#printmarketing – what YOU as a printer can do, part 4

timthumbWe’ve covered quite a bit on the recent blog posts, from structural collateral to stationary, and the realm of social media. There are many other elements still to cover, all of which are part of the overall print marketing element.

CASE STUDIES

Casestudies-splashCase studies are vitally important to your marketing efforts, because they illustrate how you met a challenge and accomplished the task, often touting specific value-added services that your specific print company can do that your competition cannot do.  There is a basic format to case studies:

  • The challenge from the client
  • What your team did to meet or exceed the challenge
  • The results (which your prospects and clients are MOST interested in)
  • Have a photo or two photos of the project so that the prospect or client can see the process and/or the results

So, let’s do a case study so we can apply those above points:

  • The challenge: to create a structural piece that would accommodate multiple DVDs in a single package.
  • The project: with our in-house structural engineer, we collaborated with the client to create a DVD “Jukebox” with multiple panels that held five DVDs on foam CD hubs, and folded in on itself to become a final 3D piece, sealed with a Velcro dot.
  • The results: Client received an increase in orders on their DVD package by 23%.

As you can see, the goal is to create a sense that there was something out of the ordinary with the project, that the team came together and did something unique, and the client had a high ROI on it.  Case studies can cover different things like bindery, press operations, even pre-press – anything that illustrates that your printing company can take challenges and turn them into successes.  Case studies should be prominent on your website, as well as in both PDF form to email out, and printed out.  They needed to be updated frequently across all the media platforms.

EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS AND SEMINARS

Another element of print marketing is providing educational materials and hosting seminars.  Let’s look at these separately, even though they are often mutually beneficial.

Educational materials can be a host of things, from the promo materials provided by the paper mills, to self-created and branded tips on how to set up files, how to do press checks, tips on creating the perfect mail piece – anything that the prospect or client can receive that will educate or enlighten them, and therefore, make them feel like you’re an authority on these various subjects.  On materials that you generate, they should all match your brand look with the logo, correct font, any other graphic elements, and should be authored by the same person who does a majority of your social media, case studies, or other materials, so that there is a consistency in the “voice” and tone of the content.

Seminars can be done in a variety of ways, from “lunch ‘n’ learn” events at your facility or a local hotel, or all day intensive seminars at an offsite location.  The goal is to engage andseminar educate your prospects and clients.  You can then tie in many of the things that I have mentioned in the previous posts: direct personalized mail with a PURL for registration, email blast follow ups, and then social media postings.  Give your desired audience many ways to contact you and register for the event.  Be willing to lay out some funding for these, planning them in your annual budget. You can get speakers from the design community, from the paper mills, from the local trade schools or colleges.  A great asset is having someone from your Production team lead a topic, so that your prospects and clients see that you have highly skilled and knowledgeable employees, which only enhances the perception of your company as an industry leader.  Make sure you have refreshments, and plenty of give-aways from the attendees to take home.

ONLINE STOREFRONTS

Zee-PortOnline storefronts are gaining in popularity from the public as sources of inexpensive print product.  However, online storefronts for printers can be so much more than just ordering 250 business cards for $15 (or free if you’re willing to have the printer’s website on the card). There are many companies in the print world that have only an online presence, no brick and mortar location for you to go and view proofs, or do a press check.  Successful printers have learned to blend this online environment with the conventional printing workflow, and often do blend them together virtually seamlessly.  Having an online storefront that covers not just print, but inventory management, reporting, and invoice payment, can be highly profitable. Expanding into creating files for PDF use only, or some other forms of assembling kits can only increase the value added perception of your company.  And, in the case of most online storefronts, once you’ve done the effort to set them up, they tend to be self managing, freeing up some of Production team members to do other vital tasks.  Sales reps that sell online solutions become “Relationship Managers” instead of quote generators and order takers.  This frees them up to either pursue more online clients or conventional print clients.  Online storefronts can be purchased from major companies such as Xerox or Kodak, which can then tie into your print workflow.  EFI has online solutions as well, that can tie into the workflow and your Management Information System.

Next week we’ll wrap this all up with some tips on how to implement all this and help your sales team become successful.

Connect with John on Google+Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About John Prothero

John Prothero is a print professional with over 30 years experience in the print industry. Starting out as a driver delivering jobs, he worked in bindery, proofing, plating, traditional prepress (camera and stripping), scheduling, job planning, job management, account management and digital job production. His skills also run in the area of blog authorship, social media management, and lead generation and qualification of prospective clients. John is also a contributor to Rhode Island Creative Magazine, a digital publication that highlights the creative spirit of the state of Rhode Island. You can read their online issues at www.ricreativemag.com
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