With the temps rising, now’s the time to turn up the heat with the six print marketing trends we’re seeing for summer. Put your standard go-to tactics on ice and watch as these timely print marketing tips ensure your summer’s a successful one. (You’ll see these trends across all industries – and we guarantee no one else will print them at the same level of quality, service and sustainability as Smartpress!)
Trend #1: Personalization
Summer marketing is all about creating a good-time vibe and getting customers to connect with it. What better way to create that connection than with personalized marketing? Smartpress makes engaging with your audience easy, thanks to variable data printing (VDP).
Whether you’re printing custom brochures with specific loyalty program info or doing some postcard printing with discount details, VDP lets you add personalized touches like member rewards numbers, customer IDs or simply the recipient’s name. Pair that with bold branding and creative copy and you’ve got a surefire ROI.
Make it an endless summer of sales with these VDP examples:
- Feature a personalized URL for customer tracking.
- Vary your offer or tier your discount by recipient.
- Feature contact information relevant to the area.
- Preprint response cards so recipients have less to fill out.
- Target customers based on past purchases.
(Hint: Get even more ideas: Variable Data Printing: How to Personalize Your Marketing.)
One other way to personalize your print? Versions. It’s a summertime all-star and a no-brainer for your small (or big) business. With this feature, you get to create multiples of any print project with different designs, content and imagery, all in one order. All you have to do is keep the stock, size and finishing specs the same.
Here are some beat-the-heat hacks for online printing with Versions:
- Product catalogs for seasonal items or services.
- Posters that feature various artwork designs.
- Custom menus for each service (lunch, happy hour, dinner, drinks, etc.).
- Yard signs celebrating each member of a team or graduating class.
- Invitations when guests are scheduled for different events, dates or times.
Trend #2: Direct Mail Postcards
If you want your marketing to make more than a splash this summer, make sure it includes custom direct mail. Our favorite format for creative mailers? Direct Mail Postcards. (Summers at Smartpress are all about them.)
When it comes to direct mail marketing with postcards, the challenge is using your creative real estate wisely. That means double-sided printing – you wouldn’t apply sunscreen to just your front and not your back, would you? It also means exploring layouts that display your details in a way that’s both logical yet can’t-look-away-from.
To promote products, services or events that are hotter than these lazy, hazy days, it’s also crucial to target and know your mailing audience. With our complete fulfillment services, we can help you narrow down your audience by demographics, location, purchasing habits, business size, industry and more.
Hint: Have more direct mail questions? We’ve got your answers right here: Direct Mail FAQ.
Trend #3: Digital integration
With schools off and vacations on, the summer months can be a slow time for many businesses. (Unless you’re in retail – hello, holiday weekend sales!) Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be slow. Crank up the A/C and the acquisitions with digital integration.
What do we mean by that? The sidekick to every smartphone: a QR code. This digital darling is now so commonly used, it’s unusual if you don’t see one on print marketing pieces. It’s such a simple tool to impart a little or a lot of information quickly and straight to your customer.
As a customer-focused online printer, we can help you add a QR code to print collateral of all kinds. Not sure what you want to direct your customers to? Try these:
- Promo info or in-depth product details.
- Ins and outs of their membership or subscription.
- Drawing and giveaway entry forms.
- Restaurant and food truck menus.
- Newsletter or email sign-ups.
When you’re finished adding a QR code, consider also adding a UV coating before you print. Whether you want subtle matte or shiny gloss, our coatings give your codes a sun-sational finish and keep them legible so they can be reused. It’s a print tip worth taking when designing Waterproof Menus or pieces that will be run through mail processing equipment.
Trend #4: Sustainability
Nothing says summer like green grass and nothing says smart like green printing. More and more customers are expecting sustainable options and more and more companies are wanting green alternatives. Smartpress has them both.
If you’re anything like us, after gray winters and rainy springs, you’re grateful for warm summer days. Why not infuse some of that sunny spirit into your designs? Nature-inspired imagery and artwork are trending since they naturally draw the eye, whether it’s part of a brand’s eco campaign or simply a design choice.
As a carbon neutral company, we take sustainable printing seriously so you can create consciously. Make social responsibility part of your statement this summer and print with our recycled paper stocks like hemp and Kraft, as well as sustainable sign materials for retail, storefronts and more.
And if you want an eco-friendly strategy that’s green inside and out, be sure to complete your customers’ orders with sustainable packaging. They’ll get the message before they even open it. For candles, custom decks of cards, handmade soaps and other artisanal items, our recyclable Tuck Boxes seal the deal.
Did You Know? Smartpress received EcoVadis Platinum status in 2022, putting us in the top 1% of all companies EcoVadis evaluates in the printing services industry. We’ve also achieved 14001 environmental certification from the International Organization for Standardization, which helps us increase productivity while minimizing our operations’ environmental impacts.
Trend #5: Tactile Stocks
& Speciality Finishes
This summer is all about textures, so your print marketing should be, too. Only, instead of sand between their toes or pussywillows through their fingers, your customers get felt weave and linen stock or Soft Touch laminate.
Whether you’re sending multi-piece marketing kits to potential partners or including package inserts with every order, felt weave and linen paper stocks make an immediate, memorable impression thanks to their raised texture. Trust us, it’ll get your customers’ attention and keep it.
Speaking of memorable impressions, Soft Touch laminate nails the first one, the last one and every one. Its velvety smooth feel is unexpected in the best way possible. Try it on your next seasonal lookbook, portfolio or that networking know-it-all, business cards.
And if you really want a summertime spotlight on your print, give it some shine. (We’re not talking about that sparkle your forehead gets on a 90° day.) With custom foil printing, your marketing and personalized stationery flash like a Fourth of July firework – and ensure your message gets seen.
In your choice of color, our super popular (and highly rated) foil adheres to the ink and not the paper, giving it a vibrant, sunglasses-worthy finish no matter what you’re printing. This Sleeking™ process lets you add subtle foil accents, entire floods of foil and anything in between. Try it on corporate greeting cards, event invites, even product brochures. Trust the trend – it’s here to stay.
Hint: Not sure how to design with these specialty options? Our Layout Services team can walk you through any and every step along the way. Just think of us as your local online printing shop – with experts ready to help, right at your fingertips.
Trend #6: Very Peri
With everything in full bloom, summer is full of color – your print marketing should be, too. Not sure where to start? How about with the Pantone color of the year, Very Peri? It has a blue-purple hue that represents personal inventiveness and creativity. One of our favorite print marketing trends, blend it into your branding or artwork and stay relevant all summer long.
With color, you might think the more the merrier. But actually, another current color trend is minimalism, with a focus on neutrals and earthy blues and greens (or Very Peri, of course). Before you send your files to print, explore these shades for a look that’s both tactile and tranquil.
Another thing to do before sending your files to print? Color checking. At Smartpress, we know color is crucial, so our online printing services include strict color checking you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re a graphic designer or need specific shades to adhere to your brand standards, we’ve got color covered.
And since digital color looks different than printed color, we’ve put together some tips for matching your tints:
- Design in a CMYK color space.
- When choosing paper stocks, the whiter the better. Coated stocks provide a higher range of color and contrast, while uncoated stocks mute colors and limit vibrancy.
- Calibrate your computer monitor or digital screen as much as you can with monitor calibration tools.
- If you’d like to see how your color prints on a specific stock, check out our Print & Coating Sample Sheet.
- For consistency over time, build your branding logos and corporate colors using Pantone colors.
- Reference the Pantone Color Bridge book to choose a color that looks similar in both CMYK and spot colors. When they look alike, it means it’s achievable in CMYK printing.