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Resources & Support

Resources & Support

BLOG: MINIMIZING YOUR PRINT
& MARKETING COSTS

 

PINCH IT ... August 31, 2017

Even on a tiny budget, a small credit union can reach brand new members for growth. Here are five practical and economical ideas:

1) Start a blog on your website (or if you already have one, increase the frequency or relevance of your posts). Short on writing time? Not sure what to say? Use your blog to answer frequently asked member questions. Or offer short lists of seasonal financial tips. Or feature your employees. Or brainstorm a list of post ideas, and invite staff or loyal members to share their perspective in a guest blog.

2) Hold a creative contest. Invite members to submit photos of how they use your products and services in the community, or a short testimonial how the credit union makes a difference in their life. Or base it on an upcoming community event, or ask for funny financial stories, or feature member's pet pictures! Be sure to get permission to share members' photos/info, and then use them on your social media to build interest in your institution. People enjoy seeing their friends featured. (Tip: Make the contest prize a VISA Gift Card to highlight the fact that you offer them!)

3) Ask all your members for referrals. Some institutions give out referral cards at their teller/drive-up windows. Or here's another easy way -- send an email inviting your members to forward your website link to one or two people who could benefit from the credit union philosophy. You may get even more response if you offer even a small incentive for new memberships.

4) Request email addresses and social followers. Email is more effective than social media, but every message is a chance to connect. Include a "forward to a friend" button on every marketing email, and encourage social media fans to share your content.

5) Team up with another local business to run a joint marketing initiative. For example, consider providing oil-change or bakery or dry-cleaning coupons at your teller windows, and provide your marketing partner with tent cards or brochures about your institution's advantages over local competitors.

Want more ideas or specifics, or help implementing these options? Email us for a list of additional low-cost marketing tactics you can use to grow your credit union!

 

 

ADVANCE IT ... July 31, 2017

Implement these tips in 10 minutes or less. Long-term strategies are essential for meeting your objectives. But sometimes, you have a short break between meetings, or just need a palate-cleanser between immersive projects. Here are a few quick, effective tasks that will reap benefits well beyond your time investment.

1) Look around. Pick a competitor and visit their website and/or social media sites. What are they doing well? What plans are they sharing with their followers? What inspiration can you take away?

2) Listen to a new voice. You probably already follow the blogs or podcasts of half a dozen marketing gurus, but do you follow thought-leaders outside your industry? The birth of your next great idea could be an "aha" connection between seemingly unrelated concepts. Choose a field you're passionate about - outside of marketing - so you'll actually enjoy the content.

3) Tell a new tale. Improve the "About" section on your social media. A recent survey of business profiles discovered that many were lifted almost verbatim from the company's website. Set aside a few minutes to craft a short, friendly intro - the kind you'd use to explain your business to your favorite cousin.

4) Get colorful. That project you're just about to approve? Take one last look, and jazz up the language with a thesaurus, or find a more compelling image/video to illustrate your message. Or (literally) add emphasis to the most important point with colored text or a callout box.

5) Complain. Really! We would love to hear about the most challenging project on your "to-do" list right now. Or the time or budget constraints that are keeping you from achieving one of your numerous goals. Or the program that has fallen short of your expectations. Give us a chance to fix something for you.

We are always here to help you help your members - and contacting us will probably take you even LESS than 10 minutes!

  

DISRuPT IT ... July 10, 2017

In the business world, "disruptor" has moved from its traditionally negative definition to a positive one - "to radically change, as by introducing a new product or service that creates a new market." Disruption has become the new buzzword for what used to be (in ancient terminology) "thinking outside the box."

How can credit unions leverage the power of disruption in day-to-day operations? Here are a few brilliant ideas we've come across lately:

Replace standard communications with handwritten - Email and even direct mail are standard and expected. How often do you open your postal mail and find a handwritten note these days? Of course this is impractical for large-scale messaging, but it could surprise and delight new members or new credit account holders.

Turn casual Fridays into themed events - Contributing funds to charity in exchange for wearing jeans is a time-honored tradition. But some institutions are now taking the opportunity to greet members in costumes and offering treats based on holiday or cultural events. (Game of Thrones, anyone?)

Turn your goals upside down - Based on a recent post we shared on Facebook, this can be a fun inversion for your staff goals. Rather than tallying new members or new loans, your team's goal is to get 500 "no's". While this might seem counterproductive, it's an unusual way of encouraging team members to ask every member at every touchpoint if they or someone they know needs your services.

You can't ignore a box
- Several of our credit union clients have replaced their standard brochure folders and application envelopes with boxed member kits containing marketing, disclosures and premiums for new account holders. Similarly, some of our favorite appreciation programs now include "dimensional mail" - a fancy term for a gift box (examples: sunglasses for new youth members, kitchen tool sets for new mortgage holders, etc.)

How can we help you make a radical change for the good in your organization? We have more ideas -- contact us today for more new perspectives!

 

  

NURTURE IT ... June 15, 2017

Creating new member relationships is a primary goal for many credit unions. After all, each new member represents an opportunity for growth and contributes to the stability of the credit union as a whole. But how do you then move member relationships from merely existing to engaged?

In short, loyalty is earned. Devoting resources to current relationships leads to more accounts, more loans, and more educated members. Here are five ways our credit union clients nurture member relationships:

  1. Incentivize email gathering - email is a gateway into your member's private space; offer something in exchange - a budget guide, special rate or contest entry.
  2. Promote your social media presence - creating and sharing consumer-friendly content helps members get to know your organization and feel welcome.
  3. Record important info in your member database - knowing who your members are, including their basic demographics, special events, interests and concerns, helps you communicate more effectively.
  4. Develop an onboarding plan - a series of regular email, postcards or direct mail ensures that each new member receives all relevant information of how you can help them succeed financially.
  5. Host an event - an invitation to a member appreciation day, holiday celebration, charity drive or lunch-and-learn lets members know you value them for more than their transactions.

These proven techniques help build long-lasting relationships. We can help you put them into action - contact us today!

 

 

FIX IT ... May 30, 2017

Coming up on mid-year, we took a look at our own marketing strategy and discovered a few holes. Here's what we're doing to patch them:

1) Contacts - The credit union industry is dynamic; our contacts change all the time! We're recommitting to keeping up with your moves, touching base in a more personalized way, and creating a new opt-in campaign to re-engage our prospects.

2) Content - Some of us grew up in the 1980s, which was a slightly more formal business era. Moving forward, we'll be making our messaging friendlier, more accessible -- starting with more inviting email subject lines and rolling into our new website launch later this year. In addition, we're moving our email/social media postings to the front end of the week for more relevance to our business clients.

3) Contests - Our web graphic giveaway timeline was TOO long. So once we announce our June 30 WINNER, upcoming contests will be more frequent and shorter!

Now it's your turn. What can we help YOU do better? EMAIL US and let's do great work together for the rest of 2017!

 

 

DRIVE IT ... May 15, 2017

Throughout your marketing calendar, you have little initiatives and big ones. Our clients' little initiatives are usually reminders about ongoing financial products and services -- maintaining member awareness of deposit accounts or account access options.

But they spend most of their marketing dollars on revenue-generating or revenue-saving initiatives, like loan specials, new products or e-statement conversion. Want a BIG response for a BIG promotion? Here is a baker's dozen of great channels you might not be using to reinforce your message:

  1. A home page ad and dedicated landing page on your website
  2. Graphics in your mobile app
  3. A "PS" on every letter and email, plus email signature graphics
  4. Creative series of social media posts (how about a video?)
  5. ATM screen pop-ups (and don't forget ATM receipts!)
  6. On-hold phone messaging
  7. Statement messaging and statement envelope imprints
  8. Cooperative campaign with a related local retailer
  9. Teller handouts - buck slip or brochure or packet
  10. Lobby posters, banner stands, tent cards, teller mats, TV screen ads
  11. Drive-up envelopes and cards
  12. Giveaways - buttons, balloons, pens, bags, mugs, sunglasses, etc.
  13. Window or drive-up lane banners or flags

 If you're not already using all these avenues, the element of surprise helps make your message memorable to members. Let us help you use all your available channels to drive your next big initiative to success!

 

 

ENHANCE IT ... May 1, 2017

The philosophy of going the extra mile -- serving members above and beyond their expectations -- is a natural fit for credit unions based in a tradition of "people helping people." Putting the philosophy into practice can be more challenging, though, in an environment when day-to-day operations and compliance demand most of your time.

Here are some quick ideas we've recently seen and used with our clients:

Personalization - Thanks to industry giants like Amazon and Google, consumers have come to expect that their experience will be tailored to fit them. The first step in personalization is gathering data about member preferences, so the sooner you start, the more options you will have in the future. But even small gestures can make a big difference. Whether you address them by first name in your emails (at no extra cost!), add product-specific invitations to your direct mail, or add program-specific landing pages to your website -- you are letting members know that you KNOW who they are and CARE about their individual needs.

Thank you cards - This "old-school" communication format is making a giant comeback. As email inboxes become increasingly crowded and people opt-out of digital advertising, our clients are finding that a simple, handwritten note of appreciation conveys personal warmth and contributes to the culture of trust we all want to build in our financial institutions. We offer a variey of sizes and would love to send you some branded low-cost options.

Small gifts - The once-ubiquitous toaster giveaway has been updated, but gift-giving never goes out of style. Today's giveaway items must be unique, high-quality, relevant to your promotion, and above all -- useful. A few examples this spring:  sunglasses for youth member birthdays, kitchen tools for mortgage borrowers, hand sanitizer for financial health seminar attendees. Our searchable promo site includes thousands of ideas for every budget, and we are happy to share examples of past promotions that have gotten great results.

No matter how you want to enhance your current marketing, we are ready to help with great ideas and affordable pricing. Let's talk about your next promotion and how we can give it an extra boost with something a little unexpected!

 

BLEND IT ... April 17, 2017

Combining print and digital assets for your next marketing campaign reaches all of your members in their comfort zone, while reinforcing the message in background channels.

Digitally savvy members and are more likely to view your email, e-statements and social media marketing. These channels offer advantages in immediate content and low cost. Traditional transaction members are more likely to stop into your branch, see your lobby materials and open their mailed statements. These channels offer a memorable, tactile experience plus more time for members to absorb the details of your promotion.

Amplify your advertising by designing e-graphics with a call-to-action for more information (in print), and designing printed items with a reminder to sign up for email communications and social media. Try a countdown to your next event on social media, then provide take-away buck slips and brochures at the event -- which feature your social icons/QR codes for online platforms.

Our most successful clients are leveraging the benefits of lobby displays, handouts, direct mail, email, mobile AND social media. We'd love to help you do the same - contact us for a blended approach to your next promotion!

 

PREP IT ... April 3, 2017

If you're supplying us with final press-ready files for your print project, here are FIVE tips to make sure you get exactly what you designed, at the best possible price. We review every file you send us before it goes to press, so fixing these issues before you send us files minimizes the time we spend prepping your job for press.

  1. Check and recheck - Proofread, proofread and then have someone else proofread again. Nothing drives up your costs faster than reprinting the entire job.
  2. Show off your best - Do not pull images or logos from the internet. Screen resolution on the internet is generally 72-96 dots per inch (dpi). Professionally printed projects are produced at 600-2400 dpi. So images from the internet are at least 6 times as blurry or bitmapped as a high resolution or vector file, and they will detract from your great message and design.
  3. Correct the colors - Make sure all images and colors used in your files have been converted to CMYK -- never use RGB settings. Digital presses are forgiving, but there are occasional errors that result in unexpected colors. Play it safe and make sure everything is CMYK.
  4. Go the extra 1/8 inch  - If you want images or color to print to the edge of your page, make sure to add 1/8" beyond the edge of your document -- this is called "bleed". Digital presses are highly accurate, but there is always some paper shift during a print run, and bleed eliminates unwanted white stripes at the edge of your design.
  5. Send us EVERYTHING - Even if you supply press-ready, high-resolution PDFs, please also supply us with the original file you designed, including all of its supporting images and fonts. If we discover errors in prepping the files for press, we can address them immediately.

If you have questions about any of these tips or how to best provide your files for production, please don't hesitate to contact us. We want you to be happy with your printed piece, your delivery date AND your budget!

 

BUNDLE IT ... March 20, 2017

As in many areas of business, buying in bulk saves you money on printing. But what if you only need postcards for a select group of members, or buck slips to for a limited-time promotion? How can you take advantage of the lower cost of larger quantities?

We can help you plan ahead. Printing a larger quantity of postcards or buck slips -- even if there are smaller lots within -- will save you money over printing several smaller runs. Talk to us about how we can create multiple promotions that share production specifications. For example, we can create a series of four loan promotions -- maybe spring auto, summer toys, autumn home equity, winter holiday. These pieces can direct members to your website for current rates to give your promotions a longer shelf-life.

Likewise, we can print larger runs of your letterhead, envelopes, disclosures and forms -- and warehouse them at our facility for release over time, so you can take advantage of lower per-unit costs.

We know you are working to convert your paper documents to digital, and we are here to help minimize your costs as you make the transition. Email sales@thedesigndsk.com to see how much you can save with a larger run of your next printed piece.

 

SIMPLIFY IT ... March 6, 2017

Here's a proven 3-step plan for using your newsletter (whether print or digital) as an easy blueprint for your quarterly marketing. Several of our clients use this "set-it-and-forget-it" method to maximize their results with minimal effort.

1) Choose three financial products/specials to feature.

2) Write one article for each with a short, compelling headline. Make sure to include an eye-catching graphic. (You can enlist our help if you like!)

3) For each of these three articles, use the same headline and eye-catching graphic to create a matching poster/flyer and buck slip for your lobby, a postcard for outreach to prospective members, and an e-graphic to use on your website, email and social media marketing.

That's it! You're DONE.

Combine clear objectives, a captivating message, and multi-channel marketing for measurable conversion every time. Need a little help getting started? Email sales@thedesigndsk.com and let us put your 3-step plan in place for this quarter.

 

CAPTURE IT ... Feb 20, 2017

When members stop by to see your tellers, you have a short window (no pun intended!) of their undivided attention.

Tent cards and counter mats are affordable options that put your marketing message directly in your member's line of sight while they are waiting for their transaction to process. Tent cards can display up to three messages at once. And most counter mats are designed as a frame for a letter-size or half-size sheet of paper, which allows you to change your promotion as often as you like. These items also look great in your waiting area and on loan department desks.

Welcome members to your lobby with colorful, creative, timely promotions. We also offer posters and vinyl banners of all sizes to feature special or ongoing products and services.

SAVE MORE by PRINTING LESS! Curious about pricing? Email sales@thedesigndsk.com with a quantity and we will send you a quote!

 

FOCUS IT ... Feb 6, 2017

Don't waste money advertising your VISA Credit Card program to members who already carry your card. Our data de-duplication allows you to mail any promotion -- whether it's auto refinancing, eStatements or home equity loans -- to JUST those members you want to reach.

Similarly, our series of onboarding letters is especially designed for new members. They receive 5-6 monthly letters, providing information on ONLY the products and services they did not already sign up for.

In addition, we work with many clients on tiered rate loan promotions based on the credit score segments they obtain from Experian.

You SAVE MORE by PRINTING LESS (and paying less postage!) Let us help you pinpoint the best prospects for your next direct mail project. Contact John today at 800-582-0252 for more details.

 

SWITCH IT ... Jan 23, 2017

Many of our clients save significant printing costs by taking advantage of print-on-demand PDFs! The most common documents and items we convert are:

  • Disclosures / rate sheets / fee schedules -- With print-on-demand, you avoid throwing out costly inventory when information changes. 
  • Information requests / change of address forms -- We set these up as interactive -- so the user types their information into available fields and can choose to print or email the form back to you.
  • Newsletters -- Emailing your newsletter allows you to capture short attention spans with concise, compelling teasers. "Click to read more" links funnel more traffic to your website. Win win!

Talk to us about SAVING MORE by PRINTING LESS. Contact sales@thedesigndsk.com for more information or to get started with your conversion!

 

CHECK IT ... Jan 9, 2017

Convert members from printed statements to e-statements, and from mailing lists to email and social media lists. Here are a few easy ways to get started:

  • CHECK for a current email address in each personal encounter with members.
  • CHECK all forms/applications to ensure they include a field for collecting a current email address.
  • CHECK your mailing lists for members that can be moved to email contact lists instead.
  • CHECK to make sure all marketing pieces include an invitation to your social media sites.

Based on your quarterly goals, we can develop a regular periodic email program which supports and enhances your marketing initiatives.

Our email marketing follows all best-practices recommendations to minimize spam and always includes a feature to opt-out. Your members get timely, targeted messaging -- and you get an opportunity to lower your mailing costs.

Contact sales@thedesigndsk.com for samples and your customized plan!