To bring you up to speed on the steps covered so far in this series on “How to Breathe New Life into Your Print Business,” here’s a quick, three-step review:
- Take an honest look at your print business and recognize if you’re stuck in a rut.
- Fortify what you already have that’s working well.
- Stop chasing after customers and start attracting them to you.
Now, you could stop there, but as everyone knows, relationships built solely on attraction very rarely make it long term.
Why? Because attraction is merely the first step in a relationship. You may have caught their eye, but if they’re smart and have listened to the age-old wisdom of “look before you leap,” they’ll hang back a little until they have a chance to learn more about you. They’ll do their due diligence to ensure that the glimmer that caught their eye doesn’t turn out to be a just a “shiny ring in a pig’s snout.”
In other words, first you have to attract them, but then you have to take it a step further by proving yourself worthy and showcasing your expertise.
Here are five ways to prove your worth in the print industry:
Believe it Yourself
Dogs, horses, and your prospects and customers all have one thing in common:
They can smell fear.
Getting others to believe in your expertise starts with you believing in yourself. If you are unsure of yourself (or even appear to be), there’s a high likelihood your audience will give you a “thanks, but no thanks,” and go after a printer who is confident they can get the job done.
Be confident in what you do. Sometimes this might require some “fake it till you make it,” but that’s not the ideal approach. Instead, flip that around to say, “make it, so you don’t have to fake it.” Learn from others, pursue new things, and become a student of your customer’s needs and how to meet them.
If you want your audience to recognize your expertise and follow your lead, start by growing confident in yourself and others will soon begin to follow.
Try Your Hand at Writing
Content is the name of the game in today’s marketing world, which means expertise comes from content with your name behind it.
Expert printers in the industry keep a consistent company blog as well as contribute blogs to other high-level or high-value industry leaders. Reach out to some of the heavy hitters in the sightline of your audience and see if you can provide a piece of content or two.
To get started, look for local design or business publications or companies that speak to these types of things on their blogs. By providing content in this way, you’ll not only show off your expertise in the world of printing, but you’ll also get your name front and center when they start to think about where to get their print marketing materials.
Pick a Focus and Stick to It
Small business owners tend to struggle with this idea, but you can’t be a master at everything.
A grocery store might be an expert at inventory and have exactly what people need on hand all the time, but stink at getting out their sales and promotions materials.
A salon might have tremendous expertise when it comes to taking care of your hair, but no one knows about it because they’re clueless when it comes to signage for their business.
You get the idea. If you’re not great at [fill in the blank], don’t make it your focus. Just like your printing company would be the perfect expert for the businesses in the examples above, find an expert who can work with you in the areas where your expertise is less than stellar.
Remember, every business’s expertise is limited, so it’s important to know what you’re good at and focus your attention there.
Have Others Prove it For You
If you struggle with highlighting your expertise, have others do it for you!
You won’t be the only print company vying for the attention of your prospects and customers, so it is essential that you come with glowing recommendations, reviews, and testimonials.
If you haven’t already, build some of these expertise-building items into your marketing strategy:
- Collecting online reviews
- LinkedIn recommendations
- Case studies
If you need help asking for reviews and recommendations, John Rampton, a VIP Contributor on Entrepreneur.com, offers these tips:
- Start asking before the project is over.
- Offer incentives.
- Create referral marketing materials.
To see the complete list of ideas, check out John’s article “25 Ways to Ask for a Referral Without Looking Desperate.”
Keep Your Expertise Current
The thing about being an expert is just because you were an expert today doesn’t mean you’ll be an expert tomorrow.
The world, and how we do business in it, is continually changing. Think about it:
- How people order printing (or anything else, for that matter!) is different.
- The types of marketing services expected from you by your print buyers are different.
- How you market yourself and operate your print business is different.
If you were an expert on those things 10-20 years ago or even last year, but now feel like you can’t keep up, it’s time to brush up on some things and partner with people who can keep you looking like the expert you genuinely are.
Being an expert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the best. What it does mean is that you’ve distinguished yourself and provided knowledge to those that know less about an area than you, areas like printing, marketing, and communicating a message effectively.
Need help showcasing your expertise? Contact us below for website, MIS, and marketing solutions that tell the world you’re the printer they can trust.