Delaying your implementation of Web-to-Print could cost you the Print firm.

It’s no secret that the print industry is going through the largest consolidation and rebuild it’s ever seen. If you’ve been anywhere near print in the last 8 years, you know that nothing is certain and almost everything is in a state of flux.

We see it all too often: print businesses are downsizing, costs are rising, super star customers are leaving for a “cheaper” solution and the list goes on and on. So what can you do about it?!

Professor Albert Einstein taught us that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are you getting different results? What are you doing differently today?

What’s the point?

I want to tell you, as a print technology evangelist, that if you don’t have a solid system in place (and you somehow made it this far) you’re in for a rough ride ahead. Nurturing and New Customer Sales are King and Queen in the print industry chess game and, without a Web-to-Print system, you’re going to checkmated.

Nurturing! Nurturing! Read all about it!

How do you keep your customer happy? Make it simple, and make it fast!

Your customers ordering through online templates = ease for both them AND you! Reorders are a click away, and digging through old artwork and making mistakes are eliminated through online proofs.

Business Cards: http://tinyurl.com/mpdeyvq
Business Forms: http://tinyurl.com/nelohzf
Letterhead: http://tinyurl.com/k5qeq9w

Increasing Sales – It’s your move

I’ve yet to meet a business owner that didn’t want to increase sales, but I don’t make it down to the Caribbean much so maybe that’s where they are. Far too often print firms are trying to sell the same thing, the same way, and quite possibly getting the same results.

When you walk out of that prospect’s office, what impression have you left?

Wait, wait, let me guess: Quick turnaround times, great prices, great product, and friendly customer care? That’s where the print industry’s roots are!

There’s a tool you need to add to your toolbox! You must prove to your prospect that you are watching out for them and offering them the easiest tools you can. Your Web to Print solution must give you the ability to quickly construct a custom branded portal for your prospects to order through. Nothing says quality and respect more than a prospect seeing their own logo during a demonstration. See samples below:

www.myorderdesk.com/mcdonalds
www.myorderdesk.com/ms
www.myorderdesk.com/nbc

Checkmate

Today – it’s about nurturing what you have, and being equipped to go after what you want. Getting a solid Web to Print solution implemented opens up a whole new way of selling, and keeping your customers for life.

[CHALLENGE] Printers, Make Your Content More Fun to Read

I just got done reading a blog post from Pamela Vaughan of Hubspot on “10 Ways to Make Your Content More Fun to Read.” Please make sure to read all the way to the bottom. There is a challenge for you there.

This section really jumped out as a plus for print services providers.

Get Creative With Images 

You know what they say: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Imagery is not only a great way to improve the social shareability of your content, but it can also add a little fun to it, too. Take some extra care in choosing images for your content. Can you use them to enhance a joke you made or crack a new one? Can you simply select a relevant image that’s already funny in and of itself? Can you overlay a caption or add a clever thought/talk bubble like we did in the example below (which can be found in this blog post)? Don’t be afraid to get creative!

donkeys-who-assume-1

(Image Credit: horslips5)

Just be sure you have the right permissions to use, adapt, or modify the images you’re using. Use photos appropriately licensed under Creative Commons (but be careful), or purchase stock photos.

Why did it stand out? Well, most PSPs have graphic artists or desktop people on staff. Why not utilize those in-house talents to increase the readability and entertainment factor of your posts. After all, getting people to view, read and share your content should be your number one goal. The secondary goal is then directing them to your website.

So here is the challenge. Create a fun graphic (like the one above) and post a link of the graphic to this article. After a week, all submissions will be posted on this blog for voting. The three images that receive the most votes will receive a $50 Restaurant.com Gift Card, and a copy of Ryan Sauers Book, “Everyone is in Sales,” compliments of PagePath Technologies. Only printing/graphic arts related companies are eligible.

So go, create, and post.

How Should Printers Market Themselves?

This past week, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting with a few of my peers at Print 13 to discuss how printers should be marketing themselves. It was a great panel. I was honored to be sitting with such intelligent people in the industry. This roundtable event was sponsored by the LinkedIn Group “Market Your Printing Company,” Mary Beth Smith, and Print Media Center. 

The session has been archived and can still be viewed online. It is well worth your time. I promise. Give it a watch, and comment below as to your thoughts and suggestions.

Roundtable

Are You Surprising Your Print Customers?

Researchers have found that our brains like surprises. Especially happy ones. What are you doing right now that will “wow” your customers and get them talking about you?
Everyone has seen or heard news reports of celebrity gossip that has “gone viral.” The trick for your printing firm is to say something or offer something that’s so compelling people want to share it with others they know.
To get viral exposure (a/k/a word of mouth) going for your printing company,  think first about what you share with others. Are you saying something new, different, or valuable? Chances are people will talk about what makes you stand apart, not your core offering.
Example: Sorrento Mesa Printing in San Diego talks about, “A 3D Printed Future: 10 Surprising Things We Could See Printed Soon.” That’s what people buzz about.
Another good example is from a doctor who gives well-behaved children a token good for a free ice cream cone at the Baskin-Robbins next door. That’s what people talk about – not his credentials.
It is the surprise or surprisingly unique quality that people will share with others. So do what Bonnie Raitt says: “Give ’em something to talk about!”
What are some creative ideas you have that people can talk about?

How can an actor’s audition help your print sales?

Julie Hansen, in  her article “ACT Like a Sales Pro,” points out 4 key concepts that can help you on your next print sales call.

Your best role as a seller is yourself. Be authentic and be genuine. Buyers will see through an “act.”

But there is a way you are like an actor: You often must audition to convince the buyer that you are right for the part. Here’s how actors do it:

• Warm up. A professional actor never goes on stage – or into an audition – without physically and vocally warming up. Print sales pros should do the same. Get your head into the game before the curtain rises.

• Embrace obstacles. Overcoming obstacles is a critical element of any drama. It keeps the audience engaged. Share obstacles you’ve overcome with other customers, in a dramatic way. Ditto for objections. Your “audience” will be on the edge of their seats waiting to see how you’ll address them.

• Don’t sweat mistakes. When stage actors drop a line or mishandle a prop, it shows their humanity. More important is whether you recover gracefully. Humor helps.

• Practice your improv skills. You don’t know how your audience will react, so you have to be quick on your feet. Practice beforehand with colleagues or friends, and invite them to throw you curve balls.

What other skills have you learned to help on a print sales call?