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Marketing A Printshop

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  • Marketing A Printshop

    Just throwing out a new topic here to see what types of opinions may be out there. I am a (pre-press/digital press operator/graphic designer) at a smaller ish print shop that has offset, digital, wide format and graphic design services under one roof. Over the past few years we have seen the offset side take a dramatic hit as our digital side has grown larger and more robust. We have been looking at ways to market our services but have not really come up with anything that sticks. We keep hearing that we need a social media presence but really don't know if that is the direction that Printers are headed. Marketing is changing we know..... but is social media really something that can be a benefit to us in this industry. (let me preface that question with the fact that we are pretty much a bunch of Ole Farts here and don't fully understand that stuff) or is everybody still relying on good old fashioned sales reps to get the new business in the door? We are just looking for creative ideas to continue to move this business forward......thoughts, ideas and amazing nuggets of brilliance would be greatly appreciated

  • #2
    My opinion is that in this new age, the key to your marketing strategy is your website. A clean, well-designed website that shows up high in search results is going to get you more consumer business and may open the door to some business-to-business sales if some office manager is just Googling print shops. I think people are wanting to order their print and do all that business interaction online more rather than over email or phone. I think sales rep still have a very big role to play too, especially in maintaining business relationships and catering your services to each client's specific needs - but their pitches need to be updated and they need modern tools in their pocket to offer (our company provides custom web-to-print websites for clients).

    I think in this aspect, a social media presence's purpose may be to increase your website's search page rankings rather than to try and acquire business through it itself (the more normal, legitimate links to your website out there the better). There are tools out there that let you write out and plan posts ahead of time and the tool will post them at scheduled times - that can help you not feel like you're spending tons of time on social media constantly. As for content, I think we usually write small articles/blog posts that are timely (one about holiday cards, or perhaps promotional items when trade shows are happening) and push those through our social media channels.

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    • #3
      I agree that a good website, outside sales and social media all play a role in marketing. I think the hard part for smaller operations is there are not resources or in-house skill to accomplish all that needs to be done. I would add that having a professional looking customer lobby can play an important role as well.
      In our operation we have joined a buying group that now also provides group marketing services. These include sales training, social media content and scheduling as well as customer facing store design. Here is an example from one of our group and this new concept: Print Refinery
      Custom printing to reflect your brand’s voice. The Print Refinery in X is your creative partner for business printing services.

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      • #4
        Marketing does not begin with media, the web, blogs, nice lobbies or whatever. It begins with the customer and prospective customers that you wish to reach. What are their needs in a supplier, where do they go to discover new print service providers, etc. The better your understanding of your customers the better able you’ll be to market to them and choose the correct medium and messaging to reach them.

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        • #5
          One of the largest challenges we face is that over the last 10-15 years with the advent of new streamlined technologies we have scaled down (employee wise) to a leaner crew while still producing the same, if not more work. We no longer have any outside sales reps and solely rely on our loyal customer base, word of mouth and any web traffic that we may receive. That being said....trying to figure out unique ways to drive new traffic through our doors is challenging. We have looked at outside Marketing firms but it seems like they always answer with "you need a social media presence" but that just seems to be marketing peoples canned answer. We are currently throwing around the idea of a "loyalty Program" and/or "referral program" to see if we can turn our current customers in to a mini sales force. Thanks for all the input so far.....lets keep it rolling

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          • #6
            Manafaith,
            I wouldn't disregard social media just because it is the flavor of the week. Getting a following on Facebook is not simple, but it can be done. Start by following and recommending other businesses that you like. I think it works best when one of your staff puts up relevant content instead of hiring an agency to do it. We get fair traction with paid ads on Facebook and they are definitely more effective than traditional media. One of my college interns struck out on his own recently and opened a bicycle shop that is promoted almost entirely on social media and that seems to be working. He posts daily. Some posts are events and some are about product.
            Probably our most successful marketing piece was a mailing to a list of businesses that we got from our chamber of commerce. We had added new services and needed to communicate that. The chamber list was a pretty close match for the potential customers we were looking for.

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            • #7
              Hello! I just joined the forum with hopes of getting feedback on updating my website and look at that, you already have a thread going. Currently we are developing a new version on wordpress and I would love any of your input on improvements while we are in the process of planning our changes. Thank you!

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              • #8
                we have a social media manager that just so happens to be a web designer. It will never hurt to get your name and image out there any where you can.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bill_Print_NJ View Post
                  Hello! I just joined the forum with hopes of getting feedback on updating my website and look at that, you already have a thread going. Currently we are developing a new version on wordpress and I would love any of your input on improvements while we are in the process of planning our changes. Thank you!
                  Hey Bill Print NJ
                  I have limited expertise on website design but I do hack away on our wordpress CMS. I think your use of the Typewriter font is unusual and might relate to your thesis business - kind of a retro reference? It is remarkable how much that affects the look of your site. Since you are looking to update the only suggestion I would venture would be to improve the quality of your photos and images. Putting a lot of community names that you serve (as you do) in the content should help with SEO I expect.

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