The creation and distribution of marketing material is an essential element to the growth of a small business. Business cards, brochures, postcards, newsletters, and other printed collateral attract new customers and keep the line of communication open with clients.
Businesses on a tight budget may find it difficult to hire a designer or pay a commercial printer for such services, so user friendly and affordable desktop publishing tools offer a welcome alternative.
Desktop publishing allows individuals and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to self publish a range of printed material using page layout software on a personal computer. Many services offer the use of templatized documents, which can be customized to reflect one’s brand and products.
Companies with a background in desktop publishing now offer Web-based sites where users can sign on and create marketing materials using their logo and branding.
No Experience Necessary
Utilizing a Web publishing service with templates and typography already in place allows users with virtually no marketing experience to create professional-looking documents.
Next Day Flyers is an online supplier of printed and promotional material to business professionals in North America. Founded in 1998 in the Los Angeles, CA area, the headquarters now resides in a 36,000 square foot facility in Rancho Dominguez, CA. The company recently opened a second printing facility in Saddlebrook, NJ, which allows it to provide reduced shipping time and costs to customers on the East Coast. The two locations combined employ 150 people.
Many SMBs use Next Day Flyers’ Online Design Center to create layouts for printed marketing materials, and no graphic design experience is necessary. The Online Design Center features templates that users customize by incorporating a logo, unique photos, or text. Users also create layouts starting with a blank canvas. “It is perfect for business owners and managers who want to be involved in the creative process, but don’t own graphic design software,” shares Leslie Handmaker, marketing manager, Next Day Flyers. Business cards, postcards, and flyers are some of the more popular products created in the Online Design Center.
Another desktop publishing tool, Quark Software Inc.’s Quark Promote, allows business owners to create personalized material in three easy steps. First, choose a design, then customize, and place the order. Products commonly created with Quark Promote include brochures, business cards, flyers, greeting cards, and postcards for any industry and occasion. Over 1,200 stock photos are available for use. Material may even be customized to include quick response codes.
Created with end users in mind, another online publisher, Tweak, provides a complete design solution in a Web browser. While Tweak is relatively new to the scene, the company has been around photography, design, and publishing for a long time. The team includes accomplished designers, copywriters, artworkers, pre-press experts, photographers, and illustrators. Privately held, Tweak is headquartered in Killorglin, County Kerry on the Southwest Coast of Ireland, with offices in Dublin and New York, NY. The company’s mission is to empower millions of business owners around the world to tweak designs that have been carefully created to promote their businesses.
Storage and Security
When utilizing desktop tools online material is stored and saved on the provider’s system and can be reordered with the click of a button. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that security measures are in place to protect personalized branding tools and sensitive business information.
Next Day Flyers provides an account feature for customers to store files, orders, and personal information. Customers can return to this data whenever they wish via personal and secure account settings, giving users the option to quickly re-order a previous design or edit a previous file.
“Customers can be reassured that files and personal info is locked up tight thanks to extensive security measures,” says Handmaker. “The company uses the strongest SSL encryption available, as well as our CloudFlare system of online security measures to ensure customers’ files and personal details remain safe and protected. The CloudFlare system also provides the added benefit of a fast Web site,” she adds.
Quick Turnaround and Low Cost
Online desktop publishing services remain competitively priced and offer quick turnaround on printed material, understanding the tight deadlines under which many small businesses run.
All Next Day Flyer materials are printed on offset printing presses at bi-coastal production sites. “State-of-the–art production print facilities include a temperature controlled prepress area and pressroom that allows us to print products under consistent conditions to maintain a higher quality,” says Handmaker. The East Coast facility is also equipped with a rooftop photovoltaic solar system, which satisfies all of the electrical needs of the printing equipment and represents the company’s commitment to “green” printing.
Next day turnaround and two- to four-day turnaround options are available for all products. There is no charge to create a layout using Next Day Flyers Online Design Center; all of the templates and other graphic elements are free, so customers only pay for the printed product.
Quark Promote users may choose from one of the site’s network of recommended print partners, or pick up at a nearby location.
Tweak offers a modern, clean, and easy to use online service whereby users choose a design template; customize color, logo, image, and text; and place an order. Users decide what kind of product to create and see a breakdown of pricing along with the many templates available. High-quality glossy brochures are available from $163.05 for 250, customized business cards from $16.95 for 250, newsletters from $103.95 for 250, and even large format displays are available from $53.95 each. Business owners may even design their own logo for free using Tweak’s logo builder.