Printing money one newspaper insert at a time

You know those little inserts that you find affixed between the pages of the newspaper, peeking out from the edges?  Thank Taradel, a Richmond-based flyer printing and design company.

The company, which provides self-service marketing to small and medium-sized businesses, was founded in 2003 by CEO Jim Fitzgerald. He funded the venture himself.

The company has rapidly grown revenue and was this year recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. by Inc magazine. Sales have increased 30% from last year to this year, and high profile papers like the Boston Globe are lining up as clients.

“We are profitable. Right now, I’d say that we’re bringing in about double the revenue of the printing industry average,” Fitzgerald said.

Taradel, which stands for “Targeted Ads Delivered,” is a flyer printing company that has evolved into a one-stop source for small business advertising. Customers can design, print and deliver advertisements through Taradel’s website.

If a business has artwork picked out for the ads, they can upload that. If they need help with the design process, Taradel will handle that, too. Products range from full-color flyers and takeout menus to business cards and newspaper inserts, all of which are fully customizable from start to finish.

Fitzgerald prefers print advertising to the latest technology (e-mail and web) because print is a form of invasive media.

“You can’t force someone to open an e-mail, but in print it has to be handled,” he said.

That’s not to say Fitzgerald doesn’t embrace technology. Taradel’s website recently underwent a massive makeover. Additions to the site include reference centers for specific industries and a completely automated, self-service shop that allows customers to mix, match, work and rework their ads until they are completely satisfied.

The website gets about 20,000 unique visitors a month, according to Fitzgerald.

That’s a far cry from five years ago. At the time, Fitzgerald didn’t have a solid method for organizing orders. In an effort to improve efficiency, he developed a website that lets the customer oversee all aspects of the design and print process.

“I realized that you have to find better ways to administer everything. By placing it online, customers could go through a couple mouse clicks and be done, and this ended up making the job easier on our end as well,” Fitzgerald said.

Taradel’s website provides industry-specific tools and resources in addition to their print and design options. Sections are devoted to home improvement, real estate, restaurant and dining, chiropractic and newspapers. More sections will be added in the coming months, with staffers devoted to specific industries, Fitzgerald said.

“We want customers to know that we have tools and resources for them. We want to assist them in all aspects of advertising,” Fitzgerald said.

Taradel.com represents the retail side of Taradel. Partnerships with newspaper and print delivery services make up the other side. Fitzgerald refers to it as the wholesale end of the spectrum.

Newspapers pay Taradel to handle their advertising services. The result can be seen here at the Boston Globe’s website. Businesses looking to advertise in the Globe choose who they want to target, when the ad will run, and what the ad itself will look like by filling out basic information and uploading artwork.

All of this is done through the same processes as those found on Taradel.com. Taradel profits by handling the ad orders, and they also receive additional marketing dollars thanks to shared promotions with the Boston Globe.

By partnering directly with newspapers and wire services, Taradel gets to tap into markets that wouldn’t normally be covered by their multi-purpose website. Here, they can essentially grab an extra 4 million potential suitors (the number of visitors to the Boston Globe website in a month) just through one partnership.

Fitzgerald said that between 5 and 6 %of those 4 million visitors will click on one of Taradel’s ads. That’s between 200,000 and 240,000 clicks per month. And that’s just one newspaper’s website.

Taradel has five or six other deals in the works, according to Fitzgerald, but no names can be released until the deals are finalized. A recent deal with the North Jersey Media Group gives Fitzgerald access to over 40 newspapers in and around New Jersey.

Taradel’s current staff consists of seven employees. Fitzgerald plans to hire several staff members to head up and expand the industry-specific resource centers like those found on the company’s website.

Fitzgerald said that his company took a little while to get going — “Those first six months were very difficult” — but it has since hit a groove and looks to be worthy of Inc’s title as one of the fastest growing businesses in the county.

“We have several deals in place for future growth, and our customer base is expanding all the time. I’m very happy with the way things are going.”

Alec Depcrynksi is a BizSense staff writer. Please send story tips to [email protected]

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