Additionally, you must assume that many jobs that come through aren’t quite right, meaning, there is something questionable about the formatting or about exactly what the customer is ordering. Again, plan to communicate quickly to resolve any questions. Customers may think they know exactly what they are doing (and many actually do), but remember who the professional printer is. If that is not enough incentive, just think about who will be blamed if the job doesn’t come out right, even if it was caused by a customer error.
Most research on Web-to-print indicates that buyers are more comfortable reordering than placing new orders. There are several reasons this is true, the most prominent of which is the notion that in a reorder, all the hard work is already done. Consumers don’t order items online that are complex, difficult, and time consuming to them. Most new orders require the customer to perform tasks from formatting the file and uploading it to your site to making all of the selections regarding paper, collating, cutting, and finishing. That’s why reorders are preferred; the customer doesn’t have to think.
In the Driver’s Seat
Will this trend continue in the future? Most signs indicate that consumers, especially price-conscious ones, will use Web interfaces to place orders for simple items such as business cards, postcards, etc., but for the more complex jobs and marketing campaigns, buyers will continue to work face-to-face with a marketing professional or printing company. This means there is all the more reason for you to continue to pay attention to the marketing aspects of your website. In short, if your company has a Web presence that focuses solely on Web-to-print, but isn’t using the Web for marketing and driving customers through your storefront, then you are potentially missing opportunities that are at your fingertips.
Studies of the print industry also show that using direct mail to supplement online marketing campaigns increases online purchases. In other words, it is smart to mail out your own postcards, brochures, and fliers to drive traffic to your website. Strategic strikes in your marketing materials will send potential consumers not just to your homepage, but to other landing pages that specifically address their needs. In fact, landing pages will play an increasingly important role in Web-to-print and the overall structure of marketing and print provider companies. Potential customers are going to use the Web to educate themselves prior to purchase.
Whether you are driving traffic to your Web-to-print capabilities or through your front door, your marketing must be consistent and persistent. Do your research on the best electronic marketing techniques, search engine optimization, keyword best practices, e-newsletters, promotions, and feature products and services. Explore YouTube and discover how a clever instructional video might very well be the best trigger for compelling a potential customer to utilize your Web-to-print services. Printing companies that have a Web presence and use it to drive traffic, set up online ordering and storefronts for key clients, accept orders through their sites, and use variable document technology are the companies that are not only succeeding but also finding profitability in today’s competitive environment.
Tawnya Starr is a former successful print shop owner who is now president of FireSpring’s PrinterPresence. She has dedicated her career to educating the printing industry on proven website and marketing strategies. In 2005, she received the Industry Award of Distinction from NAQP for her service as a consultant and educator to the industry. Contact her at Tawnya.Starr@Firespring.com.