We’re Busy Making Memories This Summer

Students may not have had a traditional graduation this year, but they did make memories!  We printed a banner of every graduate at Stafford High School with their picture and they were hung from a fence at the school. Did you know we have personalized banners and yard signs for other occasions too? You can see them here.


Did you know we have a die-cutter? Think-cool shapes, greeting cards, boxes, and package design.

Visit Fred printed these uniquely awesome die-cut masks as a tourist attraction!  Support your local businesses – they need support now more than ever.


Check this video out to see how die-cut projects are created in house!


Hola Amigo is a Spanish Subscription Box Club for kids.  What a cool idea. We printed these colorful booklets for them earlier this month.

We have new products and services available! See what’s currently available at Stafford Printing, and let us help you make your next project a reality.

How to Reopen Responsibly

It’s a very mixed time in the business world. Business owners are eager to get their doors open again, but of course the goal is to do so in a way that keeps employees and customers safe and healthy. If you and your team were working for home or closed entirely during the lockdowns, you may be feeling somewhat unsure of where to start when it comes to tackling the huge task of reopening.

To help your small business get started again in the right way, we’ve put together a package to assist you in safely reconnecting with your customers.

The package includes the following:

  • opening signage
  • social distancing signage
  • a marketing email campaign
  • a direct mail campaign
  • a banner
  • floor graphics
  • labels
  • digital creative assets for your social media advertising

Packages can be tailored for individual businesses, so if you’re looking for something that’s not listed above, let us know exactly what you need and we’ll be happy to help.

We want you to feel comfortable and confident in reopening your business as the lockdown restrictions ease! Contact us here for a consultation and we will help create a plan that works for you.

Print Bridges the Social Distancing Gap

There are so many twists and turns this year that keep taking us to new places. Dealing with social distancing can be difficult, but as we’re finding out with countless Zoom conferences and FaceTime chats, communication is not only possible, it’s part of what keeps us sane during these challenging times.

Communication through print can also help. Naturally we’ve been talking to businesses about their post-pandemic plans and marketing strategies, but businesses are not the only ones who can benefit – print can help just about anyone to get a message out there into the world.

One of the ways we’ve been facilitating those messages is through personalized banners.  Graduation is coming up very soon, and you can celebrate your graduate in style with a yard sign or personalized banner to announce it.

We have created a specialized website portal for your custom-made signs and banners to include:

  • Colleges
  • Private Schools
  • Fredericksburg City Schools
  • Spotsylvania County Schools
  • Stafford County Schools

One-sided yard signs are $15, two-sided yard signs are $18, and banners are $40.  You can come pick your sign up, or have it shipped to you for $12.70.

To get your custom sign or banner, login here with the username (Grad Special) and password (2020).

If you need a custom layout, for example a name doesn’t fit or a school that isn’t listed, please contact art@staffordprinting.com for assistance!

How to Determine Optimal Pricing for Your Products or Services

In September of 2019, Apple unveiled the iPhone 11, featuring a dual-lens rear camera, automated night mode, and built-in support for vision, hearing, and mobility.
One of the biggest surprises of the iPhone 11 was not its technical features, but its price. The iPhone 11 started at $699, down from the iPhone XR’s previous price of $749, and signaling one of the biggest year-on-year reductions in iPhone history. Apple also implemented $150 cuts on products like the iPhone 8 and the Apple Watch. Tech specialists were quick to comment:
“The biggest news from the Apple launch was the price cut for iPhone 11,” Chris Caso, an analyst at Raymond James and Associates, wrote in a note to investors. “We view this as an admission that Apple stretched too far with the price points at last year’s launch.”
Apple executives were not afraid to adjust pricing to current customers, especially knowing it may encourage upgrades or woo digital streaming subscribers. Lowering prices also increased the likelihood of up-selling related products: people who buy iPhones are far more likely to purchase iPads or AirPods.

Pricing that is “Just Right”

What is the best strategy for pricing the products or services you sell?
At first glance, this question seems pretty straightforward. But in reality, pricing is an art. Pricing well can enhance sales and create a prospering business, while the wrong approach can alienate customers and give competitors the edge.
There are a variety of pricing strategies in business, with some psychological influences in the approach you take. Here are four models to consider.

1. Cost-Based Pricing

The most straightforward pricing strategy is “cost-plus” pricing.
This involves calculating the total costs it takes to make your product, then adding a markup to determine the final price. This method is simple, fast, and lets you quickly add a profit margin to any product.

2. Market-Oriented Pricing

Market-oriented pricing starts from a cost-based perspective but adjusts pricing up or down with an eye on the competition and the customer.
For example, after comparing your products to similar items on the market, you can consciously price your products higher and brand your products as “best-quality” or “better performing.” Conversely, companies that price products low can lure more customers or sell large volumes that easily compensate for slim profit margins.

3. Discounts and Markdowns

Discount pricing is a strategy where items are initially marked high but then sold at a seemingly reduced cost to the consumer.
This can be especially effective during seasonal demand, inventory liquidation, or when marketing to value-oriented purchasers.

4. Flex Pricing

Flex pricing (or dynamic pricing) allows businesses to manipulate sales based on current market demands.
Flex pricing is at its best on big retail days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but can also be linked to timebound marketing strategies. Similar to what many sports teams and airlines do with ticket prices, you can manipulate prices up or down in a timebound fashion.
Coupons are another way to discretely provide dynamic pricing to a subset of prospects or customers. This allows you to attract new users or build momentum during seasonal promotions while remaining profitable.
Dynamic pricing can be challenging but worthwhile. In 2013, Walmart used flex pricing to change the prices of its products almost 50,000 times a month, and with this pricing model, its global sales grew by 30 percent!

Adjust as You Go

You have a great deal of flexibility in how you set prices.
And the good news is this: there is no surefire method to pricing things “just right.” Consider the current pandemic situation, your target customers, eyeball the competition, and hone your marketing to match the pricing strategy you pursue. Experiment, adjust, and see what works for your business.

Five Strategies to Use Your “Quaran-TIME” Effectively

Mike Turner founded the Front Street Brokers real estate firm in 2005, with a desire to offer distinctive client experiences, to equip agents for the maximum efficiency and profitability, and to devote significant firm resources to a local, philanthropic focus.
After three years, Turner’s firm experienced a significant slowdown during the 2008 financial crisis. This was a time of immense strain, especially when scheduled closings dried up before his eyes:
“In that time period, we had 10 real estate transactions scheduled to close, and nine of them fell through for unforeseeable reasons,” Turner said. “All of a sudden, $100,000 worth of business income that we were dependent upon [was] gone.”
Turner faced difficult choices in this season, and many of us are facing similar decisions in today’s COVID-19 crisis. Today, Turner says that while change is inevitable, he knows we still have a choice. Will we allow unforeseen challenges to drag us downstream, or will we improvise to find a way across the river?

Five Strategies to Use Your “Quaran-TIME” Effectively

Anyone can become a victim when change comes fast and forcefully.
Sudden change is scary, and though we may not be able to swim upstream, we can still strategize and seek active growth. What are some ways your business can grow during this difficult period?

Use Social Media to Connect with Customers

Try a more animated touch through social media. If subscribers are opening your emails, they are expressing genuine interest. Take these customer relationships to the next level by including embedded videos or links to caring content you’ve posted on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Answer Questions or Position Yourself as a Helper

As you reach out to subscribers, ask if they have any questions or respond to challenges you know they have. Take an interest in the content they post as well – comment on it, share it with your followers, or start real conversations. Connecting to clients now will form a personal bond that lasts longer than the COVID-19 crisis.

Stretch Your Team’s Skills

When activity wanes, morale often follows. Invigorate employees by offering on-going education tools, professional mentoring within your team, or problem-solving workshops that mobilize groups to tackle some of your most ambitious goals. If your company lacks online meeting capabilities, this is a great chance to preview options like Zoom or Google Hangouts.

Do Some Spring Cleaning

While the pace is reduced, give focused attention to your internal atmosphere. Whether you need to spruce up workspaces or sort through old files, redeem the time by getting organized. This may also be a great time to refresh decor, business cards, or your website, or to involve your team in designing new content for newsletters and videos.

Express Gratitude

In hard times, a warm word goes a long way, and this can shift your own perspective from negativity to hope. Take time to say thanks to customers with handwritten notes, personal videos, or future discount options. Whether you plan a summer reunion party or make appreciation phone calls, prioritizing gratitude will make you a better entrepreneur in the long run.

Change Course, but Don’t Quit!

They say that genius is just persistence in disguise.
In tough times it’s ok to be discouraged, but it’s not ok to quit. Be proactive in this season, and keep taking the steps you can to inch ahead. New paths are, by definition, uncleared. But persistence and positivity are your most valuable assets as you journey toward hope.

Adapting through Times of Challenge

2020 has certainly been a historic year, and we’re only in April! We’re addressing new challenges and discovering unique solutions.

Stafford Printing is fortunate that we’ve been able to remain open during this pandemic, and we’re thankful to the clients who allow us to provide print and signage. We opened 33 years ago out of a desire to do something I enjoy . . . using typography and art to promote, inform and entertain.

To quote the opening of I Am A Printer:

I have been around for 570 years
I invented the Renaissance and caused the Reformation
I have recorded war and peace [and the 2020 pandemic]
My pamphlets and documents created America
I take ideas and information and make them tangible
I print lofty Bibles and lowly forms
I am a printer

Today, combining print with digital tools creates dynamic communication that inspires, compels you to act, and stirs memories.

Again, I thank you for your business, your referrals, and your testimonies, and I leave you with this question: in this time when businesses and organizations are living through a major challenge, how are you adapting?

More to come . . . and soon. Meanwhile, it’s never too early to start planning for the future, so let’s talk about your post-pandemic marketing efforts!

Is Direct Mail Safe During COVID-19?

In fast-moving and uncertain situations, communication can be a challenge.
While you may have been temporarily stalled by the dramatic changes of the last month, now is the right time to be proactive in your customer connections. Crisis communication specialists tell us that, in hard times, communicating early and often is crucial.
The decisions you make now are essential for your business to survive today and to thrive later on.

Why Direct Mail is Still a Trustworthy Source

Reports of postal workers testing positive for the novel coronavirus may have raised some concerns that the pathogen could live on letters and packages, potentially exposing people to infection just from opening their mail or packages. But the U.S. Postal Service has assured us that the mail is still safe:
“There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread through the mail,” the postal service said recently, alluding to the disease caused by the virus and citing the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Most businesses are still mailing at this time, but if you have questions about direct mail marketing, you are not alone. It’s important to be ready with answers for your customers, preferably from reliable sources like the Center for Disease Control:
“Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” says the CDC. “Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with [mail and packages] and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.”
Because the virus is not spread through the skin, but through the respiratory tracks, any contact with mail or packages is not an immediate danger. Regular hand-washing and proper hygiene are the most important factors for mitigating any risk with envelopes, packages, or really with any contaminated surfaces.

What Kind of Mail Should I Send?

Since people are currently hungry for connection, there is no better time to lean into your marketing efforts.
But be sensitive in doing this, and offer messages of hope and relief. Dartmouth professor Paul Argenti offers these tips for communicating during a crisis:

Focus on What is Important to the Customer

For example, Target sent out a note from the CEO to customers, describing enhanced cleaning procedures and additional staffing for order pickup and drive-up services.

Provide Relief When Possible

JetBlue became the first airline to waive change and cancel fees for coronavirus-related concerns. The move went a long way towards reassuring current customers as well as bringing new ones on board. Insurance companies, in contrast, do not consider the coronavirus a valid reason for canceling a flight.

Focus on Empathy Instead of Pushing Sales

Be creative, but keep empathy in mind. Companies should reshape advertising and promotion strategies to be more in line with the current mood of the day.

Watch for Those Silver Linings

While we’re all in unfamiliar territory right now, everyone wants to support each other.
Businesses care about customers, and all of us care about economic recovery. Keep reaching out to your clients and remember that this is only temporary. While this situation won’t last, many positive outcomes will!
The lessons we learn today can make us more flexible, strategic, and more community-minded.

Responsible Marketing During COVID-19

Fear. Stress. Helplessness.
Whether you’re caring for elderly parents or homeschooling your kids, people across the globe are struggling with big emotions during the COVID-19 situation.
How do you lead well in times like these? While daily leadership is essential for your business, crisis moments reveal the quality of your vision like nothing else. And while you may be exhausted or overwhelmed, now is not the time to push pause on your leadership. What are the “next best steps” you can take in this hour of uncertainty?

1. Increase the Frequency of Communication

During hard times, the frequency of communication should go through the roof.
Even if you have bad news, it’s important to acknowledge this ASAP. While you may not have all the details, a prompt announcement can minimize speculation, reassure panicked contacts, and let people know that you are proactively addressing each challenge.

2. Be Authentic

Now, more than ever, people are craving connection.
Since many of your customers and subscribers are working from the kitchen table, this is an important chance to re-tool your communication. Get in touch with your own feeling of isolation and use this to inform your messaging. From email communication to print mailings, review all your messages through the lens of people who are stuck at home. Ditch the corporate-speak and seek a more human tone for your brand, and use this framework to empower empathy while focusing on others’ needs.

3. Break Up the Depressive Mindset

All of us need a break from 24/7 bad news. So, how can you bring positivity in this hour?
Noting the deluge of video-conferencing, Audi of America recently launched a series of specially curated images to serve as a glamorous backdrop in virtual meeting rooms. Now enthusiasts can bring their favorite Audi with them to their next conference call or virtual happy hour, and Audi plans to release new images weekly. Simple pleasures make a big difference in tough moments!

Now, make it personal. How can you sound a note of joy or generosity today? Could you post a funny video, release a helpful blog, highlight hero stories, or offer incentives that benefit customers or people on the front lines?
Or look at your own product mix and ask: “what could I change to help my customers?” Do you have a paid or premium service that you could offer for free to help people get by over the next few months?

4. Sow Seeds of Honor

When you look at your schedule today, things seem rather quiet and eerie.
Companies of all sizes have sent people home, and every distraction has been silenced. While the coronavirus has ushered in strange times for all, good leaders won’t just hunker down. Instead, it’s time to push back with a different spirit.
In an age of mocking and disdain, today is a great day to show respect and gratitude. Whether personally or professionally, use this forced pause to repair a strained relationship, to say thank you, or to serve others. Make that difficult phone call. Donate blood or serve at your local food pantry. Show public or private appreciation for your leaders. And appreciate people who don’t deserve it (despite their inadequacies).
As you honor people, they will honor others. Perhaps this is a chance to shift the atmosphere and proactively build honor into the fabric of your network. As a leader, you WILL set the pace for others.

Connection is the New Currency

Though today’s challenges are extreme, it’s important to remember they’re only temporaryIt may not be easy, but many of us will come out of this stronger. Though it may feel that the waves are continuing to rise, take heart. Prioritize connection, and the uncharted waters can be parted in order to lead you toward a prosperous future and a newfound hope

Social Media Marketing

Add Drama and Depth with Custom White Balance

Have you ever struggled to take a classy (yet natural) family picture?
Or photographed an incredible wilderness scene, only to be sorely disappointed by flat results? If the world has so much wonder, why is capturing that majesty so tricky?
Many photos are simply too dark or too light, with awkward shadows, blinding background rays, or glaring reflections (think Grandma’s glasses!). The color can seem artificial or just washed out. But photos with proper lighting come alive, creating a drama and depth that resonates with viewers on a heart-stirring level.
Whether you adjust your camera on the front end or edit the photo later, here are some tricks to getting the photo balance just right!

Adjusting Your Digital Camera Settings

Different sources of light have varying color hues, so a picture taken with a normal white balance under artificial lighting conditions transmits low heat to the camera’s sensor, resulting in dull yellow or orange shades in the photo.
Though human eyes can automatically adjust lights and color temperatures to “sense” the right color, a camera needs to be adjusted to different lights for accurate color reproduction. By adjusting the white balance setting of your digital camera before you start shooting, you can produce the most accurate colors in your image.
Most upscale digital cameras include presets like these:
Tungsten: Best for indoor shoots under a little light bulb.
Fluorescent: Grabs brighter, warmer shots while compensating for cool fluorescent tones.
Cloudy: Warms up a subject and its surroundings when natural light is limited.
Shade: Useful for warming up the surroundings that have a cooler, bluer tone.
You can also adjust your camera manually by setting a white object as the reference point.
To manually set the white balance in your image, take a photo of something white in the same location (and under the same light) you intend to shoot. Then go to your camera’s shooting menu, choose white balance settings, and select the image you just photographed by pressing the “set” or “Ok” button. This will enable you to customize a white balance setting for your next round of photos, resulting in more neutral, natural shades and less post-production editing.

Mastering Post-Production Tints and Temps

Suppose you get the perfect photo, but the colors aren’t quite right.
Adobe Lightroom can help!
Adobe Lightroom is an inexpensive post-processing program used by designers worldwide. In the past, developing exquisite images required excellent photos, nuanced darkroom abilities, and expensive equipment. In contrast, Lightroom allows even beginners to normalize light tones they weren’t able to land in-camera.
When you’re ready to edit the balance in a photo, here are three methods:
Option 1: In Adobe Lightroom, adjust white balance with the eyedropper tool or use the preset menu that best describes the lighting conditions you shot in.
Option 2: Using the white balance drop-down list, manually drag the “temp” and “tint” sliders in the WB panel to adjust how warm or cool your image is.
Option 3: Select the “White Balance Selector” tool in the White Balance Panel (or for a shortcut, press “W” and scan across your image to locate an area that has a neutral grey color to serve as a reference point). Once you click this grey or neutral area, the appropriate white balance settings will be applied to the entire image.
If you don’t like the result, simply use the reset button to remove all adjustments.

In the Eye of the Beholder

Sound tricky?
Don’t sweat it. There is really no “perfect” white balance because the best contrast is what looks pleasing to YOUR eye. In the end, learning and experimenting is half the fun! Reach out to us if you’d like to learn more about adding the perfect white balance to your next piece.

The Power to Help in Times of Need

I went through a fast food chain drive-through today to pick up sandwiches. As I made it through the line, the car in front of me pulled out and drove off. I was next in line and asked the cashier if everything was okay. She said the driver didn’t have enough money for the food. I asked, “why didn’t you just give it to her, or let her come back with the money?” She said that she was not a manager and didn’t have the authority to do that. I pointed out that the the manager was standing twenty feet away, so why hadn’t she just asked? Her response: “have a good day, sir.”  End of conversation.

By contrast, the employees at Stafford Printing are empowered to help you. They don’t need to ask me, as the owner, whether we can extend terms – 90 days same as cash, for example – for the privilege of serving you. If you need print, a sign, a poster, or even a floor graphic, please let us help you. We are willing to help by donating, settling up later, or simply bartering a meal for a “We’re Open” banner!

We’re thankful that Stafford Printing has been designated an essential business by both the governor of the state and the United States Postal Service. But more importantly, our customers have deemed us essential by continuing to send us work. We thank you, and look forward to the day when we can talk about the virus in the past tense.