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Local Marketing and Direct Mail

Small business owners are always looking for ways to boost the flow of local clients into their store or office.  Local marketing focuses on promotional methods that target people who actually live in the community where the business operates.  While many small business owners are reluctant to advertise to local citizens, it’s the only way to spread the word and let people know about your great products or services.  Using direct mail is a convenient, inexpensive and effective way to get the word out.  Your business will benefit from the influx of local customers, and they will get great value and service from you.

direct mail delivery

Direct mail is delivered by Canada Post and the USPS.

Why You Need to Market Locally

Every business needs customers – the more, the better.  Brick and mortar shops and stores rely heavily on the patronage of local customers for their survival and growth.  People often think that advertising is only done on the national or international level.  Many small business owners feel it’s not “ethical” to market their goods or services to people in their community.

Nothing could be further from the truth. (more…)

Advertising is good for your business.  It’s also good for the local people who can benefit from your valuable products or services.

How Direct Mail Helps

As a small business owner, you may have heard of direct mail marketing and how it can help your business grow.  It’s a great way to contact prospective clients and establish a broader customer base.  Direct mail is delivered by Canada Post and the US Postal Service and provides an affordable way for businesses to market their products and services.

It’s easier for businesses to reach out to clients if they recognize you as a friendly neighbor.  Knowing that you are just around the corner or somewhere nearby is a huge plus when it comes to attracting customers.  Business owners should never underestimate the value of marketing locally.

Local area marketing or neighborhood marketing is a targeted way to reach your audience.  The best thing about it is that you don’t even need a website to advertise locally.  Simply gather a mailing list and send your marketing materials by mail.  It will only cost you a small amount of money per recipient.

Benefits of Direct Mail in Local Marketing

Mail is important in people’s lives.  According to the US Post Office, 75% of mail recipients are very likely to pay attention to the mail they receive.

Direct mail is valuable in local marketing because it can be targeted to a specific area or group of potential clients who are more likely to respond to your ad.  Ninety-five percent of customers of small businesses come from an area close to the business location.

Direct mail is cost effective and can be quickly delivered to the addressee.  It is also personal, which is a huge factor when marketing to residents in the neighborhood.  You’ll get a high response rate, which you can measure, if you include an offer, a discount, or a coupon.  Don’t forget to include a call to action and ask prospective customers to call or visit your store.

By this time, small business owners should realize that direct mail marketing is one of the best ways to give their local business a boost.


8 Direct Mail Marketing Tips

Advertising can be expensive, but a successful marketing campaign can help you generate more revenues and increase profits.  With proper planning, direct mail marketing can provide the best results possible.  Here are 8 simple tips that will bring a steady stream of new customers to your store or office.


dm tips

Tip #1. Get A List

Your mailing list is probably the most important factor for a successful direct mail marketing campaign.  The best list is your own in-house list, which contains your past and existing customers.  It’s cheaper and easier to sell to existing customers than to try and find new ones.

If you don’t have an in-house list, the next best thing is to purchase a targeted mailing list from a reputable company.  Getting the right list is the first step in your advertising efforts. (more…)

Tip #2.  Add Value to Your Promotion

Why should people respond to your promotional efforts?

The reason is simple.  By adding value to your direct mail marketing, people will be compelled to take positive action right away.  Your marketing efforts should include discounts, coupons, rebates, etc.  The idea is to give people a reason to act now or buy now, instead of later.  The offer should be time limited to maximize results and to make it easy to measure the results of the advertising campaign.

When making your offer, make it short and simple.  If the mechanics of the offer is more involved, include a summary that your audience can read through quickly.

Tip #3.  Personalize Your Mailer

Address the recipient by name for a personal touch.  A personalized letter tells the recipient that you took the time to get to know him or her better.  It also indicates that your promotional material could be relevant and important to the recipient.

Tip #4.  Make Your Ad Copy Easy to Read

Most people will simply scan a sales letter at first, and only read it further if they find something interesting.  Make your ad copy easy to read.  Indent all paragraphs and keep them short.

Tip #5.  Write Good Copy

When writing your advertising materials, focus on the benefits for your audience and not on the features of the product.  If you are selling energy-saving appliances, focus on how much people will be able to save on electricity bills.

Tip #6.  Choose the Right Marketing Medium

Your audience will have different responses to a postcard, brochure or sales letter.  Test your advertising package and determine the best medium for your message.  Paper quality should also be considered.  You will want to use good quality paper when marketing high-end products.

Tip #7.  Test Your Marketing Campaign

Test the effectiveness of your direct mail marketing strategy against a smaller market base before launching a full-blown campaign.  Tweak as necessary in order to get the best results possible.

Tip #8. Follow Up

Very often, business owners only need to follow up with their prospects in order to obtain more sales.  A personalized postcard or sales letter can be a gentle reminder for people to take action. A follow-up phone call is appropriate only if you have permission to do so.

2016 Internet Facts and Stats

Do you have a web presence? There are 966 million websites today, of which 76.5 million are WordPress-based.

Is your site mobile-friendly? Just a few years ago, it was predicted that the number of mobile users would outstrip desktop. In 2015, mobile users accounted for 52.7% of total users.

Any plans for e-commerce? The internet now contributes to over $2.2 trillion in annual retail sales, of which $1 trillion is mobile-influenced.

The first website was built in 1991 by Tim Berners-Lee (yes, he’s still alive to see what he has created) and the internet has now become an economic force that can no longer be ignored by businesses looking to grow. (more…)

Pump Life Into Your DM

While claims of direct mail being dead are ubiquitous, direct mail is far from being dead.

But not all direct mail is treated equal. Here are six methods for pumping life into direct mail campaigns.

Direct Mail Isn’t Dead: You Just Have to Make It Come to Life


Did This Really Happen?

The other day, I saw yet another course on how wonderful life can be as a print broker.

Yes, it’s true, with the right clients and great vendors, you can make a decent living, even without the hassle of staff or equipment.

Opps Button_14086935_printBut just like any other profession, brokers will tell you it’s not always that rosy. You can have decades of experience and yet details will fall through the cracks. Chalk it up to not enough time, complacency, whatever.

You can get seriously dinged. And as a broker, there is no big company backing you up.

One of the biggest reasons is relying on the reputation or your problem-free history with a vendor. (more…)

I’ve been doing this since 1980 and I am not immune. Thankfully, these situations are few and far between. However, here are several of the more memorable ones:

Overcooked Brochures

Several years ago, I did a run of over 500,000 4-color brochures on a coated stock. As usual, artwork was supplied at the last minute and so the job was run over a weekend when I was not available. However, it was a pretty straight-forward job and it was run by one of my regular vendors who specialized in color work.

The job was folded and delivered in a couple of days. When I received my samples, I was struck by the brittleness of the stock. My vendor agreed that it was not right and it appeared that the stock had spent too much time in the dryer as it came out of the press. Because of the lack of time, I had to let it go.

The vendor did however agree to a re-run if the client requested it. Luckily, it all went through with no complaint. On the other, it could’ve been a disaster. (The vendor did give me some credit on subsequent jobs.)

Bad Labels

A few years ago, we had to do a label job that required a special perforation. It was a special perf because it was only used so the labels could be fan-folded. It could not separate when running on the mail shop equipment. The first run of labels did not work and the vendor created custom perforation blades in order to get it to work.

Recently, the client wanted to re-run the particular program and we went back to the same vendor. After reviewing the first run from a few years back, what was done and what had to be duplicated this time, the job was left with the vendor. Again, time was of the essence and a press approval was not requested.

When the labels came in and to our surprise, a regular perforation had been applied to the stock, and not surprisingly, the perf came apart. The end result was that 50,000 labels had to be hand-applied and another 70,000 had to be re-run elsewhere. This was after carefully reviewing with the vendor on what was required. It was not like they hadn’t done it before.

Lost Stock

This was a recent situation and a broker’s worst nightmare.

As a broker, you are in the middle between vendor and client, and it’s your job to make sure that the client gets what they are paying for. If they don’t, it’s your responsibility to find out why not. And then correct it.

This becomes even more difficult when YOUR product is being sent to the CLIENT’S other vendor.

If something goes wrong, you may truly feel like you are trapped in a no-win situation. A little like being in The Twilight Zone.

On this job, I ordered 500,000 laser-friendly letters to be sent to the client’s mail shop.

Three weeks after delivery, I get a call late Friday afternoon (would it be any other time?) from the mail shop telling me they were 50,000 sheets short!


Are you kidding?

No kidding, they said.

5,000, okay, I can understand. But 50,000?

Well, that kind of a quantity must be sitting around somewhere and easy to find. It’s either been misplaced at the mail shop or still at the printer, in which case, it was missed by the shipper.

To make a long story short, neither the printer or the mail shop would would take responsibility for the missing stock.

And the whole job was on hold. Going to the client was definitely not an option.

The only choice was to go back on press – and pay for the additional stock.

I was able to get the additional stock back to the mail shop in a couple of days and the job was finished.

The missing stock was never found, at least not to MY knowledge.

Remind me again why I am a print broker.



Grow Your Business With Direct Mail

What’s bigger than search, online video, online rich media, online banner ads and traditional magazine advertising… combined? Direct mail of course.

Direct mail is NOT dead!

It is the cornerstone of direct marketing. According to the Winterbury Group1, U.S marketers spent more than $45 billion on direct mail in 2012. In fact, it has increased from $43.8 billion in 2009. The reason for this is… it works!


2012 direct mail spend

2012 Direct Mail Spend



According to the latest 2013 statistics from the Direct Marketing Association2, 54.5% of U.S. households read their letter-sized mail in 2011. For larger direct mail pieces, that number jumped to 67.2%!

But isn’t overall mail volume declining? Yes, because advertising dollars are now being spent on additional cross-channel, integrated marketing. However, this will result in higher response rates for those who stick with direct mail as they gain a greater “share of the mailbox.”

Direct mail remains one of the most effective advertising channels, especially for those who take advantage of the latest technology and innovations in direct mail.

To discover how we can help your business or organization grow through direct mail, give us a call at 416-520-2149, or use our Contact page.

1 Winterbury Group
2 Direct Marketing Association


Promoting Your Business With Variable Data Imaging

Running a business calls for constant evaluation, building relationships with existing customers and developing new markets. Once in a while it is necessary to send letters to your customers. How about using variable data imaging which conforms to one-to-one marketing?

The traditional advertising procedures can be turned into successful marketing efforts that will reward you. Develop long-term business client relationship to promote your sales. Your goal should be long term business rather than one-time sale. Variable Data Imaging can help you customize huge bulk of postcards and other print products.

variable data imagingThe following aims can be achieved with variable data imaging:

  • Touch the hearts of your customers by using marketing materials that build a strong relationship by appealing to them. It’s better to employ one-to-one advertising to capture your audience. Address your clients personally by using and printing their names to form a close relationship.


  • Brands are more in demand by the clients than products. Generate warmth and intimate customer service by creating advertisements that make your brand spell out these traits. Remember that quality and service are the pre-requisites customers that need to be catered to in the times when products and services are being produced on a massive scale.
  • It is better to use simple language when you are talking to your clients. It should be like the way you communicate to a regular person. Do not use heavy language which you use for product design manuals and dissertation papers.
  • When a new person enters your pool of clients initiate friendly correspondence with them. Develop a friendly relationship with your clients by using postcards, letters, greeting cards and other forms of correspondence.
  • It is advised to print your marketing material by including pictures which your clients can relate to. Good quality graphics should be printed in color to cast a strong first impression on the mind your customer.
  • Communicate to the customers as you would talk to a VIP and make the content more personalized. Approach them through words like you would talk to a CEO. Be direct and brief them about what they can gain from it. Do not talk too much about yourself in the manner of self-glorification.
  • When you personalize and detail each print with Variable Data Imaging, then you could increase the responses of your customers. That way you could earn a major return on your investment without spending as much.
  • It would be good if you send them personalized notes on occasions like Christmas. With the help of Variable Data imaging you can print a different image or detail. The most important thing is that your sincerity should come across strongly.


Article provided courtesy of John Adams, Chief Editor, DOW-PRINTING. Website: www.dowprinting.com – A printing website that provides  Variable Data Printing, Brochure Printing, Flyers Printing, Sticker Printing and other printing services online.

Designing A Self-Mailer Insert

You See Them All The Time. You Know, The Inserts That Are Stitched Inside Magazines And Brochures.

You pull them out of their staples, fill in the form and return it inside the ready-made envelope.

For lack of a better name, let’s call them stitched-in self-mailers (SISM).

They’re a very economical way of using direct response marketing because they avoid the use of a separate direct mail package. The envelope is already pre-made and they just need to ride along with the magazine or brochure.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when designing a SISM: (more…)

self-mailer insert layout

Start From Finished Size
It’s important that the finished SISM will fit inside the magazine or brochure without any of the edges sticking out. The folded, stitched-in size should be at least 1/8″ smaller than the piece it’s being stitched into. If you can make it smaller, even better.

Work Backwards And Create A Mockup
To help in designing your SISM on a flat sheet, start with a finished envelope, flap and all, and just hand-draw some artwork on each side. Any kind of markings will do. It’s just to give you a perspective so that when the sheet is flat, you can position the artwork correctly.

Don’t Forget A Perforation
Your response piece needs to come off from the envelope easily. Use a perforation, and don’t make the prospect hunt for a pair of scissors. It’s best to position the perforation along the vertical line where it will be stitched in. That way, the prospect can easily tear out the response or envelope.

One Fold Is Enough
Try to design the response so that it will fit into the return envelope after only one fold. You can also make it fit with no folds if you add more perforations for sections of the response that don’t need to be returned. Don’t forget that because the envelope is not a ‘real’ envelope, the two edges have been glued together and will thus reduce the inside width by about 1″.

After all is said and done, and approved, don’t forget to add your SISM to your toolbox as a template. Your next one will be much easier.

Successful Direct Mail Printing

Direct Mail Printing Mistakes Can Cost Thousands!

Read reviews below.

Printing and mailing 500 postcards is a no-brainer and will not break the bank if you screw it up, but what about a larger, more complex campaign that requires various package components, like an RD or BRE, and the services of a lettershop? If you are new at direct mail, you will undoubtedly have many questions about the actual printing of your campaign.

  • WHAT kind of printer you should NEVER work with?
  • WHEN you should not use PDF art for your mail campaigns?
  • HOW to reduce the cost of your personalization?
  • WHAT is the #1 secret to a successful direct mail campaign?

While there are endless sources about direct mail in general, there are few books (more…)

available that can guide you through the complexities of print production.

  • WHAT is the difference between a printer, mailshop and lettershop?
  • HOW many ‘overs’ should you print?
  • WHAT is the ONLY type of perforation you should use on your laser stock?

A misstep at the tail end of a dm campaign during the actual printing and delivery can easily wipe out any ROI, and turn your project into a financial disaster!!

Secret-Keys-3D-Book-Printing-Gold-2Get help with our new, revised edition of The 10 Secret Keys to Successful Direct Mail Printing, now available on Amazon.

Based on more than 30 years of hands-on dm printing experience, the book will show you the way around many of the pitfalls of dm production. It can literally save you thousands of dollars wasted on common printing and mailing mistakes.

Check it out today on Amazon.

Or… give us a call at 905.877.3656.

Read reviews below:

“If you’re reading this, you’re holding a production ‘Bible’. It contains countless valuable tips and tricks of the trade compiled by the man who, literally and figuratively, wrote the book on DM production.”
Bob Knight, R. J. Knight & Associates

“Many suppliers claim they’ll truly be your “partner.” But very few get to know your business as well as Rainer does. Fewer still can provide efficient solutions to your needs. Working with him makes me look good!”
-Gilles Roy, Gilles Roy & Associates
“The 10 Keys of Successful Direct Mail Production” is a very useful guide to making sure that your DM campaigns are properly executed and delivered on time. Well worth reading, keeping on hand and passing on to the newbies in the business. Sage words and very practical advice; something of good value to all DM practitioners, from production to creative people.”
-Michael Hofmann, Resource Mail Services
“Too often we spend our time and energy on the upfront work in Direct Mail, only to see it fall apart because we didn’t take care of the execution. Costs soar and deadlines fall by the wayside when you don’t think about how best to put your great ideas into action. Rainer has done a remarkable job of putting together a ‘must read’ resource for anyone planning their next direct marketing project.”
-Janine Foster, St. Lawrence College
“Having been responsible for the production of thousands of direct mail packages, I believe Rainer’s Secret Keys is an excellent manual for DM newbies and pros alike. His clearly-written tips are a superb checklist every mailer can use to avoid common pitfalls, and save time and money.
-Marlena McCarthy, Done Write Communications
“I found “The 10 Secret Keys To Successful Direct Mail Printing” to be an excellent source for direct mail professionals at all levels. I’ve shared it with a few new hires as a great starting point for understanding some of the challenges in our business. Thanks and keep up the good work.”
-Michael L. Vitch, Compu-Mail
“Rainer’s book filled with practical points , helped me apply many tips to a completely new area of Hotels and Restaurants that too in India where direct marketing is at a very infancy stage. THANKS Rainer!!”
-Vikram Kamat, Marketing Manager

“Save yourself headaches and thousands of dollars, before you send out your next mailing. Rainer knows what he’s talking about, read this book today.”
-Ray Khan, Khan Scope Centre
  • “Professional, Successful Experience”
    Rainer’s attention to detail was superb as well as his timely delivery on our print products. Should you be looking for a supplier for your print campaign, I would fully endorse Rainer Fischer and DM Graphics for a professional, successful experience. – Dave Clubine, ShareLife, Toronto, ON

  • “Dependable Service”
    DM Graphics provides careful and dependable service, providing insight and project management support. Rainer uses his knowledge to work on our behalf through the production and printing of our projects.
    – Bill Steinburg, Archdiocese of Toronto, Toronto, ON

  • “Exceeds Expectations”
    Year after year, DM Graphics continues to exceed my expectations. With Rainer’s knowledge of the industry and his attention to detail, I wouldn’t dream of using anyone else in Canada for my printing needs.
    – Meredith Kirkpatrick, Direct Resources Group, Seattle, WA

  • “Honours Dates”
    I use your services because of the quality of your printed products as well as the speed at which they are produced. Having worked together, I enjoy knowing you honour the dates you say you can deliver.
    – Jeremy Carrothers, CCFC, Toronto, ON

  • “Looks Great”
    Rainer, it looks great. Thanks for catching that typo… our previous designer would NEVER have done that.
    – Amanda Robertson, Street Health, Toronto, ON

  • “Production Excellence”
    Rainer knows direct response and his expertise ensures personalization and production excellence and healthy ROI.
    -Gayle Goossen, Barefoot Creative, Kitchener, ON

  • “Hits Deadlines”
    Rainer is very professional, providing excellent service and products. I appreciate his suggestions on how projects can be done more cost-effectively. I can also count on Rainer for hitting deadlines.
    – Marlena McCarthy, Done Write Communications, Toronto, ON

  • “Follows Through”
    Rainer is a detail-oriented manager and he follows through on every detail.
    – Brian Petersen, BP Group, Ancaster, ON

  • “Maximizes Results”
    Rainer is a student of direct-response marketing. When you’re hiring Rainer to handle your campaign, you are getting much more than a “printer” or a “fulfillment house.”
    – Alex Makarski, Business Development Consultant, Toronto, ON

  • “Makes Me Look Good”
    Many suppliers claim they’ll truly be your “partner.” But very few get to know your business as well as Rainer does. Working with him makes me look good!
    – Gilles Roy, Gilles Roy & Associates, Montreal, QC

  • “Remarkable Job”
    Rainer has done a remarkable job of putting together a ‘must read’ resource (The 10 Secret Keys To Successful Direct Mail Printing) for anyone planning their next direct marketing project.
    – Janine Foster, St. Lawrence College, Kingston, ON

  • “THANKS”
    Rainer’s book filled with practical points , helped me apply many tips to a completely new area of Hotels and Restaurants that too in India where direct marketing is at a very infancy stage. THANKS, Rainer!!
    -Vikram Kamat, Marketing Manager, India

  • “Wrote The Book…”
    Rainer’s book contains countless valuable tips and tricks of the trade compiled by the man who, literally and figuratively, wrote the book on DM production.
    -Bob Knight, R. J. Knight & Associates, Vancouver, BC

  • “Invaluable Tools”
    The Secret Keys are an invaluable tool for seasoned Direct Mailers or newcomers. It outlines Best Practices and can save you significant time and money. Thank you Rainer!
    – Debbie Major, Data Direct Group Inc., Mississauga, ON

  • “Sage Words and Practical Advice”
    The 10 Keys of Successful Direct Mail Printing is a very useful guide to making sure that your DM campaigns are properly executed and delivered on time. 
    – Michael Hofmann, Resource Mail Services, Toronto, ON

  • “Knows What He’s Talking About”
    Save yourself headaches and thousands of dollars, before you send out your next mailing. Rainer knows what he’s talking about, read this book today.
    – Ray Khan, Khan Scope Centre, Toronto, ON

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