Small or large, imprint companies today must have a good online presence. With a universal source for all information, questions, and solutions, the internet has become a singular location for all our, and importantly our customers’, inquiries. There is simply no better way to present products, services, and resources than with a strong website. The Yellow Pages, snail-mail ads, even ‘word of mouth’ advertising, are just pre-cursors to an internet search. Google, DuckDuckGo, Yelp, and Siri have simply replaced most, if not all, of our advertising methods in this new decade.
Remember when putting a person at the street spinning a sign would bring people in (2011)? Remember when an inflatable or wacky waving arm man would catch attention (2009)? Not that some of these methods might not still give results, but none, that is to say NO method of advertising is more effective than a strong online presence. Let me elaborate.
Websites are expected. Not only do our customers assume that we have a site, but they assume that our business will come up in a search. How many times have we said to ourselves “I know that place is around here somewhere” so we hit a button on our phone to see exactly where. Customers do this too. “I wonder if they have, or also do…” happens to me all the time. A simple website is necessary to answer these quick, easy, possibly fleeting questions we all have.
Websites are necessary to retain customers not just get new ones. If you and I are both going after the same prospective client or account, let’s say a local high school, yes, price is a big part of the equation, but what if one of us had something the other didn’t. If you were a little cheaper than me, but I had an easy access tool, like a website, for submitting concepts, processing orders, and organizing fundraisers… you get it. Competition makes us both stronger, and neither of us would blame a client for choosing an easier solution with more options.
Make it as easy as possible for people to give you money. Don’t just make it easy for them to give you business, but all the way through the process to the actual transaction itself, the sale. This concept has many levels of benefit for us as business owners, as well as the simplicity for our customers. The farther a customer can get through the concept, customization, substrate choices, location, size, quantity, price, purchase, the easier things get for us. Even if one, or a couple of the categories above are not exact, the amount of time you and your business has saved collecting this data early is priceless. One phone call or email back to the customer for clarification instead of days’ worth of back n’ forth… we’ve all been there, frustrated and at deadline.
So, now that we’ve met our customers expectations, offered them more than our competitors, simplified the process, and got the order, what’s next? Well, now that you have more time on your hands: Grow Your Business! Or, play with your kids… take a well-deserved vacation… We begin to recognize the layers of support a good website will have on us, our companies, our selves, and our lives.
Thinking of selling your company someday? Haha, not without a website… Would you buy mine? What if you could easily show revenues through a consistent source? What if you could sell your business twice? Once for your in-house accounts, again for the ‘online division’ of your company? You see where I’m going here. Staying competitive, while growing your business has never been so easy, as long as you have the right tools to do it. Who uses a screw driver when there’s a power drill?
Full disclosure, not that you can’t see my title, or have seen me around these past twelve years. I work for a company that offers an online web service that does exactly what we’re talking about here. Action Illustrated’s Live Designer is not the only one out there, but it might be the best. Putting together a tool like we’ve discussed here will take a bit of time, but just image the long term benefits, and huge time saving possibilities.
Action has developed an excellent solution for building, maintaining, and growing your website all in a simplified format. For relatively nothing as far as cost, tools like these can be offered to your customers. Yes, they’ll take a bit of time on your part, but seriously consider a turn-key solution for an impressive web presence.
A relatively fresh way for us all to ensure an appealing website is with a design tool built right in. Whether you have a great website already, or none at all (shame on you, haha), adding a design feature will greatly improve your reach. Imagine the time saved in-house as customers can easily tailor their own ideas to your production means, then submit. How impressive would it be for prospects to easily organize their own fundraisers on YOUR website? CustomInk and VistaPrint have changed the imprint industry forever. As we may murmur some not nice words about them from time to time, we must recognize how much benefit these, and companies like them, have brought to our industry. Custom imprinted apparel, gifts, media, ads and endless possibilities is now in the forefront of our client’s minds, so much more than ever before.
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