Customer demands are requiring many printers to learn how to use the plethora of communication options now available. Print on paper is still basic to most customer needs, but a large amount of the printed material now needs to be repurposed for other media. Successful printers will have to deal with the new services if they want to provide complete communication packages and grow their business.
Variable Data Printing & Personalization
This service is perfect for most quick printers. Most VDP needs for small businesses require short runs, and printers already have the equipment and software to do it. Printers already providing mailing services will find personalization an easy transition. Most customers have some sort of mailing list, but they don’t know what to do with it. The best way to educate customers about VDP is for a printer to start marketing to his own customers using VDP.
Mailing houses, data companies, and offshore data companies can support printers handling the technical side of VDP. The printer just needs to send the data to a service and receive back a ready to print VDP file.
Websites have become a central to most companies’ marketing programs. It is difficult for printers to compete for original website creation, but there are a spinoff services a printer can offer to support a customer’s website.
One of the easiest is to make sure the customer’s print collateral supports the website’s message and the company’s branding. Printers should be auditing their customer’s websites to find print opportunities. Does the company have print material to support the different Web pages? What print collateral is used to communicate with the customer after he makes contact through the Web? What mailing message is used to drive customers to the site? Most Web-based sales activities will require print.
Printers also need to be able to create and integrate a landing page into a marketing campaign. For example, a printer recently completed a project for a customer’s job fair that used a variety of communication tools. The printer built a landing page for prospects to visit. The page collected the prospect’s information and allowed him to upload a resume. It collected the applicants’ information via both the website and a mobile site. The mobile site was accessed through a QR code printed on a banner in the trade show booth.
The package also included print material of information given to the prospect, wide-format printing for the display booth, and a personalized mailing after the job fair to people who participated. The entire project evolved around the printer’s ability to do a landing page.
Adobe’s latest push is publishing on tablets, websites, and smartphones. Most printers experienced with InDesign and the Creative Suite should find repurposing for the new media easy. Adobe’s new Digital Publishing Suite lets printers take layouts from InDesign and design iPad apps without writing code. You get instant feedback with previews. Tablet use is growing and companies want to get their catalogs, newsletters, and other publications repurposed for the new media.
Mobile Sites & QR Codes
The majority of mobile phone users now have smartphones, and they are using them to access the Internet for information. QR codes are now seen everywhere and should be included on all printed material to help reach customers.
Unless the landing page has been optimized for the small screen of the smartphone, the information could be too cumbersome to access. Mobile sites are an easy service for printers to add and don’t have to be tied directly to the customer’s current website. Printers should now expect almost any print marketing project to have a tablet and QR component.
Customers want one-stop shopping on marketing and communication projects so their branding will remain consistent. Printers are in the best position to provide their small business customers with the help and education needed to take advantage of the new media. Taking a little time to understand the technology will result in big opportunities for printers to grow their business.
John Giles is a consultant and technology director for CPrint International. He is the author of “12 Secrets for Digital Success” and “The DTP PriceList”. He can be reached at 954-224-1942 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find John on Twitter at @JohnG247 and LinkedIn. Read his blog at www.MyPRINTResource.com/blogs/john-giles. Order John’s books from Crouser & Associates (www.MyPRINTResource.com/10004688).