Cost-Effective Printing Methods for Promoting Your Business

printWhether you’re launching a brand-new business or have been operating one for decades, developing an effective promotional campaign is crucial to success of your business. Navigating through the maze of online printing suppliers can leave you perplexed and have your bank account pleading for mercy.  A well informed business can save itself a great deal of aggravation and a boatload of hard-earned money. There are two main types of printing that may seem trivial, but can actually save you money and time. It all depends on the quantity you need and how often information may change on your print marketing. Knowing the right printing method that your business needs represents a crucial cost saving measure.

Offset Lithography

For those of you who don’t know what this is think of paper boys from the early 1900’s calling out “Hot off the press!” or a room echoing with the clanks and bangs of a mechanical dinosaur from a bygone era.

Text and images are engraved onto a metal plate which then has ink applied to it. The plate is pressed to a rubber mat, and the rubber mat is then pressed to paper where the image is final. These are all done on rollers so that it runs smoothly and efficiently.

So what does this mean to the small businesses?

While the print quality can be excellent, the disadvantage is the time and cost of the set up.  This makes the price for smaller quantities very high.  The price per piece won’t reach a reasonable price until your desired quantity reaches into the thousands.  So unless you don’t mind having a huge stack of printed marketing materials taking up space you probably don’t want to buy offset.

In addition, since you are buying in larger quantities and have that huge stack sitting around, you’re also stuck with the information that was relevant when you printed the material. All too often information changes like products, services, prices, contact info and more.  Now you’re left with a huge stack of incorrect marketing materials. Into the trash it goes along with everything that you spent.  The price you paid per-piece just shot up dramatically.

Turnaround with offset can be slow.  In addition to the setup time and the large quantities needed, offset is also very inefficient when it comes to multi-page printing, for example, a booklet.  Each page needs its own metal plate and set up time with the machine only printing one at a time.  The pages then are slowly collated and sent off to be bound.

In short, offset makes sense only if you plan on printing large quantities, turnaround is not important, you have the storage space, and you’re positive that information won’t change.


Digital Printing

Digital printing, unlike offset printing, does not require printing plates to be made. Digital printers use inkjet or laser printers that deposit various pigments onto many different mediums including paper, glass, metal, canvas, photo paper, and many other items.  Where ink penetrates paper, toner sits on top of it and heat bonds the toner to the page, which is why your paper is warm when you pick it up from your printer.

So what does this mean to the small businesses?

Because digital printing requires virtually no setup time since it’s entirely computerized.  A PDF file is simply loaded into a computer, and the machine can immediately start printing.  This drastically reduces the setup time.

Multi-page printing is a snap because the machine simply prints the PDF already collated, and many machines can also bind the pages at the same time.  The result is a complete product coming out of the machine at a fast rate.

All this reduces turnaround time, setup costs and keeps prices low on small quantities. Since you can get a great price on small quantities, you’ll never have to worry about changes to information. You can easily keep ordering small amounts and change the information when needed

For most small business going the digital route makes the most sense.  Its flexibility gives options that most small businesses need to keep costs low and still get exactly what printed materials they need.

So when you look to printing, carefully consider your needs and make the best choice for you and your business.

Karen Connolly is a writer for Best Value Copy where her knowledge on printing has expanded beyond imagination. Image courtesy Dan Taylr

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