How Marketing Automation Can Help Your Print Business: Part I

By JOHN FOLEY – January 9, 2017

Are you looking for ways to keep your print business thriving? Marketing is vital to the survival of any business. Without marketing, your customers don’t know where you are, what you do, or what your business can do for them.

Marketing keeps your print business strong by bringing in new customers and strengthening connections with old ones.

Digital marketing is especially vital these days. Your customers are online consuming content and marketing information all the time. You need to be there to meet them and let them know that print is very much alive and well and ready to meet their needs.

There’s just one problem: Marketing takes a lot of time and effort. That’s where marketing automation comes in. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at why your print business needs to embrace digital marketing.

Why Your Print Business Needs Digital Marketing

gears_marketingYour product might be physical, but your marketing still needs to have digital elements. When customers look for a print shop, they don’t go out and search for a brochure. Most of them will fire up Google or Facebook and start looking for a print business.

Your customers are out there on the web. They’re not just looking for print services, either. They’re talking about problems they have and issues they’re facing – issues you can help them solve. Maybe they’re talking about digital marketing and whether print still has a place. You know it does; marketing gives you a way to make sure your customers know it, too.

In short, digital marketing:

  • Connects you with customers
  • Is a path to building long-term loyal customer relationships
  • Encompasses your customers’ favorite mediums such as email and social media
  • Gives you the chance to join conversations
  • Is an opportunity to tell your customers what problems you can solve for them

Why One Size Marketing Doesn’t Fit All

Your customers aren’t the same. Each one is at a different stage in their relationship with your print business. Each one has specific needs and pain points.

One size fits all marketing is a dangerous business. Sending the same marketing messages to all your customers means that many of them will get deleted or ignored. Even worse, one size fits all marketing can lead to your print business being seen as spammy – which won’t help you build strong client relationships!

Instead, segment your customer base so each client only sees the content that really matters to them:

  • If you have customers who are especially interested in cross-channel marketing, create content just for them and make sure they know about it
  • Send out a “how did we do?” email for new customers and listen to their feedback
  • Create special offers for repeat customers and send them a coupon
  • Let customers who always come into the print shop know they can order more quickly online

When you segment your marketing, you ensure each customer only sees the content that really matters to them. And the easiest way to segment your marketing? Marketing automation.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation means using software to automate marketing tasks. These might include:

  • Sending out emails
  • Making posts to social media
  • Scoring leads
  • Tracking what leads do on your website
  • Inviting customers to schedule a call with you
  • Sending out SMS texts
  • Sending personalized messages

Marketing automation lets you set up a series of workflows to help you connect with your customers in the best way. You set different trigger points which then initiate a specific action:

  • A customer’s order is completed, triggering an email seven days later asking for their feedback
  • Someone downloads a specific piece of content, triggering a staggered series of emails expanding on the content
  • A repeat customer hasn’t ordered in six months, triggering a “can we do anything for you?” email
  • A customer signs up to receive SMS messages from you, triggering an introductory message

It’s all about crafting different pathways to fit different circumstances and setting out milestones (or triggers) along those pathways.

So, how exactly does marketing automation benefit printers, and how can you use it specifically to grow your print business? Part II here!


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