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In this six-part series, we’ve covered the following mistakes printers make when marketing their print business:

Today, it’s all about you! (Or is it?)

Picture this:

You’re at a dinner party and are introduced to someone new. We’ll call him Joe. Joe seems like a nice enough guy, but every time anyone tells a story, Joe feels the need to jump in and explain how he did it better, faster, or smarter. It doesn’t matter if someone is talking about mountain climbing or where they buy pickles, Joe has something to say about how he’s done it and done it better.

Pretty off-putting, right?

Joe is not a real good listener. Instead, he thinks his value is found by talking about himself.

Now, before you beat up on Joe too much, this “Look at me! I can do it better!” approach is one of the most common marketing approaches taken by companies to market themselves today.

But, it’s not really working anymore.

Just as you would get worn down by Joe at that dinner party, consumers today are worn down by constantly being sold to, and instead, want to partner with a company who is out to help, not brag.

That’s why it’s essential to build your brand around a customer-focused approach. Profits are important, yes, but being customer focused is one of the best things you can do if you want to boost your bottom line.

So, how do you tell others about your print company on their terms?

Here are 5 ways to make your marketing more customer focused.

1. Work to Understand the Needs of Your Customers

Joe’s biggest mistake was not listening to others around him.

The most natural and most effective thing you can do to become more customer focused is to work to understand the needs of your customers and then build your entire business (marketing, customer service, etc.) around those needs.

This is where you need to channel your gift of empathy. Start thinking about things like:

Online ordering seems to be a struggle for my customers. How can I make it easier for them? Maybe I could work on creating a streamlined order process that communicates updates about their order in real time?

Many of my customers are confused over the paper options I offer. I bet it would be helpful to have a paper guide on my website or do a blog piece about what papers work best with certain products.

My corporate customers don’t have time to figure out who last ordered what and where. I wonder if there’s a way to create a website branded with their own logo and information but that places their order directly with me behind the scenes?

Work to put your customers at the center of all of your initiatives and then communicate that those things are there to genuinely help them (not to make you look awesome).

2. Back it Up with Research

As you start to put yourself in the shoes (or mindset) of your customers, back up your hunches with good ol’ solid research.

Begin to look into and track things like:

How do customers typically order printing from you? What cracks or stumbling blocks are pointed out to you through ongoing feedback?

Lastly, are you even asking them what they think, need, or desire? This would be a great time to work on a survey or do some phone calls and really discover what your audience is looking for.

Once you’re armed with that valuable information, you’ll be able to easily see where the pain points are and what you can do to cater to their needs.

3. Prove Yourself Quietly

There’s a Proverb that says something like, “Don’t praise yourself. Let others do that for you,” and it’s advice that works well in business too.

It’s important to let others know that you provide good service, a quality product, and that others who have worked with you before have been pleased. But it’s even more vital for it to come from someone else.

When you work to build your marketing, be sure to include pieces that will allow you to prove yourself in a quiet way. For example, use testimonials, case studies, and quotes from other customers that feature the customers’ success that was achieved all because of the help you provided.

4. Don’t Dominate, Educate

Consumers today make purchase decisions much differently than they did in years past.

Instead of the company providing all of the information, consumers are typically well educated about your business even before they sit down to begin an order with you.

Because of that, consider where they’re getting their information from. While some of it may be good, the best information they could receive about your print company should come from you directly.

So, how do you do that without becoming like Joe and talking all about yourself?

Begin to educate your prospects and customers with high-value (a.k.a. highly helpful) content through things like blogs, ebooks, webinars, or even FAQ pages.

The goal is to allow them to find the answers to their questions with you, from your content. It won’t help your print company out in any way if a website visitor gets their paper question asked from another printer’s website.

5. Focus on the Journey

As printers, you know the relationship doesn’t start and stop with the print order.

Building a customer-focused relationship begins before the order is even placed through things like educational content. Once you’ve worked to establish that trust, that’s when you’ll start to see orders placed.

But it doesn’t stop there.

You also have to continue to nurture that relationship and build that trust even after the order is placed. That means focusing on the entire customer journey before, during, and after print production.

Take a look at your current customers’ journies and explore where it’s positioned well for trust building and where it needs some work.

Above All, Authenticity is Key

The most important thing to remember about building a business that is customer focused is it’s not about you. It’s about them.

Do yourself (and the rest of us) a favor and stop trying to impress us. Instead, just be helpful. When you get yourself out of the way and really dial into serving the needs of your customers and prospects, they’ll experience a refreshing new journey, and you’ll enjoy a refreshing boost to your customer base.

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