A web-to-print portal is a self-service website through which multiple employees from your client’s organization can place orders for business cards, letterhead, flyers, posters, invitations, and other printed products. After it is set up, a well-designed web-to-print portal can save significant time and money – for both you and your client.

In theory, setting up a web-to-print portal should signal the start of a long, easy relationship with your client. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

Many web-to-print portals are under-utilized because no one at the client company continues to promote the portal to all potential users. After a portal launches, the client’s project manager moves on to other things.

Before you start working with a client to set up a web-to-print portal, make sure your client fully understands why it’s beneficial to encourage employees to use it. Here are a few talking points to consider using with your client:

We can save your company money on total printing costs.
We will provide a volume discounts if the amount of printing work that comes through the web-to-print portal reaches $xxx each month.

We can help you maintain greater control over brand messaging and marketing communications.
The consistency of branded communications suffers when different employees in your organization create their own marketing materials and send them to different print shops to be produced.

That doesn’t mean you have to approve the design of every piece of marketing collateral that is created within your company. But your organization will gain a stronger brand identity if every piece of marketing communications includes approved logos, taglines, and standardized brand messaging. Maintaining a consistent brand identity is also important on educational content your company develops and distributes.

We can maintain a centralized library of your most commonly used marketing templates.
Many employees may create their own marketing materials because they don’t have time to track down the right graphics and supporting copy. With a web-to-print portal on your company’s intranet, employees can’t use that excuse anymore.
A well-designed web portal will have templates for all of the printed materials your employees may need to customize for specific presentations and events. We can even store branded email marketing templates for employees who may prefer to send PDF versions of brochures or sell sheets to their contacts.

We can refresh your template library every three months when we add new products to your portal.

We can prioritize rush jobs from your company.
Our web-to-print partners get the VIP treatment. When you need a package of graphics turned around super quickly, we will bend over backwards to make it happen.

We will help promote the use of the portal.
We can host plant tours and educational sessions for the employees who buy printing materials most often. We can also send out email notices when new product options have been added to your portal. And, we can print promotional cards for the portal that employees can keep on their desks or bulletin boards. The promotional cards can be included in your company’s orientation materials for new employees.

We will provide customized reports about how your employees are using the portal.
We can produce quarterly or annual reports that you can use for budgeting purposes.

We can offer specialized training for your graphic design team.
As we set up templates for the products to be offered on the site, we can show your design team some of the coolest products that can be created with innovative materials on our digital printing equipment. Your design team may create some innovative promotional products that you probably never considered adding to your company’s web-to-print portal.

Today’s digital printing equipment is so versatile that you can custom print everything from coasters, ID cards, and luggage tags to employee awards, corporate gifts, and decorations for company events.

Other Advice
By all means, don’t do all of the talking! Listen to the types of problems your client is having in terms of internal and external communications. Keep your ears open for opportunities to provide a special service through the portal that he or she can’t get from any other print-service provider.

In other words: Find creative ways to make it worthwhile for your client to set up the web-to-print portal and encourage its use through the company.

At Ordant, we have helped a variety of printing companies set up web-to-print portals – both for use with key customers and or to sell specialty products to the general public or niche markets. For a demonstration of the web-to-print module that integrates with our print estimating and order management software, visit ordant.com