Sandy Hubbard is a well-known Marketing Strategist for the Printing Industry. She helps printers of all sizes attract new customers through expert marketing strategy and fresh sales conversations. You can find her on LinkedIn at and on Twitter, where she co-hosts #printchat, a weekly global discussion for printers and anyone who loves print.
As a part of our Episode 2 of our series on interviews with print experts, We got chance to connect with Sandy and ask for insights and her suggestions for print business success after the pandemic.
DNB : What are some upcoming trends in print industry one should keep an eye on and formulate their strategy accordingly?
Sandy: Printers Can Attract Under-30 Online Shoppers Using Web-to-Print Portals and Workflow Automation and meet upcoming trends and demand.
Today’s buyers under 30 are looking for ways to stand out. They are running start ups, entrepreneurial businesses, and side jobs. Did I mention they like print? The next generation is increasingly looking to the past for new ways to reach their customers, but you should look to the future when selling your services to them.
To reach young buyers online, have accounts anywhere they are active. Freshen up your image on Instagram, TikTok, Clubhouse, Snapchat, Discord… anywhere your prospects hang out. Use all the coolest features of your social accounts, and monitor comments, don’t just post and run.
Get ideas from hip retailers on how they woo the young buyer. Show off your best stuff through photos, images and videos, and when doing so, make sure the quality of the post matches the quality of your product. There’s no sense in printing something beautiful and then posting a grainy picture of it.
DNB: What are your views on scope of eCommerce in print and packaging industry? Can it become a winning strategy to get by the changing customer behaviours?
Sandy: Young print buyers and buying agents usually prefer to do their research and complete a purchase online, without ever having talked to a person. An easy-to-navigate website with a youthful feeling will make the best impression. They will get a feel for who is offering what, and may even try an online design option for fun.
Think about having a bot to answer questions, with the option for the shopper to ping a live person though the chat option if needed. You should give these buyers lots of ways to search and view items and interact with your portal. The owner and team should definitely have a presence on the “About” page.
You don’t have to be perfect looking — and in fact it helps if you’re not. Be interesting, highlight what’s unique about you, and show your personality. Young buyers want to know who they are buying from. If you’re active in the community or support a noble cause, include that information, too.
DNB: What will be the role of automation in print business’s success?
Sandy: Be sure to manage expectations. The quality and color of what you are printing should be predictable. In fact, everything on your side should be as predictable as possible. Furthermore, your prices should be as stated. Your delivery times should be met. Keep your promises, and contact buyers immediately via their preferred method (captured at check out) as soon as possible to explain the situation.
The easiest way to do this is through workflow automation — from order to delivery. Automation will help you reduce errors, track multiple jobs, produce gang printing, manage quality, speed processes, identify opportunities for other work you can sell or job out, and align your billing and customer data between silos.
DNB: Will digital marketing help printers in increasing their market reach? If Yes then what the best platform for marketing?
Sandy: Once people order from you online, you will have their email and you can use an email newsletter and promos to continue the conversation. Start with a simple email program and build it up. Have a combination of ways you interact with customers, and include creative ideas, design trends, new products, and special offers.
For younger print buyers, consider offering a loyalty program in the form of points and bonuses, or offer discounts for referring friends. Think about throwing in something for free from time to time. Have automated follow ups for abandoned shopping carts and make it worth their while to complete their purchase. The supermarket lanes have the psychology right, always offer another product at check out that is easy to say yes to.
Don’t make people go back into the portal — just make a friendly suggestion on an easy upsell of about 10 percent of the total sale. This is what other online retailers do, and young buyers are used to it.
DNB: What are your views on investing in Web-to-Print technology? Can it help printers to increase their revenue and profitability?
Sandy: Small print shops should look at adding nimble (modular) production and finishing equipment to win quick-turnaround and short-run jobs. If printers don’t need to sell online — if they are a walk-in printer on Main Street — it is nice to have some sort of online ordering option so your customers can refer you to others.
This is a great way to let new customers know the breadth of what you offer, even if they end up coming in the store to purchase. Your website is an opportunity to divert or attract traffic. If someone is searching for wedding items in your town, you have a chance to grab some of that traffic.
Having a visual website that gets people’s creative juices going will allow you to market to people who do not yet know they want something printed. Be strategic!
Today’s young print buyers enjoy being taken care of, and they will reward you with loyalty and ongoing business. If you don’t know how to sell to younger print buyers, learn! They have disposable income, they appreciate printed items, they love good design, and there are many entrepreneurs looking for local options.
Any of these tips will send you in the right direction, so start where you can and build from there. The results will speak for themselves.
Sandy concluded on the fact that print industry’s future is in hands of young buyers. And they are available online. So best strategy for print businesses to succeed is to be available where their customer are.
If you’re ready to take next step in your print business Design’N’Buy is here to help. We can provide you the finest print business solutions multi-fold growth. You can also sign up for free consultancy with our experts and strategize your road map to success.