Growing a print shop from the start is tough. I understand what you're dealing with because I went through it too. Here's a photo of me first learning to print.
This is your HUSTLE phase. Where you're grabbing land (aka "sales") as quickly as you can. Establishing a business process and repetitive marketing/sales funnel is important when achieving $250k in annual sales. In this video, we'll discuss a pathway to getting there. It isn't easy but it's 100% doable.
You’ve got a name, a logo, and just enough space for your first screen printing press. You’re in business! Now it’s time to generate sales. What should you do? Where should you start?
Here are 10 steps to get to $250k in sales for your print shop immediately. While we will be focusing on screen printing, these methods will also work well for embroidery, signage, promotional products, and many other small businesses.
Steps 1-5 will be foundational and if you’ve done them, go back and improve them. Everything adds up over time. Steps 5-10 are part the PUSH phase.
The online presence of any business is important, including in the screen printing industry. Start to establish a strong digital footprint right away. Build a professional website. Services such a Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace can help you set up a nice website fast.
If your website is done, look at it again and compare with an example like Real Thread. Lots of photos, imagery, friendly content and professional appeal is important.
Having a great website presentation is huge. People like to research their options before making a purchase. You don’t want to lose a sale because your website is turning off potential customers.
Begin to build your online reputation by establishing a track record of delivering high-quality service. Make sure your business is on Yelp. This is a great opportunity to leverage social proof to boost your brand and business.
Ask a few past customers to leave a positive review about their experience. Once again, it is important that as potential customers research their options that you don’t lose sales because Yelp says you’re a 2-star business.
I guarantee you if customers search for your business and there are average ratings of less than 4-stars or no stars at all, you’re losing out on sales.
Monitor your page and encourage your customers to talk about how much they love what you’ve done for them. Include a card in every box that asks for a review if they loved your service.
Register with Google Business. You want your business to be highly discoverable to potential customers searching for screen printing options in their area. This is another important step in controlling your online presence and making sure you will be found.
Search engine optimization is a big deal. It’s all about keywords and others linking to you and. Floating to the top of search results alone will lead to a sales increase over a years period.
In keeping with a professional presentation, your email address needs to be professional too. Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail are not acceptable business email addresses. Create an account like email@example.com. Google Apps, Office365, or your general web hosting provider can help you set this up. You want potential customers to take you seriously. Don’t lose sales because your email address sends the message you’re an amateur outfit.
Create accounts on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You want to be everywhere your customers are. Social media is a great way to stay in the minds of your past and potential future customers. Your presentation has to be strong. Fill out all information including bio, profile photo, cover photo, and links.
Now that you’re in business you want to get the word out. Let the world know you exist and are open for commerce. Spreading the word can be accomplished very easily in the beginning. Leverage your existing network, and start to build new connections that will lead to sales.
Leverage your personal social network to get the ball rolling. EVERYONE needs to know what you do. You can not be shy here.
Invite everyone you know to like/follow your pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Even ask your close friends and family to invite a few friends of their own to like your pages.
Host a contest on Facebook where everyone has to post their favorite t-shirt and vote on which one they like (by Liking your page of course). Bonus: Do this around the holiday period to generate more interest.
Run a local Facebook Ad campaign for 90 days. Start with a small budget of $5-10 and measure your conversions/clicks. Keep in mind you may only convert 1 of 50 clicks to a sale so set your expectations reasonably.
Post all swag and customers on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, this funnels into your social proof and makes you look larger than you are.
On Instagram, search for local business and comment on their page letting them know who you are. You can find them using certain local-based hashtags and location-based tags. Automate this process with Gramista.
In the beginning, the easiest sale you can make is going to be a friend or friend of a friend. Start building your referral base by pushing hard on social media.
This one is huge. Start capturing email addresses so you can market yourself to new leads. You should be capturing email addresses on your website by offering visitors the opportunity to sign up for newsletters, promotional offers, and general updates.
Export your current email base into Mailchimp.com and send them informational newsletters with a small coupon. Send this newsletter monthly and be consistent.
Use your networks to leverage contact information from people who express interest in your services as another way to stay in touch with them. Screen printing is a business where anybody you meet could become a sale at any time, whether it be immediately or 6 months later. Don’t let them forget about you when the time comes for them to find a screen printer.
Email marketing will be a massive sales driver if you use it wisely enough to not be annoying.
The internet is a powerful tool, but there are sales to be made in real life too. Sometimes you have to put boots on the ground and generate sales the old-fashioned way. When you’re a new neighborhood business assume absolutely nobody knows you exist and it is your job to introduce yourself.
Walk door to door to local businesses. Introduce yourself to them, leave a card/flyer/brochure, and begin building in-person connections.
Join your local chamber of commerce and any other local business-related organizations. Your local business community is a major resource. Plug yourself into it.
Your presentation can be great, but you still have to deliver with great products and services. Take every job seriously.
Bend over backward to make sure your customers are satisfied. Nobody wants to frequent a business they’ve been told is of poor quality, rude, or untrustworthy.
Word travels fast.
Collect a down payment on all jobs. By collecting 50% upfront you reduce the risk of floating cash for supplies, materials, and labor required to fulfill the order.
The last thing you want to do is perform work and never receive payment because the customer decides they don’t want to pay you later on. You’re a serious business and the customer needs to show they are serious too. Don’t be taken advantage of.
This is a simple business.
Follow up with leads. Following up and including potential customers in your email newsletters will make sure they remember you when they need your printing.
Be relentless in promotion on social media. Build a strong network of connections both online and in your local community. Protect your reputation everywhere. Learn, build, and iterate as you grow.
Best of luck! If you have questions, post them below!
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