How a Printer Broke My Heart
We sat next to each other at an industry event, just a small meeting with maybe 30 people. Speakers took the microphone one after the other as we sat at the same round table, he and I, enjoying a nice dinner and learning about cross-media marketing. It was something like the 20th time I’d listened to such a presentation, with a speaker imploring us all to jump on board the Multichannel Train and not be left behind.
I’ve been riding this train for years now and presumed that most everyone in our business was right alongside of me. What do I know?
Anyway, in the interest of learning about my dinner mate that night, I asked about his company—where it was located, what the shop did, and so on. Then I got around to the one question I was dying to ask: How do you promote your services?
“Word of mouth, mostly,” he replied.
Not known for having a poker face, I forced myself to nod, utter a gentle, “Really?” and carry on with dinner. He was with the company owner, and I had never met either of them before. It seemed rather inappropriate to challenge strangers over a plate of chicken and rice. I was too shocked, honest to Pete.
But my heart sank at his words. I so want to believe that service providers in this industry are branching out of pure WOM marketing. To me, getting involved in Web marketing is a no brainer.
You’ve got a website (I hope), right? It’s got a blog or two—or should have.
You have an email newsletter and/or a traditional customer newsletter that you send on a regular basis?
Please, PLEASE say yes.
You take part in LinkedIN Groups, surely—or at the very least, you snoop around a few key ones, seeing what your competition and prospects/customers might be saying.
And from time to time you issue news releases, I’m sure of it. You make sure your prospects get updates about your new processes and equipment, maybe new staff members who bring needed expertise. Perhaps your company supports a local charity or two, and that’s definitely worthy of a release.
You should be thinking of a corporate Facebook page, if only to be present there and post updates every so often. It’s free—just like Twitter and LinkedIN and YouTube are.
Speaking of which, if you’ve an employee who’s especially good in front of a camera, you might be posting mini videos of him or her describing a particular process or application that your market will be impressed by. If you’re a specialty shop—like a finisher, for example—videos are perfect for you!
Direct mail campaigns are no brainers for printers as well. If nothing else, a printed reminder of who you are and what you can do helps market your firm. [Last week I got a jumbo “Thank You” card from my resource for the PBI Boston conference tote bags. I loved it! It put a smile on my face and gave me another reason to recommend his services.]
Here’s my point: word of mouth doesn’t cut it anymore, not in this business. There are so many ways to promote your (our) services, we now have the luxury of being able to pick and choose which ones suit us best.
Don’t go breakin’ my heart. Please pick a few.
Long regarded as a print buyer expert and trade writer, Margie Dana launched a new business as a marketing communications strategist with a specialty in printing and print buying. She is as comfortable working in social media as she is in traditional media, and now she’s on a mission to help clients build customer communities through carefully crafted content. Dana was the producer of the annual Print & Media Conference.
Although she has exited the event business, Dana is still publishing her Print Tips newsletter each week. For more details and to sign up for her newsletter and marketing blog, visit www.margiedana.com