Printing for small business - Make it count.
Having run a successful professional photography studio on the Isle of Wight for the last six years, we as a family made the huge decision to relocate into Buckinghamshire. We have been in Bucks now around four weeks and have had to revaluate our business and the services that we offer.
When we originally set up our business on the Island I was already a proficient photographer and my clients raved about my service; so this was going to be easy.... How wrong was I! See being good at what you do is just a small battle in the war of business. To have any chance of success you suddenly have to learn about every aspect of running your business from customer service & time management to book keeping and marketing.
My marketing budget is not massive meaning that I have to be sensible about what I purchase and everything has to have its place in my agenda for the growth of my business. I previously ran a studio on the Island but I remember only too hard how hard it was to get it off the ground, I don't have the money behind me for it to take more that a few months to become a huge success again but this has not deterred me from starting over in a new field of photography as I have a great passion for what I do and have managed to adapt my services to suit my skills.
This blog is going to talk about my marketing, specifically my business stationary. For the sake of this article I have used a printing company that I have purchased from before and found them to be great value for money and the products are great too. Anyway lets get on with it... I placed my order with www.instantprint.co.uk and cant wait to show off my new material to you. (Just a little side note. I have used vistaprint before and found them to be slow, expensive and average quality. This is not a jibe at them but I wanted you to know that I have used other companies before).
My Design Process
As you can see from the picture above I have built my design in Photoshop (PS) using the templates that were downloaded from the Instant print website. These templates are superb, ensuring that I stay within bleed and cut lines. As always brand identity is firmly at the forefront of the design, using my logo, colours and fonts that feature in everything that I use. I have kept the design minimal to ensure that what I need to say is the thing that jumps out at you when it is read. All aspects of the design are developed using layers so I can make alterations to spellings and positioning without having to start over.
Firstly I deigned my new business cards, a cheap and effective hand out to existing and potential new clients. A little design tip that I employ is to have a friend look over the design, call the numbers and check the website address. When you write something so frequently it is very easy to miss a little mistake.
Next up I designed my A5 leaflets. Leaflets are a great way to promote your services or products and work out very cost effective. They are available double sided but I intend to use them as small posters for shops and community boards. I again have kept them simple outlining my most popular services. Another little tip, to help keep your designs in keeping with each other you can print your first one or keep it on another screen as a reference as you move along to your next product.
I then designed some A4 leaflets/Posters. As I have a mobile studio available for Christmas Portraits these will be used as posters in the venues I will be working in. Note how the design is simple and instantly recognisable as my brand.
As mainly an event photographer who prints on site I would like to start making "after sales". Handing out cards to everyone could become expensive and they get lost quite easily. I came across the 37mm round stickers that I could easily add to the back of the photographs. I have kept them as simple as I could with just the website address and a space in the centre to write the image number. I cant see these getting lost.
Lastly I wanted a roller banner that would outline my most popular services that I could put up at wedding fairs and events. Even though it is a simple design it needed to stand out and display some example images. The banner needs to show off the photographs and grab peoples attention. All my designs have been saved to a hard drive as PS PSD files to preserve the layers, allowing me to change designs in the future with very little effort, and JPG files for uploading to instantprints website for proofing.
I have found the whole process very easy and superb value for money. There was a time when professional printing services were not only daunting but expensive too.
As any small business owner will tell you, we don't like to compromise on quality but we have to work within a budget.
500 Business Cards
25 A4 Posters
500 A5 Leaflets
1000 37mm Stickers
& A Roller Banner
We paid just £100.00 including Vat and Free Delivery. Don't believe me see below.
I only ever endorse products and services from companies that I have used and would use again because of their great service and quality products. See below for links to the services I used in designing and producing my marketing materials.