Business Management

  • Digital Printing Leader Lightning Labels Announces Marketing Tips for Custom Labels

    Lightning Labels' new marketing tips remind consumers that customized labels give businesses the option to look expensive, even on a modest budget

    Creating

    Lightning Labels, a custom label and sticker printing leader, encourages businesses and manufacturers to incorporate customized labels into their current marketing scheme in a new release of industry tips. Not only can personalization increase brand awareness, but it can give customers the impression that a product is high-quality and expensive - a factor that is desired by many consumers and manufacturers alike. "Traditionally, big companies were the ones who could afford to take advantage of high-quality label printing, but times have changed," says Business Development Manager AnneMarie Campbell. "Digital label printing offers companies with short-run needs a very high-end, full-color product, even on a lower-end budget." High-quality label design benefits: Customized labels are used for many reasons - including branding and design purposes, giving instructions about how to use a product, to list ingredients and identify what a product is and what it is used for - but they are extremely helpful as a marketing device. Although some products themselves have the ability to catch peoples' attention, manufacturers may use custom labels as a way to portray the value of their product to a target audience. With all of the competition for shelf space among products that have similar purposes, marketers are doing everything they can to stand out and gain customers. With this said, consumers are more likely than ever to compare products to ensure they are getting the best value for the price. Even the smallest-scale manufacturers can remain competitive and produce high-quality labels that capture attention and entice people to try their products. Luxe labels are more affordable than ever: Although large companies and manufacturers previously dominated the field of customized labels, that is not the case any longer. Technological advances in digital printing and the affordability of producing small runs of labels when necessary give even the smallest entrepreneurs, label-makers and manufacturers the ability to remain competitive and utilize expensive-looking labels, but without the added cost. While some may assume that it costs more to print custom labels using multiple colors, it is actually a myth. Lightning Labels offers manufacturers with limited budgets and resources the ability to print labels using full-color graphics for the same price as it would be to print using just one color. Label material quality matters: Although custom labels can come in many shapes, sizes and concepts - whatever the manufacturer can dream up - Lightning Labels reminds consumers that materials do matter. If full-color printing and high-end design concepts are printed on mediocre materials, the purpose may be lost and the consumer won't appreciate the effort put into the label design. Lightning Labels offers a variety of high-quality custom label and sticker materials, including attractive labels made out of Satin Cloth (a woven satin acetate cloth) and gold polyester - both enticing options that many assume are too expensive, but are accessible by even the most budget-minded manufacturers. For those ready to run with these new marketing tips, Lightning Labels is offering special Holiday Savings: Take 10% off all orders (new and reorders) through December 18, 2012, using code HOLIDAY12 at checkout. Plus, Lightning Labels is giving away an iPad Mini to one lucky customer during December! The maximum discount for orders is $1,000. Free ground shipping is also available on regularly priced orders shipped within the U.S. and Canada, though shipping charges apply for printed press proofs. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers or promotions. Orders placed using code HOLIDAY12 qualify as entry for the chance to win an iPad Mini. Lightning Labels is not affiliated, endorsed or sponsored by Apple®. About Lightning Labels: Lightning Labels uses state-of-the-art digital printing technology to provide affordable, full-color custom labels and custom stickers of all shapes and sizes, and now offers a full line of custom packaging products. From small orders for individuals, to the bulk needs of big businesses, Lightning Labels is equipped to handle and fulfill sticker, label and product packaging projects of all types. Best of all, like the name implies, Lightning Labels provides a quick turnaround to every customers' labeling and product packaging needs. Uses for Lightning Labels custom product labels and custom stickers include food packaging and organic food labels, wine and beverage labels, bath and body labels, and nutraceutical products, such as vitamins, essentials oils, and herbal remedies, as well as event stickers, adhesive window stickers and more. Lightning Labels strongly supports the development of environmentally friendly printing materials and carries EarthFirst PLA, a new kind of green label material made from corn instead of petroleum. While operating as a high-tech printer, Lighting Labels prides itself on its personalized customer service. Lightning Labels provides one stop shopping for all of your label and product packaging needs. For more information and to place orders online, visit LightningLabels.com. For the latest in packaging news and labeling promotional offers, find Lightning Labels on  FacebookTwitter (@LightningLabels), and Google+.

  • How to Track Your Competion Online

    Tracking the competition online Do you know that you should be tracking your competition online, but don't know where to start? Then check out the eCommerce column in the July/August edition of Label & Narrow Web Magazine. This edition of eCommerce, co-authored by Lightning Labels General Manager James Lowry and myself, will give you step-by-step directions for monitoring competing brands online. What I love most about this column is that James explains how many of the traditional marketing principals seasoned marketers are already familiar with can be applied to performing competitive analysis on the Internet. I then recommend some of the easiest tools you can use to see what the competition is up to. You'll also probably like that all of the tools I highlight are free or inexpensive. James and I would love to know if you have any tips not mentioned in our column for converters wondering what first actions they should take to monitor their competitors' online activities. We are also interested in seeing how tracking your competition online has benefited your business. And if you are not a converter but are interested in having high-quality, full color custom labels printed, please keep Lightning Labels in mind. You can learn more about us and how to place an order online by visiting us online at www.LightningLabels.com, emailing us at info@lightninglabels.com, or calling us toll-free at 1.888.685.2235.

  • Our Lightning Fast Service Just Got Faster!

    Lightning Labels now ships most orders in just 2-3 days.

    Standard Turnaround Time for Label & Sticker Orders Now 2-3 Days, Offered at No Extra Charge

    Lightning Labels is pleased to announce that we are now shipping most custom label and sticker orders in just two to three days following proof approval. Our increased turnaround time, which is now standard at no extra charge, has several benefits for our customers. Our ability to get orders out the door even quicker than before is especially helpful for customers who regularly order small quantities of our labels and stickers. Here are just a few ways these businesses can benefit from our faster service:

    • Ability to meet last-minute business demands
    • Makes JIT inventory management easier to implement, as we can print small quantities of labels and stickers as needed in a minimal amount of time
    • Minimizes risk of inventory spoilage, including situations where labeling must frequently be updated to comply with regular changes in government regulations
    • Allows labels to be changed frequently for marketing reasons, such as testing different packaging designs

    What really excites us about being able to print orders in only two to three days now is that we can better serve customers that are creating a niche for themselves in their respective markets. "Through our quick turnaround service, we are able to help our customers offer their customers small quantities of private labeled products in a hurry, which makes our customers more successful at what they do," said Lightning Labels General Manager James Lowry. "We like it when everyone wins in this business."

  • Whole Foods Market Raises the Bar for Organic Bath & Beauty Product Makers

    Whole Foods Market suppliers have less than a year to certify personal care products labeled as "organic" to the the same standards that organic food is currently certified under US law. The deadline for submitting their plans for compliance, however, is only a month away.

    As of June 1, 2011, all personal care products labeled as "organic" and "made with organic ingredients" must be certified to the United States Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (USDA NOP) standard in order to sold in its US stores, the Austin-based organic grocery chain announced earlier this month on its corporate website. Products labeled as "contains organic ingredients" will be required to be certified by the consensus-based industry standard NSF 305 ANSI Standard for Organic Personal Care Products.

    The USDA is not expected to mandate certification for non-food products making organic claims. So why is Whole Foods raising the bar for its suppliers? The answer is simple: Its customers expect it.

    “At Whole Foods Market, our shoppers do not expect the definition of organic to change substantially between the food and non-food aisles of our stores,” explained Joe Dickson, quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We believe that the ‘organic’ claim used on personal care products should have just as strong a meaning to the ‘organic’ claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program.”

    I would love to hear from suppliers who will be affected by the new organic labeling requirements for bath and body products, cosmetics, and other personal care items currently labeled as organic. Are you planning to continue to selling your products in Whole Foods stores? Do you think Whole Foods is doing the right thing? And do you think the August 1 deadline for submitting your plans for compliance to Whole Foods is reasonable?

    For more information about the new labeling requirements for products making organic claims, visit Whole Food's blog, The Whole Story.

  • Social Media Marketing for Small Business: Where to Start

    Maintaining a social media presence on the Internet is vital for all businesses today, including small businesses and startups. But because there are so many different social media networks on the Internet to choose from today, it can be challenging to know where to begin. The Beginner’s Guide to Social Marketing video from Your Business Channel (featured above) gives an overview of what social media marketing is and gives some great advice for getting started with social media marketing that is tailored to small businesses like the ones that make up our customer base. We here at Lightning Labels would love to connect with you through our social media networks. Just click on the links below, or email me at info@lightninglabels.com and I'll send you a personal invitation. By the way, have you subscribed to the Lightning Labels Blog yet? If not, you can sign up now to receive updates via email or the RSS feed of your choice. Just click on the icon for your favorite RSS feed service below; or submit your email address in the appropriate box to have new blogs posts sent straight to your email in-box.

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  • Related Videos

    Social Media in Plain English from the Common Craft Show

    Twitter in Plain English from the Common Craft Show

    How to Create a Facebook Fan Page by Matthew Loop

    Facebook Fan Pages: How To Create and Promote Yours by Mari Smith

  • Reaching the ‘Hooray Zone’ in Business

    How-to-be-happy-in-business-venn-diagram

    I ran across this Venn diagram “How to Be Happy in Business” the other day on Bud Cadell’s blog, What Consumes Me, and immediately thought of the successful small businesses we have featured in our quarterly newsletter, The Lighting Flash. Whether or not they have ever seen Bud’s plan for reaching what he calls the Hooray Zone in business, they are following it. They have figured out what products and services they are most passionate about (What We Want to Do) that match their skills, talents, and resources (What We Do Well), and built their businesses on those that are most profitable (What We Can Be Paid to Do).

    Like this diagram as much as I do? You can purchase a How to Be Happy in Business Poster from Zazzle.com.

    “How to Be Happy in Business” Venn diagram by Bud Caddell available for distribution under Creative Commons License 2.0

  • Celebrating Make a Referral Week

    Header John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing decided he was sick of all the bad economic news and talk of doom and gloom. So he decided to do something positive. He created Make A Referral Week for March 9-13, calling it the small business referral stimulus program. The goal is to promote small business and help stimulate the economy by making referrals to other small businesses. Lightning Labels is participating in Make A Referral Week with this blog post. Today I am writing about one of our long time vendors, someone we have been doing business with since we started back in 2002. This company is called Masterpiece Graphix and they are the leaders in their narrow niche. What they do is coat materials for HP-Indigo presses. This is a very narrow niche but any digital label printer who has struggled with print quality issues knows coating is critical. In order to print on HP-Indigo label presses a material must be pre-coated so that it will receive the special HP-Indigo ElectroInk. All the major label material vendors offer some materials that are pre-coated but we know from experience that no one has this process nailed down like Masterpiece Graphix. They are a small family business founded in 1998 by Doug Watson. Over the years we have found their quality to be excellent and customer service second to none. They have opened up the options for many digital label printers by allowing us to order any label material we like, not just the 10-12 most popular materials pushed by the major vendors. I know many people in the label printing industry read this blog. If you want a reliable vendor for all your HP-Indigo coated materials then give Masterpiece Graphix a call. Tell them Lightning Labels sent you as part of Make A Referral Week.

  • Lightning Labels is Now on Twitter

    Twitter_logo_125x29 I have been exploring Twitter for a few months now and I have come to realize that it can be a very useful business tool. What I find most useful is following the conversations of our customers many of whom are also on Twitter. I also enjoy having access to some of the smartest business minds on the planet and discovering what they are thinking about. If you are already on Twitter then I encourage you to follow Lightning Labels. If you are wondering what all the fuss is about then here is an excellent beginners guide to Twitter targeted at business people by John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing. Twitter has still only been around a short time but it continues to grow rapidly and is becoming a serious business tool. One word of warning, Twitter can suck you in. Last year when I started playing around with it sometimes a couple of hours would go by before I realized it. Today I try and check Twitter just twice a day and I have several searches setup on Tweetdeck for our company name, and various label printing terms. This way I can find out quickly and easily what people are saying that is of interest to me. And whenever I find something useful it is very quick and easy to share it with my followers. Twitter allows us to communicate quickly and easily. I really don't think it is the latest fad, I think it is here to stay. It is a useful addition to the marketing mix for any business.

  • Gather All the Printing News at Alltop

    Alltop Sometimes when you are trying to research a topic a google search can get frustrating. You often have to sift through pages of search results before gathering all the information you need. Wouldn't it be better to go to one location and find all the important news that is completely up to date? This is the idea behind Alltop, a new venture by Guy Kawasaki, the serial entrepreneur, venture capatalist and author. Alltop gathers all the latest news from around the world and organizes it by topic, kind of like an online magazine rack. It pulls in news from traditional sources such as newspaper and magazine web sites, but also includes new media such as popular blogs and online forums. If you need to do research on ballroom dancing, woodworking or New Zealand then Alltop has you covered. Best of all it is updated every hour with all the latest news on every topic so you know you are getting only current information. Recently a printing category was added to Alltop. It includes news from the commercial printing industry as well as label printing. So now all the news from our industry is gathered conveniently in one place at printing.alltop.com. And yes, you will find the Lightning Labels blog in there as well.

  • Starting a Business Today

    Seth Godin had an interesting post on his blog this morning. He was commenting on the turbulent financial times in which we live and the impact on entrepreneurs. Many might think that now would not be a good time to start a business, but Godin disagrees. He said that if he didn't already own a business he would be looking to start one now. I know many Lightning Labels customers and readers of this blog are entrepreneurs with very small part time businesses wondering when would be a good time to quit your day job and launch full time into your business. As Godin says there will always be an excuse not to start. He points out that many of the businesses in this year's Inc. 500 were started soon after 9/11 (Lightning Labels is one such business), where times were even more turbulent than today. We are hearing a lot of bad news these days. But this too will pass and one day a few years from now we will be reading about bold entrepreneurs who launched successful businesses in the wake of the financial disaster of '08. We look forward to printing labels for these companies.

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    Material Descriptions

    Materials

    BIOSTONE

    One of our eco-friendly options that is actually made of stone—no trees are used. This material should not laminated.

    CAST GLOSS

    This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

    CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

    This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

    CLASSIC CREST

    Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

    CLEAR BOPP

    This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

    ESTATE #9

    This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

    GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

    This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

    KRAFT (RECYCLED)

    This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

    REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

    This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

    SATIN CLOTH

    Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

    SQUEEZABLE

    A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

    VELLUM (RECYCLED)

    A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

    WHITE BOPP

    This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

    WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

    A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

    WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

    This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

    WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

    We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

    CAST GLOSS

    This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

    CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

    This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

    CLASSIC CREST

    Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

    CLEAR BOPP

    This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

    ESTATE #9

    This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

    GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

    This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

    KRAFT (RECYCLED)

    This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

    REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

    This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

    SATIN CLOTH

    Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

    SQUEEZABLE

    A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

    VELLUM (RECYCLED)

    A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

    WHITE BOPP

    This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

    WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

    A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

    WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

    This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

    WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

    We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

    Artwork Specifications

    Laminates

    High Gloss

    High gloss is our most popular laminate. It is the least expensive option and provides protection for the label and a high gloss shiny finish.

    Matte

    The Matte Laminate provides your label with a dull, non-glossy finish. Some customers consider this achieves a more "natural" look.

    Thermal Transfer

    This is a gloss laminate that is designed to work with most over-printing thermal transfer printers. We do recommend you get samples first to test through your own printer before placing an order with this laminate.

    UV Outdoor Gloss

    As the name implies this is best used for labels that will be used outdoors. It has a high gloss finish with excellent UV resistance. It is best paired with our vinyl material for the most durable outdoor label.