Your company has a story to tell. And if you don’t tell it, who will?
Today’s customer is looking for a relationship with authentic businesses. Customers are drawn to companies that tell the truth, treat customers as partners, use best practices, and care for their resources and employees.
You know your team has the skills to get projects completed on time and under budget, the experience to spot and stop mistakes in their tracks, and the expertise to estimate a complex job within a few dollars.
The trick is -- so do many of your competitors! That’s why printing is such a dynamic and exciting field full of thought leaders raising the bar for each other. Having great competitors makes us all the better at what we do best.
A printer’s main objective is to help other businesses tell their stories, and the most discerning customers will be watching how well the printer markets itself. But we all know that marketing ourselves is a hard sell when we just want to get on with the business of printing.
You tell your customers to market, so why don't you?
Right now, marketing is a critical piece of every successful company’s business plan and annual budget. Isn’t that what you tell your customers? Companies want to be top of mind as we move through these uncertain times. It could mean the difference between beating out the competition or keeping the doors open for another month.
The September Yelp Local Economic Impact Report showed that “as of August 31, 163,735 total U.S. businesses on Yelp have closed since the beginning of the pandemic (observed as March 1), a 23% increase since July 10. In the wake of COVID-19 cases increasing and local restrictions continuing to change in many states, we’re seeing both permanent and temporary closures rise across the nation, with 60% of those closed businesses not reopening.” Nearly 98,000 were permanently closed at the end of August.
It’s never been more important to keep your name in front of your customers and prospective customers. A yearlong Harvard Business Review project published in the wake of the Great Recession analyzed strategy selection and corporate performance during three past global recessions between 1980 and 2002. The team studied 4,700 public companies. “Firms that cut costs faster and deeper than rivals don’t necessarily flourish,” the research showed. “They have the lowest probability—21%—of pulling ahead of the competition when times get better.”
Marketing experts agree that a careful investment in highly targeted promotional activity and relationship building can help businesses weather downturns and poise them to take off when markets swing up. The crucial first step to capturing the perfect-fit customers for your business -- your A-list clients -- is to tell your individual, authentic story with the careful guidance of a professional marketing services firm.
Here’s how you do it:
1. Make the time to tell your story. Yes, we all know that stories, videos and memes unexpectedly go viral, spreading a message far and wide in a short time. But always remember that publicity is not an accident. A person or a business took the time to make the video, tell that story, or create that meme and upload it. Yes, great work is still the best reference, but word of mouth isn’t enough anymore. Businesses can create their own buzz.
2. Find out where your customer is and meet them there. Are your prospects searching for printers on Google? Be sure your website is optimized and user friendly, and that a quick search brings your name to the top of the results. Are your biggest niche clients at online trade shows and conferences? Think ahead - try to position your management as speakers or panelists when possible. Present yourselves as experts in the field. Think about sponsoring such events -- online now and in person later -- to get in front of your audience.
3. Create a marketing budget and use it wisely and consistently. Use a crucial mix of paid media, direct marketing, quality materials, sponsorships and other promotional tools regularly -- not just when sales slow. Achieving success through marketing is hard work! You must stay vigilant and consistently build awareness of your brand across multiple channels.
4. Hire a professional. Most companies are lean, and leaders get caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a business. Bringing in a professional marketing consultant or team will help up your game and keep you on point. They empower you to elevate your brand, express your unique story, and get all eyes on it.
Whether you seek to stand out among peers, market new service capabilities, develop a strong niche, or more effectively convey your brand story -- make a marketing plan! Your investment in you will make all the difference to your customers.