People who read use bookmarks, but usually don’t have one around. That’s why so many people you see reading books use a business card, piece of junk mail, index card, or simply a randomly torn off piece of paper as a bookmark.
Bookmarks provide an ideal opportunity for small businesses to get and keep their name in front of highly desirable potential customers.
Bookmarks Work Well For Almost Every Small Business
Bookmarks are proven to be a powerful, inexpensive and easy way for any small business to get widespread local exposure among prime prospective customers.
Customers who enjoy reading books are the clientele most small business want. Upscale educated customers read books for relaxation and enjoyment. Successful business people read books to keep on top their game. And of course, college students have to read books to get their degree. They all read different books for different reasons, but they all share one thing in common … They need bookmarks.
Virtually every business can benefit from using bookmarks as a promotional item. Here are just a few businesses that bookmarks will work for effectively: Accountants, Baby Sitting Services, Book Stores, Career or Technical Schools, Chiropractors, Coffee Shops, Computer Repair and Consultant, Dentists, Doctors, Diet Centers, Freelance Artist and Writers, Health Clubs and Gyms, Home Based Businesses, Home Cleaning Services, Insurance Agencies, Attorneys, Internet Businesses, Multilevel Marketing Operations, Restaurants, Tutoring Services, Travel Agencies,Pet Grooming Services and Wine and Spirit Shops.
If you’re in doubt about your business, simply ask yourself this question: ” Would my business benefit from educated upscale customers with very little cost or effort on my part?” Chances are your answer will be yes!
Advertising Copy That Works Well On Bookmarks
The vertical column format of a bookmark, usually about 2″ x 8″ lends itself very well to small business for the following types of advertising copy:
Lists of Products and Services
Bookmarks are ideal places to list all the products and services a business offers, Some examples include: Restaurant’s Lunch Specials, Hair and Nail Salon Services, Business Consultant Services, Health Club Services and Facilities, Gourmet Shop Speciaties, and Insurance Agency’s Coverages.
Hours of Operation and Contact Information
For many businesses and organizations, their hours of operation are a major competitive advantage. Bookmarks are ideal for letting customers know their hours of operation and contact information and can be used by a variety of businesses including: Walk In Medical Care Centers, Churches, Wine and Liquor Shops, Hair and Nail Salons, Auto Repair Centers and Tire Shops.
Branding and Slogans
Bookmarks can also help brand and position a business by communicating a key image or slogan such as”Pain-Free Dentistry For Cowards”, “Lose 20 Pounds In 2 Weeks Guaranteed”, “Executive Employment Specialist”, “America’s Largest Selection of French Wines” and “Gifts For The Man Who Has Everything”.
Calendar of Events
The vertical format of the bookmark also makes it ideal for calendar listing calendars of events and schedules including: Art Gallery Exhibition Schedules, College Lecture Series Calendars, Community Theater Season Playbills, WIne Tastings Calendar, Special Holiday Store Hours and Annual Charitable Fundraising Event Calendars.
A business consultant or non-profit organization might want to merely use a motivational quote along with the contact information. This works as long as the quote is relatively short so it doesn’t occupy the entire bookmark.
Direct Response Coupon
Bookmarks can also be a direct response vehicle. Simply incorporate a special offer or discount coupon on the bottom of the bookmark. Be sure to put a dotted line around the coupon, so people can detach and redeem it, but keep the top part as a bookmark.
This approach not only gets you broad local exposure, it also helps you increase traffic and measure the effectiveness of your promotion.
Guidelines For Bookmark Copy
Because of size and space limitations, follow these simple guidelines to make give your bookmark the greatest impact:
Develop A Simple and Focused Concept
Keep Copy Short
Use Bullets for Easy Reading
Use Short Sub Heads To Communicate Key Points Quickly
Communicate One Major Idea
Include Address, Phone, E-mail and Web Address
Include A Call To Action … Act Now, Visit Us Today, Call Now
Guidelines For Bookmark Design
Elegance with impact is a good rule of thumb to follow. Clean, crisp, upscale design with easy readability works best on bookmarks. Follow these few guidelines for attractive and effective bookmarks:
Use Two Fonts Maximum – One for Heads, One for Body Copy
Avoid Garish Display Fonts
Use 1 Color Ideally, 2 Colors Maximum
Keep High Contrast Between Text and Background for Readability
Never Use All Capitals
Use Heaviest Cover Stock Affordable and Practical
Use Dark Type Against A Neutral or Light Background
Never Use Neon or Brightly Colored Paper
Line Art Always Works Well
Photography Can Be Problematic Due To Size and Resolution Issues – All Type Works Better
How To Design and Print Bookmarks on Your Computer
It’s easy to design and print your own bookmarks using your computer. All you need is Microsoft Word, Quark Express or any word processing or desktop publishing program. Here’s all it takes
Set Up A Vertical Document For Letter Size Paper ( 11″ x 8.5″ )
Set Up 4 Bookmarks on the Page –
Each bookmark should measure approximately 2.5″ x 8″. Margin requirements of your document and printer may require you to alter the size of the books slightly. Be sure to leave enough room between bookmarks for cutting and trimming.
Write Copy and Design Bookmark Using Above Guidelines
Keep it short, simple, sweet and upscale. You can make a great deal of impact in a small amount of space. Less is best.
Keep Design One-Sided.
It’s faster, easier, cheaper and nobody turns them over to the back side.
Decide on Your Printing Method
There are several printing options, each has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The printing method you select will also determine, to some extent, the maximum weight of the paper you can print on. Here are your printing options:
Home Computer Printer – Quick, Easy and Cheap
If you are doing a short run of 100 copies or less or testing small quantities of bookmarks with different creative, this may be your best method. Ink cartridges for home printers are quite expensive and may cost you more than photocopying or using a office supply store or digital printing company.
Be sure to test a sheet of the paper before you purchase it, because papers
that are too thick don’t work well in home printers or many photo copiers.
You can also print a good master copy of your 4 up layout on white text paper and take it to an office supply store or photo copy shop and have them copy it on the text paper you’ve purchased. This is generally a good alternative for print quantities between 100 and 1000 copies. Remember, card stock may jam some photo copiers, so test and check with the photocopy operator before you buy the paper stock or commit to going the photocopying route.
If you’re planning to print over 1000 bookmarks, going to a professional printer may be your best and least expensive alternative. Many of these companies will also provide free design and setup for your bookmark as
well. Get quotes from 2 or 3 printers when investigating this option.
Purchase Card Stock From Paper Specialty or Office Supply Store.
Flat, non-textured stocks are more readable and reproduce line art and photos better.
Easily Obtainable Distribution
Obtaining free distribution for your bookmarks is easy. Most businesses are more willing to display your bookmarks rather than business cards, flyers, postcards or brochures because bookmarks have these desirable qualities:
Bookmarks are perceived as being “less commercial” and more “upscale” than promotional flyers, postcards or business cards. Many businesses who want to attract a more affluent, high end customer will be receptive to distributing bookmarks.
Take Up Very Little Counter Space
Averaging only a little over 2 inches in length and 8 inches in depth, bookmarks are small and take up far less counter space than 8.5” x 11″ flyers, 6″ x 9″ postcards or 4″ x 9″ brochures. This makes retailers more agreeable to display and distribute your bookmarks than other promotional items.
Provide a free value-add for their customers
Unlike blatantly promotional flyers or brochures, bookmarks provide a free valued benefit for their customers. Everyone who loves to read books needs bookmarks and can never have too many bookmarks.
Tips To Gain Distribution
Always Ask Permission
Never just leave your bookmarks on the counter in a store – even if other businesses have their materials scattered around. Always ask the owner or manager for his or her permission and let them display your bookmarks where they deem appropriate. This not only helps you develop a relationship with the business, it also assures your bookmarks will be distributed and not thrown away.
Attractive and Subtle Design
Any business owner will be reluctant to distribute bold and garishly designed bookmarks that would not fit their image and the tastes of their clientele. Design with style and class. Use tasteful fonts and avoid large display type screaming FREE! Print your bookmarks on simple, neutral color paper stocks including white, tan, light blue or pink, gray, or light olive green. Never use use electric neon or wild bright colors.
Target Appropriate Businesses
Approach businesses that offer products and services that compliment or have a natural “tie in ” with yours . If you’re a pet groomer, for example, be sure to approach pet shops, veterinarian offices, book shops, as well as hair and nail salons. A wine shop should naturally contact gourmet shops, gift shops, restaurants, book shops and libraries about distributing their bookmarks.
Do Business With Your Distributors
Businesses where you are a regular customer will be more likely to distribute your bookmarks. The cafe where you buy your coffee each morning, your hair stylist,nail salon, wine merchant, gourmet shop, book store, chiropractor or any merchant you regularly do business with are excellent prospects for bookmark distribution.
As the Roman philosopher Seneca said “one hand washes the other”. Strike a deal with distributors where you help them promote their businesses in return for their promoting yours. If you have a brick and mortar business, distribute their promotional materials in your shop or office. If your business is web-based, promote your distributor on your site and offer a link to their site as well.
Points of Distribution Are Everywhere
Distribution points for your bookmarks are just about everywhere … even in the smallest town or suburban village. You just have to do a little thinking and some leg work.
First target businesses where selling or reading books is part of the business experience. Contact public libraries, book shops, newsstands, schools and churches.
Next, approach businesses where people would read books or read while they’re waiting for appointments or just to pass the time.These include cafes and coffee shops, medical and professional offices, train and bus depots, hotel lobbies, hair and nail salons, and similar establishments.
Don’t forget to include businesses that offer community bulletin boards and small business distribution opportunities. These very often include major supermarket chains, local employment and unemployment offices. community centers and some office supply stores.
Finally, be sure to approach local businesses where you regularly do business, since they are usually more than willing to help a regular customer.
Here are a few ideas of the type of businesses that are prime prospects for distributing your bookmarks: Antique Shops, Art Galleries, Bookstores, Boutiques, Bus Depots and Train Stations, Business Centers and Office Supply Stores, Coffee Shops, Community Centers, Community Colleges and Career Schools,Churches Employment Offices, Gift Shops, Gourmet Shops, Hair and Nail Salons, Health Clubs, Gyms, Fitness Centers, Hotel and Motel Lobbies, Liquor and Wine Shops, Medical and Professional Offices, Public Libraries, Supermarket Community Boards
Get A Good Read – Test First
First do a test and print as small run of bookmarks on your home computer, before you do a major printing. Make any copy or design changes before you commit to printing a larger quantity and investing more time in securing broader distribution.
Once your satisfied and your preliminary test is successful, then consider doing a larger digital printing and greater distribution.