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How to get started with your outdoor marketing

It starts with an idea. Yours? Great. Writer’s block? No problem! That’s what designers are for.

They’re used to working on all sorts of briefs. Be as detailed or as loose as you like. If you have absolutely no idea what you want, say so. You can always hire a designer by the hour. They’ll be delighted to create multiple ideas for you while you’re “on the meter”. Pick the ones you like or don’t be afraid to keep going until you get the look you want.

If your budget is tight, be straight with the designer. Be prepared to be flexible – best to get your likes and dislikes clearly stated before you start, since you might not want to pay for multiple revisions.

Or you could do it yourself. But, even if you’re a pro, you might not have designed for fabric before. And designing a massive display can be daunting. Its different to designing for print. If you’re a competent designer, ask for a ready-made design template (or you can download an InDesign file from the item’s product page). These templates show all the printable areas and quiet zones.

Whichever way you go, your neighbourhood studio is there to help. They’ll be able to source ultra high resolution photography, good enough to print at such enormous resolutions. Or turn your dirty sketch into a striking display.

Design at printing.com

Stunning savings on outdoor gazebos

Printed Gazebo


Even a traditional British summer won’t spoil your outdoor event.

Printed gazebos are all the rage at farmer’s markets, festivals and fairs. Our range now features new lower cost options, so you can make the most of your marketing budget.

In every case, the gazebo frame is the same. It’s compact for storage, then pops up and locks into place.

You’ve got a choice of a plain black canopy, your name or logo printed on the front fascia or your branding fully printed on all sides and the top too. Each canopy is a water resistant material that’ll keep you and your stock dry if it rains.

Clip on the number of sides you want. A full height wall hangs from the top, or you can choose half height walls, which come with a rail. Why not print a half height wall for the front too, to act as a cool branded counter?

Remember you can buy all the printed parts separately, so you can change your messages for each season or each event, and keep using the same frame. Neat!

Design your Gazebo
Printed gazebo

This Viceroy gazebo has a fascia printed canopy plus one half height wall and one full height wall – £620

Choose your CANOPY

The lowest cost gazebos have an unprinted black canopy. Upgrade and get the fascia printed or go all out and have the whole top and pelmet printed.

Black unprinted    £283
Fascia printed    £337
Fully printed    £698

The add your WALLS

You might not want any walls at all, or mix and match half height or full height walls, printed on one side or double sided. Half height include a hanging rail.

Half height single sided    £146
Half height double sided    £202
Full height single sided    £137
Full height double sided    £257

Order online, or contact your local studio.

How do you increase your chances of winning?

Maybe they’re just not that into youQuote follow up

You emailed or called a business you wanted to buy from. You asked for a quote. They said they’d get back to you. They didn’t. You chased. Nothing. How often does that happen?

Maybe they did email a quote. Then what? Never hear from them again? You’re wondering, how much did they really want my business?

It’s crazy. We all spend money on advertising and marketing to generate enquiries. If we don’t properly follow up on those enquiries, how do we expect them to turn into customers?


It started with a thump on the doormat…Blue front door

What if that was your business taking the enquiry? Maybe your team answer calls in three rings. Perhaps you reply to email enquiries in a few hours. Great.

Then what?

Chances are, the enquirer also got quotes from your competitors. How do you increase your chances of winning?

Follow up. Every time. Print your quote or proposal and mail it to them. Sure, it’ll cost a quid or so in postage. But what’s the lifetime value of that customer worth to you? Probably more than a quid.


But only one of them asked for the order…

Here’s the secret. If you follow up, you might be the only one who does.

Think about it. Would you choose a business who was disinterested at the quote stage? If they’re sluggish then, how responsive will they be when you’ve paid them to work for you?

A quote in the post is good. But it can work harder. Use a folder. A beautiful folder. It gives you gravitas. You’ll look impressive. Use the inside to sell your benefits. Why should they choose you? Fill with photos of other projects, awards or client reviews.

We’ve cut the price of our folders since last year. And in March, take an extra £50 off selected items in the range.

What type of Christmas card will you send this year?

Christmas Cards

Tempted to send an ‘e-card’ instead of a printed card to your top clients? Think again.

Research shows your clients will hate it. If it’s the thought that counts, they’ll think you’ve given it no thought whatsoever. Better to send a traditional printed card, and send it early. Why send it on Christmas Eve and be on their desk for a day? Get it there for the first week of December and make the most of the month.

Premium Silk Christmas Cards are our most popular – on an elegant 400gsm board.

Want something a little bit more special?

WINDOPOP Your choice of simple shape is cut-out from the front panel to reveal part of your design inside 125 from £74.70
STARMARQUE Set your cards to sparkle with spot gloss highlights on the front panel 125 from £100.80
VOUCHER CARD Add an extra tear-off third voucher or discount panel to make your cards work harder 125 from £125.10
OPULEAF New this year – gold or silver foil on the front for a festive look and feel 125 from £311.40
SMOOTHWOVE An uncoated finish, looks classic and understated 125 from £53.10

Are you ready for the cyber weekend?

Many UK small businesses will miss their share of £5bn of sales – will you?

What on earth is cyber weekend? If you’re imagining dressing up in silver foil and running around scaring kids, you’re up the wrong tree. Although that does sound like a lot of fun.

No, cyber weekend is the five day period on the run-up to Christmas, where an insane amount of stuff is sold. In 2015, shoppers spent a cool £3.3bn over the weekend, which was up a third on the previous year. This year experts are predicting those sales to top £5bn. That’s Five. Billion. Pounds.

The phenomenon was imported from the US, where Black Friday is said to signify the day a retailer ‘went into the black’. It marks the official start of the holiday retailing season, usually the most profitable time for retailers.

Last year marked a big change in consumer behaviour. More punters than ever decided not to brave the cold high street. Instead, digitally savvy consumers chose to browse in the comfort of their home or work and shopped online.

So this all sounds like great news for retailers? Well. That’s until you hear that small businesses are losing out. Oh.

According to research by the Department for Business, Industry & Skills, nearly half of small businesses still don’t have a website. For those that do, two thirds don’t have one which is transactional – people can’t make purchases via ecommerce on it. Worse still, many of those that can, don’t work properly on a mobile phone, despite more than half of all transactions now being done on mobiles or tablets.

There’s still time. Your local studio can help. We work with businesses of all shapes and sizes and we help them to sell online. If you’ve looked at ecommerce in the past and thought you couldn’t afford it, things have moved on. It may not cost as much as you think. Tell us what you want to sell, how many products you have and we’ll give you a proposal.

Cyber weekend checklist

Over half of all online traffic is now from mobile devices

Over half of all online traffic is now from mobile devices

To make the most of the cyber weekend, start planning now. We can help with some or all of these things, depending on what you need.

  • Mobile friendly website
  • Ecommerce capabilty
  • Take payments online
  • In-store posters
  • Integration with EPOS
  • Email marketing campaign
  • Flyers to hand out
  • Direct mail
  • Window posters
  • Outdoor flags


Have you opened a web shop yet?

Have you opened a web shop yet?

Need to raise some funds?

Fundraising Calendars Fundraising CalendarsEver thought about selling calendars instead of giving them away?

Many of our customers use calendars to raise funds or make some money. Here are a few ideas on ways you could boost your income – and raise your profile – with a little bit of effort.


Top five tips

1) Run a design competition for kids
Put the best paintings or artwork into your calendar and sell them to parents (and a second copy to Granny).

2) Sell adverts to local businesses
Ask local businesses to buy adverts – put a different one on each page, or around the side of wallplanners.

3) Photograph kids on their birthday month
Snap everyone with a June birthday together, print on their birthdays, then flog the calendars to Mums and Dads.

4) Strip off like the calendar girls
Get your colleagues to flash a bit of flesh in the name of charity.

5) Double up as recipe books
Pop on some seasonal recipes on each month and make the calendars even more sellable.


No matter your budget, calendars are an effective way to give a branded gift that lasts a whole year. Here’s our most popular sellers – fancy something else? Ask us.

A separate card per month with a front and back cover, all presented in a neat acrylic case  250 from £279

Wall hanging, with big images and calendar pages to view  250 from £430.20

A massive billboard on your customer’s wall, with the whole year to view (as well as your brand)  250 from £262.80

Somewhere to rest their phone, with the whole year at a glance 250 from £235.80

To keep in the wallet or purse – your details one side an annual calendar on the back  250 from £27

A scribble pad with 35 leaves. A calendar on the side – leave room for to do lists and memos  100 from £188.10

Our lowest cost hanging calendar – a nice picture and a whole year to stick up  250 from £81.90

Starts in December and runs ‘til January 2018 – up a month earlier, stay a month later  250 from £259.20















Customers are people too. Give gifts and make them feel special.

And maybe they’ll feel like giving you a bit more business in return?

Customers often aren’t as loyal as we’d all like to think. Building relationships increases the loyalty odds and, as we know, loyalty means repeat business.

You’ve gone to the effort of gaining the customer and all the research shows, selling to existing customers is cheaper than finding new ones. So it’s worth nurturing each special relationship.

Free gift inside
A time-bound discount is sometimes a good way to prompt people to buy, especially for customers who are solely motivated by price. But that’s not everyone.

The trouble with discounting is it sets an expectation of a lower price next time the customer is ready to buy.

Consider giving them a free gift with their purchase instead. One benefit is that it incentivises the person placing the order – and that may not necessarily be the person paying the invoice. Think of all those airline miles, paid for by companies, redeemed on trips to Barbados. Or the stationery supplier who gives a free biscuits with every order, compared to the one who’s a little cheaper.

Who do you think the office junior will order from? Correct. And their next tough decision is who’s going to brew up.

The world is your mousemat…
So how do you go about choosing the right promotional gifts to get your message across? There are thousands of gifts available – from the clever to the bizarre.

Top 10 things people keep on their desk…new-pens-white

  1.  Pens
  2.  Calendars
  3.  Mousemats
  4.  Sticky notes
  5.  Pencils
  6.  Deskpads
  7.  Calculators
  8.  Diaries
  9.  Notebooks
  10.  Champagne (maybe the fridge)

benefits of branded giftsMake them useful
89% of people say they would keep an item if it were useful. Makes sense, if it has a use, customers will use it.

Make it relevant
If the gift complements your business or your customer demographic, you won’t get funny looks. Try a bottle opener if you run a wine shop. Or a sports bottle if you own a gym. How about a mousemat if you repair computers?

It’s about perceived value

That’s how much it’s worth to the customer, rather than what it costs you. The more valuable your gift is perceived to be, the better the response. A wall planner might cost you 30p each – but your customer would have to pay ten times that to buy one from a shop.

Talk to your local studio and we’ll find some gifts to suit your business.




On the trail of your lost customers

on the trailUnderstanding why your customer has stopped buying from you is the key to winning them back.

Losing a customer is never a nice feeling
Even the best businesses lose customers, often through no fault of their own. For every customer lost, another has to be found, otherwise your customer base would dwindle to nothing.

Sometimes it’s easy to be focused on answering the front door to new customers, and neglect existing customers leaving by the back door.

We all know that existing customers are easier to sell to – they know you and you know them. And loyal customers tend to be more profitable. So how do you increase the likelihood of them staying put?

How many customers have you lost?
First you need to determine what you’d consider to be a ‘lost customer’. If you keep records of each customer’s transactions, you’ll get the most accurate results. If you don’t, just make some sensible judgements.

On average, how often do your customers buy from you? Once a week, once a month, every 9 months? We’ll call this their ‘frequency’. Ok, now when did each customer last order? We call this their ‘recency’. So if a typical customer’s frequency is an order every 3 months, and the recency of their last order was 5 months ago, we may have problem.

So, why haven’t they called? Is there a good reason why they’ve gone AWOL?
It’s probably one of these common reasons, so here are a few ideas on how to stop them walking…Top tips for customer retention

1. You messed up
It happens to the best of us so don’t get disheartened. See it as a great opportunity to make it up to them and convert them into your number one fan. Remember though, just because they haven’t complained doesn’t mean that they are happy. However, research shows an unhappy client who has their problem resolved is more loyal than one who has never had a problem.

2. They just forgot about you
Ouch. Try to keep in touch as much as possible (without stalking them). Encourage them to follow you on social media and have them on your marketing mailing list.

What would mailing them once a month do to your business? It’s a great way to stay on their radar. Add yourself to their mailing list too so you know what’s going on in their lives.

3. They’ve found it cheaper
Don’t panic. Especially in these times, it’s tempting to discount yourself out of business just to win them back. If you’re competing solely on price, there’ll always be someone to undercut you and the downward race to the bottom continues.

Give quality of service and value for money that they can’t get anywhere else. If they really want the cheapest then have the balls to say goodbye – it’s absolutely fine to ‘fire’ unprofitable customers. If your competitor lets them down, or your customer is disappointed with their quality, you’ll still be there with a box of tissues. Just don’t gloat… nobody likes a smartie pants.

Say my name – Postcards are instantly memorable

Want customers to remember you?
Use postcards. New research has shown print is more memorable than online ads. 

A week after people saw both, Temple University found printed ads showed greater emotional response and memory. Print also caused more activity in brain areas associated with value and desire. Print makes them remember you. And want you.

Do an experiment. Count the emails you got last week. Include those in your spam/junk. Now count the postcards or brochures you got in the post. We bet it’s significantly less. Significantly. Want your message to get through? Use print. You’ve got their post box to yourself. Our Postcards are now up to 62% off, with a new 50 starting quantity. If you want customers to say your name, print it.

























Why do people have to scratch?



What is it about scratch cards that makes them so irresistible? Find out how you can use them on a budget.

Your customers receive a multitude of messages every day, in a wide variety of formats. It takes a little bit of thought and planning to make sure your message stands out. If you give out leaflets or vouchers with discount offers on them, think about putting the same offer under a scratch card panel. The fact the person has to spend time scratching off the panel means they spend more time participating with your promotion – making them more likely to buy.

Whether your goal is to increase sales, create a customer reward program, or engage your employees with an incentive scheme, scratch cards are one of the most versatile and fun ways to promote yourself.

People love to scratch
Scratch cards have the advantage of being simple, well known and offer the opportunity to give customers something for nothing. This increases your ‘stickiness’ – people should keep returning if you’re offering them a chance to win money off or prizes.

Of course, everyone loves gifts and prizes. People love to ‘win’ things. They even love to participate in anything offering them a chance to win. Win prizes! You win! Winner! See how powerful these words are? It could be anything from a free pizza to free delivery. It could be a discount on your products or services… or even just a free Curly Wurly.

There’s no time to lose – start thinking about how a little bit of scratching could benefit your business.

Eight easy steps to designing a perfect scratch promotion…
Our scratch cards are really versatile – you’re in complete control over how they work. Answer these questions to get going…

1. What are you trying to achieve?
You might be trying to win new customers or get more repeat business from existing customers. It helps if you know what you want to get out of it.

2. What prizes are you offering?
You could have the same ‘prize’ on every scratch card, but that kind of defeats the purpose. It’s best to think of the prizes as mini-offers, so maybe give something free with a purchase, or money off a product or service you’re trying to sell more of. We’d recommend having three or four different types of winner and then some losers, if you’re feeling mean.





In this game 500 of the cards are losing cards. The rest are winners.

3. What will your ‘hot cards’ be?
Hot cards might be a few extra special, star prizes, which you can use to focus the promotion on – “win a free MOT” or “win a free meal for two”. Unless you’re using a security printing company (and paying a fortune for the privilege), we don’t recommend putting cash prizes or anything of particularly high value under the panel. What you put under the panel is up to you. It could just be words or you might try something more engaging like a game.






4. How many losers will you have?

You have complete control over the mix of winners and losers. It depends on the value of the star prize you’re giving away. Nobody likes to go away empty handed, so maybe give your losers some sort of consolation prize – a discount or a ‘roll again’.





In this game the prizes are of more value so the majority of the cards are losing cards.

5. What size?
Our scratch cards now come in a whole range of sizes, from business card up to A5. Most people choose Regular, which at 100x50mm, is about the same size as a lottery scratch card. Simply choose the size you want, then buy one set for each message you want under the panel. Mix and match quantities – they don’t have to all be the same.

6. What’s your theme?
The best scratch card promotions use a theme and a game that’s relevant to the business. Or maybe tap into the season? A christmas cracker? A winter getaway. A new year bonanza. Or ready for Valentine’s day love?

7. What will you put on the back?
Either terms and conditions or use the back as a data capture form to increase your mailing list. Get people to give you their name, email and other details when they claim their prize. Perhaps have a second competition for any losing cards to go into a draw to win a different prize. This in turn enables you to establish and implement effective and appropriate marketing campaigns.

8. Who will design it for you?
Us! Your local studio team can help come up with ideas for your promotion. Give it a little thought and then let’s get together to create a high-impact campaign which wins for you, as well as your customers.