Another printing company, just recently decided to open on Sundays—he did it solely to differentiate his shop from his competitors. In another instance, a business that is currently open 24 hours has been struggling with whether to keep that as a differentiator, as they want to move into doing more B-to-B work versus B-to-C work.
The point is there is no right or wrong answer. The decision has to be based on what works for you and your business. However, once you establish a differentiator, then use it in your marketing everywhere—on your website, business cards, every printed marketing piece, on your vehicles and other signage, direct mail, email blasts etc.
Create a buzz through your use of social media. Get testimonials to prove your differentiator. Having a third party tell your story is much better than you telling it. Use real names and companies (with their permission, of course) in those testimonials.
Make It Work for You
Here are some final tips on differentiating your printing business. This is also sometimes called a USP, or unique selling proposition.
• Look at your competition. They have customers; why do they keep them? What do they do well, and where do they fall short?
• Determine what sets you apart. If you do work for large companies in your area and want to do more for companies like them, then hang your hat on that. If you are the largest printer in your town, then tout that: “We have more than 2,000 satisfied customers,” or “We printed more than 50 million documents in 2010.”
• If you don’t have a differentiator, invent one. One client of mine says they specialize in “Delivering Bright Ideas.” This certainly gets customers’ attention.
• Identify your customers’ pain points. Many customers want to simplify the ordering process, so perhaps you could set up custom portals which make the order process simpler for your clients.
• Back it up with a guarantee. Guarantee your turnaround times—just like FedEx does.
• Be specific. Baskin Robbins has 31 different flavors and even built that into its logo. If you have some great capabilities, flaunt them.
• Finally, never make a claim you can’t back up. Be sure you can deliver on your promises.
Think of it this way: what makes you choose one clothing store, builder, or moving company over another? Chances are it’s their success in defining their USP and broadcasting that message to your marketplace. Take a page from their book. You’ll get noticed—and get the cash flowing in a lot faster.
Mitch Evans is president of Mitch Evans Consulting, which is specifically targeted to meet the consulting needs of the quick and small commercial printing industry. His areas of expertise are in strategic planning, valuation, mergers and acquisition, financial planning, new technology, and “1-2-1” coaching. Evans regularly speaks to printing associations and groups on these and related subjects. Contact him at 561-351-6950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.