118: A Small Business Marketing Innovation
Your website is your new company brochure.
Into the brochure’s place has moved the pocket folder. It’s really a better fit, anyway. You can fill it with all kinds of content for different audiences—prospects, sellers, bidders, buyers, referral agents. That content can be updated almost as quickly as your website. So, you still get that offline, tangible product but now with far more versatility than the limited shelf life that was the company brochure.
Up until recently, though, the cost for manufacturing a pocket folder was prohibitive to the small business marketer, because you needed large runs to justify the cost per piece. The costs were understandable. They had to include printing on heavier, more expensive paper, then custom cutting, then glueing, then careful folding. Each stage added up—both in time of production and cost for the labor.
Then came Internet print shops with their selection of standard templates. This saved the cost of custom cutting dies, especially at your local print shop. Their specialization gave them niched volume that led to efficiency gains, too. Even with these gains, though, the product wasn’t flexible enough and inexpensive enough for individual campaigns.
Then came an ingenious idea that my print shop found—one of those solutions that makes you wonder why it took so long to introduce it to the marketplace.
Long story short: pocket folders just got way more useful.
In the age of digital printing, we can now produce full-color, high-resolution, UV-coated brochures in hours rather than days. The problem is that the pieces of paper used to make a pocket folder are too big to fit on the vast majority of digital presses—because they have to include enough vertical paper space to include both the outside and the folding pocket.
What if you could print the just outside shell of a pocket folder like you did a brochure, pull a few adhesive strips, and pop your own pockets into the inside? Well, now you can. Those pockets can go on the left and/or the right. They can include business card slots. They can be mounted in a horizontal orientation to give you a landscape pocket folder.
Now, printing five or ten folders takes only hours. Prices vary according to quantity but are very affordable for most campaigns, especially compared to the old production method’s costs. You can have a custom folder for a proposal, for an auction bidder’s packet, for a settlement folder. You could even use variable data so that different recipients’ names and/or different photos are shown on their respective pieces.
One of the only draw backs is that the pockets are white. Also, under expedited manufacturing, the print shop ships the shells and the pockets separately for you to (quickly) assemble on your end.
The more custom a media you give someone, the more corporate and flexible your brand appears. They don’t have to know what you paid for these instant folders. Just let your recipients be impressed.
I’m regularly surprised by new ideas I see in business magazine articles and even in tweets, podcasts, and Pinterest boards. After hearing over 5,000—maybe over 6,000—sermons and Bible lessons in my 30+ years in the church, it’s amazing to me how often I hear new concepts relating to my faith.
I used to spend time distancing myself from the worldview and theology of my past. I’ve even inscribed disclaimers in signed copies of my book: “I don’t agree with everything I wrote in here”—even though I prayerfully wrote and edited that content more than a decade ago.
We’re all on a journey, though. If we can’t see our former ignorance on a regular basis, maybe the ignorance isn’t former, if you know what I mean. We are all butterflies that need to be thankful for the foundational days in which we crawled as caterpillars—days that gave us an appreciation for the growing freedom and ability to fly.
Special thanks to Shearer Printing & Office Solutions for introducing me to this concept and for hooking me up with free samples to use for this post.