Clients often ask me if they can print their own marketing materials in order to save money. This is a tricky question, because, yes, of course it's possible to print your own marketing materials. You've got an office printer, and some paper. So, sure, you can either take a PDF from your designer and print it, or lay something out in Word or Publisher and run it off.

But, beyond the question of whether you can print your own marketing materials is whether you should. And, whether you should depends on a few factors:

  • The age of your business. If you're just starting your business, then printing some materials may make sense. It would be a cost-effective way to start getting clients in the door.
  • Your confidence in your copy. You could use your early home-printed materials to test your marketing text with your audience — there's no use in professionally printing hundreds of copies of anything and then discovering that it doesn't connect with or make sense to your audience. So, print a few at home and see if they're effective first.
  • What marketing materials you're planning to print. Printing a flyer out on your home or office printer sends out an entirely different message than printing your business cards yourself. So, ask if printing your piece at home is appropriate for the actual piece itself.
  • The actual amount that you'll save. Printing things at home still has a cost associated with it. There are the hard costs of paper and ink. And, then there's the expense of your time — how much are you willing to spend waiting for your printer, fixing paper jams, and feeding in new paper? With the option of printing many pieces digitally these days, and discount printers such as PSPrint available online, the cost of professionally printing materials is not really that great.
  • The loss of credibility that you'll face. What goes through your mind when you receive a packet of printed materials that are obviously printed on a home or office printer? Do you wonder if the business is stable? If they're worth their asking price? If they take pride in their work? Do you think about their level of taste? You don't want any of these sorts of thoughts going through a new prospect's mind. You want them to get your materials, be impressed, and then to consider hiring you — you don't want to create more questions in their minds.
  • The likelihood that your competition's materials will look better. Unless you're in a very "homegrown" industry (like a babysitter or errand running service), then there's a good chance that your competitors are printing their materials professionally. How will yours stack up?