Marketing is challenging — both for your customers and your print shop. According to Smart Insights, marketers can now choose from more than 120 marketing channels. As part of your print shop marketing efforts, it’s important to remind marketing professionals why printed communications should still be part of the mix. Here a few ideas.
Rethink your approach to print shop marketing. It’s not just about sending a series of emails or direct-mail postcards. Marketing today is less about pure promotion, and more about providing education, a live experience, or high-impact visuals that can be shared on social media. One goal is to stimulate word-of-mouth marketing so your customers will freely tell others about the unique capabilities of your business.
Update your branding. If you haven’t changed your branding or tagline since your print shop was founded 30 years ago, it’s probably time for an update. Unless you specialize in classic letterpress, manual screen printing, or vintage products, your logo probably shouldn’t look like a relic from the past. Plus, your value proposition may have changed as you added new products and services.
Many start-up printing businesses focus on branding early so they can immediately connect with a targeted niche and set themselves apart from competitors.
Use multiple channels. Find ways to demonstrate the many different ways printed materials can reinforce digital marketing channels. Print postcards, packaging, or promotional posters with scannable codes that activate web-based content. Wrap your company vehicles in attention-getting graphics. Send creative direct-mail pieces to prospects who haven’t yet signed up for your email list. Find out which social media channels your targeted customers use, and focus on using those channels effectively. Test and measure which channels deliver the best leads and concentrate future efforts on those channels.
Surprise people. Don’t wait for people to visit the showroom in your facility to see samples of everything your print shop can produce. Open an immersive pop-up “store” at a local business event or in a trade show booth. Let visitors see all of the products that you can digitally print and personalize. Post-attention-getting window graphics in your storefront window or a huge mural on the side of your building. Provide personalized sample books that show a client’s image printed on different types of papers or with different types of finishing treatments. Be creative and do something that’s different and memorable.
Teach buyers something they didn’t know. Host an in-studio course on how to shoot and edit photographs for murals or large-format displays. Or, demonstrate why it’s risky to send different print files to multiple vendors by showing examples of campaigns in which different types and sizes of printed materials have mismatched brand colors.
Many younger designers grew up designing websites or apps. When you teach them the basics of designing for print, they may be more likely to recommend print to their clients.
Keep track of misperceptions prospects have about printing. For buyers concerned about the sustainability of print, create samples of what’s possible with environmentally friendly or reusable printed products. For potential customers who believe printing is too costly, show them economical options for producing attention-getting prints.
Sponsor business networking events. You don’t have to host events yourself to make a favorable impression. If you help the event planner for a local business organization create buzzworthy backdrops, collateral, and visuals, you should be able to get some visibility for your company.
Make your own personalized promotional products. Send personalized calendars, posters, gift boxes, or greeting cards to your best customers and prospects. Promotional products that can be worn or used in the office or home are less likely to be discarded. They can provide year-round reminders of your print shop’s capabilities.
Be authentic, down to earth, and relevant. Don’t intimidate potential customers by using a lot of techno-speak and print-industry jargon. Use simple language that immediately makes it clear that you understand why customers might need help simplifying their own jobs. Let people see that your print shop isn’t stuck in the past by showing examples of projects your shop has done for experiential marketing projects or branded environments.
Marketing takes a lot of time and effort. And while it may make sense to outsource some aspects to marketing professionals, no one knows more about the strengths, goals, and values of your business than you do.
You can spend more time guiding the development and execution of a print shop marketing program once you have built a smooth-running workflow for both your business and production. The less time you waste on repetitive tasks and resolving miscommunication-related production crises, the more time you will have to focus on print shop marketing.
For a demonstration of Ordant’s supremely simple-to-use system for managing orders, creating estimates, and managing proof approvals and customer relationships, visit https://www.ordant.com
Source: The BIG list of Today’s Marketing Channels, Smart Insights.