Why every printer should offer web design

(If you don’t already do it)

Website design can not only be a profitable part of any print business, it also dovetails perfectly into the existing services that most printers provide. If you offer design services, there is really no reason not to offer web design too. I did this, in a small way, as long ago as the late nineties.

Back then, coding was a complete mystery to me, so we designed the web sites and partnered with another local business that did the coding, hosting and posting. We would supply them with visuals of the pages and jpeg files of the graphic elements, and they did the rest. We then put a markup on the (pre-agreed) fee they charged us. We even made (a little) money from annual site maintenance! This arrangement was working well right up until we sold the business in 2004.

When I set up Business Momentum, web design was not part of my business plan but I did need a website for myself. I bought an inexpensive software package called Rapidweaver (Mac only, £59.99 (December 2014)) and set about creating a website for Business Momentum. Using this simple template based system for website design. There are other, similar, systems available, but at the time, Rapidweaver seemed the most suitable. The original Business Momentum site has since been replaced by my current site.
Until recently, I have never offered website design as a service but I had been asked to design websites for several other businesses. Despite using this simple system, sites designed have included features such as videos, blogs, online forms, ftp uploads and even a shopping cart system linked to Paypal!

Any print business with basic graphic design skills could fill the website needs of most small businesses without much investment in time or software. Web design dovetails perfectly with graphic design and it’s easy to use design elements that you may have already created for your customers - very profitably.

As for me, I’ve just upgraded to Rapidweaver 6 (Dec 2014) and find, as with most things in life, the more I do, the more I learn.

Marketing for small printers

(If you don’t already do it)

Many of the small print businesses that I know rebranded at the end of 2011. Some of them have spun out a marketing programme from their rebrand, but many have not, perhaps only running a limited “Anniversary” campaign after their first year as an independent printer. Some have done nothing at all, and have recently been noticing the effect of this lack of marketing activity.

It turns out that the one thing that some of you actually miss from the franchise days, is having a BDM! Now we all know that the value of individual BDMs varied enormously over the years. Some were greatly appreciated, and some, not so much. The better ones were good at encouraging franchisees to see the value of marketing their businesses, and to get on and do something about it. Everyone has experience of how the important, but non-urgent task of promoting our businesses can be a near impossible discipline to maintain on a regular basis. The ‘urgent’ has a nasty way of overpowering the ‘important’.

I have been asked by a couple former franchisees to provide some BDM style marketing support. The travel costs involved in supporting businesses that are not local to me would be prohibitive, so I have devised a remote support programme, which includes.
  • One-to-one on line collaboration with the business owner to produce a marketing plan.
  • Extracting customer data from PrintSmith.
  • Setting up templates, and managing data for Mailchimp (or similar) emailing programmes.
  • Compiling ’Lapsed’, and more importantly, ‘Lapsing’ data from PrintSmith.
  • Analysing the success of marketing activities.
…and more.
Are you conducting structured, regular marketing activity? Can I help?

Contact me
[email protected] for a quick chat about your requirements.

Contemplating a rebrand?

Contemplating a rebrand? - Some things to ponder…

The new brand should advance customer perception of your business in line with the businesses next stage of development.

Identify core business offering and efficiency areas
What are the most profitable or successful aspect of your business? Is there a product or service that takes up a disproportionate amount of your time? Can you use the rebranding (and possible repositioning) of your business to improve this?

Plan any repositioning of the business
What direction do you want to take the business in? Is there a service that you don’t offer, that could be making you money? Could rebranding be used to also launch additional services such as web design or cross-media? Would you have the expertise for this in-house, or could part of the new service be sub contracted until you do? From a marketing point of view, launch any new service two to three months after the rebrand would make sense (it could be pre-announced in the the rebrand).

List admin tasks
Inform suppliers, banks, telecoms, insurers etc.

Include all employees in the plan
Vital. Particularly important that all your team ‘buy in’ to your plan. Include the whole team in discussions. Give ownership of certain aspects to individuals or groups of your staff. Keep them informed.

List Marketing tasks/make a plan
and budget for the re-launch. Plan post launch continuity. Making a splash with a re-launch is relatively easy. Continuing to build awareness of your new brand locally is an entirely different matter. Three months after the launch (when it’s old news) you need to continually find innovative ways of bringing your business to peoples attention - on a regular basis.

Design new logo
Not as easy as it sounds - The new logo will be something you should not change for at least three years. Is it a good idea for it to be reminiscent of the old one? - Or is a complete break desirable? There quite a few design tricks that can be used - I know of one company that changed it’s logo from a stylised ‘E’ to an ‘M’, simply by rotating it!

Assess signage requirements
Premises: It’s easy to overspend on signage. Carefully consider the benefits depending on location etc.
Vehicles: If you have a van I think the options here are either a plain van or a vehicle wrap, depending on whether you deliver on behalf of customers. If you don’t have a van don’t bother. Sign written cars just look tacky!
Sometimes a minimal approach can be just as effective as an extravaganza!

Plan web presence
Link your web activities. Plan a scaleable website. Can you support a blog in the long term? Will it help your bottom line? Is yours the kind of business that would benefit from using Twitter or Facebook? If so, who would keep it up to date?

Business Momentum has already assisted several businesses with rebranding. If you have any questions about what we can do for your business, please use the contact us page. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.

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