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As you would expect, here at Webmart we keep our ears to the ground for news and gossip within the industry. At present the industry grapevine is alive with talk of postage increases.

We are picking up on rumours that the wholesale costs of postage, as well as the retail costs, are set for a rise come 1st April. We don’t yet know any details, but this would mean all postage would rise whether it is handled by a DSA (down stream access provider) or by directly by Royal Mail.

So our advice, if you are thinking of a direct mail campaign, is to do it sooner rather than later; making sure the complete mailing is received by late March to ensure that you qualify for today’s rate.  Bear in mind that Easter is rather early this year, 1 April is Easter Monday Bank Holiday.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update you once we know the precise details of any rises. Formal announcements are expected towards the end of this month.

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There are a few features of print which can make it really difficult for other types of communication to compete. Things like cost, durability, portability, convenience, ease of use can all mean that e-equivalents aren’t as attractive to the average marketing budget as print. So imagine when all these elements combine into a single product.

Is this print’s killer app?

Introducing the Pocket Card

Pocket Cards are small, simple and extremely potent. They’re pocket or credit card sized cards that feature a cunningly z-folded centre. Wherever you have a simple message that you want your customer to have in a convenient and ‘keepable’ format, a pocket card is well worth considering. They fold up into a small form but expand easily to display their contents, collapsing back into their handy size once they’ve done their job. We love ’em.

Uses

Here’s some of the most popular uses we (and our suppliers) have come up with. If you can think of others, do let us know.

Maps
This is one of the most popular applications for Pocket Cards. They’re an ingenious way to help people plan a route around (or to) your venue – the Pocket Card map can guide the likes of visitors and tourists round museums, exhibition venues, university campuses or national parks (to name just a few). Without having to rely on temperamental technology, people can access the perfect guide by simply opening a Pocket Card map.

Pocket Card unfolded

Pocket Card unfolded showing a double-sided campus map

Product Guides
If you’ve got a suite of products to promote, whether it’s an exciting launch, a specific ‘one off’ deal – or simply a guide to what you sell, the Pocket Card is perfect for showcasing products in a convenient, innovative and interesting way, enabling customers to keep important product information close at hand.

Event Guides
Festivals, concert venues, tourist attractions or even perhaps a hotel that hosts conferences; the Pocket Card can be made to show the venue layout, line-ups, points of interest and seminars in a really easily digestible way. Fans, tourists and delegates alike love the convenience and remember, we can be as creative as you like with die cuts, embossing and foil blocking, even making the cards into actual event passes to offer customers an all in one convenient solution.

Government
If you have crucial information that needs to be communicated on a large scale then the handy Pocket Card is just the job. Used widely throughout local government for communication projects such as delivering council tax advice and bin collection calendars, the card has also proved successful for clients such as the NHS, public transport companies and schools, who have harnessed its potential to deliver vital healthcare information, training manuals and IT support.

Charities
The compact Pocket Card is a great way to for charities to help raise awareness and maximise the success of campaigns. Whether being used to drive support, advertise sponsored events or simply encourage donations, this easily retainable card can deliver focused information right into the hands of your target audience.

Options

In their folded up form there are four sizes – mini, credit, pocket and handy. Unfolded, the most popular size folds out to a flat A4 size with standard fold-out sizes ranging from 200mm x 78mm to 600mm x 234mm. There are also a number of personalisation options and, as ever, there are options to have cards from recycled, sustainable forest paper stocks.

For a friendly chat about how Pocket Cards can work as part of your campaign, please contact a Webmart Print Consultant or call us on 01869 321321.

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We’re always looking for ideas that might give our customers’ campaigns that extra bit of impact, and glow in the dark inks can really add to the appeal of your print. They’re fun and vibrant and have a real retro-appeal, and now they’re on the 4th generation, they’re brighter and longer lasting than ever.

The great thing about glow in the dark inks from a marketer’s perspective is that they really enhance all the print they touch. Whether it’s a publication, a mailing or a brochure, they’re great for attracting attention and they’re especially great if you’re targeting the young (or young at heart). They turn each piece of print into something that gets shared, passed around and retained.

They also heighten the customer’s perception of the value of the print (and in turn, your product & brand).

So here’s some information about glow in the dark inks which may help you decide if you want to investigate further.

Printing Glow in the Dark Inks

Glow in the dark inks contain optically active pigments which absorb light, store it, then emit it again over a long period of time. The technology is used primarily on signs and in cars for things like speedometers – but of course, it’s used on paper print too. It’s mainly screen printed but can be litho printed too. The main thing to bear in mind is that the inks don’t cover other inks very well so it’s advised that they’re printed directly onto unprinted but sealed plain white/black.

Glow in the Dark Poster

Coldplay poster using Gen 4 Glow in the Dark Ink

Having said that, the level of detail you can create with glow in the dark inks is similar to other screen printing inks; but note, the finer the detail, the finer the size of phosphorescent particles required in the ink. If you try for too fine, it can compromise the glow so it is usually a balance between detail and brightness. If being used on a litho job, the particles in the ink have to be on the smaller side, so here it’s particularly important to work with a print consultant from the design phase onwards to advise on the best way forward.

Once printed, the inks tend to be pretty rough to the touch. If you’d rather have a smooth finish, they can be overlaminated afterwards to give a glossy effect without imparing the glow.

One other thing worth noting is that they shouldn’t be printed over areas that need to be creased, trimmed or folded.

The Inks

The most popular coloured glow in the dark ink is the light green colour we’re mostly used to seeing, because it’s the brightest and longest lasting. They do also come in light blue and white however they have to be ordered specially and are less vibrant. The length of time they emit light is dependent on the amount of light exposure they’ve had, although these latest inks charge quickly and last longer (typically a 40 second charge will glow for 16-24 hours!) and they’re up to 150 times brighter than previous generation inks.

glow-in-the-dark-planisphere

Glow in the Dark Planisphere – ideal for viewing outdoors at night.

Uses

  • Cards
  • Posters & POS
  • Book or magazine covers
  • Safety messages
  • Kid’s books or marketing
  • Games
  • Can be printed on glass/plastics too

Pricing

This is determined by the coverage and sheet size, so if you have a sheet that’s covered 50% it’ll be more expensive than one with 5% coverage. To get a clear idea of cost or to talk through how glow in the dark might help in your next campaign, contact a Webmart Print Consultant.

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Royal Mail have announced that from 2nd January 2013, all PPI (that’s Printed Postage Impressions) will need to use their modified Indicia artwork or risk postage not making it through the system. If you’re unsure what this means, then a rough translation is that if you’re producing a bulk mailing, you need to use the modified artwork wherever it’s being delivered by the Royal Mail. Otherwise, they’ll refuse to deliver it – even where it’s being handled and sorted by a downstream service provider.

Below, you’ll find some of the revised indicias – for TNT & UK Mail and for Citipost. Feel free to click on the links below or visit their websites to grab the latest versions.

TNT & UK Mail

Royal Mail Indicia Changes

Click above to grab the PDF file

CITIPOST DSA

Citipost DSA indicia

Click to download Citipost DSA indicia

If you have any questions, get in contact with a Webmart Print Consultant. Or alternatively, check out the PPI section of the Royal Mail’s website for the latest guidance.

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Print and Direct Mail’s role in Online Search and Conversion

We were invited along to speak at the latest ECMOD Conference in the Business Design Centre in Islington. The topic was one that’s dear to many of our client’s hearts – understanding how print interacts with the other communication channels to ultimately drive sales. Since it’s a journey that many of us are embarking on, our chums at the Prince’s Trust agreed to come along and share their lessons and expertise and to give us a couple of case studies (thanks guys!)

The Holy Grail of many marketers is to communicate with customers using whichever channel is favoured by the customer – be that online, TV… or print. But to know where to spend your budget, it’s crucial to understand the interaction between the channels. There are very few of us who have managed to join the dots to see exactly how our communications are working together to lead our customers towards conversion, so we pulled together some insight from independent research conducted on both sides of the Atlantic (some of it summarised in the infographic below the video) and went along to ECMOD to spread the word…

How Print and direct mail drives online search and conversion

Click picture to request a copy of the the stats above – how print and direct mail affect online search and conversion

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Here’s your chance to see what all the fuss was about at this year’s prestigious PrintBuy 2012 Conference held at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. One of the key speakers on day 1 was Webmart MD Simon talking about how Webmart buys print and the future of print buying.

Unlike most print buyers, the words TRUST and COLLABORATION feature just as heavily as the words TECHNOLOGY and PRICE as he explains how we bring the lowest prices to our customers by working in partnership with our suppliers – not in competition.

All we want to know is why doesn’t everyone do it this way?! Don’t beat up your suppliers but use technology and business insight to find out where your suppliers can add value – and pass that insight back to your suppliers and the benefits on to your customers. Makes total sense to us – check out the video to see if you agree.

 

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It’s a rare day that you discover something entirely new in the paper market, but the other day we came across something new and exciting that’s a complete revolution in paper construction. Its name?

Stone Paper!

pebbles in a line

You may know that many papers we use in print are ‘coated’, meaning the surface of the paper has a microscopically-thin layer of China clay or calcium carbonate covering the paper core. Coating papers like this makes them smoother, reduces ink absorption, gives an improved quality of print and improved tactility for the reader.

Well, what happens when you remove the paper core and replace it with an alternative?

Stone papers replace the wood pulp-based paper core with a pulp-free layer made from waste stone offcuts bonded to a polythene film.  The result is a very smooth, weighty, water and grease proof paper that doesn’t contain any wood whatsoever!

Uses and Benefits

stone paper notebooks

Books are a great use for stone paper (esp where they might get dirty or wet!)

Stone papers are of interest to people who feel they either offer practical benefits (such as their grease and waterproofing or tear-resistance) or align more keenly with their brand (such as being more environmentally-friendly than plastic alternatives or because they use no water in their production).

They also have a lovely smooth and weighty feel to them, increasing the reader’s perception of quality and prestige. Whatever your interest, here are some of the uses stone papers have been put to:

  • Books/catalogues/magazines/brochures etc.
  • Notepads
  • Product labels
  • Tickets (multiuse)
  • Bags
  • Packaging
  • Posters
  • Coupons
  • Floor graphics
  • Maps
  • Envelopes
  • Calendars

Benefits

stone paper bags

Typically an 80% reduction in plastic use on polythene bags (did we mention they’re water and greaseproof too?!

  • Stronger and more durable than regular paper
  • Waterproof– especially useful for outdoor use
  • Greaseproof
  • Tear resistant
  • Write on it when wet
  • Improved customer perception from weight and feel
  • Water-free manufacture
  • Great alternative to plastics in many applications (80% reduction)
  • Food grade (FDA approved) and phthalate-free

Other Things to Consider
Stone paper is heavier than wood-pulp paper, so it’s probably not suitable for some mailing uses where weight is a consideration. Since bleaches or brighteners aren’t used in its production, there can also be some slight colour variation in the paper too. It’s also generally a little more transparent than other papers and isn’t suitable for laser printing. Note also that using stone paper will result in longer lead times and is more expensive than it’s paper equivalents.

Environmental
Many people buy stone paper because of its eco-credentials. While we’re convinced of the transparent and measurable (and carbon-offsettable!) sustainability of paper over the (hidden) environmental costs of electronic media (see here) especially when using FSC or PEFC approved paper, stone paper does have some notable environmental benefits. Its production process doesn’t require water, bleaches or acid, its core is non-PVC and inert and it’s also recyclable with either paper or plastic waste. Manufacturers also claim it requires less energy to produce than standard papers.

stone-paper-pad

Waterproof, wipe-clean and greaseproof – it’s proving very useful in the NHS!

For more information on stone papers or to price up your print project using stone paper, get in touch with an expert Webmart print consultant.

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We manage the printing and mailing of such a lot of direct mail from the Webmart Yellow Sheds, it’s nice to share as much of our expertise and learning as we can through these web pages.

The problem is, once you’re on the site, articles can be difficult to find. Of course, you can always contact us to find the most cost effective way to handle your direct mail on your behalf, but if you want to learn for yourself, we’ve pulled the best and most shared articles on direct mail into one place. Here you’ll find articles and videos covering topics as varied as ‘what is direct mail?‘ all the way to increasing your Direct Mail return on investment (ROI) and cost avoidance/reduction for experienced Direct Mail marketers.

So get yourself a cuppa tea, take a break and check out the articles and videos below (all the while making a real difference to your communications and bottom line ROI!)

1. Chief Webmarteer’s Presentation Video – 10 Tips to Reduce Costs and Increase ROI.

tfm&a presentation on direct mail

Click above to go to visit the video and presentation page.

From our presentation at the TFM&A Expo at Olympia. We share some of the secrets of maximising the ROI from your direct marketing campaigns.

2. An introduction to Direct Mail

direct mail printing materials

Cost Effective & targeted way to reach your customers

If you’re new to direct mail, here’s an article looking at the components to a successful campaign.

3. 14 Tips to Increase Direct Mail Response Rates

Make your DM highly targeted and drive up response rates!

Our most popular article on Direct Mail. 14 things to consider when creating your printed DM campaign to improve response rates.

4. Royal Mail Price Changes – April 2012

Royal-mail-vat-increase

Be prepared for VAT on your mailings!

Royal Mail introduced a host of price changes in April 2012. Their pricing structure is still as clear as mud, but here’s our attempt to bring some clarity, highlighting the main changes you need to be aware of. Note there are new changes coming early in 2013 which we’ll be posting about once the detail has been released.

5. The Effectiveness of Printed Direct Mail

catalogues - lowest cost per lead/order

Your typical catalogue – a great return on investment!

A look at the Direct Marketing Association’s performance benchmark figures. The place to look if you want to know how effective direct mail can be.

6. A Quick look at how to make your Direct Mail Eco-friendly

eco friendly direct mail

How DM can be made truly environmentally friendly

Looking at the issues surrounding making a highly targeted and environmentally responsible direct mail campaign.

To make sure you’re covering all the bases with your direct mail campaign, you can also use our contact form to get in touch with your friendly local Webmart Print Consultant who will be delighted to hold your hand through the whole process!

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High Impact Electronic Posters. Sound pretty impressive eh? Well, that’s because they are pretty impressive. They’re new, incredibly eye-catching and make products & messages really stand out from the background. If you’re searching for a new and innovative way to promote your business or your products, then these might well fit the bill.

Tell me more…

They’re posters that are four colour printed on flexible plastic sheeting to produce high resolution full colour images. The clever bit is that there’s also a layer of phosphor which is laminated then applied to the poster and connected to a low voltage power supply. Essentially, it looks a bit like a poster with some very thin, low voltage circuitry attached to the back. When the power’s switched on, the phosphor lights up and pre-selected portions of the print illuminate, really catching the eye and throwing vivid colours across the room.

And this is what they can look like:

Michael Jackson high impact electronic poster

High Impact Posters grab the attention and enhance the brand

Despite being lots cooler and more attention-grabbing, High Impact Posters are similar to standard posters in lots of ways. They’re light weight and thin. They’re also flexible, can be used indoors or outdoors (we can make them waterproof!). We can also make them in custom shapes to further enhance their attentiongrabbingness!

Animation

Once you’ve got a sign that can light up, it’s possible to control what lights up and when. As you can see in the pictures, they can be sequenced to show up individually or all at once, really attracting attention then adding to the impact of the poster. If you’ve got a clever designer, they can really make the poster come to life in lots of fun and innovative ways.

Uses

High Impact Posters are effective replacements for standard non-electronic posters. Here are some of their most popular uses:

  • Posters & point-of-sale
  • Bus shelter advertisements
  • Trade shows
  • Window displays
  • Clothing & hats
  • Safety Items
  • Floor mats

Artworking

Polish Beer high impact electronic poster

Here’s another. Click the picture to see it animate.

So how do you go about creating your own High Impact Poster?

Well, right after you’ve had a chat with your Webmart Print Consultant, you need to go and brief your designer. All they need to do is create the design in the usual way using their usual 2D artworking packages (such as Photoshop). They then need to visualise exactly what you want to illuminate. We’ll have a meeting where you convey your ideas to us and we’ll go away and get them visualised. That means we’ll take your artwork and create an animating GIF file (simply a graphic file that can show moving images) which will show you exactly how your High Impact Poster will look – they look just like the ones on this page. The only difference between the GIF and the finished thing is that the finished poster is usually much brighter and the colours more vivid.

Posters can be created in more or less any size required up to A0 (118.9 x 84.1) though posters even larger than this can be made by mounting electronic light-up elements on larger non, illuminating posters (you’ve got to really look close to see they’re made up of different units!).

Once you’ve approved your artwork and the cost, production will take anywhere between 6-14 days depending on order numbers (orders into the 000s may take longer than this as each poster takes a while to print and assemble).

Yes, but they’ll cost a fortune won’t they?

Well, they’re more expensive that standard posters of course, but they are also more durable, more effective and longer lasting. Price depends on the numbers ordered and the amount of lighting required (the more complex they are, the more electronics have to be applied).  Pricing also depends on the size of the poster.

Give your Webmart Print Consultant a call to get an idea of options and price – or to see one in the flesh. Or email us by clicking here.

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Here’s a New Service for Webmart customers.

You may (or may not!) know that Webmart can produce your printed packaging materials as well as your print. Whether it’s a one-off needed for proofing before you go to manufacture or a run of millions needed by next week, we can help.

Toy Boxes

Toy box with clear plastic cover prototype

If you’re working on new product or packaging, we have an amazing prototyping service. To take advantage of it or find out more, just fill out the form and we’ll get in touch. Dead easy.

And if you’re a creative (or curious!) type, then we’ve produced a video showing new a can of lager being mocked-up. Check it out below, it’s fascinating stuff (and see if you recognise the music!) In many cases we can turn mock-ups around in 24 hours!

Why Prototype?

  • It’s quick and saves you money by not having to go to a print production run for one sample
  • Helps you check your product fits accurately into the box
  • Makes sure you get the colours you’re expecting – no nasty surprises!
  • Ensures they fit on the shelf space
  • Allows you to give it a final once-over for design, artwork and text
  • Great if you need packs for exhibitions/showrooms
  • Our clients to date include: Tesco, Next, Blacks, Wickes, Figleaves, Wilko, Flair to name a few
Product Ranges

We produce whole ranges too…

Pre-press Mockups

We supply single or multiple pieces in card, flute and other materials – and in either white or fully calibrated colour.

If you place your order and provide a pdf of the artwork before 12 noon, we’ll get your single mockup delivered overnight to arrive for start of work the following day.

Pre-press mockups thumbnail

Click to check out our pre-press mock-up range.

Styles of packaging:

  • White and full colour cartons of any size
  • Swingtickets, headercards, CDUs & FSDUs
  • Gift bags
  • Jewellery boxes
  • Gift Boxes
  • Blister Cards

Product Mockups

Product range

Click to see the range of products we can prototype

Our product mockup service includes a vast range of bespoke items such as:

  • Cans
  • Tins
  • Gift bags
  • Foil packs and bottles

Have a look at how we prototyped a lager can in the video below…

To get in touch for a chat about your requirements (or our mockups) please click here and fill out your details and we’ll get in touch.

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