Our Blog

Oct 01
Print versus Digital

It’s that time of year again. The first few days of Autumn always bring thoughts of the holidays coming upon us—and always sooner then we expect. There is no time for “last minute shopping” when it comes to sending out a Holiday Card to your clients, employees, and business partners. The time to get started and plan is now. But the perennial question from most of our clients is... print or digital?

I love a nice holiday card that comes in the mail. You get to open it, see the beautiful art, feel the paper, and then set it up on a shelf to view for days to come. It’s also nice to perhaps have a personal note that was written just for you, that wishes you warm holidays and a great new year. We often think of interactive as something digital, but with a printed card you need to interact more than you do with a digital card. A printed holiday card is personal, engaging, and permanent.

On the other hand, we have created some really cool digital holiday cards. Cards that have wonderful animation with holiday theme music and multiple rotating messages. The options for art, video or animation are somewhat limitless depending on the format and platform you host your digital card on. And you can track to even see if the receiver actually opened it, and how many times they viewed it. While it may not sit upon a shelf in your office, it can be opened multiple times and also forwarded to colleagues—a bit of social media holiday magic that a printed card can’t pull off.

An example of a print card and a digital card (with sound).

Comparing the outcome of the two options can be debated all day, but here are few things to consider before making your decision:

Printed Cards

  • If your budget is limited, you need to consider printing and postage costs.
  • Your mailing list may be large enough that you need a mail house to send it out for you, which will also incur costs.
  • Scheduling needs to be considered to include enough time for printing and mailing.
  • Is your mail list good and up to date? Nothing is worse than having cards returned and then having to scramble to figure out the new address to resend.
  • Do you personally sign? Have the entire staff sign? Is there time to do this and pull it off correctly?

Digital Cards

  • You may save on printing costs and printing time, but if you want animation and other bells and whistles, the budget will need to be increased and more time will need to be put in the schedule.
  • Do you have the knowledge, or a tech team in place, that is capable of sending this out to your list?
  • Are you familiar with size requirements for file size, and do you have a place to host the files?
  • If you are doing animation you will need a landing page for the viewer to go to. Does this feel like too many steps for the viewer to get to your card and message?

These are just a few of the main points to consider when planning your holiday card this year. Contact us and we can discuss more and talk about the options. Whichever route you go, I know the visuals and messaging will be on target and special in its own way.

Of course I would love to open an envelope in early December with a special note from you written in a beautiful card. But then again, some cool animated falling snowflakes with holiday music would put a smile on my face as well.

Topics: Marketing Tags: holiday
Jun 21
Cleveland Design Office

If you find yourself dreaming, scheming, or just not sure about crossing over from solo-freelancer to business owner, here are a few thoughts to consider.

I spent my first years in this industry working at a design firm, then I went on to become a solo freelancer for 4 years before making the decision that I wanted my name on the door with a few employees behind it. Twenty years later, I couldn’t be happier and have created a business that is focused and trusted by clients I never imagined would be part of my base when I was a freelancer.

As a freelancer, I was a “jack-of-all-trades” and as the rest of the saying goes, “master of none.” Making the decision to create a solid business can give you multiple opportunities in this industry that is rarely going to happen for you as a solo freelancer. Being a freelancer can be the greatest job in the world, but for some—you will eventually want a “business” and not a “job.” There is a difference. A business allows you to expand and offer other services for talents that you just don’t have. You may be a great print designer and creative thinker but the client also needs a web campaign and if you have no web skills, then you have just lost the vision and creative control for the entire campaign. Your business could offer all of these services by hiring your own freelancers, or employees, to help round out your services. Think about how your client now perceives you: Are you a freelancer, there for a job? Or are you a business, there as a partner?

When you make the transition to becoming a business owner, you immediately become a leader, manager, and mentor. Your role with your client becomes more of a trusted business partner, and less of a single talent to help out on a marketing project.

I’m sure in the statement —“jack-of-all-trades”— makes you think of a few jobs you do best, or love the most. Or industries you prefer to work in as opposed to taking whatever good job comes your way. Being a business allows you to find your niche, focus on what you do best and target the industry you love to work in. This will give you time to educate yourself and become an expert in this field. Clients like this, and these days, expect it.

The main questions I am always asked are: How do I do this? When should I do this? How and when should I hire someone? I hope you can join me at the Creative Freelancer Conference Roundtable Discussion on Friday morning, June 22 , 8:00 am, to ask the how and when, and any other questions you may have on becoming a successful business owner.

There are many stories online for looking at the risks of starting your own business, you can read them all and take them or leave them. They are all true, but easily avoidable if you plan in advance. For a great resource for getting the facts on the logistics of starting a business, check out the Marketing Mentor Toolbox.

Creating something lasting and formidable in the shape of a business can be rewarding to both your spirit, creativity, and your bank account. The process for transitioning from solo-freelancer to business owner can be an exciting time in your career and open your mind to creating a solid future. Join me, I would love to hear your ideas and share my experience with you.

Topics: Marketing Tags: freelancing, business management