Here’s one way to impress seasoned print buyers: tell them how you recovered from your mistakes. That’s right, when every other printing company is tripping over itself, trying to land on the most glowing terms to showcase their fantastic quality and service, you do the opposite. Go left.
Since marketing is everything you do to influence and persuade prospects to choose your company, sales reps can be seen as marketers. Even though their primary role is to prospect for new business, close sales and service customers, reps are (quite literally) the beating heart of a company’s marketing efforts.
Sometimes I get really badly written emails, and the bad ones from younger reps who’ve only been in the industry for a few years are particularly horrifying. If their emails to me are this atrocious, I assume that all of their emails stink.
Forget all that talk about survey fatigue. Printers need to survey their customers every few years to learn important things, like how service has been, how satisfied (or not) customers might be with your products, and what additional services or information your customers want from you.
Your customers don’t visit your site unless you have an ecommerce or file-sharing functionality they use. Your site is for prospects. Many are looking for your exact services. Your name came up in conversation, or they found you from something they read or saw online. They clicked on your site to check you out. What will they find there?
If you take the time to "look within" and find out more about your employees, you just might find your company blogger, or video producer, or photographer, or social media maven. Your reach expands exponentially, and your employees are happier because they get to do something they really love.
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.