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Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.


How Printers Should Make Their Websites ‘Social’

Printers shouldn’t get bullied into thinking they have to give their websites an Extreme Makeover in order to be contemporary. Should you participate in the leading social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter? Yes.

Setting up accounts in both places is easy and free, and incorporating your accounts into your website is simple. When I see those little buttons on a home page, I think to myself, “Cool. This company gets it.”

But before worrying about integrating social media buttons and activity into their websites, printers need to make their sites more social by taking four simple steps:

1. Replace equipment photos with people photos. If you must include shots of your presses, confine them to the section of the site where you keep your Equipment List. Better yet, use mini videos (emphasis on “mini”) to show press capabilities—if they are unusual or special in any way. Add photos of the people who work at your company and who manage the company. Tell us a bit about them.

2. Put your personality on parade. Every company has a personality, so why is it that 99 percent of printing company websites “feel” the same? It’s unnatural! You should let your firm’s personality shine through the site’s design, color, and, certainly, through well-written copy. Strip out the mumbo-jumbo jargon. Replace it with short sentences that are well crafted.

3. Bring the outside in. You know how we all use Facebook and other social media to let our hair down a bit and connect with friends and family who share our sensibilities? Make that happen on your website. Show a little of your human-ness.

How about running a weekly blog on your home page from the CEO or from department heads—or even featured employees? How about the theme, “What we’ve been up to” or the like? That way, every week visitors get a little bit of insight about people working at your company.

People lead interesting lives. Share just a taste on your website. It will “relax” the site and make your firm more personable. And P.S...Blogs can be 100 words, you know. You don’t have to write a novel.

4. Lighten up and use humor. There’s nothing wrong with humor woven into a company’s site. You can do it with content or graphics. You can have contests or run cartoons. Of course you’ll be tasteful. Of course you’ll get noticed.

These steps are SO easy to do—and they don’t require having a social media strategist or chief blogger on staff. Printing companies need to make these “phase 1” improvements to their websites before going overboard with major social media overhaul plans.

Contact me if you want help taking these four simple steps.

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