It’s no longer enough to have a website simply showcasing your products. With the wealth of competition and options now available to customers, they are looking for businesses that can add value. 81% of shopper’s research online before buying and, on average, consumers visit at least 3 online stores before making their purchase. For your print business to stand out, you need to go beyond selling to them and start helping them.
In his TED talk, Joseph Pine explains how we are moving to “an experience economy”. Customers have got used to businesses getting prices as low as possible and they have moved on. They instead want to see how you can actually make their lives better and easier.
Although there are many ways to add value to your customer in store [links to Print Shop Revolution], with the number of people researching businesses online you could be missing out on opportunities to gain new customers. The examples below list 6 extra resources you can provide to your customers online that will attract them to your business.
eBooks have three main benefits: first you have the opportunity to offer genuinely useful information to your customer. Second, they build your email database and lastly they position you as an expert in your field.
“It is important to use the eBook to inform and educate your audience. This shows you are willing to spend time doing something for them and gain their trust” says marketing coordinator Aria Solar, “driving them to come back to your website in the future”. Offer these eBooks on your website in return for their email address. If you don’t have access to a designer, Hubspot have some free templates you can populate with your own content! Website building services such as Wix and WordPress also offer plug-ins and templates that allow customers to pop their email addresses in return for receiving the eBook.
eBook subjects you could tackle that would provide value to your customers are:
- Local Print Marketing Tips
Offering practical ways customers can use your product is one of the strongest selling methods around. By either using your own expertise or drawing on colleagues, friends or even freelance marketing consultants, devise marketing methods which your customers find useful. These could include tips for loyalty schemes, promotional packs, or direct mail campaigns.
Not all of your customers are educated in print. A first time visitor to your website might not know the difference between litho and digital, what GSM is or even how to submit their artwork. You could offer advice on whether to submit their files in CMYK, which stock works best for each product and things they need to consider such as bleed.
Businesses with blogs receive 67% more leads than businesses without. “For a small business on a shoestring budget, investing time and resources in blogging is a better option than other marketing alternatives” explains William Johnson from smallbiztrends.com. Including a blog on your website will be another way for you to communicate with customers without them even entering the shop. “The more a lead has contact with you, the more likely you are to make a sale” says Olivia Allen from Hubspot. You can talk about the different ways customers can use print to advertise their business or let them know about your new products.
An updated blog will allow a customer to make a connection with your business. “People want to know that there are actual human beings behind the business that they buy from” Johnson continues, “This is an opportunity for you to let your personality shine through”. One post a week will be enough to keep your social media page fresh and will help you communicate directly to your customers on a regular basis.
Valuable and informative articles will establish you as an expert in print! If you genuinely help a customer before they’ve even purchased, they will be more likely to choose you over a competitor. The best thing about blogging? It is low-cost, your only expense being your time.
Ideas you could write about on your blog could include:
- Case studies on previous, successful customer print campaigns
- How to create the perfect event print pack
- Everything you need for a business launch
- 10 things you should consider when ordering booklets
- Fun uses for [print product]
- Updates on any offers, sales or competitions you are running
- How to promote your campaign on a small budget
3) Artwork guides on-site
How many difficulties have you run into over the years when a customer appears in your shop ill-equipped to properly supply you with the right artwork? Imagine if they had seen all the information when they initially researched your website. You’d have saved both yours and their time.
Go into detail on all of your products to explain the process. You could even go into detail on the actual design process; how can customers achieve the perfect black with print? Do they need to be aware of ink cracking along folded edges? Share your expertise to make the ordering process as simple as possible for the customer.
Webinars are seminars delivered over the internet. They are an ideal way to connect directly to your customers on a mass scale all in one go. You can pre-record your webinar or, if you’re brave, go live! These webinars could be extensions of your blog post ideas; if you’re comfortable talking for a set period of time on a topic which your customers will find valuable and interesting.
This could be from explanations of your new products to marketing tips for your customers. You could ask a colleague or acquaintance who’s a specialist in small business marketing to joint-host the webinar with you, or go it alone. If you are usually apprehensive about publically speaking at networking events, webinars remove the fear of the audience and can be a much more relaxing and approachable way for you to communicate your message.
Webinars are as close to real-life interaction potential customers can have of you before they actually come into the store, says online business expert “TechBloke”; “The combination of the visual and audio element is one that’s leaves a much bigger impact... Sure, customers can write comments or email you, but there is just something about seeing a person speak directly.”
There are a few different ways to offer webinars. Webex and Google Hangouts offer live streams of your seminar out to listeners (although Webex can be expensive). If you rather record yourself first and make edits, consider investing in a webcam and simply uploading your video onto YouTube. You can then embed the video across your website or social media.
5) Promote the Full Use of Your Product
Start moving away from selling print. Instead, sell a solution to your customers. On the product copy on your website, don’t just describe your A4 Folded Leaflets as being printed on a certain stock with a choice of lamination. Instead, describe the uses of your product. Sell them as Menus, or drink lists or programmes. When customers visit your website, these will be the items they are looking for and they will find your website much more useful and informative.
Show how different laminations of a certain product can alter their use! An uncoated business card which can be written on can be presented as a loyalty card. Your “Menu” section could include folded leaflets, booklets and table talkers all grouped together, instead of in their classic categories. Customers will appreciate the presentation of options to help them make a more informed decision online.
Offering extra resources to your customers will not only help those who visit your site become customers, but is an amazing chance to engage with your current clients and build those relationships. Keep tuned for our next article which will show you how to optimise your website to make it easier for customers to use, research and most importantly, buy!