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Outsource to a digital marketing agency. How about Clever?

To Outsource or Not to Outsource?

When you own a business, it’s common to have your fingers in many pies, to be part of its every function and process. You do the bookkeeping. You’re in charge of sales. You pioneer the product development. But when your business starts to grow, you might find yourself a little… stretched. It might no longer be possible to take on every single job within your business. When you’ve built it from the ground up, it can be tough to let go.

But it’s so, so worth it when you do. Not only do you suddenly have more time to dedicate to the growth side of your business rather than the day-to-day management, you suddenly get a better perspective, both in terms of the bigger picture and your competition.

To get to this point, you might consider taking on some more employees to help you out. However, full-time employees can be expensive to pay salaries to, not to mention the time and money-consuming qualities of recruitment, pensions and paid leave. You might not feel your business needs a full-time employee just yet. In any one of these scenarios, a better option might be to outsource.

What is outsourcing?

When you outsource a business function, such as website design, accounting or SEO, you give the job to a freelancer or external company. The work is taken on by someone who is not employed directly by your company. You can either pay that party a monthly retainer or pay them by the work or particular projects they complete for you. The internet has meant that it’s more and more common to outsource things digitally.

What can I outsource?

Anything. Well, most things. It’s really down to how much you feel comfortable sharing with an external third party. A lot of freelancers or companies may have contracts drawn up, or you can have them sign your NDA (non-disclosure agreement) forbidding them to pass on any confidential information if you do share it. Here are just a few ideas of things you might choose to outsource:

  • Website design and build
  • Print design
  • Print collateral
  • Copywriting
  • SEO audit and management
  • PPC management

What are the Advantages of Outsourcing?

You can bring the best experts out there into your company only when you want them, and pay them only for the time you need them. This can save you a lot of money in yearly salaries and other employee-associated benefits. If you’re not keen on one person’s work, you simply don’t have to work with them again, without the need to dismiss them.

Outsourced parties can also bring a wealth of experience with them, and they are likely to be highly skilled and specialised in one particular field. They can offer fresh perspective and ideas as they’re a little bit further removed from the day to day running of your business.

On the other side of the coin, you might choose to outsource the dull, repetitive tasks that are crucial to successful management of your company but don’t really warrant a full-time job role. Things like one-off data entry projects can easily be picked up by agencies or freelancers.

What’s the problem with Outsourcing?

The main issue with outsourcing lies with choosing your freelancer or partner business carefully. If you’re trusting them with company information or an important project, you need to make sure they’re reliable and can deliver. Read plenty of prior testimonials and speak to them about working together on a trial basis. Most good freelancers will expect this and welcome it.

In addition, it’s easy to tell if an employee isn’t pulling their weight, as you see them in the office every day. You need to have good, open and constant communication with your chosen company or freelancer to make sure there’s no disconnects or misunderstandings which could cause a project to derail. Be clear about deadlines and establish where everyone stands from the start, as it isn’t always so clear without the hierarchical structure of an office.

Where do I start?

If you think it’s time to start outsourcing, get in touch!

Clever Marketing - Hampshire Digital AgencyAs a full-service digital agency serving London and the home counties (Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey), Clever Marketing are the perfect partner to outsource your print, web design or digital marketing needs.

Just call 01276 534 680 to see what we can do for you.

Print ads are still relevant

Five Reasons Why Print Ads are Still Relevant in an Increasingly Digital World

The internet will constantly tell you that print is dead. That newspaper and magazine ads have had their day, and you should focus all of your efforts and budget into your online presence and digital ads. In fact, more and more brands are pulling out of the print arena altogether. Should you, too?

Hold On Just a Second

We might now be offered more ways to consume media than ever before, but there’s still power in print. Here’s our top five reasons why, in a digital word, print still has its place.

Tangibility

Digital advertising may be quicker, cheaper and easier to measure, but there’s just something about being able to hold a newspaper you’ve just bought in your hands and actually owning it. Print simulates the senses, leading to a greater audience attachment than a fleeting digital ad. High-quality imagery and luxurious paper can also both contribute to a more premium feel, differentiating you from competitors, which can be difficult to achieve digitally – the web is arguably a more equal landscape for marketers.

And that tangible power isn’t limited to just an hour, or even a day; newspapers, magazines, direct mail pieces and flyers can all stay present in your customer’s homes or offices for years, to be read again and again long after a digital ad has disappeared.

Print also gives you, to a degree, greater control over every aspect of your marketing. With flyers and direct mail pieces , or example, you can decide on everything from the thickness and GSM of the specific paper to whether you want a matte or gloss effect.

Brand Recognition

Similarly, the nature of print ads mean you have complete power over the format, colour and style you want your ad to take. All of these things can further cement your brand message and identity. You can also choose to buy ad space in contextually relevant areas, or position your ad in publications which showcase the values that you yourself would like to reflect. If you would like be perceived as more of a luxury brand, for example, ads placed in higher-end publications would help you to achieve this association.

In the same way, print advertising allow you to intensify your brand awareness in certain geographical areas. For example, if your research highlights a lack of salience in the South, you might choose to target London specific publications and newspapers in order to remedy this.

Legitimacy

The web can be a dark and scary place, full of ads, popups and spam. One wrong click can mean downloading a virus which completely wipes out your system.

In comparison, print is reassuringly safe and predictable, carrying with it a sense of credibility. If something’s made it into print, it will have had some vetting, quality assurance and budget behind it, meaning it’s much more likely to have come from a real and credible company. On the internet, there’s really no way to tell. A study from internet security provider Adblock Plus found that a colossal 93% of people don’t trust online ads.

Print breeds trust and authenticity, and can therefore result in a high conversion rate of quality leads. In a study by Print Power, a reported 63% attached trust print media, compared to just 25% for the internet. This just goes to re-emphasise the fact that while newspapers and print have been around for many years, the internet is still finding its feet.

Targeting and Engagement

Magazines, especially trade magazines, have very specific and niche demographics meaning you can more accurately target your ad than you can online. As consumers also select and purchase the print media they consume, they’re often more immersed and engaged in its content than they are online; where they tend to click on a whim and skim-read.

When a consumer chooses to purchase and actively take time out of their day to read a publication, rather than let information wash over them as they do on the internet, you tap into a much more actively engaged customer.

Less Competition

As mentioned earlier, more and more companies are focusing their advertising efforts purely online. This means there is much less competition out in the print market, giving your ad more of a chance to shine. The fewer ads there are, the more a consumer will pay attention to the ones that are there.

If you doubt the power of print alone, options such as vanity URLs and QR codes allow you to bridge the gap between print and digital. When scanned using a smartphone, a QR code can be used to fetch a specific landing page targeted to your customer base.

Generally speaking, the best way to market your business and increase your share of voice is to market your brand using as many different channels as you can. It’s about finding that perfect media mix that works both for your demographic and your budget.

One thing is for sure: print isn’t dead. There’s still a place for newspaper and magazine advertising in your marketing strategy. Print makes it ways into people’s homes, becomes part of their day, and provides that initial first contact and inspiration that leads them online and to your website. When combined with other forms of media, print is a power to be reckoned with for your brand.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyFind out more about how you can use print to your advantage. Call us and find out more about our print design and print buying services.

We’re on 01276 534 680 for a chat right now or fill in our contact form with details of your print brief.

Are my photos good enough for my brochure?

Are my Photos Good Enough for my Brochure?

How many times have you had to send photos to the company producing your brochure, only to be told they are not suitable, or to be disappointed with the final result?

I would guess you’ve experienced this more than once.

Image Resolution

There are a number of factors that will determine whether your images will give you a good result, but the easiest to look out for are the pixel dimensions.

Photographic images are made up of pixels, and different reproduction processes require different numbers of these pixels per inch or dots per inch (DPI) – this is known as image resolution.

If the image resolution is too low, you end up with jagged edges and an overall lack of clarity.

Knowing the required image resolution, and the physical dimensions of the image when it’s printed means we can check the image’s suitability in advance on any computer, without the need for specialist software.

Below are some guide dimensions based on ‘A’ paper sizes.

Litho printing (on a printing press):

  • A4 = 2480px x 3508px
  • A5 = 1748px x 2480px
  • A6 = 1240px x 2748px

Digital printing:

  • A4 = 1240px x 1754px
  • A5 = 874px x 1240px
  • A6 = 620px x 874px

If your image is going to be printed full page (edge to edge), you will need to add a little bit extra on the dimensions for bleed.

  • For litho bleed, add 70px to each dimension
  • For digital bleed, add 36px to each dimension

So, you know how big your image needs to be, how do you find out how big it actually is?

Sadly, at the time of writing this article, there is a problem with the Apple’s Mavericks OS not showing image dimensions properly – and as a diehard Mac user you’ve no idea how much that pains me.

JPEGs and image quality

Most of the photos you will supply for your brochure will be JPEGs. If your photos were obtained from a library such as iStock or were commissioned from a photographer, you won’t have much control over their quality. But, if you are taking the photos yourself, you can make sure you are getting the best results possible by setting your camera’s JPEG quality to its highest setting.

Lower quality JPEGs use less storage space, but they give a poor result by professional print standards. People often talk about “JPEG compression”, but this is a misleading term as JPEG achieves its small file sizes not through compression, but by permanently removing image data which is why low-quality JPEGs will always give low-quality results.

Good old fashion values

Following these guidelines on image size and JPEG quality will go a long way to improving the end result. But if you’re taking your own photos, don’t forget the two things that can’t really be improved down the line – composition and lighting.

  • A picture taken on a dull grey day is always going to be just that.
  • A person standing side-on, when you really wanted them facing the camera, can’t be changed.

On a PC, simply open Windows Explorer and the image dimensions are available by switching to ‘Content’ view. There are other ways of viewing the dimensions in Windows Explorer, but I think this is the easiest.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyHave a look at our graphic design portfolio and if you’d like more advice or want us to design and print your brochures for you then please do get in touch.

We’re only a phonecall away, so call us on 01276 534 680 now or email your project details via our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we’ve heard from you.

Print's not dead!

Print’s Not Dead!

As technology continues to develop and change the way we do business, many have turned their back on traditional print.

Whilst digital marketing like email newsletters, organic SEO, PPC advertising and social media can deliver great results, integrating online marketing with traditional print can be a more powerful marketing tool, so make it part of your marketing mix.

We love all things Print. We’ve helped many clients grow their business by using our wide-ranging print skills and expertise. By understanding our clients’ business we can guide you through the entire process producing awesome designs and innovative printing. From our customers’ feedback, we know that print still has a massive role to play in getting their brand and business noticed.

Print is tangible, engaging and versatile plus it offers a sensory experience that can help get your business noticed in ways that digital media cannot. We still design and print everything from business cards to the college prospectus, posters and stickers, books and catalogues, brochures, corporate literature, branded stationery, direct mail, exhibition graphics and flyers. Litho print or digital, print runs large or small…

Print’s not dead! Far from it.

Sound too good to be true? Here’s a testimonial from just one of our many happy customers…

“Clever Marketing offers a thoroughly professional and friendly service as well as an excellent quality product both in terms of design work and production. Without Clever Marketing’s print experience, knowledge and quality supply of services and materials, the charity would not have evolved to where it is today.”

Mark Rye

CVQO Brand & Project Manager.


Clever Marketing - Hampshire SEO & Digital AgencyStill interested in print? So are we. Take a look at our print portfolio.

Give us a call on 01276 534 680 or fill in our contact form to chat with us about your next up-and-coming campaign and we will do our utmost to ensure that you are more than happy with your next print run.