Print Estimating and Order Management … Simplified

A Guide to help Print Companies and Sign Shops

How to Reduce Print Shop Customer Acquisition Costs
Written by Ordant on June 26, 2018

Every print shop keeps tabs on how much they spend on ink and materials for different types of jobs. But other costs affect the profitability of your printing business too. For example, how much do you know about your print shop customer acquisition costs?  

Measuring customer acquisition costs can help you gauge the effectiveness of your total sales and marketing expenditures. If the amount spent to win each customer exceeds the value of their business, then your print shop is in trouble.

To determine customer acquisition costs, divide the number of new customers gained over a certain period by the amount of sales and marketing dollars spent during that same period. Keep in mind that some new customers will be more valuable than others over time. Some new customers may bring your shop a series of jobs for years.

The customer lifetime value is a prediction of how much net profit might be attributed to that customer before the business relationship ends. Multiply the profitability of one of the customer’s jobs by the expected number of repeat orders.

Reducing Costs

First, establish a baseline. How much did you spend last year to acquire new customers? Are you satisfied with the number (and lifetime value) of the new customers you gained last year? If not, what can you do differently this year? What goals can you realistically achieve?

Know who your best prospects are. Which types of prospects are most likely to purchase your highest-margin products on a regular basis? Learn more about their business challenges and goals. Find out which social media channels they use, what conferences they attend, and how they typically make buying decisions. Don’t waste time and money on marketing channels that your best prospects rarely use.

Understand your best customer’s typical buying journey. What marketing channels are most effective in creating awareness? In starting a relationship? In educating the prospect about your services? In closing the sale? Today, many prospective clients won’t even talk with a sales rep until they have already done their own homework to find out whether your services meet their requirements.

Look for ways to shorten the sales cycle. Marketing automation and artificial intelligence tools have made it easier to identify the types of products and services people are searching for online. With online advertising, you can advertise to people who are actively searching for “printing services” or “sustainable print shops” or “printing companies in Indianapolis.”

Ask your salespeople and customer service reps about the questions they hear most often. Develop and publish content that helps address these questions. A well-executed content marketing program can help you capture the email addresses of key prospects for ongoing marketing.

You can track when a prospect is getting close to making a buying a decision by monitoring the type of content he or she requests. In the early stages of vendor research, a potential client might download a white paper that addresses broad questions about different types of printing and marketing services. But as they get closer to choosing a vendor, they will download a brochure or request a quote.

Collaborate with influencers. Get actively involved with associations and charitable events that attract your target customers. Consider becoming a sponsor so you have a chance to interact with association leaders and influencers. After interacting with your company and staff, association leaders or event organizers may give you positive word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals.  

Demonstrate the marketing power of great printing. Many marketing professionals are learning that digital marketing and printed communications can be a powerful combination. Send your best prospects personalized printed materials from time to time - particularly when you want to introduce innovative products, materials, or services. To track the effectiveness of your printed pieces, include QR codes or other mechanisms that allow the user to connect directly with an online landing page with additional content and calls to action.     

Attend trade shows. The huge cost of exhibiting at a trade show can send your customer acquisition costs soaring — unless it’s a show where you can start relationships with prospects that might become long-term, high-value customers. But you don’t have to exhibit at a trade show to benefit. Concurrent conferences offer excellent opportunities to informally meet decision-makers who are actively looking for information about how to solve specific business challenges.

Successful marketing requires time, focus, resources, and attention to detailed ROI data. Costs can spiral out of control if you don’t allocate marketing dollars effectively.

By automating more of your print shop’s everyday operations (such as print estimating and order management), you and your staff can spend less time on repetitive detail work and more time thinking creatively about how to get more high-value customers. For a demonstration of Ordant’s simple-to-use print-shop management system, visit ordant.com.

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