Urgent Care Marketing

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There’s a new business model that’s finding its way into almost every community: the walk-in urgent care clinic.

Today there are over 8700 urgent care centers in the US alone, according to the profession’s association.

And since urgent care clinics are usually small, local and privately owned, they are much more entrepreneurial than their big hospital counterparts.  Where a non-profit hospital might be able to get along with minimal outreach efforts, an urgent care clinic couldn’t survive if the community didn’t use its services.

For the doctors who run these centers, effective urgent care marketing can be the difference between withering or prospering.

As anyone who’s been involved with a neighborhood business knows, there’s a short list of effective ways to build awareness in a community.  But attending Rotary Club functions, co-sponsoring soccer car washes, and managing the chamber of commerce open house will only get you so far.

Sure, there’s something to be said for making an investment to assure a prominent spot in Google, under “local urgent care.”  But even the all-powerful Google Search would likely not connect with most potential patients when it was time for urgent care.

What the urgent care doctor needs is the clinic’s phone number, street address, and maybe a web address, to be posted in kitchens and workplaces throughout the community.

The clinic could really use imprinted magnets in those homes and offices.

And that’s where our postcard magnet mailers come in.

urgentcare-magnet-mailersYou see, our postcard magnet mailer is a jumbo, full-color, laminated postcard, with a magnet attached. We mail them to a mailing list you provide.

Think of it as a delivery-vehicle with a mini billboard that finds its way into the kitchen or workplace, for the cost of a postage stamp.

And done effectively, the magnet positions the urgent care clinic’s message in full view, for weeks, months or longer, for less than the price of an iced tea.

At magnetbyMail we handle the details: printing, laminating, assembling, addressing, bundling and even the postal paperwork.  We can even help with the design and the mailing list.

This leaves more time for the clinic to tend to its patients.

And even though we’re a bit biased about our love for these magnet mailers, we think you could might come to agree that it’s pretty much the vitamin C of direct mail marketing.

 

Another practical marketing idea from magnetbyMail.com,  where healthy results are what it’s all about.

March 13, 2013 · Posted in Design, Marketing, Profitability  
    

What is Good Design?

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What is good design, exactly, when it comes to direct mail marketing?

The short answer is:  the design that achieves the results you need.

And with that you’ll note good design is above all, results-oriented.  The entire reason for good design is, not to make the world a prettier place, but to maximize the impact of the message.

Good postcard design

The longer answer is more helpful perhaps, although no more precise:  good design is using visual elements of form — space, lines, shapes, color and textures, along with function — a compelling message — that achieves an action or some goal for the marketer.   Often, it’s about finding an appealing balance between form and function — that is, a pleasing presentation;  but this is not always the case.

There’s no single design that is the perfect design.   Further, a design that works for one type of message may not work for another.

And a design for one audience may not work for another.

When it comes to postcard magnet mailers (what we do at magnetbyMail) we’ve seen all types of designs for all types of messages and audiences.

The designs that work best seem to be the ones that:

  1. get your attention, either through imagery, a few words, or both;
  2. draw you in to explore and learn more details;
  3. change your emotional state — make you angry, curious, intrigued, excited, etc.;
  4. and lead you to a next step — to a website, a phone #, a donation, etc.

Personally, I like simple layouts.  Grab the attention, give a message that’s succinct, and ask for action.

The design philosophy for this is “less is more.”   The principle is that unessential elements are distractions. So if an element isn’t necessary to your core message, consider doing without it.

Where do you find good ideas for good design?  I suggest starting on the Web.

For postcard designs, check out BestPostcardDesign .

On a future post, I’ll provide a list of my favorite websites that are helpful for design inspiration.

Until then, I suggest:  less is best.

 

Another little marketing nugget from magnetbyMail, your source for postcard magnet mailers and other nifty marketing aids.

April 23, 2012 · Posted in Design, Marketing  
    

Sending Large Files

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How to Send Large Files for Free

Sending Large Files for FreeBeautiful art files can cause ugly problems when sent through email. The problem is their size.  Many email services restrict the sizes of file attachments, and so emails with big files can simply get bounced back.

But there are a few ways around this problem.  Here are some free large file transfer ideas you might find useful:

  • use an email service that allows big files to be sent. Google allows 25MB files and Yahoo allows 20MB files. Also, the recipient needs to be using a service that allows receipt of large emails.
  • if you have your own website, upload the large file to a folder on your website, then email the link of that file to the recipient. When the recipient has downloaded it, you can delete the online file.
  • you can sign up for a free online file sharing service. Look at SugarSync which offers 5GB of free online storage, as well as a handy routine for backing up your important files. Or consider DropBox which works like a file folder that automatically syncs on all your computers.  With these file sharing services you can upload your files and share them with one or more people.
  • use a free large file-transfer email service that takes care of everything — creates an email, attaches the files you need, sends the email.

The last of the above list is the most popular solution, since it takes care of the email and the attachment.  Here are several services that offer a free version:

YouSendIt   - transmit up to 100MB file, one file per email, Lite version for free.
WeTransfer  – a very easy process with no registration.  Email with one or more files attached, up to 2GB total, for free
DropSend    – email with one or more files attached, up to 2GB total, for free with the Lite version
TransferBigFiles  – with one or more files attached, up to 100MB total, for free.

Each of these services, although very similar on the surface, offer various ‘features’ that make each somewhat unique. Features include: size of the attachments, number of attachments, number of days that a shared file can be accessed, confirmation of email delivery, number of emails per month, and ads or promotional emails you might receive.

Because our work on postcard magnets commonly requires our clients to send large art and data files, we’re always on the lookout for good solutions for large file transfer.  If you have experience with a useful system not mentioned here, please let us know.

Another useful tidbit from your favorite source of magnet mailers, at magnetbyMail.com

April 16, 2012 · Posted in Design, Resources  
    

The Next Big Idea in Direct Marketing

Late last year we asked potential customers looking at our products what they wished for.

They said, as much as they liked the idea of our postcard magnets, what they really wished for was more room to express themselves.

You see, we’ve always had our basic postcard magnets — these are jumbo postcards and custom printed magnets, one glued to the other and mailed via directmail.

But the Venti, our largest postcard magnet at 5-1/2″ x 10-1/2″ just wasn’t enough.  Some marketers want more than the Venti’s 115 square inches.

foldup postcard magnet directmail idea

So in January, we introduced our Foldup Magnet Mailer.  This a very big, 8-1/2″ x 11″ postcard, folded in half, a magnet attached to the inside, and sealed shut with easy-peel glue.  Marketers now can have over 200 square inches of printing area.

The fold provides lots of benefits.  The standard postcard format has two sides or ‘facings.’  But the Foldup Magnet Mailer has three facings: the front, the back, and the inside.  This gives marketers more space and flexibility to develop their message.

Another benefit of the Foldup is, because the folded piece is thicker than our regular magnet mailer, and the magnet is held securely inside, we don’t need to use poly laminate to keep the mailer as rigid for mailing purposes.

Saving poly laminate saves time and reduces costs. (We still provide a UV coating for shine and protection.)

Our customers can receive a Foldup Magnet Mailer for about the same price as our smaller postcard magnet.

A final benefit is that we can enclose custom shaped magnets with the Foldup.  (Our standard postcard magnets could use only rectangle shapes, mostly.)

Foldup Magnet Mailers make sense for any marketer who wants all the benefits of delivering a magnet to a home or office, but who needs lots of space to convey their message.

One thing we should mention for designers: the positioning of the Foldup’s magnet is more restrictive than for our regular postcard magnets. The magnet needs to be attached on the ‘inside’ of the folded postcard, and ‘behind’ the area where the mailing address is to printed.

But if your design can work with that location, the Foldup Magnet Mailer may be the perfect way to deliver your message. You can deliver it with a 200 square inch format, and provide a custom magnet to help keep your message in full view for weeks or months.

 

Another innovative marketing device from your friends at magnetbyMail.com, your source for magnet mailers and other ingenious communications tools.

 

March 8, 2012 · Posted in Design, Marketing  
    

Running for Office

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[ ...Without Going Broke ]

vote by liberaltees

Poster at Zazzle

Every two years, political campaigns spring to life throughout the US.  Incumbants work to keep their seats against an onslaught of indignant wannabes.

If you’re running for office, you’re focused on the issues that are important to your voters.

But what are campaign managers focused on?  The same thing, right?

Not really.

Campaign managers are focused on issues like:  fund raising, scheduling, disclosure filing, and building name recognition.

If you can picture the circus entertainer who keeps a dozen plates spinning atop a dozen poles, that’s basically what a campaign manager looks like.

The biggest challenge for a campaign manager?  Making sure the candidate’s message is reaching voters.

Even if a campaign has lots of money to spend, which it probably doesn’t, getting out the message is not that easy.  In a matter of months, voters are bombarded with thousands of messages from candidates, local and national.

For example, in just one of the days leading up to the Iowa Caucuses in February 2008,  there were nine hours of TV commercials to promote the various Presidential hopefuls.

How does a campaign get its message out through all that?  What can campaign managers use to sleep at night?

Political postcard magnet mailers.

political campaign postcard designs“Oh, sure,” I hear you saying in disbelief.  How can something so small and simple do so much?

A postcard magnet mailer is an oversized laminated postcard with a magnet attached. And because its small and simple,  it’s become a useful tactical device for political campaigns…

  • each one is sent by US mail so it bypasses spam filters, and TV clickers
  • with the right design, it contains a useful and informative magnet, which can be kept in voters’ sight — on the fridge
  • the recipient is usually appreciative, which is good for the candidate
  • a magnet mailer costs under a dollar, and in many cases under 60 cents, including postage

So while opponents spend big bucks for a 30 second TV spot, a candidate can spend less than a dollar to receive coverage all day and all night.

That’s another tip from magnetbyMail.com — making campaigning affordable for all.  Check out our political postcard magnets online.

July 4, 2011 · Posted in Design, Marketing, Profitability  
    

10 Steps to Prepress

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Preparing art for full-color printing is now easier than ever.  But there are some useful steps you’ll need to take to avoid speed bumps later.

Digital Press from HeidelbergWhat is prepress?  It’s the process of converting a layout or design into a format that is ready for a printing press.

Before Adobe’s Photoshop came along, prepress work took a team of specialists, a full day of effort, lots of film, tricky color separations and a hefty budget.  Now it takes a few minutes with a digital file.

So we’ve made a list for the more daring of you who are interested in creating a press-ready art file yourself, rather than having someone else (like us) do it.  Now, these steps work for us and our postcard magnet mailers; but if you use another printer, you should check with them first.  Also, this guide is for those already familiar with professional grade programs like Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Just know that if all this is more than you can do, or want to do, that’s fine.  Just tell us what you have, and what you’d like.  We’ll help make it happen.

For the adventurous, here are your 10 steps:

1.  Start with great art.  Check out our post about Good Photography.

2.  Use professional grade programs like Photoshop (for images) and Illustrator (for type, designs and layout).  Stay clear of home publishing software like Publisher or Word.

3.  Save a new copy of your working file as you proceed through each of the following steps, so you can return to a step if something goes wrong later.  Save the Photoshop (image) files as TIFF or PSD format.  Save the Illustrator (layout) files as EPS or PDF.

CMYK monitor vs paper4.  Set up the color mode for your image and layout files as CMYK (rather than RGB).  Our printing press is a CMYK press;  it uses four inks: Cyan blue, Magenta red, Yellow and blacK to achieve the effect of full-spectrum color.  If you send art files that are set up as RGB, you might be surprised by the results.

5.  Set your image size. In Photoshop: 1) be sure you’re working with image resolution that is 350 dots per inch (DPI) (or at least a minimum 300 DPI) and 2) size the image to be exactly what you’d like on the printed piece.  Be sure to allow some extra image area if you’d like the image to print (‘bleed’) off the edge of the card — we’ll print on bigger paper and trim the page to the correct size.

6.  Prepare a layout for your postcard and magnet, made to the exact size of the final item.  This is best done in a layout program like Illustrator (set to CMYK). You can set your type and position any designs exactly where you’d like them.  Colors can be chosen from the CMYK color palette.  Keep in mind that colors on your screen usually become deeper (darker) when they print as ink on paper.  When colors are printed, and then laminated, they appear deeper still.  Avoid small, light text on dark backgrounds, since the text could fill in.

AI link menu to embed image7.  You can position your Photoshop images on your Illustrator layout.  But to really attach the Photoshop image to the Illustrator file you’ll need to 1)  use the Place command (File -> Place) when you first collect the Photoshop image for Illustrator and 2) then, with the image on the layout, and selected,  use the Embed command (from the Links menu, select ‘Embed Image’).  Otherwise, the image file will not be a part of the Illustrator file and you’ll need to send us the image file separately.

8.  For black graphics and text, you can set the CMYK value to 70%-70%-20%-100%.  This will result in a look that is richer than simple black ink.

9.  In Illustrator, convert any typesetting in your layout to vector outlines.

10.  If you want us to print right to the edge of the card, provide us with graphics that are 1/4″ wider so we can print (with a bleed) and trim.

There is a lot here, and even an experienced designer can run into a snag.  So don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need help creating your files.

The end result — seeing your magnet mailer at work, making the phone ring — makes it all worth it.

 

Always here to help you make a great postcard magnet campaign:
magnetbyMail.com

 

March 31, 2011 · Posted in Design  
    

USPS Requirements

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Yes, the US Post Office can deliver our magnet mailer through their system without a problem.   The magnet stays securely attached to the postcard based on our spot glue process.

US Postal ServiceThe USPS processes our custom printed postcard magnets as machinable, non-automated mail.  Among other things, this means if you’d like to have your magnet mailers sent via first class, the postage rate would be based on the 1 oz. letter rate (not the the postcard rate), plus a charge for special handling (currently $.20ea).

The USPS offers discounted rates for properly prepared bulk mail. Based on these current rates, here are our current postage prices, if you’d like us to do the mailing [updated 1/27/2013] (subject to change without notice):

US Postage rates
  • Third (Standard) class bulk mail: $0.29 ea
  • First class presort mail: $0.44 ea
  • Non-profit bulk mail: $0.21 ea
  • Rate based on machinable, non-automated item
  • We can use your Postal permit; or our permit

If we will be mailing your items, please complete and fax to us a Bulk Mail Form and USPS NCOA Processing Acknowledgement Form — both forms are in the Templates file found on the webpage for each item on our magnetbyMail website. You can choose to use our indicia on the mailing piece (and pay us postage cost), or use your indicia, if it is the type that can be used at any US Post Office (not all are). If using our Indicia, prepare your art layout leaving the appropriate space for us to add the correct Indicia box and text. Note our Mailing List details (also on our website) when preparing your mailing list for us.

Of course, if you want us to ship all the postcard mailers to you, so you can distribute, we can do that, too.  In this case there would be shipping charge for UPS delivery.

Everything you ever wanted to know about mailing postcard magnets is on our website.

And you can always call us.  We’d love to hear from you!

March 6, 2011 · Posted in Design  
    

Good photography

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Photos.com Royalty-Free Photos by Subscription
If you’re going to invest money (, time and effort) in a postcard mailer campaign, you should make sure your layout and design looks its best.

If you need good photo images to help convey your message, you should look through .

At Photos.com, you’ll find stock photography that is all shapes and sizes.  At least one of the images is bound to be perfect for your project.

Oh, and prices are very reasonable, too.  There are plenty of great images available for under US$10.

Images at Photos.comImportant note: make sure you obtain high-resolution photos.  For print quality, its good to have images that are at least 200 Dots Per Inch (DPI) resolution.  Images intended for the web can have much less (72 DPI), so don’t download an image intended for a website.

Also, based on my own experience buying an image at Photos.com, I suggest you first, set yourself as a site user, then add the image(s) into your online ‘lightbox’, and then pay for them with your creditcard. Doing this in an other order can become frustrating.  At least that’s my experience.

I do recommend regardless of the abovementioned quirky checkout process.  Pricing seems to be better than iStockPhoto.com .

Just our 2 cents, from magnetbyMail.com

March 6, 2011 · Posted in Design, Resources  
    

ideas for layouts

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Need some quality, ready-made art templates for your magnet mailer design?

Check out graphicriver.net for complete design layouts by world-class  artists.

graphicriver.net design templatesFiles generally include high-resolution images, and Adobe Illustrator or  Adobe InDesign elements, and suggestions for font files.

Its most everything you need for camera-ready artwork.  You may need to tweak the layout size to fit a postcard.  And of course, you’ll need to write your own copy…

The best way to use graphicriver.net is to browse through the templates.  Even of you don’t buy anything, you’ll be inspired with plenty of design ideas.  And if you do buy something, you’ll be surprised at the low prices.

Postcard Sample Template from graphicriver.netFor example, check out this collection of card and brochure designs by jahimmyess.  There are plenty to choose from, you can change colors based on your palette, you receive templates for postcards, brochures, forms, and business cards.  And the download will cost less than US$10.

Now that’s impressive!

Our recommended resource for design templates:  www.graphicriver.net

 

 

 

March 6, 2011 · Posted in Design, Resources  
    

Most Popular

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Magnet Postcard for Farmers MarketWhat is our most popular custom printed postcard magnet?

It’s definitely ‘The Basic’ postcard magnet, our half-sheet, full-color postcard and businesscard – sized magnet.

Why?

Well, sure the low price helps.  Even in small quantities, they’re about a dollar or less, including standard-rate postage .

But the magnet size makes a lot of sense to many marketers.  Mail recipients don’t necessarily want a huge magnet on their refrigerator unless it has extremely useful info, its very attractive, or they know (and like) the sender very well.

So when you’re new to somebody’s kitchen, it might be good to think ‘baby steps.’

The Basic gets the job done.

It’s available at our website at: magnetbyMail.com

 

March 6, 2011 · Posted in Design