The following is an excerpt from Matthew Parker’s Seven Myths of Print Sales Series:
Have you noticed how print has always been under threat? First it was radio. Then it was television. After that, the Internet came along. Now it’s social media that is threatening to put an end to print.
Despite these continuous threats, print has always survived. It continues to be a very effective channel for communicating with people.
Will social media bring an end to this? Will it be the change that kills off print? I believe the reverse is true.
Social media offers the print industry some fantastic opportunities
Print companies that see social media as an opportunity will be able to build more involved relationships with their customers. They will have a new channel with which to talk to prospects. This means they will be able to control their sales pipeline better. They will do this because they will be able to achieve more for their customers.
Print companies that see social media as a threat will not be able to achieve the same results for customers. They will also miss out on new opportunities to engage with customers and prospects. They will end up seeing many of their customers leaving as they search for more innovative suppliers. The ones that stay will only be interested in buying on price.
These may seem like big claims to make. So let’s look at some of the supporting evidence. Here are three reasons why social media is a great opportunity for the print industry.
Social media is a great sales channel
I now get a large amount of work from social media. It is not unusual for me to get clients I do not know ringing me up. And, despite the fact that we have has no dialogue in person, they are ready to buy. This is because they have been engaging with my social media presence.
Done correctly, social media can be a very powerful extra sales channel. However, the majority of printers do not use social media. Many of those that do, used it in what I call a full selling mode. This activity actually encourages commodity buying. But the printers who use social media well are attracting worthwhile new clients.
However, social media offers more than just a new selling channel for printers.
Print integrates with social media
It is now easy and cost-effective to create printed pieces that integrate directly in social media channels. The use of QR codes and intelligent print recognition means that it is easy for users to scan printed pieces with mobile devices. Users can be directly connected with social media channels and with special offers.
Print can actually drive social media activity for its clients. Better still, this activity allows a print project to prove its return on investment.
Some people question the value of this. Social media can seem like a very crowded arena. Print has the answer to this issue as well.
Print stands out
These days, print is sometimes seen as an unusual method of communication. Therefore, it makes more of an impression on the prospect. I am connected to thousands of people through social media. With the best will in the world, it is impossible to keep up with all of them.
In contrast, I do not receive thousands of printed pieces through my letterbox. Printed marketing stays in my mind for longer. There are numerous case studies of how print has outperformed e-communication in response levels.
Some print companies still feel that social media has no opportunity for them.
Printers should stick to what they know
With the right sales strategy, print companies can provide so much more than just ink on paper. Print companies can evolve into trusted communications advisers for their clients.
That gives them an excellent opportunity to sell new services.
Let’s look as a real-life example of how social media created new sales opportunities…
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Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably. Find out more about Matthew on his site.