Lessons & Learnings

Knowledge to help grow, improve and build a profitable business — to your inbox.

5 Ways to Drive More Sales to Your Print Shop

Business Lessons

Here’s a terrifying fact: most print shops don’t make it past the 5-year mark.

Why?

Because staying in business requires two things.

The first is simple: you need paying customers.

The second is more complicated: you need to grow your base of paying customers.

The way you do that? Drive sales to your print shop.

To be successful, you’ll need to develop sales skills. To stay in business, you’ll need to sustain your sales over the coming years – and grow your business to match your ambitions.

For some, sales come naturally. They’re outgoing, friendly, personable – with an eye on closing the deal. For the rest of us, sales can be painstakingly difficult.

At Printavo, we’re always looking for ways to boost our exposure and broaden our user base. When I started my own screen printing shop in 2012, I implemented a ton of different strategies to get the sales numbers I needed.

Since partnering with a few thousand print shop owners through Printavo – and holding dozens of candid interviews with industry leaders and experts – I’ve learned that there are a few simple and realistic ways for anyone to drive more sales to their screen printing shop.

#1 - Hire Sales Representatives


No matter how good of a salesperson you are, you’ll eventually need help.

This is simply the most effective way to bring in business: give the job to someone who can focus entirely on making sales.

undefined

Free your time and expand your operations with a dedicated sales rep.

But, you’ll still need to consider how you’ll use your sales reps. The best way to approach your sales rep placement is to consider where you wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to gain business. Remote sales reps can be just as effective as a rep that’s based in your shop.

Consider these great opportunities:

  • Nearby cities
  • Different states
  • Embedded on college campuses
  • Local events and venues

The goal with a sales rep is to place someone in areas and around people that you can’t reach when you’re running your business. Your print shop can stay local, but harness previously unreachable markets.

#2 - Sponsorships


Marketing is what drives sales. If your brand isn’t highly visible, you’re going to work much harder to introduce your brand to potential customers. The ideal customer is already familiar with your brand!

undefined

Toyota doesn't sponsor this arena in Houston because they think it's fun. They do it because it's valuable.

The easiest way to increase your brand recognition is to boost your visibility on a local scale. Place your name directly in front of your target consumers.

How? Sponsorships. The #1 community marketing tactic!

Evaluate where your typical customer comes from. Do you lean on a local sport, a big race, or a particular type of person? Drill down and find out where your customers go to have fun.

The easiest way to get an overview of local events is simply to check Facebook’s Events section and see if anything interests you. Talk to your customers about what they’re doing and why they’re ordering custom printed items from you – there’s always a story there.

Some examples of sponsorships that can yield tremendous visibility are:

  • Street festivals in your city during the summer
  • Sporting events like local 5K races, marathons, and triathlons
  • Local sports teams
  • Recreational sports leagues
  • Youth sporting events like Little League
  • Summer camps
  • Charity events like food drives
  • Pet adoption events
  • Concerts and music festivals
  • High school and collegiate events

You don’t need to shell out big bucks and be the primary sponsor for an event to get value from sponsorships. Just getting your logo and your image out to where your people are is a high-value activity (and a lot of fun).

You can even track the effectiveness of your sponsorships by offering a small discount code or referral coupon.

You may have to pay to play, but the familiarity you’ll introduce to your target market is worth every penny.

#3 - Write a Newsletter


Creating and retaining a customer base for a print shop is a huge long-term challenge.

If you’re staying in contact with your customers, then who is?

undefined

Build real rapport – and keep the conversation going.

A newsletter is a simple and affordable way to maintain your customer relationships and keep yourself in your customers’ mind.

Why a newsletter? It’s a pressure-free, non-solicitation forum to keep customers up to date about the latest happenings with your company.

Some things you can write about in newsletters:

  • Events you’ve attended
  • Awesome jobs you’ve completed
  • Great artwork from your shop
  • Profiles of great customers and what they do
  • Interviews with staff
  • Discussions about your newest equipment purchases
  • Pictures of your shop’s pets
  • Garments or processes you’re excited about

You can use your newsletter to show what your brand focuses on. Is your shop’s brand silly and fun-loving, or more serious and dedicated? Do you have a sharp and simple design scheme – or one that’s complicated and artistic?

Customers want to do business with brands they feel a personal connection to. A newsletter is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to start building that connection.

To build your newsletter list, you can use a service like Sumo or Unbounce to create a popup on your website. You can customize the popup’s settings so it’s unobtrusive and doesn’t appear to customers more than once a month.

From there, you can leverage a service like MailChimp or intercom to carefully curate how often you email your customers, determine whether they open and click on your emails, and even A/B test different subject lines and content to find out what’s most successful with your audience.

Building a newsletter and mailing list is one of the simplest and highest-value activities you can do. It keeps customers coming back, keeps the conversation rolling, and gives you a chance to show off your unique branded voice.

#4 - Create a Rewards Program


Rewards programs are one of the most powerful tools that large corporations use to keep their customers coming back.

Think pharmacies that offer discounts when you use their card, your local grocery chain’s rewards card, credit card companies that offer cash back, restaurants that offer repeat diner discounts, airlines that offer frequent flier miles, and even hotels that give free nights to repeat customers. Large businesses of all types love rewards programs!

undefined

How can you incentivize your customers to return to your business?

Small businesses have yet to jump on this bandwagon. There are plenty of reasons not to offer discounts and rewards, but it’s obvious that this is a powerful tool for retention and loyalty.

You can enroll customers in a rewards program that doesn’t need to be intricate or expensive. You don’t have to offer steep discounts or unreasonable price breaks – instead, offer complementary merchandise or a few extra garments. The rewards can be as simple as a low-cost Amazon gift card or a sample of a more expensive t-shirt. You don’t have to break the bank just to offer rewards.

The goal of a rewards program is actually simple: you demonstrate to the customer that they win in the long run by sticking with your print shop.

#5 - Reward Referrals and Reviews


Positive word of mouth referrals are the most valuable advertisement you can get – and you don’t have to pay for it. What you want to do is make it easy for your customers to refer their friends, family, and co-workers to you.

undefined

Let your customers do the selling for you.

When you send your follow-up email or do your follow-up phone call after you’ve finished a print job, always mention that you’d love a referral (this is also the time you should ask your customers to leave a positive review on Google, Facebook, and Yelp).

You can offer incentives for positive recommendations. Some businesses give a small ($10 to $20) discount if customers leave a good review. Give customers a branded card they can give to their connections. If it’s used, issue a small credit for your shop. You take it to the next level and offer rewards to customers that refer new clients – gift cards or small discounts are common.

The simple way to drive more referrals is to use branded stickers and swag with their orders, or just hand out business cards and fliers whenever you interact with customers. It should be obvious that you’re always looking for new clients, that you appreciate their positive referrals, and that you’re thankful for their business.

Bonus: Use Consistent Branding to Seem Bigger Than You Are


If you project professionalism, you’ll gain trust far faster. Remember: trust is difficult to acquire and very easy to lose. Even one poor showing can damage your branding.

undefined

You know the brand, and what it stands for, without a single word.

What does professionalism look like for a print shop? The key is long-term branding consistency.

It goes back to simple principles for branding:

  • Use your logo everywhere. Be strict about its appearance. You may need a dark logo for white backgrounds and a white logo for dark backgrounds.
  • Find your shop’s core values. At Printavo, we create simple shop management software. It’s not just a phrase – it’s a statement of our values. Use your phrase everywhere, every time.
  • Make the most professional website you can. With services like Wix or SquareSpace and a plethora of affordable freelancers available on services like Fiverr or Upwork, there’s no excuse to have an outdated and ugly website.
  • Use social proof. You’ve seen websites that have the logos for other brands on them. This is a simple trick to leverage an aspect of human psychology called social proof. Essentially, people will lend you more credibility if you’re associated with other top brands in your community.
  • Use video. Whether you’re making simple videos for social media or spending a little money for higher-quality production, video lends your shop an air of seriousness and professionalism. (On that note, check out our YouTube channel.)
  • Use your color theme and font every time. Whether you’re creating an advertisement or writing an email, use the same color theme and font every time. This bolsters your brand’s voice and dramatically improves how customers view your professionalism.

What's worked for your shop? If you have a tip or a great idea for how to drive more sales, post a comment below!


Next Post: Who To Sell Custom Printing To: 101 Ideas

About Printavo

Printavo ​​is simple shop management software. Whether your shop works with screen printing, embroidery, signage, digital printing, or awards & engraving–we make your complex workflow simpler to manage and understand. Printavo keeps your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimates, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

Try Printavo
Get free business lessons delivered to your inbox.

No charge. Unsubscribe anytime.