Most printers I know that do have on-staff marketing have one person in that role. But no matter how talented he or she might be, there’s no way that one person can churn out enough good content to satisfy the voracious, multiple marketing channels that printers should be using to promote their businesses.
Having been there, I’ll testify to the fact that print customers have left printers because they get unacceptable treatment. Too often, they’d much rather switch than fight. The reality is, customers like coddling, whether we’re guests at a hotel, diners at a restaurant, or clients of a printer.
Being upfront with your print customers usually works best. If a proof is running late, or a delivery date can't realistically be met, or that special paper hasn't yet arrived, don’t hide it. Tell your customers. They’d rather find out there’s a potential complication and hear how you’re resolving it than find out after the fact that you knew all the while there was trouble brewing.
Say goodbye to the "one-and-done" news or press release. Say hello to the news item that gets tailored to different uses. It then gets shared across multiple channels, where it can do your company much more good.
The following list comes from over 20 years of my being a corporate print buyer or working with them, hosting events for them, and listening to them. At the end of the day, successful sales reps respect their customers and strive to deliver what each one expects.
I always go to Direct Tire in Watertown, MA, to have my snow tires mounted. At some point, I realized how chock-full of printed materials their waiting room was. Let me try to recall the incredible amount of printed things I saw.
What comes naturally to you or someone on your team? As you think about how to do some content marketing in 2015, start with a channel that’s easy for you and also helps showcase your company and your expertise.
Writing about what you know, in your own voice, is a valuable source of marketing content. Do what comes naturally and become a hero to your customers.
The new year is nigh. If December signals a slowdown of jobs coming into your company, you have more time to plan how to make better connections with your print customers in 2015. Maybe it’s time to examine your own—and your firm’s—customer development strategy. May I suggest your list include the following 10 items?
You may be surprised (or not) to know that a lot of times, print CEOs say, “It’s our people. We’d be nothing without them.” And things like, “We have the best minds in the business.” They really do come across as proud parents (it takes one to know one). I love that they profess such love for their employees. Then I go to their Website and guess what? Nary a mention of any employee.
Very few print customers care what presses you use for their jobs. Over time, as the workforce gets younger, this will matter even less. Clients expect you to print well, just as they expect you to communicate with them, produce jobs efficiently and deliver the finished goods on time.
I love good e-newsletters from printers and others in this industry. They can be an effective part of your suite of customer communication tools. They can’t stand alone (no one channel can), but if done well, they can help your reputation and grow your audience.
You can use direct mail campaigns and e-mail newsletters. You can post pithy Tweets and upload fun Facebook images. You can have the most gorgeous Website written by the best writer money can buy. But without a good blog you cannot grow your community and your audience.
Aside from selling your company’s services, it’s smart to let your customers know the full range of what you—the person—bring to the relationship. This isn’t about your history with the company or length of time in the field, nor am I talking about your promise to take care of each customer with TLC.
Customers who truly value a printer want to maintain a long-term relationship with that printer. They'll sing the printer's praises to their managers and refer them to others. It's the sort of WOM (Word of Mouth) marketing that all businesses want. So I wrote to a few buyers and printers to get more insight as to what value really means.
When someone calls me and remarks almost immediately that he’s heard my name “for years,” I assume he’s done his homework, and that he knows what business I’m in. But time after time (sorry, Cyndi Lauper), I’m disappointed. The caller’s done no such thing.
A huge part of what makes social media so fantastic is its shareability factor. Whether it’s a retweet on Twitter or a Share elsewhere, this one-click function could mean your stuff gets seen by tens of thousands of people who are connected to your own followers. Your audience can get ginormous if your posts are high-value enough. And some of those people will be good prospects for you.
How am I defining e-mail marketing? For this column, I'm writing about one specific product: a regular e-mail newsletter that you send out to customers, prospects and anyone else who's interested enough in hearing what you have to say.