Minuteman Press International was featured in the July issue of Franchising USA Magazine!
In this special Minuteman Press International franchise profile feature entitled How Minuteman Press Has Become the Business Service Franchise for Anything You Can Put a Name, Image or Logo On, Franchising USA Magazine looks at why customers use local Minuteman Press franchises as well as the benefits of franchising with Minuteman Press for potential franchisees. The story also focuses on the makeup of Minuteman Press franchise owners, who tend to be “business-minded individuals who come from a variety of professional backgrounds and all walks of life.”
Business services thrive as “old school” brings new profit
Direct mail campaigns prove that “old school” is forever vital, as they continue to be a potent marketing tool in today’s fast-paced digital age, particularly because the elements of personalized printed items target not just a specific market, but also offer a break from the continuous onslaught of digital ads. It’s also a chance for the human senses to interact with business service franchises and others in a way that falls flat digitally as different types and textures of paper stock are pleasant to the touch while ink, coating, binding and paper all provide scent to the printed creation. These are advantages unique to direct mail campaigns and that is far from all as the statistics on these traditional marketing campaigns have real teeth: According to latest data, direct mail is performing to a far superior level than digital channels, boasting an approximate 4% response rate and the combined efforts of all digital channels have a much lower response rate in comparison. Looking forward, the majority of businesses already using direct mail anticipate using the same amount or even more in the coming year, and why not? How could there be any complaints when direct mail offers such a strong return for the investment, boasting the same ROI as social media? Direct mail will continue to be a strong and successful tool for business services of all kinds and will continue to have a solid influence.
The Minuteman Press Franchise utilizes direct mail power within the business services industry and current reports indicate that recipients are more likely to review, retain and perhaps even share intelligently crafted material. People, generally, will respond favorably to properly targeted mail and find it less intrusive than other kinds of marketing approaches. The latest data suggests that format does matter with oversized envelopes having the best response rate, followed by postcards, dimensional, catalogs and finally, letter-sized envelopes. It’s true that the “per piece” expense might be more for direct mail than it is for digital options, but it delivers a powerful result that cannot be duplicated with a digital channel alone.
Infographic: The 5 Senses of Direct Mail (credit: kpcorp.com). Each local Minuteman Press franchise can review and meet all of your direct mail needs.
Minuteman Press International, the world’s largest and number one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise, knows that perspective is a potent element that is not about forcing business services, but instead illustrating how and why your services are needed. Direct mail can help create the belief of need in your product or service that will flourish in your recipients if your format and content is carefully constructed. Creating that belief of need is the most powerful message direct mail can deliver. David Walton, Minuteman Press Franchise Regional Vice-President based in North Carolina is certain that there will be no decline in the beneficial results of a strong direct mail campaign. David remarked, “We have two locations, Concord, N.C. and Pineville, N.C., who recently instituted strong direct mail programs with so much growth. You select your preferred target area and we will design, print and deliver your mail pieces to the post office. In many cases, the cost of printing, designing and postage is less than a first class stamp.” David explained that “Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)” is “great for saturation marketing, when you want to get everyone in a preferred neighborhood.” Using EDDM brings the per piece rate from 49 cents to as low as 18.3 cents, a significant decline in cost and yet another reason the application of strong direct mail campaigns has been so successful for The Minuteman Press franchise as it champions printing industry growth.
“We have two locations, Concord, N.C. and Pineville, N.C., who recently instituted strong direct mail programs with so much growth. You select your preferred target area and we will design, print and deliver your mail pieces to the post office. In many cases, the cost of printing, designing and postage is less than a first class stamp.” David Walton, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President, the Carolinas.
Here are some quick tips to help develop direct mail grow your business services:
Streamline the creative strategy and execution: Be certain of the objective (to instill need and brand recognition). Develop tactics based on proven methods, such as ones seasoned printing industry experts like The Minuteman Press Franchise have been employing. Use “brand stories” from customer testimonials as well as professionally designed graphic representation to bring your message home.
Use only high-quality, carefully selected data: to further ensure the best result, use clean, up-to-date lists that have been verified. Know that “big data” is a real thing and business services will be finding more ways to gain access to customer information. Knowing the most you can about your customers lets you tailor campaigns personally.
Predetermine the best follow-up strategy: Don’t wait to follow up! When you focus on your data and really target your audience the impact of direct mail can be enormous, but without following-up too much opportunity for growth is sacrificed. Use coupons and limited mailings to track and modify for greater target success in future campaigns.
Keep Testing and Test again: Every campaign should be considered a test to save from costly mistakes going forward. Notice and keep track of what worked and what didn’t work. Don’t hesitate to apply all available analytics to determine your rate of success. Direct Mail needs to constantly change and be updated based on the results that can only be known if every mailing is considered a test. Don’t be afraid to try something new because testing and adjusting is part of the process of success.
Personalize it: Direct mail is becoming more refined thanks to printing industry growth and the emergence of digital print technology. To deliver a more attractive, effective and memorable piece, make it personal. The Minuteman Press Franchise experts assist customers by using top-notch graphic images as well as carefully crafted content to create each piece targeted to each person.
Integrated approach: There is no denying that digital marketing is a powerful tool, and while it still not equal to the effectiveness of direct mail, the wisest marketing campaigns will incorporate both rather than trying to replace either one. This can be done by providing details about your digital properties on your direct mail pieces such as a website address. Don’t forget to include social media information to both keep the conversation going and promote brand awareness.
Step into your local Minuteman Press franchise and get face-to-face consultations on how we can design, review, print, and deliver your Direct Mail marketing materials. Learn more at www.minutemanpress.com.
These days, visually appealing, professionally designed direct mail continues to get noticed, read and retained by people, providing profitable responses. Direct Mail News indicates that the average response rate for direct mail was an impressive 4.4% for both b-to-b and business to consumer mailings. It can be personalized, tracked and integrated with digital marketing to maximize results. It’s vital to know your audience, as a trend for 2015 and beyond includes brand storytelling that reaches buyers on multiple levels, including emotion and logic. A survey by Millward Brown called Direct Mail: Alive and Kicking, showed that physical media will leave a bigger “footprint in the brain” of the people receiving it. That’s the magic of direct mail. Fortunately, business services across the spectrum as well as everyday customers can place good faith in established direct mail experts such as those at The Minuteman Press Franchise, the world’s largest and number one rated digital print, design and marketing franchise.
TIGARD, Ore.–The Minuteman Press Franchise Review had the pleasure of sitting down with Minuteman Press franchise owner Bob Davidson, who along with his wife Ruth has been a franchise owner in Tigard, Oregon since 1987. Bob’s son Craig Davidson is also part of the family-owned business handling direct marketing duties among other responsibilities, and Craig has also completed the Minuteman Press training program. Each Minuteman Press franchise serves its local community with digital print, design and marketing services from concept review through to completion.
In this candid conversation, Bob Davidson talks about what it’s like being a Minuteman Press franchise owner, the power of marketing, the value of training and support, being active in the community (including sponsoring this past weekend’s Festival of Balloons in Tigard), and how it all adds up to running a successful million-dollar business.
Steve Cooper, Minuteman Press Regional Vice President, also added the following comments: “Bob and Ruth Davidson are great people who are also exemplary franchise owners. They truly care about providing the highest level of service and production to every client, and Minuteman Press’ customer service driven business model has helped them build and maintain a very profitable franchise.”
Good morning Bob and thanks for taking the time out to speak with us today. Steve Cooper (Minuteman Press Regional Vice President) let me know a little bit about your background with Minuteman Press and told me you’ve been a franchise owner since 1987. Our first question that we’d like to ask is simply, What’s it been like?
Bob Davidson: Good morning and thank you for having me. We first came across Minuteman Press at one of the franchise events we went to that connects franchisors with franchisees. Of the vendors there, Minuteman Press was the most logical and made the most sense. From there, I liked what I saw from the local tours of existing franchises and here we are today.
Why did Minuteman Press make the most sense to you?
Bob Davidson: Minuteman Press was just well-organized, the costs were in our acceptable range, and I really appreciated their business-like approach. There were no gimmicks with Minuteman Press, and that really stood out to me the most. It all just made sense.
Minuteman Press Tigard franchise owners Ruth Davidson (left) and Bob Davidson (middle), along with Regional Vice President Steve Cooper (right).
Can you tell us a little bit more about your background before franchising with Minuteman Press?
Bob Davidson: Sure. I wore two hats back then. First, I was an officer in the military, serving 25 years in the National Guard. I was also a truck driver for a national trucking company. I had no prior printing experience before franchising with Minuteman Press, and I liked that I was being given the chance to own a small business with no industry experience needed. As an interesting aside, some of the customers I delivered to 30 years ago are my Minuteman Press customers today.
That’s awesome that you have been able to establish and maintain such long-lasting business relationships over the years. So when you first started out as a Minuteman Press franchisee, what were the biggest keys to your success?
Bob Davidson: When people visited the store, we followed the Minuteman Press program. They really laid out a blueprint for success for us, and again to me everything was just extremely logical, organized and made great business sense.
How valuable was the Minuteman Press training program to you?
Bob Davidson: I felt the training gave us a solid basis for what we needed to know and it was just very helpful to us. The accounting side was the toughest part and when we started out, but the support we got from Minuteman Press during the training program and onsite was just very valuable.
When you first started out, what do you think helped you the most in terms of growing your business?
Bob Davidson: The marketing training and application of what we learned from Minuteman Press is what really grew the business. For us, I found out that the marketing was a huge key to success and we got off to a fast start with our franchise and were blessed. The first year in business, we got tremendous support from Minuteman Press locally in terms of setting everything up and they are always there for us now if we ever need anything. We also had (and still have) a tremendous additional resource from the other franchise owners that made us feel at home and were a huge help whenever we needed anything. Everyone in the Minuteman Press franchise system from the corporate office to the local support staff and other franchisees really do take care of each other, and not only do I have great respect for my colleagues, but many of them have also become close friends of ours over the years.
You mentioned how marketing helped you grow your business. How do you market today vs. when you first started?
Bob Davidson: My son Craig is now involved in the business and does a lot of the direct marketing for us. The same principles of direct marketing we learned when we first started are still very much used today. People like to put a face to the name and the level of service and quality we can provide is also a great thing that keeps us going strong. We also gave a high rate of turning Internet leads we get from our Search Engine Marketing (SEM) program into jobs.
How does it feel having your son Craig on board with the franchise?
Bob Davidson: It’s been great. He did sales and other work before joining the business, and the hope is that he takes over the franchise one day. He’s about the same age as I was when I started with Minuteman Press, and so the future looks to be in great hands.
That’s great that you can pass your million-dollar franchise business along to him when the time comes…
Bob Davidson: Definitely. We’ve enjoyed the President’s Club meetings and gatherings for million-dollar franchisees, and it’s absolutely fulfilling to be a part of that and also meet with all of the other people who have worked hard and been successful by following the Minuteman Press program. They really do take care of their own and this is just another way Minuteman Press does this. I also love the fact that people who were with Minuteman Press when I first started my franchise are still with the company today, from Steve Cooper to Mike Jutt and the list goes on.
The Minuteman Press International Convention is coming up. Will you be going this year? What are you looking forward to the most?
Bob Davidson: The convention is always refreshing and reinvigorating and shows us new things. You will find sources for vendors that you need for certain projects and it really helps us stay on top of everything every year. We also look forward to seeing all of the owners including those that we have become close friends with over the years.
Obviously the industry has changed over the years, what is biggest change you’ve seen in terms of customer needs and the kind of services your Minuteman Press franchise provides?
Bob Davidson: The digital print side as well as the growth of color has been huge. With our expertise and the vendors that are at our disposal thanks to Minuteman Press, we are able to fill new niches and fulfill requests that have really grown in popularity, such as business cards with UV coatings. I would say our business is now 1/3 digital, 1/3 offset and 1/3 additional services, where it used to be much more focused on offset print. Because of these changes, I feel like keeping up with these new capabilities and leveraging vendor relationships that we have been able to establish thanks to Minuteman Press are big for us, and we definitely feel like we are able to keep thriving in new markets.
Bob Davidson: We have the expertise in assisting customers in the design and layout, as well as the file preparation for production and recommendations for how a project can be done as quickly and efficiently as the client wants. With us, you get options when it comes to methods of production that we can tailor to meet your needs in the most cost-effective and timely ways possible. For example, whether a client needs 5,000 brochures by tomorrow or by next week, we can accommodate those time constraints, and they as a consumer can come to us and know that we can do this for them.
People come to us and keep coming to us because we are the only ones who know what to do to get the job done. We don’t have high staff turnover and we have a depth of knowledge that can’t be matched.
The Minuteman Press Franchise Review sat down with franchise owner Bob Davidson, who along with his wife Ruth has been a Minuteman Press franchisee in Tigard, OR since 1987. Each Minuteman Press franchise serves its local community with digital print, design and marketing services from concept review through to completion. (Pictured above: Minuteman Press storefront in Tigard, OR)
Can you give me an example of a recent customer order you filled because of the unique level of service, quality and insight you can provide?
Bob Davidson: There was a woman who came to us last week. Her husband had passed away 1 year ago and at that time she did a quiet family service. She wanted to do a more formal memorial service this year and she bought her own card stock that she wanted to use for invitations. Others were quoting her a price in the hundreds of dollars with a turnaround time of one week or longer. We were able to do everything for her in just one day at a quarter of the cost on the card stock she wanted, why? Because we have the experience and capabilities to do so and we always offer a fair price whether it’s this woman who needed custom invitations or a bigger commercial customer. We have a reputation in this community that we are proud of upholding in situations like this one.
A story like that really shows the heart that you have as well as how fair you are with all of your customers. Is that how you maintain such a high level of repeat business with your bigger commercial clients?
Bob Davidson: Definitely. We provide a great service at a fair price, and the core of our business is retaining those commercial customers. A lot of work goes into that and our repeat clients also help us through referrals that help us gain new customers. Referrals and retention are really important, and we pride ourselves on keeping our clients’ business and meeting all of their needs.
Speaking to the quality of life that Minuteman Press helps franchise owners achieve, what are some of your personal hobbies and outside interests?
Bob Davidson: We work pretty hard every day we are in the office to maintain the level of service and turnaround we can provide. We take our vacations and we give our staff all of the major holidays off, and so we try to give everyone who works for us a nice work/life balance. We have a staff of 6 and we provide benefits including 401K, medical and dental. I come from a union background so it was very important to me to provide these benefits to my staff. As a result, our press operator has been with us for 20 years, our prepress, and our bindery and delivery person has been with us for 15 years. Three years ago Craig came on board and we have another employee named Christopher who has been with us about 2 years. He came from a company called BCT that closed their local Tigard operation and are thrilled to have him as part of the staff.
We heard that Craig also completed Minuteman Press training a couple of years ago. What was that like for your and for him?
Bob Davidson: Craig being able to complete the training program is just another example of Minuteman Press taking care of one of their own. Craig went through the training and it laid down the groundwork for him like it did for me. He came back with a fresh set of eyes and was even able to teach me new things such as new software features and other technology innovations that Minuteman Press trained him on.
He really enjoyed the training and appreciates the relationships he is now building with Minuteman Press’ corporate office.
You mentioned the importance of commercial business to your Minuteman Press franchise … do any recent stories stand out to you?
Bob Davidson: We just finished up this past weekend (June 26-28) with the Tigard Festival of Balloons. We sponsored the event and my rotary club is also involved. We did all of the printing of marketing materials for the event, which draws tens of thousands of people every year for both the hot air balloons and the classic car show. We did everything including some last-minute orders that came in, such as laminated directional signs to point drivers to the right place and replacement ballots for voting on the classic cars.
What was favorite part of this past weekend’s event?
Bob Davidson: I loved watching the balloons launch, and we had about 19 or 20 this year which was great to see.
It must feel gratifying to be able to combine your passion with business…
Bob Davidson: With Minuteman Press, we are in the business of putting ourselves out there in the communities we serve. That has been the modus operandi of Minuteman Press, and I’ve found the Rotary Club and events like the Festival of Balloons to be extremely fulfilling from a personal as well as a business standpoint.
You’ve grown a million-dollar business with Minuteman Press and I am sure you have a wealth of knowledge to share. What is one piece of advice you would give to potential franchise owners?
Work hard and follow the program. Good people who do good business is what I truly believe the Minuteman Press franchise system is all about.
Every Minuteman Press franchise offers an unwavering community presence everyone can appreciate.
There is no challenge to the fact that Minuteman Press, the world’s largest and number one rated print, design and marketing franchise is the unrivaled champion of business service needs for communities and businesses worldwide. The Minuteman Press Franchise first established genuine personal connections locally four decades ago, driving printing industry growth through the years with a command rooted in the kind of trust that is only freely given by business services when unfailing excellence becomes customary and expected.
Chris Jutt, Minuteman Press International Area Manager responsible for the states of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, has a vantage point from which he can see how his locations sustain a constant rewarding presence for local communities. “A local Minuteman Press Franchise location is chosen by our customers for their personal attention, competitive pricing, and local, convenient presence. Printing, design and marketing needs are met not just with expertise but with an investment in relationships with those customers. Each location is equipped with designers prepared to dedicate themselves to the development and proper completion of required projects.” Local Minuteman Press franchises function like insurance against the distant kind of service that has become all too common online and has been tied to unfair practices such as what is considered a ripoff, those unforeseen fees at checkout.
“A local Minuteman Press Franchise location is chosen by our customers for their personal attention, competitive pricing, and local, convenient presence. Printing, design and marketing needs are met not just with expertise but with an investment in relationships with those customers,” said Chris Jutt, Minuteman Press International Area Manager.
There is a bonus to remaining personally involved in projects and using a local Minuteman Press ensures that needed expertise and individualized attention remain paramount. “I don’t know about you, but any time I go into a Fed-Ex Office/Kinkos or a Staples, the person behind the counter is often not as knowledgeable or doesn’t care. When you come to a local Minuteman Press, we care. We establish a relationship with you and help you find your solutions,” offered Holly Kaplansky, of Minuteman Press in Newark, NJ. In the tradition of The Minuteman Press Franchise, Holly provides Newark the finest of personalized attention. She and her team are dedicated to maintaining relationships and solving problems people may not be able to see for themselves and this connection is a healthy link between neighbors that extends into economic benefit for everyone. “We don’t always do what you might ask for if we feel it might not be your best solution. We give you options that might just be better.”
If a rush job is needed and there are only a few hours to spare, an online service with its one to six day turnaround time fails the task. Dennis Beck, the proud, successful owner of the Minuteman Press Franchise in North Palm Beach, confirms, “As we all know sometimes jobs have to be produced overnight or sometimes the same day. I can’t tell you how many times over the last 24 years we had customers come to our shop for work they needed that day. Take a funeral program- A fellow dies on Friday and an 8 page funeral program is needed for Sat. Try to get that done ordering on the web.” Plus, there is no bigger ripoff than waiting for a needed package in the mail, discover time-consuming and expensive mistakes and being forced to call a national customer service line only to talk to an operator so disconnected from the situation that there is no personal investment in making things right. Spending money locally means a decline in wasted resources and with the Minuteman Press franchise review staff on the job to partner with customers, graphic and content design is scrutinized and adjustments are made in person, by people who care. Also, while paying ten or eleven dollars for a box of business cards online might sound like a good deal, consider the scam shipping and handling fees that could easily match the cost of the cards and effectively triple the total cost at the end. Meanwhile, a nearby Minuteman Press shop likely offers free shipping.
Minuteman Press franchise owner Holly Kaplansky and her furry friend Izzy. Holly’s Minuteman Press franchise is located in Newark, NJ, where she gets local support from Regional Vice President Jim Galasso and Field Marketing Representative Tom Watson.
As mentioned, a lot of noise is made by online retailers about discounts while complaints file in too late about the extra fees they tack on way at the end of the transaction, hoping they go unnoticed. Dennis continued, “Most Minuteman owners have a wealth of printing and marketing knowledge. A local business can take advantage of that knowledge. You won’t get that from purchasing via the web. I think you have to acknowledge that most Minuteman shops serve only local customers. The average Minuteman location does over $500,000 per year. That size shop draws the majority of its business from a 3 to 5 miles radius from the shop. We do about $700,000 and the majority of our customers come from about a radius of 8 to 10 miles. Using a local Minuteman is good for the local economy. We have 5 people working in our shop. Each employee makes a very good salary. They all live locally. They spend their money locally, etc. and generally it is in the general financial interests of the community to help maintain a local business. There is nothing more depressing to see a Main Street lose its business structure. So, the primary reason to use a local Minuteman shop is because we are right in the back yard of the customers’ business. Local Minuteman owners can visit their customers or the customer can come to the shop. Purchasing printing via the web lacks that personal touch. Using a local shop gives the customer the opportunity to explain the issues he has and what he needs done. Doing so allows the Minuteman owner the ability to offer suggestions and solutions.”
In a world so “plugged-in”, complaints rise about increasingly generic and typical service by other printing options. There is simply no way to replace the personalized experience gained by walking through the doors of a local Minuteman Press. Every community has its own tone, personality and tastes so using a reliable favorite such as The Minuteman Press Franchise is the only way capture these authentic elements so valuable in business, while helping to reduce expensive errors that an impersonal online option is less-equipped to manage. Communities fortunate to host such a gem in business services help maintain a distinctive identity with an economic advantage gained from face-to-face, engaged assistance that produces precisely what is needed throughout what can be an unpredictable creative process review, straight through to its polished completion. Prosperity continually manifests from The Minuteman Press Franchise directly into local communities and the world knows it.
On Saturday, June 20, 2015, International Minute Press franchise owner Rick Mann and his team worked with 20 other teams to help make 100,000 mac and cheese meals for those who are less fortunate. Hosted by the United Way of Berks County, the event was not only a lot of fun for all involved but a huge success with all 100,000 mac and cheese meals being made in just two hours!
Check out the pics below and great job everyone!
International Minute Press franchise owner Rick Mann and his team participated in The United Way of Berks County’s Big Cheese Project, which helped make 100,000 meals for those who are less fortunate.
Franchise owner Rick Mann and his team helped make 100,000 mac and cheese meals in two hours to help those in need in their community.