Monday, October 28, 2013

Fun facts about the Classic Business Envelope

Fun facts about the Classic Business Envelope

Believe it or not, there's a great deal of interesting history behind the envelope. Let's take a look at some of the fun facts about the envelope:

  • The first known "envelope" is dated back to between 3,500 to 3,200 B.C in the Middle East. Unlike what we use now, these envelopes were clay spheres molded around financial tokens.
  • Paper envelopes first used in China in the 2nd Century.
  • The first envelope making machine was invented in 1845.The paper was diamond shaped and did not come pre-gummed for sealing.
  • In the Victorian Era, the placement of a stamp were used as coded messages between young lovers whose parents censored their mail. For instance, an upside down stamp meant "I love you" a diagonal stamp means "I miss you".
  • The classic #10 business envelope. Measuring 4 1/8" x 9 1/2", the #10 is the most commonly used envelope, and it perfectly fits a tri-folded 8.5x11 piece of paper. At Precision Envelope, #10 envelope printing is a huge part of what we do, and is the envelope most frequently used by businesses.
  • When creating printed wedding invitation envelopes, it is proper to spell out house numbers under 20.
  • A chemical company recently created an envelope made of “spunbonded olefin”. This envelope looks like and can be written on just like paper, but it is insensitive to water and chemicals and is virtually impossible to tear.
  • In 19th Century England, the recipient would pay the postage of the envelope. Correspondents figured out a scheme to transmit brief messages through prearranged envelope marking. The recipient would decode the message, then hand it back to the postman, refusing payment. Postage stamps were created in order to put an end to this.


Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Find Cheap Custom Printed Church Offering Envelopes?

At we serve several churches and religious institutions- Both in Long Island where we are headquartered and around the country! A common theme amongst these institutions is a need for high quality, but affordable church offering envelopes. As non-profits, these churches use their offering envelopes to help project a positive image in their community, and the printed envelopes have a direct influence on the contributions that help sustain the church. So how do you find quality offering envelopes that won't break the bank? Here's my five tips:

  • Look for Coupons/Price Breaks at Higher Quantities: With most envelope printers, the more you order, the lower the price per envelope. As a church, it would probably be helpful to have a few extra hundred donation envelopes in storage. Plus almost all of these printers will have a coupon code available or a special deal they're running. Check their social media accounts, as well as third part coupon websites like retailmenot for codes. If you go for a higher quantity and combine it with a 10% off coupon code, you can save big!
  • Ask for Samples: Price is always important, but quality is key. You'll want to work with someone who has printed church offering envelopes before, as well as creates quality work. Most of these printers will have samples of their work available (whether it be a physical sample or a digital one) and you should be willing to share it with you.
  • Have Your Artwork Ready: Most envelope printers will be willing to create artwork for you, but it won't be cheap. Make sure that you have high resolution, quality artwork that you can easily share with the printer. If you don't already have this artwork, try to see if you can find a graphic designer (perhaps a parishioner) who would be willing to volunteer their time to help you create your envelope artwork.
  • Check for Non-Profit Discounts: Many printers may be willing to work with you on the price if you are a non-profit. Don't be afraid to call or email the printer directly to see if they offer more lenient prices for religious institutions and charities.
  • Ask for Testimonials: Don't be afraid to ask for the contact info of customers who have ordered custom church offering envelopes in the past. That way you can speak to someone directly and ask them questions about both about the quality of the envelopes as well as their experience with the printer.
Want to learn more about saving money on church offering envelopes? Please email me directly: Or Post a comment and I'll be sure to reply!

Monday, October 14, 2013

7 Ways to Give your Small Business Marketing Plan a Competitive Edge

As a small business owner, you need to get used to the idea of self promotion. Whether you're using social media, direct mail marketing, print ads or all of the above, you must take every opportunity you can to tell potential customers about how your business can benefit them.

Of course, there's some fierce competition out there. So how can you give yourself a competitive marketing edge? What can your small business do to make sure that potential customers come to you instead of one of your competitors? These 7 tips below will help you in developing a marketing strategy for your small business:

  1. Start with Specific Goals: Obviously the goal of your marketing will be to earn new business, but you'll need to set specific, achievable goals in order to create a tactical plan and measure your results. Let's say the goal is you want to increase the average value of your customer's orders by 25%. Once you have that in mind, you can then work backwards and figure out how this will be achieved.
  2. Combine Your Marketing Efforts: You've got your goal  of raising average order value mind, now let's think of a tactic. Let's say you decide to offer a Buy One Get One Half off deal. Now how will you help spread the word? Rather than viewing your direct mail marketing, social media and Email marketing as separate entities, each medium should be working in tandem to help spread the word. Some people might ignore the email, but are more likely to respond to your direct mail piece.
  3. ...But Don't Use Everything: While generally I would recommend using a variety of tactics to help spread the word about your offer, trying everything will spread your resources to thin and will ultimately hurt your message. Remember, you don't need to be on every single social network. And you may not need to send out a direct mail piece. Do some research and figure out which medium is most appealing to your audience.
  4. Have a Clear Call to Action: You've got your goal and your tactics- Now ask yourself this question: "When they receive my direct mail/email/Twiter message, what do I want them to do?". If the answer is visit this URL and get the coupon code, then create a compelling call to action that will drive them to that URL. One great way to create a call to action is to add an expiration date to the offer (i.e. Offer ends Tuesday! Get your coupon code Now!).
  5. Create a Consistent Look: Your email, blog, website, direct mail piece etc. should all have the same consistent look. This will help create brand awareness, making it more likely that your customers will remember your business. For instance, If you're sending out a few hundred printed 6 x 9 envelopes featuring your redeisgned logo, you nee to make sure that the same logo appears on all of your other marketing pieces.
  6. Always Follow Up: After your direct mail piece or email goes out, your work has only just started! Many people who received the direct mail piece may be interested in your offer, but perhaps didn't have much time for it at the moment, that's where a brief phone call, email or even another direct mail piece can help you close the deal.
  7. Test & Refine: While statistics are helpful, the only way to know for sure if your offer will be something compelling to your customers is to test it. This can be done by sending out the offer to only a portion of your list, then adjusting your offer accordingly or through split testing (meaning sending 2 versions of an email or direct mail piece and seeing which gets better results).

Monday, October 7, 2013

7 Surprising Small Business Statistics

Although generally on this blog we talk about custom envelope design and/or how they can be used for marketing, we occassionally like to talk about issues and news related to small businesses. The majority of our customers tend to be small businesses, and is a small business (According to the SBA, technically any company with less than 500 employees is a small business). So we recently were doing some research regarding small business and we just happened to come across a collection of surprising, interesting and just plain shocking American small business statistics. Check them out, and let us know what you think in the comments!

  • 52% of All Small Businesses are Home-based: When you've got a great idea but no money, sometimes your only choice is to work out of your home. In fact, dozens of hugely successful companies (including Apple and Mattel) started out of the home.
  • Fastest Growing Small Business Sectors are auto repair shops, beauty salons & dry cleaners: If in your neighborhood it feels like there's a beauty salon or dry cleaner on every corner, now you know why!
  • Over Half a Million New Business Are Started Each Month: In total 543,000 small businesses are started in the United States each month.
  • The #1 Reason Why Start Ups Fail is they Scale Prematurely: While having a long term business plan is great, expanding the business before it's ready can lead to you closing the doors.
  • 50-70% of Small Businesses Fail within the First 18 Months: While those first few years are the toughest, if you can get past that your liklihood to succeed will increase significantly.
  • But 86% of Small Business Owners Believe They Can Do Anything they Set their Minds to: Sometimes a great idea and a can do attitude is all you need to make it work!

Small Business Failure Rate by Industry:
  • Manufacturing: 48.4%
  • Services: 47.6%
  • Wholesaling & Agriculture: 47.4%
  • Retailing: 41.1%
  • Finance, Insurance and Real Estate: 39.6%
  • Transportation, Communications and Utiliies: 39.4%
  • Construction: 36.4%


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Custom Printed Envelopes: 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy

Before you go looking to buy custom envelopes online, there's a few things you'll need to know so that you don't overpay, or worse yet, waste money on unusable envelopes. Not to scare you, but I've heard many horror stories of companies that bought custom envelopes from a company they found online, only to receive 1000s of envelopes that were printed wrong. And good luck getting a refund! So in order to help you prepare and make your envelope ordering process as smooth as possible, here's my 5 things you should know before you buy:

  • Only Use High Resolution Artwork: If you're uploading artwork online, make sure that it is a quality, high-resolution image. The problem with alot of these websites is that they will just print whatever artwork you upload, resulting in low quality envelopes. Some envelope printers might work with you if you've only got low resolution artwork, but it's not a risk worth taking.
  • Check for Price Breaks at Larger Quantities: You may only need 1,000 envelopes, but if you can get 1,500 for only $10 more, it's a deal too good to pass up. Even if your business doesn't need that many, it's always good to have a few extra envelopes in storage. 
  • Ask About Coupon Codes: All of these online envelope printers are running some type of deal or have coupon codes available. Some of them might even offer free shipping on custom envelopes or other deals! Be sure to always ask before you buy. And don't forget to check websites like RetailMeNot for more coupons. 
  • Always Request a Proof: Better safe than sorry, I always say! Whether it be a digital proof in the form of a PDF or a physical one, a proof will give you one more chance to look over the artwork and make sure everything is correct before you print the whole batch.
  • Shop Around: Make sure to always check for a great deal! There are many people out there offering printed envelopes, so you'll want to find a great price. But more than going with the lowest price possible, make sure that company you go with is reputable and they know what they're doing.