Marketing with Bookmarks: Stay Top of Mind for Your Best Customers

Most of the time, customers throw away print materials. Junk mail, brochures and business cards often hit the trash the moment a customer gets home.

Bookmarks are a unique opportunity for your customers to use, enjoy, and keep a reminder of your business. They’re especially useful for any person or organization targeting readers.

So what can you use bookmarks for? What makes a good bookmark? What does it cost to print? We’ll answer these questions next.

What can you use bookmarks for?

1. Event Promotion

Print the event name, date, and location, on the back. You can even add a QR code that links to your event landing page.

2. Event Takeaways

Rather than printing a large catalogue or booklet, you can save paper and give your guests a bookmark commemorating your event. On the back of the bookmark, you can add a link (and an optional QR code) to all bulky materials you usually would have printed. You can format these materials into a PDF or a webpage with multiple resources. Now your guests have one takeaway that they’re likely to keep, and they will always have easy access to all the information you’d like to share with them.

3. Corporate Holiday Mailers

The winter holidays are a wonderful opportunity to share a gift with your customers. A custom bookmark with photography by a local photographer is sure to be a hit. To distribute the bookmark outside of your office, you can mail them out to your contact list or a list of prospects. Try adding a note to the front of the mailer (“Free local bookmark inside!”) to make sure people don’t miss out.

4. Author Promotion

Especially if you’re publishing your first book and looking to do some guerrilla marketing, leaving a stack of bookmarks at a library or bookstore is a great way to inform people about your book (and help them remember to buy it). So long as you don’t overdo your branding, many bookstores will welcome your gift and give your bookmarks out to their customers.

Commercial delivery

5. Product Packaging

If someone just bought a product from your company, include a bookmark alongside your usual promotional material or installation instructions. If the design is beautiful and resonates with your target audience, they might just decide to hold onto it – keeping a lasting reminder of your brand next to them for years to come.

6. Employee Gifts

You can reward your employees with a creative bookmark that features a positive message, famous quote, cartoon, or inside joke that your staff would enjoy.

7. School Donations

You can donate bookmarks to schools. Oftentimes students will take them. Then their parents, friends, or roommates will eventually notice them.

8. Religious Groups

Share an inspirational photo and a quote from a religious text. On the back, you can also include the times for your church services or group meetings.

9. Reading Groups

Share a quote from a book you’re reading or a beautiful photo from where you live. On the back of the bookmark, you can add your contact information and a link to the reading group’s website.

10. Funeral Keepsakes

Print a photo of your loved one on one side of the bookmark, and a poem or remembrance on the other. Your bookmarks will allow your guest to leave with a special memory of the departed.

11. Weddings, Baby Showers, and Other Celebrations

A bookmark can be an affordable and personal thank-you gift for your guests. Look for a photo that will “spark joy” for years to come – whether it’s a photo of the bride and groom, an ultrasound picture, or a group photo at the gathering.

What makes a good bookmark?

Choose a subject that appeals to your target audience

Most customers will welcome a bookmark that features a meaningful quote, an aesthetic design, a seasonal image, a local photo, or iconography that holds personal meaning. It’s key that you feature an image that resonates.

The less branding, the better

Compared to your main image, your branding should be small and secondary. You can include your logo, contact info, website link, and an optional call-to-action in a subtle way at the bottom on one side of the bookmark.

Select a standard size and quality cardstock

Typically a bookmark is 2” x 6”. At Nexus Marketing, we print on 16pt cardstock (sometimes marketed as “extra heavy” cardstock). This weight delivers durability and conveys quality.

We add a UV gloss coating to the front and a silk finish to the back. The UV gloss makes your artwork stand out, and protects your image from scratching or scuffing. On the back of the bookmark, the silk finish creates a soft, smooth texture that contrasts nicely with the glossy side.

What does it cost to print?

For almost all orders, we use Vistaprint for printing. Currently, Vistaprint charges $35 for 100 bookmarks ($0.35 per bookmark), $65 for 200 ($0.33 per bookmark), and $276 for 1,000 ($0.28 per bookmark), plus $9 in shipping costs.

Vistaprint’s top competitor, UPrinting, offers comparable prices with the ability to add customizations:

  • Various lengths (3.5”, 6”, 7.25”, 9”)
  • Completely custom width and length options (2” to 8.5” width, 2” to 11” height)
  • Hole drilling (1/8 inch to 1/4 inch) for tassel
  • Optional rounded corners
  • Optional shrink wrapping

Increase the bookmark’s size

The most valuable service UPrinting offers, in my opinion, is the ability to print larger bookmarks. If you’re trying to reach a college student, a 12” bookmark would be perfect for a textbook.

Add a tassel

Tassels are a great way to increase value for your audience and increase your bookmark’s shelf life. If you choose to add a tassel, Tassel Depot offers 100 tassels for $18 on Amazon, alongside other tassel vendors.

We string tassels into bookmarks independently so that we can work with our preferred printers. However, Tassel Depot also offers a combined printing and tassel attachment service on their website.

Cut out a custom design

At a substantial price increase, you can have a custom design cut out of the bookmark. For these special orders, we work with Smartpress. They charge $86 for 100 bookmarks with a simple design cutout, $165 for a complex design, all the way up to $224 for a variable complex design. A variable complex cutout would allow you to cut different names into each bookmark. This personalization could be useful for a holiday gift for your clients, party attendees, or other special occasion.

Add a personal note

So long as you print with our standard silk finish on the back, you’ll be able to sign the bookmark or leave a short, personalized note for your recipient.

How to design your own bookmark

Get inspiration from Pinterest

KingTut Printing has a beautiful Pinterest board with modern, creative bookmark designs.

For more out-of-the-box creative designs, check out this wonderful post at NeatDesigns (55 Funny & Unique Bookmark Designs) or this more crafty board.

You can also see what designs are trending on Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

Utilize the right tools

Canvas’s user-friendly software is ideal for designing a bookmark. To get started, visit their tutorial on how to create your own bookmark

If you prefer a more advanced design tool, you can work in either Affinity Photo or Adobe Photoshop.

If you need graphics, check out FreePik as well as our other recommended free graphic design and stock photography resources.

As you design, keep in mind the 10 basic principles of graphic design.

Leave a margin

For a 2” x 6” bookmark, set your canvas to 635 x 1835 with 300 DPI and make sure to use the CMYK color space. This will give you a small bleed that printers will use to ensure your design prints all the way to edge of your bookmark.

If you design your own bookmark, make sure not to have text (or anything visually important) near the edges of your bookmark. A good rule is to leave 3/16” margin around the border.

For a handy reference, if you plan to submit your design to Vistaprint, you can download their printing template in PSD or AI format. The template has a small bleed and guides to indicate the safety margin where you should avoid printing text.

Minimize branding

Unlike other forms of print marketing, a bookmark is above all a gift to your customers. With this in mind, it’s critical that you produce a design that will appeal to your target market and that you avoid diluting your design with over-the-top branding.

I generally recommend reducing branding to less than 1/3 of a single side of your bookmark. This is often enough room for your most essential information – a one-liner about what your company does, a small logo, your phone number and website, and a call-to-action.

If you definitely need more space, you can potentially use one side of the bookmark for the design and the entire other side for promotional information. Use your judgment based on the people you’re giving the bookmark to. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself: Will my customers value this bookmark as a gift, or will they think it looks tacky?

Certainly, you should avoid huge logos and calls-to-action. Subtlety is your friend!

Design a couple variants

There isn’t a whole lot of space on a bookmark, so a single design can take much less time than other design tasks. You can use the time you save to design one or two design variations to help you find the perfect design for your audience.

Do your part to reduce paper waste

One of the most compelling advantages to bookmarks is that they can reduce the amount of paper your company prints to stay in front of your customers.

By distilling your brand into a small rectangle that your best customers keep with them over time, you can avoid sending out a monthly mailer with letters, brochures, and updates that recipients nearly always throw away and forget.

With the average American using the equivalent paper of a 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree every year, it’s useful for companies to find creative, valuable, and meaningful ways to promote their brand using less paper than previous generations.

The average American uses the equivalent paper of a 100-foot-tall Douglas fir tree every year.

With bookmarks and other selective, strategic print marketing, along with a robust email marketing campaign, you can stay in front of your customers with less physical mail.

Conclusion

As you can see, a bookmark can help your organization reach your target audience in a variety of contexts. Not only that, a quality bookmark is exceedingly economical to produce and you have all the tools you need to make a beautiful bookmark today.

If you could use any assistance, Nexus Marketing offers an affordable bookmark design service. We’re pleased to help you design bookmarks for your organizations, and to offer you a free marketing consultation to explore a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business.

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