The Free Mockup - Should you give them to customers
by Ben Baker
In the newspaper biz, we call this an Ad Proof. We supply proofs to customers for a variety of reasons.
1) By handing the customer a proof, you are putting the burden of making sure the copy is correct on the customer. In cases where we have particularly difficult clients at my newspaper, we insist on giving the client a proof. The client is also required to sign or initial the proof of the ad. This is then kept in a file for later reference in case the client raises some objections to the ad. Having their approval on the ad copy GREATLY reduces our liability for mistakes in the ad.
If you do not supply a proof and there are mistakes, then unless you have some titanium-bound contract initialed by three Philadelphia lawyers, you are going to wind up eating some of the cost of the ad if not re-running the entire ad for free. It doesn’t matter if the mistake was in the copy supplied by the client. The client will believe you should have either corrected it OR given them a chance to correct it before it ran. Many publications have a contract requirement saying they are only responsible for the space occupied by the error, but those businesses which rigidly enforce this stipulation often lose clients.Â
2) It’s good business. It shows the client you’re not just interested in taking their money. It shows the client you care about their business and their ad and you want it to be the best it can be. Rule No. 1 of business is: The customer is always right. While not exactly true, it does point out a truism that in order to keep a customer, you have to take care of that customer. Personal service will win customers and keep them for a long time.Your competition may or may not supply proofs. If they do and you don’t, you are in danger of losing a customer. If they don’t and you do, you’ve got a better lock on the client.
3) It shows trust. By taking a proof to a customer, you are showing them your trust in them. Sure they could take the ad and run it in another publication (more on this in a moment). But if they do that a few times, simply add the giant word PROOF plastered across the ad. Just be sure the PROOF does not obscure any important information like a number in the address or phone number.
4) It can boost their business. For some customers, we not only take them a proof of their ad, we enlarge the ad as much as possible and print it. We leave this enlarged copy with the customer OR tape it to the front door of the business. The clients really appreciate this. It has never cost us any business and has from time to time actually convinced the client to increase the size of the ad or the frequency of the run.
5) It lays the groundwork to discuss upsizing the ad or increasing the number of runs for the ad. When the client sees the ad, the client knows he’s not just spending money on some nebulous concept. He has a physical and tangible reason to invest money.
6) Going one step past the proof, once you build an ad for a customer and they pay for it, the ad is theirs, according to a Supreme Court decision from years back. They can take this ad and run it wherever they chose - your publication or another one.
Ben Baker is a newspaper editor and graphic designer who supplies proofs to most of his customers.
[tags]mockups, proofs, ad proofs, free mockups, design business, design customers, graphic design[/tags]
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