Using hashtags has become an essential element of online success. Each platform has their own rules and guidelines for hashtags, so understanding the basics of how to use them is #veryimportant. We understand that print owners don’t exactly have a lot of free time on their hands to learn social marketing strategies in addition to being experts on printing, design, large format, etc. Your friends at NPOA are here to help make this confusing topic more manageable for business owners like you.

How to Hashtag

Using a hashtag on a social post is really as simple as adding the # sign before a single word or phrase, without spaces or punctuation. You can also include numbers in your hashtags as well. Typing out a hashtag is simple enough, but there are some subtle nuances you should learn to get the most out of them. Typically, hashtags are used to emphasize a topic, to generalize a feeling or emotion. #learningsomuch

Why to Hashtag

Using hashtags help your target audience find you. People on all platforms desire to find other people or places with common interests, and thus turn to their search bar.

*insert stat about searching for common topics before committing to company for purchase* Individuals often turn to social media to find a local place to eat, find others who share interest in a niche topic, or to see what type of partners a company does work with.

Hashtag Rules:

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Words matter - but pictures are becoming more and more popular among social media users. According to Brain Rules, “Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%.” In a recent NPOA survey, you stated that you would like to learn more about how to use social media to your print shop's advantage. This article is to help print owners like you understand how visual content is just as important online as it is in a printed job. Here are the basics to help your shop's Instagram get off on the right foot:

The Basics

  • You must use your most recent logo as your profile picture. Usernames can sometimes be hard to identify; a logo is unmistakable.
  • Convert your account from a Personal Account to a Business Account.
    • This allows you to connect to your business Facebook page, provide contact info, and regulate comments on your content.
  • List your business location, email address, and phone number on your profile to make it as easy as possible to contact you.
  • Put your website in your profile! This is the only place that allows for a clickable URL on Instagram.

The Photo

  • Quality is key when trying to set yourself apart from the crowd on Instagram. Your Blackberry from 2008 isn’t going to take a picture that wows a potential customer. If your shop has a nice DSLR camera, use that to take all of your pictures; if not, a nice smartphone camera will do.
  • Find a place with plenty of natural light and a clean background to take your pictures if you can. Avoid dark, cluttered rooms - you are setting yourself up for failure if you can’t produce a quality picture of your quality printed product. 

Photo Editing

  • Restraint, restraint, restraint. There are a million third party photo editing apps at your disposal in addition to built-in photo adjustment software within Instagram itself. Nothing looks worse than a business that gets carried away with heavy filters or stylized effects.
  • Your best bet is to make slight edits to brightness and saturation so that the focus is on your photo’s content.


  • With over 700 million active Instagram users, reaching an ideal, local audience can be a difficult task. This is where hashtags come into play. Hashtags allow you to expose your content to a wider audience instead of just those who already follow you on Instagram, as users often search for topics in the search bar.
  • Find a balance between hashtags that are too generic and too specific, or you will not reach actual potential customers.

Tags and Geotags

  • There are two other means of tagging on Instagram. Geotagging allows you to reveal your location to everyone in the vicinity. People will often search their location for people and activities nearby. This is a perfect way to reach out to a local audience at a specific time.
  • You can also tag other user accounts. The account will show the picture that you tagged them in to all of their followers via their profile page. This helps to establish a trusted partnership between two accounts, which can form a common follower base.

Like your business’s Facebook page, pushing your brand does not necessarily mean you should try to make a sale at every turn. A simple ‘like’ or comment can do wonders for building a relationship with a person, business, or community. Cater to your ideal audience with a relatable brand voice that works for you and your print shop. 

Social media: a topic that business owners either love or hate. For those who cower in fear, this series of articles is for you. With a higher demand for printers to also become marketers, we’re here to guide your print shop through the basics of social media so that you can be one of the many businesses that increase their revenue by 24%, according to Sprout Social. We’ll start with the platform that you’re probably most familiar with: Facebook!

The Basics

  • Know the difference between Pages, Groups, and People. Your company should be represented with a Page: this allows users to identify you as a business, not an individual.
  • Your logo represents your business; your page will most likely be overlooked if it doesn’t have a logo for its profile picture. Your ‘cover photo’ can be a little more flexible, but still should appropriately represent your business.  
  • Make sure your page contains an accurate address, phone number, hours of operation, and website.
  • Your ‘Bio’ and ‘About’ sections should be relevant information, but not too wordy. Social media is all about quick and to the point.

Content is King

  • Original content (photos, videos, memes, etc.) is key to identifying your brand and to show that you are more than just a logo! Be creative: snap and post a picture of your latest job, introduce a new employee, or stream live from an event. Be yourself and your audience is more likely to form a connection.
  • Just like with a design and the paper it’s printed on, posting is a balancing act. Too many posts may result in people becoming desensitized to your content and potentially unfollowing you!
  • People want to get to know you, but not necessarily your opinions. Remain appropriate and non-controversial at all times.

Get to Know Your Customers

  • You. Are. Not. A. Robot. Engage with your followers! Comment back when they leave a message on a post, "like" local businesses, share customers’ relevant posts or articles. This shows that you value your audience and their opinions.
  • Come up with a posting plan that works with your business. Your presence should be regular, NOT occasional. You want your audience to be thinking about your company weekly.

Data, Data, Data

  • Social media platforms, like Facebook, can directly and indirectly generate sales. Know if your time on Facebook is well spent. ‘Facebook Insights’ breaks down the basics so you can analyze who likes interacting with your print shop and why. Utilize Facebook Insights to monitor your success with your fans and other helpful information such as demographics on your fans and when they are active.   
  • Read 21 quick facts on social media during 2017:

Facebook is an easy and low-cost way to reach a lot of people on a personal level. Take a whack at the social media monster with our help and be sure to follow NPOA’s Facebook account for constant industry news, trends, and advice! 

Director of the InfoTrends Business Development Group, Kate Dunn, has officially committed to a spot as a speaker during NPOA’s 2018 Owners Conference in February. Dunn brings buckets of wisdom from years of experience in the industry, so much so that we’ve asked her to speak not once, but twice. Her topics include:

Think You Don’t Have Time to Market Your Business? Think Again!
According to the 2017 Small Business Marketing Trends Report, almost half of small business owners handle their company’s marketing. In too many cases that means marketing efforts are sporadic or non-existent, leading to slow sales and lost opportunities. Find out how to build a marketing plan that you can actually execute, track what’s happening, and use the results to continually improve results.
The Best Practices of High Performance Sales Organizations
Learn the results of a 2017 InfoTrends study that uncovered what printing businesses of all sizes are doing that keeps them from building a growing business and the best practices used by small and large companies who are growing by double digits.


Dunn understands the print world from nearly all sides, which helps her develop key strategies for small and large businesses alike. She uses her decades of experience to marry sales and marketing tactics to define and achieve business goals. Dunn’s results-oriented attitude ultimately increases revenue by means of assessing business risks and opportunities, and building actionable sales and marketing plans.

Don’t miss an opportunity to listen to this award-winning leader reveal expert industry advice on cross-channel marketing, strategy, lead-generation activity, and sales training programs.


More than 120 of your fellow NPOA members attended the 2016 conference to network with other printers, learn from industry experts and share tips with one another. The 2017 Conference in New Orleans promises more of the same. Be sure to join us!

This is the only conference created BY printers FOR printers. Listen to what attendees had to say about the 2016 Owners Conference.

Your NPOA leadership has commissioned Printing Industries of America's Center for Print Economics and Management to update our 2nd NPOA Signs and Wide Format Pricing Study. This is the only officially sanctioned NPOA survey and report on this important topic.

The survey and report will be similar to the previous NPOA version.

In the next few days NPOA members will receive a notice on how to participate in the survey.

All NPOA members are strongly encouraged to participate.

Thank you,
Barry Martin
Chairman NPOA
NPOA helps you Start Setting Appointments with Highly Qualified Prospects
in the Next 24 Hours!
  • Are you struggling to get face-to-face with qualified prospects?
  • Do you need to kick start your sales team’s production?

In The Cold Calling Survival Guide, Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, shares her proven methods and valuable insights to help you break through and start setting appointments right away.


The way the print industry does business has changed forever. 

  • The game has gotten harder
  • Budgets have gotten tighter
  • Buyers have less time
  • Buyers have more choices

Now more than ever, you need to be a Master at Customer Prospecting

If you are a print owner who is working really, really hard and yet not getting the number or quality of solid, high paying customers that you really want… If you need to:

  • Get better at prospecting
  • Gain control over sales and the sales cycle
  • Feel confident and comfortable
  • Sell more now

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™, has created a special offer just for us.

Click here to learn more about the Prospecting Mastery program and to take advantage of the NPOA Special Offer discount.


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Dear NPOA Members,
It was a pleasure meeting many of you last week at the National Print Owners Association Conference in San Antonio and demonstrating Heidelberg’s new eShop.   
For those of you that did not get a chance to stop by our table or attend, we don’t want you to miss our exclusive offer for NPOA Members:


To Redeem Your Discount:
• Request a Login at, reference“NPOA” under “How did you hear about the online shop?”
• Once your account is setup, you will receive emails with Login Credentials & Promo Code to use at checkout

This offer is valid for one time use and is good until May 31, 2016.
For more information about our eShop, click here to watch this brief introductory video. If you have any questions or need assistance setting up your eShop login, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your hospitality, and we look forward to working with your organization in the future.
Best Regards,


Tom McTernan
Vice President, Consumables Sales
[email protected]
Office (770) 419-6755
Cell (847) 224-2255


NPOA Conference presents HR Keys to Success

Employees are the foundation of the customer service, sales, and production that make printing companies successful. Finding, hiring, training and keeping good employees are crucial elements in building that foundation.
To help members with this, the NPOA Spring Conference in San Antonio April 14-16, 2016 will include a session on HR:
Keys to Success
Presented by Danyell Lance, Director of Human Resources at Curry Printing in Maryland.Curry Printing president Paula Fargo, a Profit Leader panelist at two previous conferences, credits Danyell for her help with employee management.
Attendees will receive a flash drive with all the forms that Danyell shares in the session.
You don't want to miss this! Early bird deadline is March 17, 2016. Register here
Danyell Lance
Danyell Lance has developed extensive knowledge and expertise in the areas of recruitment, employee relations and development, training, compensation, benefits, and workers’ compensation, and has realized significant improvements in employee effectiveness, retention, wellness, and overall business performance throughout her career. She has spent the last seven years managing and developing small business HR programs, working as Director of Human Resources at Curry and Copycat Printing. Her prior work experience includes both corporate and agency recruitment. Danyell received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and MBA from Loyola University of Maryland.
NPOA updates members on industry efforts to stop patent trolls 

The following article appeared in WhatTheyThink. NPOA believes this is important for all members to be informed on.  As an industry, all major stakeholders are working to stop this and protect all printers. You as an owner need to keep informed about what you can do and how you can fight this. The full article will help you do so. 

A patent troll is a company or person that purchases a patent and then sues another company claiming that the use of one of its products infringes on the purchased patent.

Trolls attempt to enforce patent rights against alleged infringers far beyond the patent's actual value or contribution to the technology or the industry that the patent represents. Patent trolls typically do not manufacture products or provide services based upon the patents in question. They use patents as “legal weapons,” instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas to improve business, commerce, or society. Trolls are in the business of threatening and creating litigation. 

Further, trolls often buy-up patents cheaply from companies that are looking to monetize patents that have little or no value, or should have not been granted to begin with, because of Prior Art demonstrating that what the patents teach was obvious prior to the time of application for the patent. These patents are subject to an invalidity contention and termination by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) when alleged infringers contest the trolls. They are typically very broad, covering generic or well-known types of applications that should never have been patented to begin with.

In possession of these broad and vague patents, the troll then sends out intimidating letters to those they argue infringe on their patents. It is a scare tactic that preys on innocent companies that are merely providing a service needed by society. These letters threaten legal action unless the alleged infringer agrees to pay a licensing fee, which can often range to the tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many who receive infringement letters will choose to pay the licensing-fee out of fear, and because patent litigation is extremely expensive and can involve lengthy and time-consuming court deliberations...

For complete article please read the following link

NPOA has author permission to reprint and publish this fully or partially.  It is for the good of the printing and imaging industry, OEMs, and related potentially impacted parties.

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Tawnya Starr, President of PrinterPresence, sponsor and guest panelist on Internet & Technology at the 2016 NPOA Conference will be conducting a FREE educational webinar on building your online presence. For a sampling of the information she will offer at the conference, sign up today! Use this link to pick one of three dates available. Register here!

National Print Owners Association Contracts With
Printing Industries of America for Administrative Services

Melbourne, FL January 12, 2016 - The Board of Directors of the National Print Owners Association (NPOA) announced today that it has contracted with Printing Industries of America (PIA) for a number of administrative services, effective February 1st. The move follows the resignation of NPOA Executive Director John Stewart, who will resume his printing firm valuation services and as well as publishing his acclaimed industry research studies.

“Printing Industries of America will provide back office administrative support including mail and phone service, database management, order fulfillment, membership renewal assistance and all accounting services for the association,” said NPOA President Barry Martin. “We wanted to ensure that NPOA continued to operate without an interruption in service and are confidant PIA can service our administrative needs.”

NPOA’s board emphasized that the relationship with PIA is strictly for services and should not be construed as anything but. “Our membership is proud of being an association of print entrepreneurs and our relationship with PIA in no way changes our autonomy as an independent organization with its own board, mission and direction. We are simply capitalizing on existing expertise from a known and trusted organization in our industry and paying for the services,” added Martin.

“We are honored to work with NPOA and look forward to a long relationship, said Michael Makin, President and CEO of Printing Industries of America.”

About NPOA

From its grass roots inception three years ago, NPOA has grown from 19 founding members to almost 350 print shop owners, making it the fastest growing association in the printing industry. Along with an annual conference, it provides its members with proprietary studies and surveys on technology, pricing, business operations, and many other topics. It also offers an on-line discussion forum for print shop owners to share ideas and solutions to common problems. The association’s motto is “By Printers, For Printers” and its members represent the most progressive printing operations in the industry. NPOA’s 4th Annual NPOA Spring Conference will be held April 14-16, 2016 in San Antonio, TX at the Hotel Contessa. For more information, visit:

For Further Information Contact: 
Barry Martin
President NPOA
[email protected]


Hear What Your Fellow NPOA Members
Have to Say About the Annual Conference!

Still haven't decided to register for the 2016 NPOA Annual Spring Conference in San Antonio? Take it from your peers - this is an event that you don't want to miss.

This video offers testimonials from fellow printers who attended the 2015 Annual Conference in Orlando FL..

More than 100 of your fellow NPOA members attended the 2015 conference to network with other printers, learn from industry experts and share tips with one another. The 2016 Conference promises more of the same. This is the only conference created BY printers FOR printers. Click this link to meet the Conference Committee and view the agenda and THEN REGISTER!

What are you waiting for? 2016 is your year to kick up your success another notch!

Just our best wishes for a happy holiday and a safe New Year. P.S. We are also conducting a test of our RSS feed to make sure it is working for the new year!

John Stewart, Executive Director
National Print Owners Association

NPOA Pricing Study Executive Summary
Now Available for Free Download

NPOA Members can now download a PDF copy of the 2015-2016 Quick Printing Industry Pricing Study "Executive Summary" by visiting the Members Only portion of our web site. Go to Membership > Members Only. You will have to use your Username and Password to access this portion of the site.

Although it is not intended to provide all the information available in the complete 120+ page study, this executive summary still provides valuable data and insight into pricing trends and practices in the industry. The complete study is available in the NPOA Bookstore with a retail price of $285. However, NPOA members can purchase the study for only $171, a 40% discount!

2016 NPOA Conference Committee Putting Final Touches on Agenda

(Left to right, Bob Stor, Charlene Sims and Dave Hutlin)

Lots of ideas and effort goes into creating the only conference FOR printers BY printers, Meet your 2016 Conference Committee here

Your peers have developed a fantastic program for NPOA members, by reviewing surveys from attendees and soliciting input from the PrintOwners List. This year the conference will offer dedicated sessions on sales and marketing while also providing the ever popular panel presentation from the top profit leaders in our association.

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling, will talk about a 2 step process for ensuring that you only spend time with solid qualified buyers as part of her "Sales Prospecting" session.

Fellow printers and frequent contributors to PrintOwners List will participate on panels for sales and profitability. The conference will also feature new presenters on technology, social media and apps that can build your business. Check out the agenda here - session descriptions will be added soon.

Don't miss the 2016 NPOA Spring Conference - the only conference created FOR printers, BY printers. You can view the agenda, make hotel reservations and register for this conference by visiting our Main Conference Information Page. 

NPOA Announces Election Results

Membership Selects Two Members to Serve 3-Year Terms

John Henry, CEO of Mitchell's Speedway Press, Oswego, NY and currently finishing out a one-year term on the NPOA board as Director of Programs and Events, has been re-elected to a new three-year term on the board. You can reach John at: [email protected] 


Randy Herron, president of Herron Printing & Graphics, Gaithersburg, Md. will be joining Henry as the newest member of the NPOA Board of Directors. You can reach Randy at:[email protected]


Nathaniel Grant is the owner of GAM Printers, Sterling, VA, a printing firm with 14 employees and $3.2 million in sales. Grant is a respected local entrepreneur with experience in developing mass production efficiencies and growing distribution channels to a global level. “I am a big believer in using the latest technologies to achieve competitive advantages, and I believe I can do that for NPOA as well.” In addition to GAM Printers, Grant has been involved in starting up five other companies ranging from National Tool Rental, Inc., Carolina Brothers PIT Barbeque, Dynamic Plumbing Heating & AC and Savvy Communities.  ([email protected]


John Henry is the CEO of Mitchell’s Speedway Press, Oswego, NY. Henry is a 3rd generation owner and is currently focusing on sales, marketing and growing his firm. He is one of the original co-founders of NPOA and is finishing his first term on the NPOA Board as Director of Programs and Events. John has been actively involved in planning and implementing five national owners’ conferences for the association. “I believe I can continue to help guide NPOA by using the unique skills I have picked up working with professional event planners.” Henry notes. ([email protected])


Randy Herron is president of Herron Printing & Graphics, a firm with $1.6 million in sales located in Gaithersburg, MD. Herron manages the day-to-day operations of Herron Printing including sales, marketing, production, scheduling and strategies for his company. Herron has served on Ricoh’s Graphic Arts Council, and well on the Executive Committee for EFI. “I believe that no matter how effective a trade association is, it can always improve as a result of an infusion of new ideas and a fresh outlook,” Herron notes. Prior to starting Herron Printing, Randy was also a former Kwik Kopy Franchisee. ([email protected])

Go here for additional information on NPOA's Election process.


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2016 NPOA Owners Conference
Registration Desk Now Open! 

The 2016 NPOA Conference Committee met by phone, the agenda has been drafted and the site visit to the hotel completed…and promotion of the NPOA 2016 Annual Spring Conference is officially underway! Format changes based on past attendees surveys will make this one of the most dynamic, interactive conferences yet!

The Registration Desk in now open with early bird pricing of $445 set for first attendees and $395 for additional attendees. Register your spouse for only $99 and enjoy the networking receptions together. Go here for: Conference Information & Rates or register right now with the Conference Registration form. 

Responding directly to many requests from past attendees, this conference will feature:

  • Expanded Supplier Showcase featuring mini sessions by vendors
  • Table Topics Luncheon to learn from experts & fellow printers
  • Industry leaders sharing real world experience
  • Sales & marketing ideas you can put to use right away

This is the only conference created BY printers FOR printers, so every day, every session will be packed with the education you want and the good times you’ll enjoy.

Our Conference Committee - Fellow printers Robert Stor, Copycats, New York, NY and Charlene Sims, The Master’s Press, Dallas TX, along with vendor member Dave Hultin from Marketing Ideas for Printers, are veteran conference attendees. They are developing a conference that will be relevant to YOUR business.

We promise a great mix of tried and true highly-rated speakers from the past as well as fresh new presentations from industry experts.

Click here for Early Bird registration

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Melbourne, FL - John Stewart, Executive Director of the National Print Owners Association (NPOA), has announced he will resign from that position effective January 31, 2016. Stewart has been the executive director of the association since its inception in December of 2012. He will continue to serve the printing industry with his critically acclaimed industry studies and will resume his print shop valuation services which he de-emphasized after taking on the NPOA Executive Director role.

“John has been instrumental in the creation and growth of NPOA,” said NPOA President Barry Martin. “His efforts and expertise have helped the association grow and prosper and we wish him the best as he continues to serve the industry in other capacities.”

“It has been an honor to serve the association during the time of its birth and growth,” said Stewart. “However, it is time for me to move on and turn over the reins to someone else and get back to doing research studies, regional seminars and valuations in an industry I love. I will always be available to the association and its members for any advice or consultation they may need in the future. My tenure with NPOA has been as exciting and rewarding as any time in my industry career.”

About NPOA

From its grass roots inception three years ago, NPOA has grown from 19 founding members to more than 400 print shop owners, making it the fastest growing association in the printing industry. Along with an annual conference, it provides its members with proprietary studies and surveys on technology, pricing, business operations, and many other topics. It also offers an on-line discussion forum for print shop owners to share ideas and solutions to common problems. The association’s motto is “By Printers, For Printers” and its members represent the most progressive printing operations in the industry. NPOA’s 4th Annual NPOA Spring Conference will be held April 14-16, 2016 in San Antonio, TX at the Hotel Contessa. For more information, visit: