Internet Marketing for Printers

by admin on November 3, 2008

Okay, so Brady called me out on the last post and asked how printers can build a marketing campaign on the internet. Which is great, as it's nice to have some of readers actually show an interest in this topic. By the way, Brady, your company has a nice website. Some printer's website are just brutal to look at, and considering that a large number of printer's customers are very net-aware, it doesn't make sense to me. But whatever, on to the nitty-gritty.

There is a library of information out there on web marketing and a million ways to do it, but let's focus on the most productive and profitable way to generate business: Generating leads for your sales staff.

It's a useful metric to know the value of each lead: That is to say, every time the phone rings with a new prospective customer asking about your services, how much is that worth to you? Once you have that, you can determine if you internet marketing campaign is profitable to you. That is to say, if the phone rings 10 times a day and your conversion rate is 10%, and you generate $1000 off that one sale, and every 4 sales generates recurring business.... ...well work out the numbers. If you can't put a dollar figure on the value of new business, then it's hard to justify the cost of a marketing campaign.

Okay, the second thing to do is to write what is called a landing page on your website. This is the pitch page where you get people to pick up the phone or email you. On your landing page, you put your pitch like "Pick us because we are the best in town" (Lame) or "Are you a graphic designer who has built web sites but not pamphlets? Give a call for an intro in the world of offset printing" (better). Something like that. Just remember that nobody knows the business like YOU. Put your phone number on the web page and say something like "When you phone us, mention our special newbie assistance plan." That way when somebody phones up, you know the lead came through the landing page on your web site.

Next, set up tracking on your web site, using Google Analytics. Installation is dead easy, bribe your pre-press operator with a case of beer to do it (you just have to copy a snippet of code to the bottom of each page you want to track). You have to do tracking because you need to track the ratio of people who visit your landing page versus the number of people who phone you (conversion rate for your leads). For example, if you have a hundred people visit your web site, and it only generate one phone call for a lousy fifty-dollar business card order, then you know you have to tweak your landing page and probably find a different source of traffic.

Call a meeting of your sales staff and ask them, what sort of leads do they want? Take REALLY GOOD notes, because you are trying to capture keywords (more on that later). Keywords are really important, these are the words that your customers type in to find businesses that will serve your needs. I give you a hint on this: your customers do not type in queries like "six-color Heidelberg offset printing" or "three-point trapping" okay? Instead, they type in phrases like "colored business cards" or "environmentally friendly printed pamphlets" or "(your city name) printer". Stuff like that.

Armed with a list of keywords, here is how you generate traffic to your landing page on your website, good quality traffic that after a little bit of tweaking, should generate some quality leads: Google Adwords.

Okay, this application is a bit of beast and has a steep learning curve, and you either have to farm this out to an Adwords consultant who won't rape you on fees or build up expertise in your organization. I will give you some hints that will save you some big bucks right off the bat.

Set up a campaign with a daily budget of only $10 that runs from 8:00 am in the morning to 5:00 pm at night. Outside of business hours, people who will hit your website are basically lookitee-loos who are not interested in buying. Don't run the campaign on the weekend.

Ensure you are running a local campaign, that is to say, set your ads to show only in your target market (you can choose by state or by city). Set your bids high to start at about $1.50 a click. Sure for the first couple of weeks you will get maybe ten visitors a day to your landing page, but you want quality not quantity. Give it a couple of days and check your keywords bidding to see if you have a good quality score or a terrible one. If you have a terrible quality score on some of your keywords, then create a separate landing pages for them and stuff that page with the keywords you are shooting for, that will improve your quality score.

Okay, here is where you get the best value. Track the number of clicks you get to the website. Track the number of phone calls (or leads) you get from the landing page. See which keywords are getting clicks to your site. Just as important, check which keywords have lots of competition, that's a sign that they are keywords which convert well. For example, you will probably find that "business card printer" is a very competitive keyword query. Now, you may hate printing business cards but the fact is that the first print job for many new businesses is well, printing their business cards. Another competitive query is "printing restaurant menus."

Okay, so there you. If you stick at it for a few months, the phone will start ringing and your sales people will start to be converting some of those leads. Remember it's really important to get feedback on the leads, I will repeat over and over again you are looking for quality not quantity. For example last spring the campaign at Printcraft was generating lots of leads for wedding invitation but the leads were crap because you guessed, people only wanted print runs of 100-200 and Printcraft just does offset. So we scrapped bidding on that keyword, heck we even deleted the landing page to stop the organic traffic coming in.

Looking over this post, I realize that even stripping away a lot of stuff and trying to make it as simple as possible, your head maybe be spinning. Okay so if you are totally lost, here is what I will do for the first three people who email. For the magnificent sum of $200, I will run a two week Adwords campaign for your company. Now if $200 is too much, that's cool because I have work coming out of eyeballs right now and I don't need the business. No really, I'm not going to make crap charging $200, that probably just cover my costs.

Anyhow, in addition to paying me 200 clams, here is what you have to do as well:

1. Generate sales content for your landing page. No, I am not going to do this for you. I will be editing your sales copy and tweaking it to get a better quality score for Adwords, but I'm not going to your copywriter. If you can't be bothered to write 250 words on why somebody should want to do business with you, then it's not worth my time to try to promote you.

2. Meet with your sales staff and ask them for keywords. Then give a list of the products you sell (bindery, pamphlets, magazines) etc.

3. Install Google Analytics on your web site and give me access. If you don't have an inhouse webmaster, I would need a username and password to the hosting provider of your website so I can install it myself. If your organization is so hopeless that you've lost the passwords to your website and you haven't updated it since 2002, then please don't email me because honestly, you guys are a lost cause and I'm no Saint Jude.

4. At the end of the two week period, we'll have a conversation and you tell me how many times the phone rang and what it's worth to your organization.

My email is dj dot dunkerley at gmail dot com. Hey, if nobody takes me up on the offer, I'm cool with that, like I said I'm really busy right now and the two hundred is basically to blow off the not-serious crowd. But I know for sure that if your org doesn't get off its ass and start pushing the internet thingie then your competitor will and bury your sorry butts. There are offset printers in Vancouver right now laying off people cause they are dead-slow but my client isn't one of them.

Ciao, dj

{ 1 comment }

James November 4, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Awesome post dj! I’ve been playing with Google Adwords for a couple months now on a side project. I have not been very successful at generating sales to this point, but its looking more like a product pricing issue than a traffic issue.

Until I read this it never occurred to me that a company like ours could use a marketing tool as simple as Google Adwords. Not that I want to open that can of worms here at work, but it sure has given me something to think about.

On a side note our company has the kind of web site you mentioned at the top. Remember I’m not the web admin nor do I have any sort of influence on it. Go ahead look, just dont laugh….

Prepress jack of all trades, master of some!
James

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