As small business owners, we wear a lot of hats, making it nearly impossible to give our complete focus to every role.
That’s usually why when it comes to the marketing and selling for our print companies, we often rely on what we’ve always done simply because it’s comfortable. After all, it’s easier to focus on other pressing responsibilities. Over time, though, a lack of fresh ideas can leave your sales and marketing efforts on an unpleasant plateau and cause you to fall behind in an industry that is continuously moving forward.
Those strategies that worked in the past may still have a place in the future, but it’s critical to take a step back every so often to take an inventory of what’s working and what’s not. When you reassess your objectives for the year and explore how these objectives will align with your marketing strategies, you’ll be able to look at your printing company through a fresh lens.
Here are four steps to help you get started:
1. EXAMINE WHAT WORKED, WHAT DIDN’T, AND WHAT IS “SO LAST YEAR.”
Every year (at least!), these are the types of questions you should be asking yourself to ensure your business marketing is staying relevant:
- Has your holiday card reminder said the same thing for nearly a decade?
- Does your customer data need to be reviewed?
- Is your prospect list up to date?
- Is your message or logo inconsistent because you half-heartedly revamped your image?
- Are your new services included on your website homepage?
Along with that, make a list of products or services that you offer that need to be reviewed on a consistent basis. Things like:
- Stationery and business cards
- Reorder Cards
- Flyers for monthly promotions
- Sales letters
- Direct mail pieces
- Digital marketing, social media, website updates, email newsletter
This is not an exhaustive list. There are hundreds of things you could be reviewing within your business. Pick the top priorities and work your way to including more as you get your feet under you.
2. WHERE ARE YOU SPENDING YOUR ENERGY? ON SELLING OR MARKETING?
In this modern era, we are more than just printers. We are marketing companies.
Printers (myself included) tend to overthink how to make our projects perfect because they represent what we sell. While that is important, it’s even more essential that we don’t forget we’re a small BUSINESS and, whether we enjoy it or not, our job is to sell.
We spend so much of our energy creating and customizing that it leads us to sacrifice consistency and efficiency.
That energy could serve us much better if we used it on spending more time selling. This is where blending new strategies with traditional tactics will serve us well. For example, spending the time on content creation will ultimately lead to making fewer phone calls and getting quicker results because of the self-guided efforts you’re creating for your print buyers.
One more thing, don’t forget the entire team can contribute to the sales process.
Drivers can hand out flyers for new projects, bindery staff can assist in mailing follow-up letters and promo samples, and customer service staff can be part of the day-to-day sales process. Use your resources to sell the great products you have and don’t be afraid to let them market themselves.
3. MAKE A PLAN, KEEP IT SIMPLE, AND BE CONSISTENT.
Once you’ve reviewed where you’ve been and captured the vision for where you want to be, begin to establish goals for the year.
Then, start using a calendar like this Sample Content Calendar to make sure your weekly content is consistent with your goals. You could also use newsletters to remind your customers of your company objectives, what this means for them, and the service they can expect.
TIP!! Printers are idea people; we like to start new projects and then have to juggle them all at once.
So, don’t put more on your plate than you can handle!
Aim to be consistent in your message and simple in your designs. Your print buyers will appreciate clarity and efficiency. Also, strive to balance original content with shared content to remain authentic but not get bogged down in the land of content creation and design.
4. REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW!
Each month, hold a brief meeting to review your yearly goals and discuss how you’re working toward them.
Review responsibilities with your whole team to keep everyone on the same page leaving little room for miscommunication. While it can be tempting during the holiday season or spring rush to make excuses to skip this meeting, remember, consistency is crucial.
We as printers have the unique advantage of being able to send out samples of our work using direct mail. That means that in addition to using print and design for our own sales process, we get to demonstrate to our customers what we can do for them. Utilize this tool to remind old customers why they chose you and to draw new customers in with your authentic design.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Make 2019 your year. Give your company the fresh makeover it needs, pick a plan, and stick with it. Soon, you’ll be on your way to making wearing all those hats look easy.