In this era of digital fatigue, marketers are turning their attention to print once again. For a good reason, it seems.
One study found that over 90 percent of consumers surveyed found internet advertising intrusive. And people are almost 40 percent more likely to respond in some way to direct mail than an email newsletter.
But navigating the world of digital printing services can be tricky for a company or marketing department with little experience in the medium. For example, what quantities do you need? What colors, paper type, or style?
Read on to find out how to choose the right printing company for your needs.
1. How Good Is Their Print Quality?
If you choose between cost and quality, always be willing to pay a little more for a higher-quality digital printing service.
If you go cheap, your customers will notice, and you’ll waste your money. This might mean printing fewer materials than you originally intended. You could also choose to print in black and white or in fewer colors to reduce costs.
Be sure to ask the company for a variety of samples before going ahead with an order. Don’t just look at online examples. Either visit the company to view printed samples in person or ask them to mail some samples to you.
2. What Does Their Pricing Look Like?
Digital printing is typically cheaper than traditional offset printing. There are no minimum print quantities, plate costs, or set-up fees. Advanced machines can even do the binding!
In other words, printing has never been faster and cheaper than it is today. But, of course, you’ll still need to pay for the paper, ink, design (in some cases), and, of course, the print shop staff’s time.
While not every company will list their service pricing online, reputable companies like Printingprogress in Greenwich, UK, will offer transparent brochure downloads and call-for-a-quote options.
3. How Fast Can They Turn Your Order Around?
As we mentioned above, prints to digital service offer unbelievably quick turnaround compared with digital methods. This means you typically need far less lead time in terms of design work and delivery dates.
Still, be sure to check leads times with the companies you’re considering working with. For example, they might ask for extended deadlines if you’re ordering during a busy period (such as in the lead-up to Christmas), if they have a lot of customers, or if your order is particularly large or complicated.
4. Do They Offer a Variety of Material Designs?
Businesses today still need a ton of different kinds of printed materials.
Think product labels, business cards, newsletters, sales brochures, information bookers, flyers… even fridge magnets. And that’s not to mention promotional materials like paper hats, oversized hands, or other novelty items.
Look for a company that can print a variety of designs and has experience doing so. Ideally, they’ll be a company that can help you brainstorm options for the best colors, shape, style, and designs for your marketing needs.
5. Do They Have an MOQ (Minimum Quantity Order)?
The best digital art printing services will offer discounts for longer runs while still providing space in their schedule for smaller print runs.
If you’re a small business, you likely don’t want tens of thousands of copies of that brochure or poster. On the other hand, if you’re a government agency, you may need to fill orders with units in the hundreds of thousands.
Before placing your order, check if the company has a minimum (and a maximum) order amount. You don’t want to go ahead with a quote only to find out you’re forced to order more units than you need.
6. What Graphic Options Do They Offer?
Make sure you choose a company that’s invested in the latest printing technology. This will offer you a more comprehensive range of personalization options and effects to choose from.
If you’re using standard designs offered by the company, see if they provide variable data services. This means you can personalize the printed materials to include customer names and other personal data. That will save a lot of label printing or handwriting on your end!
Ask about their special effects options, too. Digital printing offers all kinds of exciting accouterments–from fluorescent ink to Pantone PMS colors.
7. Where Are They Located?
Choose a printing company near you if you’re the kind of business owner or marketing executive who likes to see how things are done. This will ensure you can visit the company in person to approve designs, choose paper, review proofs, and even pick up your printed materials yourself.
Of course, today, there are also online digital printing services. You can plan and place your order entirely online and get the printed products sent directly to your office. There’s no need to leave your desk chair!
8. Do They Have a Good Reputation?
Look for a company with a stellar reputation. That probably seems like pretty obvious advice, and it is. But how do you find that perfect company?
Word-of-mouth referrals always work well. Ask other friendly local businesses who they work with. Check with your local chamber of commerce or business association to see if they have a preferred service provider.
Alternatively, you can read through reviews on the companies website (though note they’ll always be positive) or, better yet, on independent review sites like Google Maps or Facebook.
9. Do They Offer Eco-Friendly Options?
Given how much consumers today care about sustainability, the best digital print service will offer eco-friendly options. This could range from providing recycled paper and soy ink to reducing their energy consumption or donating part of their profits to Earth-friendly charities.
If you choose to use eco-conscious printing services, be sure to add a note on all your printed material to inform your customers of your positive choices.
Digital Printing Services: Shop Around
If a company has good reviews or offers eco-friendly digital printing services, that’s not always enough. Do your research to find the most well-rounded company regarding location, pricing, services offered, and more. The more boxes they tick on this list, the better your ROI (return on investment) will be.
For more business and marketing advice, read the other articles on our blog.