Marketing for Printers: Avoid These Pitfalls

I’ve spent the last 21 years providing marketing tools to printers and mailers. In that time, I’ve been able to witness the common issues that seem to derail even the best-intentioned marketing efforts. Here are a few of the most common reasons why they fail:

Treating your marketing efforts as something to be done “when you have time”.  Marketing needs to be planned and executed with the same commitment as other critical areas of your business such as estimating, production, billing, etc.  Schedule your print marketing as you would schedule a customer job. It’s critical.

Taking a committee approach. This is a sure recipe for failure. This will eat up a lot of collective time and effort and produce little, if not zero results. As the saying goes,  “the camel was a horse designed by committee”.  A single person needs to be in charge of your marketing committee and there needs to be accountability. For that reason, the person should not be the president, owner or CEO.

Trying to craft the perfect piece/message is often the reason for doing nothing. As a seasoned print executive once told me, “the act of communicating is sometimes more important than the communication itself”.  Not to say you should produce poor materials but keep this in mind.

Failure to differentiate between sales and marketing. They are two very different things and often someone in our industry has both of these in their title. Baloney! You can’t effectively do both. The end result is that they treat marketing efforts as a sales effort. They execute and measure them wrong. Someone told them years ago, “if you can’t measure it, you shouldn’t do it” so they give up after a short time. More baloney! In reality, just because they don’t have the ability to measure it doesn’t mean it can’t be measured. Large corporations understand this. Particularly with regards to their branding (trust) efforts.

Trying to cut costs by forgoing print and relying on online efforts. You need to do both: inbound and outbound, print and digital. Print has staying power. It’s tangible, and since most companies don’t consistently use it, it’s more effective at setting you apart from your competitors. Keep in mind that just about every print provider has a capabilities brochure but they are merely part of the marketing noise. Engaging customer communication pieces are very uncommon and therefore a much more effective tool.

Forget Sales & Marketing: Think Customer Experience

Brand differentiation starts with an understanding of the customer journey from the customer’s point of view, not the printer’s. It’s all about the customer experience.

  • Do customers really want to see more advertisements and promotions in their inboxes?  Focus more on holistic engagement than individual marketing campaigns.
  • Do customers want to “Visit us on the web” just see the same boilerplate website content that they see on a competitor’s? Customize your site as much as possible.
  • Are customers impressed with generic business articles on a printer’s web site that address topics such as fall fashion and interview skills?
  • Are customers hungry for the jokes, recipes, and word find games that get sent to them under the guise of helpful company newsletters?
  • Are customers motivated enough to call a printer just to find out if they are still in business because their website and social media content has not been updated in two years? People prefer to gather info from the Internet than to make a call.
  • How does a customer feel about your company when they visit your site and see that the latest blog / news article update was several years back? Timely, relevant, engaging content promotes thought leadership.
  • How does a customer feel when they have to search a website just to find the mailing address? Have that information on the bottom of every page.
  • How does a customer feel when they have to search to find a phone number because your employees don’t include it as part of their email signatures?

If you are looking for ways to improve your customer’s experience, please reach out to me. I’m happy to schedule a short call to discuss this with you.

LinkedIn and 3 Other Marketing Musings for Printers

Do you have a LinkedIn strategy? If not, you should.

To get the most out of your marketing content you can’t stop at mailing, emailing, and posting to your website. Leverage LinkedIn both from a company standpoint and an individual standpoint.

Do you use Slideshare to share content on LinkedIn? I’ve had great success with doing just that. Are you starting or engaging in conversations? Are you discovering potential prospects and generating awareness on at least a weekly basis? It’s easier than you think. I’m happy to discuss this with you.

It’s not just you who should be using LinkedIn. Your employees should be using it, too. Every employee is a promoter of your brand.

It’s all about the Customer Experience. Stop looking at your marketing efforts from a marketing perspective and start looking at them from a customer’s perspective. Do you really think customers are eager to get more ads and promotions? Are they impressed by seeing boilerplate and generic content on your website? Start viewing your marketing (and sales) from the standpoint of the customer.

If you have an “in the can website,” customize it! Add your own content. Generic blog content and business advice that isn’t related to your solutions is a bad for your brand. Stand out rather than just being part of the marketing noise.

Too many printers still view their marketing efforts the same way they do their sales efforts. They want instant results and easy-to-grasp measurability. They confuse marketing campaigns with direct response campaigns. When the marketing fails to generate much response, the efforts become inconsistent and eventually die out all together.

I’m offering free 20-minute consultations during the last week of October.
Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to schedule some time. Pat@greatreachinc.com

How 4 Printers are Growing Their Businesses

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve witnessed and spoken with printers who are reporting fantastic results. Here is a summary of what four of them have done.

Printer in PA hosted an open house featuring educational sessions. They promoted it vigorously using multiple channels and generated lots of attention, noise, and excitement in their marketplace. The payoff was great exposure, brand elevation, and incredible in-person interaction with clients and prospects. The sales staff gets incredibly pumped up by these efforts and exposure.

Printer in IA generated a number of top-level appointments by taking a strategic (segmented) approach to distributing their recent newsletter. They have gotten their salespeople on board with these efforts, and their salespeople feel upbeat about having back-end marketing support.

Printer in CA is generating lots of interaction with clients by adding great content to their website and social media on a consistent basis. Not generic articles or news about themselves, but engaging, thought-leading content specific to the services they offer. They also use the content for their outbound marketing efforts via their email newsletter. They are driving traffic to their website and positioning their brand above their competitors.

Printer in IL has successfully transitioned to selling more programs than jobs. They now have monthly revenues that they can count on in advance. They are having success because they are sincere about advocating for what is best for their clients, helping them grow, and addressing their pain points. They support this approach with customer education efforts such as print and email newsletters, blogs, and social media. They are “practicing what they preach,” and it’s catching on with clients and prospects.

I’m happy to discuss your marketing challenges any time. Just email me to set up a free 20-minute consultation.

Now Is the Time to Be Marketing!

We’ve all done it. Summer slowdown arrives, and we join in. But perhaps when you consider the marketing benefits that summertime offers, you may want to reconsider. At the very least, you may want to maintain a steady marketing course and ease back on some of your other efforts.

  • Companies cutting back on their marketing in the summer are simply choosing to ignore their customers. This opens the door for competitors to get noticed. There is a wealth of client retention statistics to support this.
  • The Internet is up 24/7 and is practically everywhere. Customers still seek and see content. Don’t let your branding efforts take a step back just because it’s summer. The same goes for SEO. With algorithms constantly being updated, the consistent sharing of fresh content will pay big SEO dividends.
  • Take the tortoise and the hare approach. Client retention and acquisition as well as branding efforts require consistent engagement with your target audience. It’s all about creating multiple touchpoints.
  • Consumers are capable of recalling 3-5 brands per category. With companies cutting back, it makes it much easier for you to push out one of those brands and replace it with your own.
  • Science supports summertime marketing efforts. “More sun means more endorphins, which, aside from boosting spirits, also helps the brain remember more information.” [1]
  • Position your brand as the consistent thought leader. Paramount to fostering trust is consistency. “Sporadic posts on social media or your business blog will go ignored since consumers have no reason to follow sporadic content.”[2] The same can be said for your outbound marketing efforts such as print and email. Consistent delivery of quality content will absolutely set you apart from your competition.

Looking for an easy, effective, and inexpensive solution for your content marketing needs? We have been providing printers and mailers with customizable and area-exclusive solutions for 20 years. Our content will set you apart. www.greatreachinc.com

Inspiration and quotes [1, 2] taken from this great article:
https://contentequalsmoney.com/7-reasons-why-summer-is-the-best-time-to-invest-in-content-marketing/

Effective Content Marketing Grows Print Sales

At the end of the day, it’s all about trust. Most often, people will give the job to the company they feel has the greatest amount of competency and then come up with ways to justify not giving it to someone else.

The most effective way to influence your brand is to produce content that reflects your expertise. This means content that is better, more relevant and more sophisticated than any of your competitors.  Use this content for both inbound and outbound marketing efforts.

Your website content is critical but so is the need to utilize print to ensure you touch all of your customers and prospects at least every 90 days. Supplement both of these efforts with email and social media content. Try and produce at least 2 webinars per year. High quality content gives your company an edge over your competitors. It’s critical that printers support their sales staff with effective content marketing strategies.

Below are some stats regarding content marketing.

  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t. (Social Media B2B)
  • 82% of consumers like reading content from brands when it’s relevant. (The CMA)
  • 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Mashable)
  • 79% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve brand awareness goals. (Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs)
  • Blogs give websites 97% more indexed links. (Content+)
  • 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.

Summertime is a great time to get noticed and impact your brand’s perception. If you need help, we can assist you with all of these efforts at a fraction of the cost of producing in-house. If you would like a no obligation consultation, please reach out to me at pat@greatreachinc.com.