Printers are doing more today than just putting ink on paper if they want to profit and grow. Successful printers are making the transition from a print manufacturer to a print communicator. They do this by helping customers integrate print material with their other communication vehicles.
Printers can’t just be experts in ink and toner any more. They have to know about the Web and Internet-based communication services such as email blasts and website development. If a printer can integrate print with the other communication tools, then the customer’s message becomes stronger and print becomes more valuable.
Print is Still Essential
A good example is print collateral that supports a website. Many business owners thought that just putting information on the Web was going to handle all of their communication needs. They could eliminate print and mail and use the low-cost services offered by electronic communications. They couldn’t have been more wrong.
The proper use of print collateral with Internet tools can make a customer’s message more effective. Businesses are learning that putting information on the Internet is only part of the solution. How is a customer going to drive eyes to his website? Search engine optimization is necessary, but direct mail might be even better. What happens when a website visitor contacts the business for more information? Do you send them a link to another Web page, or do you give them printed material to answer their questions? It takes a personal visit to close many sales transactions, so presentation folders and product information printed on paper are still important to help seal the deal. Print continues to play an important role to tie the different communication vehicles together.
Print collateral that supports a customer’s sales message has a higher value. It is usually the higher value full-color print and design pieces that provide printers with a bigger invoice and a higher profit margin. One good reason for a sales call would be to evaluate the print collateral a customer is using to support his website.
Another print opportunity making a comeback is the printed newsletter. Many companies abandoned the printed newsletter when email was introduced. However, they are now finding the printed newsletter has its place in the communication process
One reason is that you can’t get as much information into an electronic newsletter as you can a printed piece. Usually, one page is the limit that a computer user will read. They don’t want to scroll a lot or jump to other links to continue longer articles. An email newsletter lets you put out short blurbs to grab someone’s attention, but it isn’t good for going into the detail some information requires.
Business owners are now realizing that different people want their information in different ways. Your customers now take the same message and provide it to their audience as a printed newsletter, an email blast, and a flip book on their website. The printer who can produce the information in all those different formats is the one who will win the business from this type of customer.
Printers have always been in the communication business. They just have to look at the Internet as another vehicle to help their customers get the most effective message out to the right people. Print will tie it all together.
A Print Tool on the iPhone
Printers can now keep a collection of print reference tools as close as their smartphone. Robert Hunt, a prepress operator for Friendship Creative Printers, Millersville, MD, has created an iPhone app called Print Apply. The app puts an artwheel, fraction converter, envelope size reference chart, QR code reader, paper weight reference chart, folding chart, and more into one easy-to-use reference tool you can access at anytime on your iPhone. The app costs $4.99 at the Apple iTunes Store. For more information, visit itunes.apple.com/us/app/print-apply/id531785499?ls=1&mt=8.