That is the question we here from printers and after doing more research found that a lot of print companies are asking about this online as well. So we decided to break this down for you better than anyone else has.
The first and hardest thing to determine is which market you intend on serving. In all aspects of business many times we think that one, specific, market is always an entire customer base.
I’m sure that you have experienced the problems with writing ineffective products because they were targeting the wrong market. and I’m sure you have also noticed that your customers can’t find you either.
In many cases the real problem is that the market they selected is well served with competition. In the case of a printing company, the market is tough to judge because it is rarely homogeneous.
For a business to be a legitimate customer it must provide a product or service that is unique and that has value to different people.
In marketing to a printing company we should consider that printing is often for small to medium business with many operations working on the print-on-demand business model.
Marketing Strategy – Determine a target customer base.
How about a hypothetical example? You are marketing a product to the owner of a small business. Let’s say you are landscaping, or installing a new roof on his business and he is getting really frustrated with the floral delivery companies. All his previous companies were either out of business or have lost their ability to deliver to him.
The big question is what would you market to him? Most people think that since he is an owner of a business he will know nothing about flowers. By that definition he is not a serious customer. The real problem with that approach is that he doesn’t know very much about his business.
What if you showed him a brochure telling him that you can deliver to him on the weekends. You know, not all in one day and not all at different times. He can call you with his specific request and you can deliver.
You are now running a legitimate company that exists for the sole purpose of serving his needs.
So the question becomes what can you do for him? Type in marketing strategy for a printing company and you will get a lot of pages of information, but there are some things you need to know regarding printing business.
Most of your customers will be people around town and not on a website (you can’t market to them).
The majority of your potential customers are actually existing clients.
They are your customers because they know you. They want you to give them the things that your business does.
Perhaps you are a Mennonite Christian who does bibles, or someone who does sports memorabilia, or someone who does fundraising items. You print those items because they are used to and want your service.
People look to their local business to make their custom printing, again for the obvious reason that they know the company, and they have seen their standard operations or quality.
Marketing Strategy for Printing business – Determine your target customer base.
It turns out that your target customer is someone just like you. They will know your name because he has used your services. They will know the quality of your printing because they work around it all the time. They will know you are reliable because they are used to you. You have done business with them regularly for a substantial amount of time.
Our next question is how can we accomplish this? We are not talking about someone who works in an office, or thousands of miles away that you can’t get to. Our target customer is not a CEO in a remote location that has to be able to buy millions of dollars worth of printing products; it is a local owner who wants you to give them a service that they cannot get from a tight deadline anywhere else.
So tell them what you do – Tell them the services that you provide. Ways to communicate with them.
Your goal is to build enough trust with them so that they know to come to you and not some competitor. You know those crazy floral delivery people that haven’t been able to be found for you.
Now that you know who your target customer base is, let’s look at how you can reach them.
Below we will discuss the advertising and marketing techniques you can use to get attention for yourself.
Advertising and Marketing –
We at Modern Marketing Consulting, Inc. have found that there are three major methods of advertising that may work for a printing business
- Advertising on a website.
- T he use of a printed advertisement.
- Direct mail which is also called a postal advertising.
Advertising is a way to get potential customers to visit your website. You have to have the website so they will come to you online.
People are more likely to visit websites that are unexpected and interesting. You are competing with many other websites where all the pictures are beautiful and interesting to look at.
Stop and think of something that you read or heard about that you found interesting. The information that you went to a website for is the same information that will make people visit your website.
Remember, you already have an existing customer. How can you make that customer come to you so you can establish new business.
Every website has to start somewhere and you have to get attention. The Internet is like the front porch of a person’s house. They will come to the door when you knock if you have a better looking porch than everyone else.
Always give your website the best advertisement that you can. You do that by giving your website all the information that you can – not just your ads. You want people to feel comfortable when they find themselves on your site.
When your potential customers are on your website they have already given you their email address. From there you can send an ad for your printing business to them in hopes that they will buy your product or service from you.
It is important to give as many free samples and discounts as possible to get people to develop an interest in the products you offer.
This is exactly what you should do for a printing company.
You can give a free print to try the service.
Tell them what you can do and what they might want from you.
Have them register on the website and you might have a valid email address that you can send the customer ad to.
An existing customer will evaluate your products by how well you match him. If you are about their business, and meet their needs, chances are they will be with you for a very long time.
You are now a legitimate business that does business printing. When your business is up and running you should now add a second line to your business.
Wholesale or retail printing.
In this case you would provide the business with all their printing needs and print them from your computer, type and print themselves. Perhaps have several different sizes that they can choose from.
Wholesale printing is really just a modern business where you sell all sorts of items that are printed cheaper than your direct costs. These products will come to your door, if they are going to be used.
Retail advertising is where you have a store front with a sign displaying your name that you can put in a very high traffic area that will catch the eye of someone who is shopping around.
Chances are if you run a traditional print shop you are not going to need many people who do wholesale or retail advertising.
You are only going to need the services of a person that can make you a website and a person to run your ad.
Having said that, most printing companies won’t have anyone that can do this. If they do, they will need some help from someone that can help them make money.
Most printing companies are run by a small staff of professionals that do a very particular work. They have no relatives that do the wholesale or retail business. They have no friends that do the wholesale business.
Marketing Strategy –
The idea of supplying a printing service that has a storefront to sell your products is an increasingly attractive idea. Just think how many small requests can be accommodated by your staff, how many people will be able to visit your store, and how much money you will make. Not to mention the potential for building brand loyalty among your customers.
You don’t need to advertise or advertise for retail customers. Just get customers through your website and they will come to you for everything else they need.
Don’t forget your target customer and how you can get their attention. When you have your website established you can contact them by email.
Have a look at the print stores in your community. Ask them how they have gotten customers to replace their supply of things that you offer. They will probably have fewer customer questions if they have handled their business with you.
A great example of this is when you get your tax services and find out that you owe a great deal of money in taxes from home, you can make direct contact with the IRS man, and set up an appointment that does not require a long time for him to speak to you. You can deal with the IRS guy differently than a local tax services man. The IRS man has an easy job and is expected to win the case, and when he does you should appreciate the fact that you were able to use him as your contact. This shows that you are not a loudmouth or a person who can’t handle the task of collecting money from your customer.
Keep your eye on your target customer. You can always find clients that are related to your customer.
A technician at a library can be turned into a customer when he needs to do work on a book’s binding. The same assistant can be turned into a customer when you need to lower the cost of embossing on business cards. You can turn the receptionist at the hardware store into a customer. Office work such as a word processor is welcomed by other office people.
Trading your services with other printing companies
The traditional printing company has a limited down market; you can use the value of your printing skills to help with the printing services that you can give.
If you do not have a standalone printing service, this is a possibility that everyone can benefit from.
Now is the time to set up a “trade and give” situation with other printing companies.
One example of this is when a printing company needs a brochure for a meeting. The printing company can find a client that would be interested in having a brochure made. The recipient could even be a relative or friend who might forgive a little on the price.
Another example of a trade and give is when you have a need for a special order for envelopes or labels, you can trade with a friend or relative for the service.
You get the service and can turn around and sell that you have the special order to a potential customer.
This is a part of the printing business that will give you a chance to show your excellent technical expertise.
If you have a bulge in your accounts you can do the work for other companies that do not go to you. This can put more income in your business and it will usually help your customers in a number of ways.
A company may print and bind for you because of your great technical ability, but they won’t pay you for that work as it is not part of the contract. Being able to do this type of work can usual save a company money.