Why do people buy printing from you? Is it your charm? Your good looks? If you are a mix between Brad Pitt and George Clooney, that might be true. But for the rest of you, I’m guessing it has more to do with the fact that you have shown a solid understanding of your client’s needs, you care about their business, and you have a product that they need. Your client could go to another printer. This industry certainly isn’t lacking in options of providers. If I don’t like my local printer, I could always try one of the big box stores or one of the online resources or I could even attempt to print the items myself.
People buy printing from you, not because you are the lowest cost provider, not because they have no other options, but because you have proven to be the best option for their business. If this is true for your business and printing, then this can also be true for your business and web solutions.
In selling (printing or websites) it all goes back to the old adage “if you want to know why John Smith buys what John Smith buys, you have to see the world through John Smith’s eyes.” If John Smith is opening a bakery and he needs business cards, menus and a web presence, John Smith is about to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available to him and the decisions he has to make.
Googling “business card printer” returns 37 million results; “web developer” gets you 739 million results. Now, most people would put some geographic restrictions on their search. So let’s do a search for “web developer Seattle”. That narrows it down to a measly 37 million results. Do you think that might cause some decision paralysis? You bet it does and that is exactly why John Smith needs you.
When it comes to building a website John Smith has 2 options. He can do it himself using any one of the template website builders or he can hire someone to do it for him. The reasons for hiring someone to do it can vary, but the biggest reason is that it takes time to build and maintain a website. Graphic design and website development are usually not the business owner’s primary expertise and the time spent learning and developing these talents are generally not in the best interest of the company.
If John Smith doesn’t want to create the website himself, then hiring someone to build the website is the only other option. Just like printing, there are a lot of options when it comes to having a website professionally created. The industry is filled with here today, gone tomorrow one man shops whose main office is a coffee house. Consumer confidence is not great. We have all heard horror stories about developers who hold domains hostage, take deposits and are never heard from again or simply deliver a sub-standard product with no after-sale support.
A lot of the fear that John Smith faces when deciding on a vendor to create his website can be alleviated by the print shop. As a print shop, you are uniquely positioned to provide graphic design and web development services. For current clients, you know their business, company colors, their likes and previous marketing materials. You know something about their business and the clients they are trying to attract. You have the ability to not only discuss how to make their printed pieces work better, but you can now tie in all of their marketing, direct mail, email marketing, website and search engine optimization to become a full service marketing resource for your customers. You’ll be saving them even more time which they can dedicate to building their own companies.
The reason you are still selling printing in a commodity market is the same reason your customers will purchase a web solution from you. Even in a crowded market where there are hundreds, if not thousands, of provider options, the individualized attention and support, quality assurance, George Clooney good looks and communication that make you a great printer, will also make you a great web solutions provider.