This is a guest post by Vitaly M. Golomb, Founder & CEO of Keen Systems, former print CEO, and award-winning designer & online marketing expert. Keen publishes a blog on the apex of online media and the print industry at www.rethinkprint.biz.
There is a common misconception among those new to marketing their businesses online that if you build it, they will come. As of October 11th, there at least 12.65 billion indexed web pages. The chances of enough strangers, to make a difference to your business, stumbling onto your website are next to none. Driving traffic to your website, converting visitors into customers and then getting them to come back takes a serious effort and knowledge of the various sophisticated techniques.
Unfortunately many business owners invest a lot of hope into what their new online presence will mean to their business without adequately investing into good professional advice and the needed marketing to create the visitor traffic. The inevitable failure then makes these business owners cynics (aka disappointed idealists). Too many simply go about it the wrong way, resulting in abandoned online efforts and unrealized opportunities.
It is only a matter of time before ecommerce becomes the standard even in the laggard print industry. There are several immediate and undeniable benefits to print businesses converting to ecommerce as their primary way of doing business. It is not simply about finding new customers, but rather about creating efficiency in the overall marketing and customer service operations.
Today’s customers expect self-service and constant availability in procuring almost any product or service. So why should print be any different? When done right print ecommerce gives customers the instant gratification they demand, promotes the print service providers full capability, quiets the customers service noise, reduces errors, and yes opens up entirely new markets.
Driving business online starts with strategic planning around the “who”, “why” and “how”. Campaigns are then executed via a rich mix of available techniques – many of which that don’t require big budgets. Most importantly, the efforts and result are then measured to see what works and what doesn’t. Then you just rinse and repeat.
Few industries can still afford to ignore the online world – the print industry is not one of them. Print service providers need to begin developing in-house fluency in the online world and take this as seriously as any other department in their business. Arguably more.
You can start by attending my Integrated Print Forum session on Print eCommerce (Tuesday, Oct. 25th – 11am). I will provide serious insights into how the national powerhouses drive their online business, as well as, specific highly-effective online business models accessible to print service providers of any size. Specifically: Using Private Online Stores to Empower Sales Teams, Commanding Premium Prices by Developing a Vertical/Industry Focus, The Value of “Just In Time” and the Local Market, Creating Affiliate Sales Relationships with Your Referral Base, and Marketing Niche Print Products.