Secrets to using Vistaprint, the marketeers marketing tool

We figured everyone must know about it but the number of people that have asked us where we get our banners and printed materials from means there must be some people that we can still let in on the secret.

We discovered Vistaprint when we lived in the UK and were delighted to find that they are a worldwide company so we wasted no time in getting some busines cards printed for free.

Now Vistaprint are constantly offering a slew of free stuff. We get unbelievable offers twice a week from them, but of course very little in this world is actually free. Your ‘free’ business cards will be one of a dozen or so standard designs which you can add your text to and which will carry a one line vistaprint advert on the back. If you don’t want this you can pay a little extra to remove it, and by upgrading you get a zillion or so different designs to choose from.

But they don’t just offer business cards. They offer postcards, rubber stamps, pens, posters, banners, letterheads, leaflets, mugs, shirts, even whole websites (although why anyone would pay for a website nowadays with great tols like wordpress available for free is beyond me). And most of these will be offered at some point for free or for up to 80% off. They also offer free shipping every now and again and free logo uploads too. Yes, you can upload your own logo and create merchandising material totally unique to you but again, they normally charge for each image you upload. The way to get around this is to wait until you recieve one of these ‘free logo upload’ offers then upload every image and logo that you can possibly imagine you’d ever use. There might be a size limit but we haven’t reached it yet, and the images are there for us to use in the future.

Another trick we tried but which didn’t work was to mix and match the offers – click on one of the free items from each mail, spend ages configuring it until it’s just right then click on a freebie from another mail and configure that. Unfortunately their clever software monkies have ths one sewn up and only apply the discounts from the last email you clicked on to your whole basket, so if you want a free pen as well as a free lawnsign and they’re on different mails you’ll need to checkout and pay for the pen then click on the free lawnsign doobie, configure and checkout that.

The other way they make their money is by offering you a plethora of items similar or complimentary to the one you’ve just designed, already filled out with all the relevant info. It’s very tempting to say ‘ooo, that looks good’, click on it and add it to your basket. We have done it in the past but it is a slippery slope and it all adds up rapidly. Your best bet is to look for the ‘skip these offers’ button (or words to that effect) and crack on with your agenda. Remember, if you didn’t realise you needed it in the first place you probably don’t need it twenty minutes later.

Postage is always steeper than you’d expect but experience tells us it’s always cheaper than using the guys in town.  Of course if it’s one of their free postage deals then go to town buckaroo, and order yourself a lawnsign of your best mate mooning and stick it on his lawn when he goes on holiday. Actually, I might just do that anyway.


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