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Last week, you learned a handful of ways to create awareness of your brand for your print buyers.

Next up: cultivating connection.

Imagine what would’ve happened if once you became aware of your husband or wife, you never took the next step to cultivate a connection. Each of you might’ve known that the other exists, but it wouldn’t have provided any lasting benefit for either of you until a connection was made.

The same is true with your print buyers. If you begin to implement those tips described last week, there’s a good chance that they have an awareness of you now. But, beyond an awareness, they haven’t yet made a connection or learned to like you, trust you, and buy from you.

So, how do you build connections with print buyers you might not ever see face-to-face? Here are five ways to cultivate a connection with your print buyers and attract them to your brand:

1. Change Your Relationship Mindset

The biggest mistake print companies can make is to think of their print buyers, and the interactions they have with them, as a one-and-done interaction.

Instead, it’s time to start thinking of every prospect or customer as more than a sale or a boost to your bottom line. These print buyers should be viewed and treated as lifelong business partners. After all, without them, your print company ceases to exist.

So, instead of hanging your hat on this idea of a sales funnel that features a beginning and an end to your buyer’s journey, view every relationship with your print buyer as a flywheel. A flywheel is circular, infinite, and the more momentum it gets, the faster it goes. It’s an excellent example of what a good customer connection and relationship would look like.

2. Become a Better Listener

Jeff Bezos, President, CEO and Founder of Amazon, said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

How about you? Any idea of how the customer experience is for your print buyer?

The easiest way to find out where the bumps are in your print buyer’s journey is to listen. Your print buyers are telling you all the time where their struggles are, and they’re doing it through questions.

Questions are a lot like ants. If you find one, there’s bound to be more. Capture as many questions as you can because it’s highly likely that the same issues will come up for other print buyers as well.

Then, your most significant marketing advantage will come by merely answering the questions of your print buyer through your content.

To get you started, check out AnswerthePublic. This unique website has you put in a search term and then displays all of the questions being asked around that term. For example, a quick search of “direct mail” offers questions, such as:

  • Is direct mail still effective?
    • Your content response could be, “10 Statistics that Prove Direct Mail Works”.
  • What does direct mail cost?
    • Your content response could be, “5 Things That Determine the Cost of Your Direct Mail Marketing”.
  • Direct mail or email marketing?
    • Your content response could be, “Direct Mail Vs. Email Marketing: the Pros and Cons”.

You’ll quickly become the resource they’re looking for and establish a connection because you’re there with an answer to their question.

3. Focus on Empathy

Empathy is one of the best-kept secrets to sales and marketing.

Here are only a couple of reasons why empathy can not only create a connection with your print buyer, but it can also increase your sales:

1. Empathy makes your print buyer feel understood.

How many times are you “helped” by an employee who doesn’t even look you in the eye? You are just a number to them, a job, a means to a paycheck. Empathy, on the other hand, creates an understanding of needs and a trust that is not quickly broken. It invokes the humanness of connection and understanding and leads your print buyers to say things like, “My printer just gets me.”

2. Empathy builds lasting relationships.

When you truly begin to “put yourself in their shoes” and understand the pain points of your print buyers, it forces you to look beyond the roboticness of number-crunching the data and see people. Want to give it a try? Challenge yourself to call just one customer this week for no other reason than to introduce yourself, see how things are going for them, and if there’s anything you can do to help. Sure, you won’t be able to do this with every customer, but you’ll most certainly impact the ones you do reach.

4. Keep the Conversation Going

Both friends and acquaintances are lost when the lines of communication end.

Just imagine how difficult it would be to be in a meaningful relationship and not communicate with one another?

As a print owner, it’s your job to keep the conversation going with your print buyers through regular communication. Connect through things like a monthly direct mail newsletter or a consistent email marketing newsletter.

Lastly, try using social media to actually socialize. Yes, you can post relevant articles to your audience, but don’t forget to be a little human now and again. Invite people in through video, through staff feature highlights, or through fun polls. The whole objective is to socialize and create a connection. Ask questions, seek responses, and you’ll begin to see that elusive engagement increase.

5. Meet Them Where They Are

You can’t create a connection with someone who’s not there.

This is why for your marketing and connection efforts to be effective, you need to meet your print buyers where they are.

Not only is it unlikely that all of your print buyers are on all of your marketing channels, but it’s important to recognize that 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels.

Yes, it may be more work to implement marketing strategies and content across multiple channels, but it will be worth it. Consider this:

Lastly, let this quote from Seth Godin remind you of the bigger picture of creating connections with your print buyers:

“If we can fall in love with serving people, creating value, solving problems, building valuable connections and doing work that matters, it makes it far more likely we’re going to do important work.”

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