Finding printing leads has never been easy. You may hear those who’ve been in the industry for a while fondly recalling the days when buying a database of leads was all it took, but the reality is those lists were often full of suspect and outdated information and finding the nuggets could take many hours of ‘data cleansing’ (i.e. getting rid of the duff information to leave just the good). Even then, you would never really know whether a name on a list was a hot, warm or ice cold lead until you’d tested each one.
There are better ways of generating print sales leads. It’s not that they all require less effort or cost (although some do), but they can generate much better quality leads and, even more importantly, start the process of building relationships that could be long lasting and highly profitable.
But before we get the lead generation techniques, there’s an important step to take first.
Create a lead generation sales funnel
The people who may require your print services are at very different stages of their relationship with you. Some will be ‘hot’ leads, already well advanced down the funnel. You may already have had a conversation with them and now what’s needed is a final nudge to encourage them to commit.
Others will be at the top of the funnel, unaware of what you offer and perhaps unaware they need printing services at all.
Understanding your sales funnel and a prospect’s position in it is important because it ensures your lead generation activities are appropriate. It also ensures you don’t miss opportunities by focusing on only one part of the funnel.
Here’s an example of how understanding your sales funnel can be a vital part of generating printing leads:
You have a brand new print service to offer. You could post something about it on social media. You could launch a big print campaign and send everyone on your mailing list a sample.
But there’s a problem with that.
- Some of the recipients won’t need all the information you send. They may already have made the decision to buy and just want to know the price and where to sign. So your campaign wastes money.
- Some may have no understanding of how the product could benefit them. So your campaign fails to hit its target.
- Some may have no understanding of who you are. So your campaign never has a chance to succeed.
- Lots of potential customers won’t be on your mailing list at all. So your campaign targets only a small percentage of potential prospects.
A one size fits all campaign won’t work, because it won’t be tailored to each recipient’s position in the sales funnel.
What’s required is a multi-pronged approach that uses lots of different lead-building techniques to target prosects at different stages of the sales funnel. The list of printing sales leads techniques is long and we won’t cover them all, but here’s just a representative sample:
1. Create original content – All Funnel
All the print lead techniques that follow rely on this one. Whether you plan to issue a mailshot, run a social media campaign or rely on SEO, you’ll need to develop original content on which you can ‘hang’ your messaging.
That might be a blog post. It could be an infographic, a report, a case study, a website landing page exploring a specific service in detail, or just some brilliant imagery of your printing looking its best.
Why does content matter so much? Because if you think of a print lead generation campaign as being your chance to shout about what you do/offer, your content ensures you have something to show/say. By tailoring that content, you can ensure it’s appropriate at the top of the funnel (a general informational blog post, for example), mid-funnel (e.g. a testimonial or case study to show your capability in delivering the service they’re interested in) and bottom funnel (a powerfully worded sales message which encourages the reader to call).
2. Organic SEO – Top of Funnel
SEO (search engine optimisation) is how you ensure that, when a prospect searches Google for a print service, it’s your business they see at the top of the search results. SEO is particularly valuable at the top of the funnel when prospects are casting around for a service and may want to find out more about it and the people who offer it.
There is, however, a problem. You’re not the only one optimising. Everyone else is too and if you’re starting out on the SEO road now you may never catch up to larger print organisations who’ve been doing it for years.
So can SEO still benefit you? Yes, because you don’t need to be No 1 on Google for every print service. If you offer a niche product or a service others don’t you’ll find SEO can still be a powerful way of building printing leads for that niche.
The trick is to find the keyphrases (the phrases users type into Google to find your services) that have lots of searches but relatively little competition, and then create content built around those phrases. Your own Google Ads account will give you lots of information about this for free, although finding it can be time consuming.
Alternatively, ask an specialist SEO company to help.
3. PPC (Pay Per Click) – Top of Funnel
Like SEO, but with instant results because you’re paying for your content to appear at the top of search results. This doesn’t have to be expensive if you carefully target your ad spend, and it can be a brilliant way to turbo boost results until an organic SEO campaign has time to start generating printing sales leads.
4. Social media – Mid funnel
Print services lend themselves particularly well to visually-based social media platforms like Instagram, but while social media can be a powerful print lead generation tool, it’s important to remember the ‘social’ part.
Rather than a constant stream of ‘buy now’ posts which can alienate followers, mix your content up. Showcase a project you’ve just finished. Answer questions. Make helpful print suggestions. Drop the occasional hint or tip. And always use your content to drive users towards your site, bringing them further down the funnel.
5. Print campaign – Mid/Bottom of Funnel
The time was when this might have been a top funnel activity, firing samples of your print at all and sundry in a hope something would stick. But that could quickly become a very expensive form of generating print sales leads.
Print campaigns come into their own, however, when there’s some prior connection. Perhaps you’ve met at an expo or had an email exchange. The customer is circling but hasn’t yet committed.
Sending them a sample and an encouragement to get in touch could be the final step needed to bring them home.
6. The call to action – Bottom Funnel
At the end of every piece of content, always ensure you encourage your viewer/reader to dig deeper. Sometimes, that might be a simple ‘want this? Buy it now’-type message.
But sometimes, it may not be appropriate at that stage to ask for the sale. It may, however, be entirely appropriate to encourage your prospect to dig deeper with a ‘read more’, ‘find out more’ or ‘call us’ message.
In addition, make sure your calls to action stand out visually, so the prospect is left in no doubt as to what they should do next.
Tailoring your printing leads
There are so many other potential print lead generating opportunities. Local press. Social media ads. TV or radio. Attending exhibitions. Using LinkedIn to build your professional credibility.
Ideally, you might like to do them all, but there are obvious cost considerations and there are still only 24 hours in a day, so you’ll need to be judicious about which ones you choose.
The important thing is that you choose some of them. Test them. See what works and if one route proves underwhelming, try an alternative.
Want to find more about building and growing your print business? These blog posts may help;
How To Improve And Grow Your Digital Printing Business
How to Sell Printing Services – Top Sales Techniques
7 Top Marketing Strategies For Your Printing Business
How To Write A Proposal For Printing Services
How To Recruit The Right Staff For Your Print Shop