A blog by Dollar Bill Copying

Alpha Mail

The term "alpha" has many definitions. Among other things, it can refer to the first letter of the Greek alphabet, the brightest star in a constellation, or the most dominant, powerful, or assertive person in a particular group. With regard to mail, the postcard could be considered the most "alpha" vehicle. It doesn't need to be opened, therefore your message is delivered strongly and immediately, without the obstruction of an envelope or other unnecessary packaging.
Use the following tips when designing your next direct mail postcard piece to be certain it gets noticed:
"1. Make a Big First Impression - Make your postcard look at first glance like a message from a friend instead of like an advertising announcement. It creates a warm friendly reception for your postcard.
 2. Get Right to the Point - State your biggest benefit as a headline at the top of your postcard. Highlight it in bold type if it's in the body of your postcard.
 3. Sell the Right Thing - Design your message to sell the reader on seeking more information instead of trying to close sales.
 4. Be Clear and Direct - Limit your postcard to just a few short sentences with blank lines between them. Always end your postcard by telling the reader exactly what to do to get more details
 5. Stimulate Fast Action - Offer them a discounted price, a special bonus or some other benefit if they reply to your postcard by a deadline."

Read entire article...courtesy of www.businessknowhow.com!

The envelope please...


Whether you're watching a movie trailer, listening to a music clip, sampling wine, or test driving a car, the "preview" is often an important step in deciding whether or not something is worth your time and money. When you think about it, the envelope is a similar "sneak peek" with regard to what's enclosed. It's important to make sure that your envelope appropriately promotes the content and encourages the receiver to open it, instead of tossing it away as junk mail. I came across the following helpful tips for designing an envelope:

"Things to consider:
1. Size - Your OE (outer envelope) doesn't have to be a standard size. While it may cost more in postage to mail a non-standard envelope, this could be your best investment for standing out in a stack of predictable #10s or 6" x 9"s.
2. Shape
3. Color - If you've already got a winning control OE and you're looking for a simple test to bump response, test color. Keep everything else about the mailing the same. If it's white, make it blue. If it's blue, test a color that reflects your brand.


9. Window vs. closed face - Traditionally, window envelopes were used for business mail while closed face envelopes were thought to look more personal, more private. But this trend is changing. Window envelopes can provide a peek of your envelope's contents — no matter what you're selling.


11. Corner card/return address - A powerful piece of real estate, the corner card is that relatively small area in the upper left corner of an OE. It's one of the places the screener's eye goes first while deciding whether or not to keep your mail piece. That's because it reveals who sent the mailing. Treat it as an important strategic element."

Read entire article courtesy of DirectMarketingIQ

Brochures? For sures!

Brochures are a great way to provide customers or clients with a symbolic representation of your goods and services. By using full-color text and graphics on heavyweight cardstock, the message itself becomes a "product" of sorts. The following article provides some excellent guidelines and tips for creating your next brochure:

"You must write your brochure or leaflet from the reader's point of view. That means the information must unfold in the right order. Begin by analyzing what your reader wants to know. An easy way to do this is by assessing the order in which your reader's questions will flow...

Putting helpful information in your brochure will encourage the reader to keep it, refer to it often or pass it on to other people...

Remember, not everyone wants to be educated on every aspect of your product or service. Nor does everyone want to know the manufacturing details of your widget. Don't waste their time telling them about things that don't convey a benefit."

Read entire article... courtesy of About.com

You CAN judge a postcard by its cover!

Postcards provide a great benefit over email marketing campaigns, in that they're tactile. The visual appeal of a colorful postcard in your mailbox is far more compelling than the 50 character or less subject line of an email. Direct mail marketing through postcards forces the receiver to at least glance at your logo or brand strategy before deciding whether or not it is something that motivates them further.

I came across the following article, with useful tips on how to make your next postcard more eye-catching:

"Let’s say you’re launching the best deal the universe has ever seen, and you build a highly-targeted mailing list full of likely buyers. According to the 40/40/20 rule, 80 percent of your work has been done. Now, let’s say you print a direct-mail postcard that lists 100 different features and benefits and essentially buries your offer in 8-point font. Do you think such a postcard would be nearly as effective as, say, a postcard that boasts the same offer in an extra-large yellow font on a black background? Of course not.  The first postcard will likely be thrown away before many potential customers even register the offer, while the second postcard will undoubtedly yield excellent ROI because it commands attention. It is, in short, attractive.

1. Contrast and simplicity

2. Big descriptive headlines

3. Interesting images..."

Read entire article... courtesy of Business 2 Community.com

Print! Print! Read All About It!

There's no denying the fact that we live in a technological age. Dollar Bill Copying sends out e-newsletters and has a blog and for pete's sake! I think you already knew that though, if you're reading this...but I digress. We also understand that print, perhaps now more than ever, plays a unique role in business and marketing needs. I found this intriguing article that discusses how to use print appropriately, and when it trumps the ever popular digital alternatives:

"According to marketing experts, people receive so much advertising through websites and email these days, that print has found a way to stand out in the digital chaos. In fact, in terms of direct mail marketing, even when people don´t open the envelope, there is a benefit for brand recognition when people see the business logo and tagline on the outside.

When customers prefer print

For example, in the case of major purchases, print is the ruling type of marketing. People like to have a brochure to learn about all the specifications of their next sports car or condo, they prefer this to looking at a website. Print also has the advantage of being physical. Great quality printing beats any computer monitor in terms of displaying appealing images. In fact, computer manufacturers are busting their brains to make displays that make images look as good as in print."

Read entire article... courtesy of Media Connections PR and Marketing

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." -Mark Twain


One of Dollar Bill's favorite customers, Bank of Ann Arbor, produced this miniature billboard for us, akin to their clever ads posted around the area. All of us here were very amused and charmed by the tribute! We ourselves understand, however, that not all companies can support a display of that magnitude. But this doesn't mean that your marketing can't make a great impact too. I found a nice, straightforward guide on promoting your business from wikiHow.com:

" 1. Create a brand image or logo -
Grow your brand by placing your logo in your business stationary, business cards, email signatures, brochures, signs, website and merchandising materials. 

 2. Network

 3. Trade shows and exhibitions - Hand out your business cards. Set up private meetings with those who express an interest in getting to know more about your business. 

 4. Advertise - Direct mail. You may purchase mailing lists targeted to your segment of the consumer market, then mail out letters, brochures, catalogs or postcards. This method is effective when you want to provide potential customers with paper coupons, vouchers, business cards or promotional merchandising. 

5. Build business partnerships

6. Rely on the power of social networks

7. Offer freebies - Pass out merchandise with your company's name and/or logo on it to everyone you meet at networking events, trade shows, client meetings and even personal social gatherings. Things like pens, magnets and calendars are good merchandising ideas, as these tend to stay in use, and within view, for extensive periods of time.  

8. Develop relationships with your customers..."

Read entire article... there are cute illustrations too!

At Dollar Bill, we can assist you in producing many of the aforementioned marketing products. We're experts in business cards, direct mailings, brochures, and signs! You might be surprised to know that we also print folders, magnets, calendars, and much more. If Dollar Bill is unable to create what you're looking for ourselves, we'll always help to point you in the direction of someone who can!

Those who can do; those who can't...hire a graphic designer!

As one of Ann Arbor's favorite digital printers, Dollar Bill serves many local corporations. Folks like Zingerman's, Avfuel, and Bank of Ann Arbor have their own expert design teams. But if you're part of a smaller business, here are some great tips for hiring and/or working with a graphic designer:

"Non-Designer Tip #1: Don't Design

Many non-designers think they can easily say, 'make that blue' or 'make that bigger' as a method to creating good work. This is a major hindrance to the design process. Graphic designers are problem solvers. So, present them with a problem to solve, don't give them the solution to implement. Why? Because they are much more versed at visual problem solving than you are.

Non-Designer Tip #2: Communicate Before the Project Starts...

Creatives work differently than the rest of us. They work differently from each other, too. Before a project starts, it's important to understand what's needed in order to output a successful piece or product.

Non-Designer Tip #3: Understand the Designer's Value...

Some positions within the organization may regard graphic design work to be merely 'cosmetic' and 'embellishments.' In some cases, it can be. But good design is functional. Combined with your well-defined business objectives, good graphic design provides solutions to your business needs under the guise of simply 'being pretty.'"

Read entire article...

Courtesy of FreelanceGraphicDesigner.Info

Dollar Bill offers certain design services, but if you're in need of help for a larger or more complicated project, please contact one of our other creative customers: Designs with Aim, Global Design, or Wagner Design!

'Tis the Season for Direct Mail

Drive Holiday Shoppers to your Website with Direct Mail

"Along with increased spending, holiday shoppers are going to be using every efficient means with which they can acquire their purchases. This includes the convenient use of smartphones and heavy webpage surfing. There are many ways to draw customers in through direct mail with QR and bar codes, making direct mail anything but obsolete. QR codes can be scanned with smartphones that link to businesses' websites..."

Read entire article courtesy of equities.com

Marketing Ideas


Postcards are one of the cheapest ways to send direct mail. With the right planning and execution in message and design - you can have results that you can measure.

The Post Office reports that postcards are read up to 6 times more often than other forms of direct mail. Combined with our lower cost of mailing and production, this can add up to a winning marketing campaign for less money.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Keep it simple. Don't try to stuff too many ideas in the card. A clean design and message means the customer will have an easier time digesting the message. A humorous message that speaks to the needs of the customer is much more likely to be saved and acted upon than a dry statement of facts.
  2. The rule of 3's - When you start a postcard campaign - have the plan in place to follow thru on it. You need to hit the customer at least 3 times before you can expect results to really come thru. One of the great things about postcards is the ability to create a response-tracking feature in the card. You can do this very simply with a special.
  3. Size and weight - Consider larger and/or heavier cards to make yours stand out from the stack of mail that shows up every day.
  4.  Tuning - you can use postcards in several phases - try them out on a new target audience with a small test run and then go after the rest of the target market after you know you have a winning message. Leave them wanting more - Don't try to answer all of their questions in a postcard - give them a reason to call or visit your website.
  5. Be colorful - Full Color compared to B & W - not much more expensive when you consider the cost of postage and has much more impact.

Call us today and we can help you get going.