size of your list and the next-highest available bulk discount quantity.
  4. Consider additional costs. Staying with the postcards example, always remember that printing may not be the only cost related to your intended promotional activity. You will also need to pay for postage and other costs that you should factor in as early on as possible for the sake of your budget.

After taking these four steps, you should have a better idea of just how much it costs to engage in printed promotions for your business. As long as that number matches the budget you established in step 1, it’s time to move forward.

Establish The Criteria Of Success

canstockphoto7355575Even when you have a set budget, you want to make sure that it’s spent as efficiently as possible. Before engaging in the actual project, establish the criteria that you will use to determine whether your efforts were successful or not.

These criteria should be aligned closely with the campaign goal you accomplished in the previous step, but with the added feature of measurability. In its simplest form, having measurability means being able to answer questions like this: how many customers are you expecting to gain as a result of your printed campaign? Variations may be the amount of revenue you bring in, the percentage of customers who come back, and more.

Customize As Needed

Next, it’s time to embark on the actual project. Here, the potential additional costs come into play: do you need professional help designing your materials? Are you looking at custom printing options to help your materials stand out even more? Any of these may add cost to your project, but could also increase its effectiveness and success.

Evaluate And Adjust

Finally, having designed and utilized your printed promotions, it’s time to regroup and evaluate its success. This evaluation is based on the criteria you established in step 3, and can help you significantly optimize your efforts for future endeavors.

For example, you may have found that your postcard campaign helped your business gain significant exposure and customers, but only for part of your mailing list. Now, you can evaluate that mailing list to see if any common factors exist. Perhaps certain neighborhoods were more likely to react to the postcard, or perhaps you find it to be more effective with families than with single-person households.

Evaluating this information helps you narrow down your mailing list for the future, focusing only on the part of your audience with the most potential for success. The next time you invest in a print marketing campaign, you can spend and print less in order to maximize your return on investment. By being strategic about your budget, you ensure that your printed campaign helps your business grow and prosper in the most effective way possible.

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