Find Your Social Media Niche

Managing the social media efforts for a business or organization can be an overwhelming process. As the field continues to grow as a viable marketing technique, we’re constantly being introduced with new platforms that allow us to connect with our customers. How do we find the time to regularly post  on our Facebook feed, monitor our Twitter accounts, pin to our boards on Pinterest, and post to Google Plus with meaningful and effective content on a regular basis? The answer to that question may just be that, in the world of social media, less is more.

In the world of digital marketing, content is king. Having something meaningful and interesting to say can prove to be more effective in bringing in prospective customers than tapping into a specific series demographics through a network of social media platforms. This is not to say, however, that you should neglect all other forms of social media other than what you already use. What we’re saying is that you might find it more effective to find out which platforms you’re most comfortable with, and focus on developing meaningful and captivating content specifically for those mediums. Trying to dilute your attention across a wide array of platforms may end up doing damage to your brand by not projecting high-quality content.

Stretching yourself too thin can actually do significant damage to your social brand down the road. For example, Facebook uses an algorithm called EdgeRank to help determine what to display in a users News Feed based on what they typically like to look at and interact with. If your brand page is consistently pushing out content that is not engaging, this algorithm will determine that your fans are not interested in your page, and therefore your content is less likely to appear on their News Feed in the future.

So when it comes to social media management, remember that its important to focus on quality, not quantity. If you’re posting quality content, you are more likely to make your voice heard.

Mixed Marketing

Social media, search engine optimization, and other digital marketing efforts can serve as a great way to raise awareness and develop your brand. Studies have shown, however, that these methods prove to be drastically less effective when they stand alone in your marketing campaign, as opposed to those campaign utilizing mixed marketing. By utilizing an array of marketing mediums will not only cast a wider net, but it will help you reach a more meaningful and useful audience.

A well organized marketing campaign should rely on linking different marketing methods to one another. For example, a strong website or a detailed catalog may not be incredibly useful when used by themselves, but together their combined message is far more likely to lead to a sale, donation, or some other form of engagement. A study by the United States Postal Service found that websites supported by catalogs yield 163% more revenue than those not supported by catalogs.

Another great example of how mixed marketing can be incredibly useful is by combining direct mailings with other marketing activities. Studies show that digital marketing techniques (such as a social media campaign) increase their campaign payback by up to 20% when teamed up with direct mail. By driving customers from one medium to another is a great way to promote engagement in your marketing campaign.

So in a time when it is easy to assume that paperless means more streamlined/efficient, don’t forget about the effectiveness of diversifying. Marketing from different angles and encourage people to move from one medium to another can be a great way to make your marketing campaign stick.

Saturation Style

Direct mail has always been a source of marketing that can be easily measured. For some small businesses the cost of list purchases, postage, and mail processing is a deterrent from using this kind of marketing. Fortunately, as the post office’s workload continually changes it has begun to offer promotions and discounts to lower the cost of direct mail. In the past, saturation mailings were only offered to government entities and municipalities, however, the post office recently opened them up to businesses. The USPS now offers a program called Every Door Direct Mail, EDDM for short, and is reducing the costs of direct mail for businesses all over the country.

The Rules

Bindery department at Wells Print and Digital

EDDM uses the same concept as a saturation mailing. The person in charge of the mailing can choose zip codes and carrier routes/rural routes to target. There are great opportunities for businesses to hit specific neighborhoods that hold the most potential customers. Additionally, businesses can cross sell by only mailing to other businesses’ PO boxes and physical addresses.

An EDDM mailing piece needs to mail at a flat size which measures from 6.125” x 11.5” to 12” x 15”. Your printer will probably recommend mailing an oversized postcard or a fold-over newsletter-style piece. The piece will not be addressed – it should read Postal Customer on the mailing panel. This method will allow the post office carrier to deliver to “every door” in the chosen areas.

Costs Involved

For a saturation mailing, postage is usually around 14-16¢, much lower than that of a standard direct mail campaign. Another cost reduction factor to consider is that a prospect list does not need to be purchased. Lists can range from $150-$500, depending on the areas and demographics included.

In addition to these savings, your commercial printer will just need to sort and bundle the printed mailers before they mail. This takes out some of the costs involved with mail processing. With these economies in place, a saturation mailing’s return on investment has the potential to be as large as the marketing idea that inspires it.

Try it Out!

If you have ever considered a direct mail project, now is the time to revisit print and mail price estimates. Postage, mail processing, and printing costs have not been lower in recent memory. Have a conversation with your print rep about saturation mailings or check out this link to learn more about EDDM on your own –

-Dan Dettman

Look for the Union Label

There are plenty of reasons why someone might want their products to be produced by union workers. Solidarity, others may, and many simply believe in the skill and quality of a union employee. Regardless of your reasoning, the printing industry has a way of certifying when a product is produced by a union printing company.

Description of the Allied Printing Trades Council "Union Bug"

If you take some time to analyze a piece of printed material, you might happen to stumble upon what is commonly referred to as a “union bug.” While it may not always be prominently displayed, the union bug makes a huge statement about where that printing piece came from. Only companies that are recognized by the Allied Printing Trades Council are allowed to put this union label on their products. Using it without their permission is illegal.

When the Allied Printing Trades Council deems that a printing company practices responsible labor-management and gives its employees decent wages and benefits, they accredit that company under their label. Each printer in the Allied Printing Trades Council is given the right to use the “union bug” with their own personalized number so that each piece can be identified to a specific company.

So be sure to check out different printed products you might get your hands on (brochures, business cards, letterheads, booklets, etc) to see if it was produced with union labor. If it has an Allied Printing Trades Council label with a number 4 next to it, then you know it was made by the skilled union-represented employees at Wells Print & Digital Services! 

Carl Schorr: Proud to Be a Printer (Pt. 4)

Adopted from “Wells Printing: About Us” (1986)

Carl was about as close to being a broken man, literally as well as figuratively, as a man’s going to get. All of those years of hard work seemed to be going right down the drain. Here he was as the sole owner of his printing company, but here he was also sitting in a hospital bed with broken arms and ribs, cut and scraped, and mentally wounded with the prospect that his company might have to go out of business.

The thought of throwing in the towel certainly crossed his mind. But what would he do then? What point was there to keeping those paychecks in the kitchen cupboard, under no circumstances to be cashed until things got better? What point was there to keeping everyone on board, even though future employment with the company was uncertain? What point was there to being a printer?

Somehow, the turnaround would begin. Will Wills, the company’s founder, experienced some tough times. Rufus, whou guided it through the Depression years, took some lumps. Why should it be any different for Carl? If they could make the company go, so could he. In retrospect, Carl views the accident as the catalyst. The result of that near-tragedy was an unqualified rallying around by Carl’s family. And that included the extended family. Rufus and Angie hurried back from Florida to help the entire staff did all they could. Janet and the kids pitched in and did whatever possibly to help the company back on its feet. This was no small accomplishment and the fact that they were willing to help at all is not insignificant.

You see, one of Carl’s problems was that he lost touch with reality, and his perspective got all out of whack. After he and Dick purchased the company, Carl was so determined to make it successful that he devoted his life to it. Sometimes at the expense of everything else – like a family. The long hours at the shop meant Carl wasn’t devoting time to his wife and kids. Family relations were under a strain. Then the accident. The decision was made to go for it, save the company. Everything that could be done would be done to get Wells Printing Company back on its feet.

Carl Schorr as President of Wells Printing

It didn’t happen overnight, but things started happening fast. Janet dived into everything. She would help where she was needed and worked full time at the office. And Tom, Carl’s oldest son, came on board. Tom began a crash course to learn the business. He learned estimating and customer relations. Simply put, he learned the printing business. Wells Printing was a family operation again, this time with the Schorr family.
Since the late 70’s, Wells Printing, under Carl’s leadership, has experienced unparalleled growth and prosperity. Today, in a new, larger facilty, a staff representing over 250 years experience in the printing business, Wells is bigger and better than ever.

Carl is a happy man these days. He’s doing the work he loves. He has seen his company grow and prosper. And the future, indeed represents limitless potential. Perhaps, more important, he knows when to work and when to play. He makes time for his wife, children, and grandchildren. He dances a mean polka. He loves to get out by himself in the outdoors rand chop a little wood (even this he has learned to do with less zeal – as when he managed to leave behind a piece of a finger courtesy of the ax blade). Carl is proud of his business, especially proud of his family, and he’s proud to be a printer.

Carl Schorr: Proud to Be a Printer (Pt. 3)

Adopted from “Wells Printing: About Us” (1986)

Wells Printing Press Room
Carl’s rapid climb up the company ladder resulted in his becoming plant superintendent while still in his 20’s. This is when the days of long hours really started for Carl. The advancement was not without some apprehension. Carl felt he had to prove himself all over, particularly to some of the older employees. And then, there was a renewed dedication to do the best job possible to justify the trust placed in him. Carl worked endlessly. Nights and weekends at the office became routine. Carl was now doing, at one time or another, every job in the place. Whatever needed to be done was done, and if that meant cutting paper, running a press, or the bindery machine, or the folder, Carl would tackle it. His learning days were long gone.

In 1966 Carl entered a new phase of his life. He joined with Richard Massey in purchasing the company from Rufus Wells, who decided to retire. Katherine proved to be right on target, Carl now owned the place

These were years of great optimism. Carl and Dick had big plans for Wells Printing and those plans generally centered around expansion. Expansion of services, equipment, staff, and it was hoped, maybe even a newer, bigger building in the not-too-distant future. They would produce the company’s first really big job: the printing of a book about Bill Evjue, the “Fighting Editor” of The Capital Times. Here were two young men, just in their early 40’s, who owned their own business. The future seemed limitless in what it had to offer. if they would work hard enough, they’d make Wells Printing Company the best in the state. That was the plan anyway.

Wells Printing meeting with William Evjue
But the company started to go downhill. There were a lot of reasons. There are always a lot of reasons and blame to pass around. In the end, however, the primary reason would be a fluctuating economy. Not a Depression, just the little ups and downs, the mini-recessions that would contribute to uncertainty in volume of business. Some customers went away. When a business closed or moved out of town, particularly when it had been a long-time customer, the impact could be devastating for a printer. Looking back there were probably some adjustments that should have been made, probably some plans that should have been put on hold, probably some employees that could have been laid off. That didn’t happen though.

What did happen is that Dick left for personal reasons. Members of the board of directors considered declaring bankruptcy, and, soon after, Carl was involved in a serious auto accident that put not only his career, but also his life in jeopardy…

Carl Schorr: Proud to Be a Printer (Pt. 2)

Adopted from “Wells Printing: About Us” (1986)

Wells Printing in downtown MadisonIt was 1946 and Carl’s first full-time position was in the composing room, killing type (disassembling it after a job to store again, recycle, or dump), washing down presses, and beginning to hand-set type. More importantly, he continued to observe all that was going on around him. The whole process of printing a job, from the time a customer comes in with sometimes just an idea to delivery of the finished product, was becoming very clear. He couldn’t operate all of the machines yet but he understood their functions and the basics of how they worked. That too would come, and soon.

Carl became an apprentice in three years. With a long apprenticeship facing him, a comment made years ago about his future seemed remote and irrelevant. It was Katherine (Rufus Wells’ wife) who, while watching young Carl’s frenzied approach to his work, jokingly (bust most sincerely) said “Carl, someday you’re going to own this place.” Actually, Carl never thought about the possibility. He enjoyed what he was doing and he knew that wherever life’s roads would take him, they would take him there as a printer.

On October 7, 1950, Carl took time off to marry his sweetheart, Janet Morhoff. Carl describes Janet as “the only woman that I’ll ever love,” and this was undoubtedly one of the most important moments of his life, but the two of them were not left with much time to celebrate.  Two days after the wedding, Rufus sent Carl to Indiana to learn the Linotype (no honeymoon here!). The Lintotype, once referred to as the eighth wonder of the world by Thomas Edison, was one of the most important machines to be found in printing and newspaper offices for many years. Carl was to learn how to use this machine in English, Indiana at Bennett Linotype School.

Eventually, Carl learned the other presses as well. Getting to know and run the presses proved to be a very enjoyable part of his job. “I think a lot of printers, especially from the old days, felt that way. It depended upon the person, of course, but there was a certain excitement to running a press. In fact, the bigger the press, the better. You could feel kind of cocky with people going by outside, or customers coming in, and here you are handling this big machine. All the parts in motion, the loud roar as the press heaves back and forth, and you’re making it do its work. It felt pretty good, especially when someone was watching.”

Carl Schorr: Proud to Be a Printer (Pt. 1)

Adopted from “Wells Printing: About Us” (1986)

As a student at Highland-Mendota Beach School (now Crestwood) and later at West High School, Carl wasn’t exactly setting any records for academic excellence. That’s not to say he wasn’t a good student. For the most part, he took his studies very seriously. The problem involved a few subjects that somehow failed to spark his interest. When that happened, he would just as soon play hooky… and he did.

Katherine Wells, school nurse at the time and wife of Rufus Wells, had taken a shine to young Carl. She liked his openness, friendly chatter, and apparently inexhaustible energy. However, she didn’t particularly care for his occasional skipping out of some classes. Carl seemed to need something else and Katherine found it for him. She convinced her husband, Rufus, to take on young Carl part time at the printing office. It proved to be the most important opportunity in Carl Schorr’s life. Carl loved everything about the printing business, almost immediately.

Press room in the basement of Wells PrintingLike his predecessors at Wells, Carl too started out at the bottom. The work was hard, it was dirty, and it did not pay too well (fifteen cents an hour to start, increased to 25 cents a short time later). But Carl loved the place. He loved the smell of it, the sounds of it, the feel of it. He poured himself into his work. No matter if the job might just be sweeping the floors. If they had to be swept, sweep he would – and he would do it faster, more carefully, and more thoroughly than anyone had ever done it before him. The floors of Wells Printing Company, ink and grease sealed in the wood notwithstanding, would be the cleanest floors in town.

The prize was just to be around the place, to be a part of it. He was incessantly asking questions about the hand-fed presses, about the Lino-type, about the paper cutter, about type. Carl was absolutely insatiable in this quest for new knowledge. He wanted to know everything and he wanted to know it fast. Still, things don’t usually happen fast. Much of his work would be drudgery. Carl, like those before him, started out as a printer’s devil. Deep down inside him, he knew, even as a youngster, that he would have to move up slowly if he was to reach his ultimate goal. And that was to be a printer. He hadn’t completed one day on the job when he just knew printing would become his life. He was right, perhaps more so than he could have imagined at the time.

Carl’s industry and energy did not go unnoticed. Everyone knew there was something special about Carl. He didn’t just work hard, he worked with a vengeance. It was not just that Carl seemed to have something to prove to the others, to himself, it was as if he were determined to jump on life’s schedule. Once he knew he wanted to be a printer, nothing would stand in the way of that objective, not even time.

Time, as it has a way of doing, did pass. Carl graduated from high school, served a hitch in the Army, and returned to Madison… and to Wells.

Greener Than You Think

In many ways, “going green” is becoming one of the pillars of the new age of business. Companies are shedding deep histories of business practices in an effort to decrease the impact they leave on our environment. While this shared environmental consciousness can be wonderful, it is important that we move forward with a well-informed and reasonable mindset.

One glaring example of this would be the notion that using paper kills trees. Somewhere along the line, people got the idea that, unless we drastically scale back what we print, the paper industry is going decimate every last remaining tree so that we can supply the world with enough paper.

The reality is, however, that almost all of the trees used for paper production come from well-managed forests or farms. In most cases, these farms plant three to four times more trees than they harvest. If you simply look at the numbers the United States actually has 20% more trees than it did on the first Earth Day in 1970. That having been said, remaining aware of your environmental impact is paramount to the sustainability of our planet. We must still continue to challenge our current systems so that we may continually strive for a better and more sustainable future. It is this attitude that has brought the printing and paper industries to the environmentally conscious and sustainable place that they are today.

-Nate Schorr