From bakers to business owners, muffins to multifunction printers (MFPs), there’s one thing everyone, everywhere can agree on: whatever we’re spending our money on, we’d like it to cost a little less.

That’s why it isn’t surprising that we’ve all made the same mistake at least once by ill-advisedly taking on a project or task on our own in order to save money, instead of leaving it to skilled professionals. In fact, this mistake is especially common among small and medium-size business owners (SMBs), who often try to wear one too many hats in hopes of saving money on outsourcing certain tasks or responsibilities.

That’s why it’s so exciting for many SMBs to find that there is one place they can successfully cut costs by bringing a task in-house – with the right mix of skilled support, and the right equipment.

With today’s new smart printers and workplace assistants, printing your own marketing collateral in-house has never made more sense. While you’ll still want to turn over projects like over-sized booth banners or trade show posters and folders to the pros, the materials you rely on every day – things like business cards, flyers, letterhead, and mailers – can actually be printed in-house for less than you’re paying a professional printer, without sacrificing quality.

Download free business templates.There are some caveats, of course. If you’re going to take on a job you’d previously trusted to an experienced print house, it’s important to remember that there’s more to creating a quality finished product than simply hitting print. Let’s take a look at the general rules and guidelines you should follow when printing your own marketing collateral.

Templates that have already been created by professional designers with office printing in mind are a fantastic resource for those looking to bring some of their print needs in-house – especially if those templates are free!

Check out these free business templates from Xerox that can help you communicate the advantages of your small business.

  1. Be fluent in branding.
    Long before you ever consider hitting print, you need to be sure your materials look, read, and yes, even feel consistent with your brand guidelines. Everything from color to font to the weight of the paper you use may be regulated either by your business or a parent company if you’re a branch of a franchise. Style guides should be available to help steer you through the process. If you don’t have a clear brand identity, consider working with a who can help you solidify your brand identity and ensure that everything you print has the same consistent look and feel.
  2. When it comes to in-house printing, keep it simple (or phone a friend).
    If your graphic design skills aren’t at the pro level yet, don’t overreach. Just keep it simple and brand consistent. Mistakes like using low-resolution photos or images or stretching images that should instead be properly resized will not give you the quality results you want. Find a high-resolution file of your logo before you even get started, then be sure to use the right design software to create your printable.

    We recommend Adobe Photoshop for businesses who are willing to take the time and effort to learn to use it – simple mastery of the basics should be enough for things like business cards, mailers, and letterhead. You can also consider hiring a freelance graphic designer to create files you can then print yourself over and over again. Whether you enlist professional support or DIY-it, one thing we can’t recommend enough is proof it, proof it, and proof it again. Make sure you have at least three sets of eyes review the final version before you hit print, to prevent wasting paper, toner, and worse, your time.

  3. Use high-quality paper stock.
    Your design and the medium you print on carry equal weight when it comes to the quality of your finished product, so don’t skimp on the paper you use. This can help you get started.

    For worry-free printing each and every time, count on the guaranteed quality, reliability, and performance of genuine Xerox supplies.

  4. Choose the right ink.Don't be fooled by bargain brands.
    Just like the right paper, the ink you choose will make a big impact on the quality of your results, so be sure to choose right kind of ink for the printing you need to do.
  5. Differentiate your documents.
    Using different paper weights and inks for different materials will help set them apart from one another and make them more visually interesting. This guide from MarketingProfs can help you choose the ink, paper finish, weight, and even color that’s right for your project.
  6. Invest in a professional-grade printer.
    If you don’t have the time or the interest to bring your printing in-house, then by all means, keep those print houses running (they’re small business owners too!) But if this post has you thinking that bringing your printing in-house is both within your reach and your interest, then it’s time to invest in a professional grade printer.

    Xerox printers and multifunction printers are always a reliable choice for small batch printing, but if your business is on the larger side, or you plan to print high volumes of professional marketing collateral, consider investing in a digital press or continuous feed printer.

Before you take steps to begin printing your own marketing collateral, it’s important to understand where print falls within your overall marketing strategy. A great place to get started is with this resource: Power of Print: How to Integrate Print Collateral Into Your Marketing Campaigns.

For more printing advice, and money saving, time-saving, or productivity-boosting tips for your small or medium-size business, subscribe to the Small Business Solutions blog using the box below.

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