Helpful Phrases for Starting and Developing a Professional Letter

Are you looking to entice a new lead or persuade a big client?

Business letters are an especially persuasive medium, especially printed letters. In this era, when digital communication is so prevalent, people sometimes forget the power of a traditional letter. When you want to pitch a sale, resolve a dispute, or propose a new partnership, a letter shows you are serious and sincere.

In many transactions, a letter is an official record, but it can be challenging to strike the right tone in your correspondence. The way you start or end a letter can make all the difference in how you come across.

Need some ideas to get you started? Here are a few helpful phrases:

Salutations

  • Dear Mr. Smith
  • Dear Doctor Ernst
  • Dear Sir or Madam
  • Dear [Job Title Here] – e.g., Claims Adjustor, Recruiter, Account Supervisor
  • To Whom It May Concern
  • To our Valued ______
  • Hello David
  • Hello from Phoenix!

Inquiries and Introductory Phrases

  • It is our pleasure to inform you that
  • I am writing to confirm/request/inquire about . . .
  • Having seen your advertisement in . . .
  • I was recently reading about ______ and wanted to know _________
  • I received your contact from ______ and I would like to ___________
  • I recently heard ___________ and I was hoping to connect with you about ____________
  • Have you ever wondered about/needed/wanted to know ______________?

Enclosures

  • Please find enclosed  . . .
  • In this letter I am including a ___________ (estimate, catalog, proposal, brochure)
  • I would love to introduce you to ____, and I am including _____ for your review

Offering Future Assistance

  • If you require more information, please let us know
  • Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further assistance
  • We would be happy to provide a consult on _____________
  • I would love the opportunity to introduce you to _________

Referring to Future Contact

  • I am looking forward to hearing from you soon!
  • Thank you for your consideration!
  • We would appreciate your reply at your earliest convenience
  • I appreciate your immediate attention to this matter
  • We are looking forward to meeting you on January 21 in ______________
  • I will call on ______ to schedule a _________

Closers

  • Sincerely Yours
  • All the Best
  • Kind Regards
  • Respectfully
  • Yours in _____ (refer to industry)
  • We Appreciate Your Consideration
  • Thank You for Your Time

Pro Tip: Whether your letter is casual or formal, all introductory or sales letters should follow the AIDA principle (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). When you write a professional letter, your aim is to grab attention, compel people to keep reading, increase their desire to respond, and prompt them to action. 

Tell and Sale with This Winning Combination

If you want to grab attention with a powerful, relevant, engaging mailing, professionally printed enclosures can seal the deal.

There is an old saying in direct mail: the letter sells, but the brochure tells. In any direct mailing, combining a letter and brochure (or catalog) can be an especially potent combination.

Ready to get started? Save time and trouble by partnering with our experienced team! When it’s time to move forward, we’ll help you create stunning pieces that make your message shine. We’ll lighten your load by streamlining the entire process from initial formatting to direct mail packaging and delivery.

Contact us today for details!

Color Outside the Margins with Gorgeous Full Bleed Printing

When you want your color print project to dazzle and delight, you may want to use a bleed technique in your printing.

Sound strange? Well, the result is beautiful! Here’s what you need to know about this option.

What is a Bleed?

A bleed is a printing technique where your design is printed bigger than the final product’s finished size and then cut down to size, eliminating any unwanted white space or borders around the edge of your design.

Typically, bleeds refer to the extra 1/8” (.125 in) of an image or background color that extends beyond the trim area you’d like to feature. A bleed project is printed on an oversized sheet that is then cut down to size, giving the impression that the image is “bleeding” off the paper’s edge.

When Can a Bleed be Used?

Bleeds work well if your design has a full-colored background and can be used for any project where you want your design to extend to the edge of the sheet.

Bleeds can improve the precision of any print project. Why? Because without a bleed, you’ll see a tiny bit of white on even the most carefully arranged and cropped document. When you print “outside the margins” with a document bleed, then there’s no room for error. The final product will be perfectly cut with a crisp, immaculate appearance.

When you are printing a booklet or something that will be folded, you’ll probably want to use bleeds on the interior borders so it doesn’t look as though the project is unfinished. Work to have colors meet in the middle, so your design flows effortlessly from one page to the next.

Where or How Can I Add Bleeds to My Design?

Each design program addresses bleeds differently, but here are some basics to get you started:

InDesign: InDesign is best suited for print. You can set up both bleed and margins in the “Document Setup” box when creating a new document. Simply bring your bleeds and margins up to 0.125 inches for the top, bottom, inside, and outside. Your document will have visible lines for you upon creation.

Illustrator: In the initial “Document Setup” window, set your bleeds to 0.125 inches for both top, bottom, inside, and outside. You cannot set up margins in Illustrator, so you will have to use guides once your document is open.

Photoshop: This one is a bit complex. In Photoshop, you will have to add ¼ inch (.25) to your final document size to account for the bleed margin you need. For example, if your document is 8.5” x 11”, you will need to set the document up in Photoshop to be 8.75” x 11.25”. Extend all bleeding images and graphics to the edge of your page and then use the design rulers to create guides for your trim and safety margins.

Publisher: Publisher is similar to Photoshop. To set your document up to bleed, simply add .25” to your document size in the Page Setup window and use design rulers accordingly.

Word: Unfortunately, you cannot set up a full bleeding document in Word. 

Still feeling uncertain? There are many online helps (like this quick InDesign bleed tutorial) that can get you started. Or leave the heavy lifting to our creative design team! We’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re creating a template or need start-to-finish graphic design, we’re here to consult, create, and bring your best ideas to life. Give us a call!

How to Kickstart Your Noodle During a Creative Block

“Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” (Paul Rand, graphic designer)

Never does a page seem so bleak as when you experience a creative rut in design.

Design ruts are the graphic artist’s equivalent of writer’s block. And everyone has been there! The world’s most imaginative people have experienced this obstacle and found a way to battle through.

One benefit of getting stuck is that you’re forced to rediscover your own creativity! Need help getting started? Here are some different ways to break out of stagnation when you’re stuck on a design:

1. Think laterally

Designs are ultimately problems waiting to be solved.

When you are stymied by the project at hand, come at the problem from a different angle, no matter how extreme it might seem.

One way to do this is to temporarily focus your thinking around individual parts of a message, like why a client might need your product or what pictures might best communicate its benefits.

2. Concentrate on your market

What are your target customers used to seeing, and what would make them lean forward and take note?

Maybe you need to challenge existing assumptions and go for something bolder. For example, in the financial world, materials tend to be produced in very corporate colors, like navy blue and grey. How could a fresh design upend traditional concepts in a way that is appealing and energizing?

3. Try the “what if” or the “why” game

When designs don’t seem to flow, start with questions instead. Like this:

What if questions:

  • What if I only use illustrations?
  • What if I only use type?
  • What if the type made the illustration?
  • What if I draw it with my eyes closed?

Why questions:

  • Why do I need to focus on this particular product feature?
  • Why is this feature important to prospects?
  • Why is this something that will impact their life in a significant way?
  • Why is this something they need to think about now versus later?

4. Take a Quick Tutorial

While it can be tempting to rip off a design from someone else, one of the best ways to build your original muscle is to go back to the drawing board.

An easy way to do this is to jump into an online tutorial. Though traditionally intended to educate, tutorials can be a rich source of design inspiration. Don’t merely skim the tutorial and glance at the result, go through the tutorial step by step with the author.

Doing this will force you to think like another person as you try to understand the implementation of methods that aren’t your own. This can energize you to think about new possibilities.

Don’t Force a Solution

When you feel overwhelmed by your lack of inspiration, remember that feeling stuck is just another step in the creative process.

If all else fails, embrace the moment and give it some time. What seems like a rut now might be an important step on your creative journey. Be patient, learn from it, and trust that you’ll come out on the other side.

Need help with your design idea? We can help!

The Flexibility and Significance of Today’s Small Businesses

Greg Goetzman, 58, isn’t much of a gambler, but when COVID-19 sent people home in March, he placed his odds on a new small business model: assigning half his staff to work from home permanently.

With nearly 100 employees, this was a huge shift for the California-based financial consulting firm. Goetzman realized that success would hinge on his ability to carefully outfit employees with equipment and systems to seamlessly communicate. Team members appreciated the flexibility, and this large-scale investment is paying off:

“I haven’t seen a drop in work quality,” Goetzman said, “We are fortunate that our consultants are flexible and accustomed to working from different locations, therefore, they were prepared and there were no issues transitioning to working remotely.”

The novel coronavirus forced strategic business pivots and rapid innovation for many companies, but small businesses have certainly been forced to improvise. And that may be a good thing. Goetzman says that, while revenue is down slightly for the year, the overall workload is increasing. And the new business model will be tweaked as they go:

“We are changing the way we do business,” he said. “It’s going to be some blend of working from home and work from the office. We maybe had 20% of our employees working remotely before COVID. It’s closer to 100% now. I think we will end up somewhere in the middle of that.”

Four Remarkable Small Business Facts

While big business often dominates headlines, small businesses play a vital role in exporting products, creating jobs, and producing wealth for thousands of families.

Here are four remarkable facts about the big impact of small businesses:

1. Nearly all are small

Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in America, comprising 99.9 percent of all firms.

Out of 32.5 million businesses, over 30 million are small!

2. Half are home-based

A home-based business may have activity outside of the home, but it is operated primarily from the home.

According to the SBA statistics, 50% of small businesses are home-based, including 60.1% of firms without paid employees. The most common type of these businesses is sole proprietorship.

3. Small Businesses are nimble

Small business stats show that most businesses in America have fewer than 500 employees.

Those businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2 percent, and those with fewer than 20 employees account for 89 percent of all businesses in the country.

This flexibility certainly helps the economy – according to the small business association, small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64 percent of new jobs created each year.   

4. Many are greatly impacted by uncertainty

Small businesses are more vulnerable to change, especially when they are young.

Only 50% of small businesses last beyond five years, and during the pandemic, small firms have been hit particularly hard. Nearly 31% of small businesses in the U.S. are currently not operational, and 28 percent of small business owners say cash flow will be their biggest upcoming challenge.

Making People the Priority

This is a hard season to be an entrepreneur.

According to the National Association of Independent Business, more than half of small businesses could be in danger of failing if coronavirus-related restrictions continue, and more government aid isn’t forthcoming.

That’s one reason it is so important to prioritize individual connections and communication that takes place “off the screen.”

Goetzman says COVID-19 has prompted him to return to an old habit, writing appreciative letters to clients in longhand:

“It gets a personal message across in a way that an email or a phone call or a message may not,” he said. “It’s you taking the time to really give some deeper thought to the business relationship and what it means to you.”

Remember, we’re here to help your small business succeed. Reach out to us today to get your personal message out to your audience through print.