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Print Company Marketing

Has getting new sales for your print company stalled or not grown as fast as you would like it to be?

If your answer is YES, then this article is for you.

Print Companies have primarily relied on a sales team to go out and get new business. And it worked. But today doesn’t work as well.

Some print companies rely solely on the owner and other companies have an in-house marketing person to help drive awareness to aid in new business development.

But still many print companies are struggling to get that sales lift they so badly want.


What I’ve observed over the past 7 years in the Print Industry is this…

  1. The economy is strong and it doesn’t take a ton of work to increase sales  —  (So if your sales are flat or going down something is up!)
  2. Sales teams are typically equipped to close project sold leads / quotes —  (The customer knows what they want and all you need to do is prove that you can do the work, give them a good price, get the quote back quickly and meet their timeline)
  3. Marketers at print companies are typically design oriented people which is great and very much needed but they are typically less savvy in marketing the business strategy that your customers are actually looking for. —  (Your customers need the items you print for them to “do something” and in most cases that is generate new revenue whether it’s directly or indirectly through some leading behavior like showing up at an event or signing up)
  4. And very few Sales or Marketing team members have deep discipline experience in the platforms and tactics on generating new leads online. —  *This statement may not sit well with some of you, but respectfully if you reflect on the things you can do and do well, is this really one of them? (at Acumen we aren’t printers and don’t claim to be, we leave that to the Pros)


And all of this makes sense because Schools Don’t Teach This Stuff! They don’t teach Sales, They don’t teach Lead Generation AND They don’t teach print.


So it’s all Doom and Gloom, Right? Wrong!

The ONE thing that would help make your Sales Team and Marketers more effective is to give them the wisdom of KNOWING WHO TO TARGET!

As an owner, executive, manager it is Your (or if you’re in Sales and Marketing, it is THEIR) responsibility to ensure that the entire company knows who your primary customers are and why they are your primary customers.

It’s not just that they need printing, packaging or fulfillment.  They need it for very specific reasons and having your team Armed with that Knowledge they will have the ability to be the Best they can be.  Without it they / you can only go so far.  It really is a limiter to success.


What Could You Do?

Outside of working with us on doing Digital Marketing for Print Companies (I’m smiling and winking over here) it would be a good idea to lead a handful of workshops each year on exactly what I shared above.

Let your company know who your primary customers are, why those customers choose you to do that work, why those customers need the products they have you create for them and what the outcomes your customers expect to get when using your products / services.

Doing that will positively Change Your Business!


Have Questions? Call Us at 866-357-7422

Or Submit your information below


    How do you create a Marketing Plan for a Printing Company?

    That is the question we here from printers and after doing more research found that a lot of print companies are asking about this online as well.  So we decided to break this down for you better than anyone else has.


    Here are the 5 Steps to creating a Marketing Plan for a Printing Company!

    1. Define Your Target Customer (who needs / wants your service)
    2. Determine Your Budget (how much you’ll spend)
    3. Agree on Channels (where you’ll show up)
    4. Define a Theme (what you will talk about)
    5. Build the Assets & Launch! (watch the new business roll in)


    Printing Company Marketing Plan Step 1: Define Your Target Customer

    This is what everyone says… “Figure out your target customer.”. But how do you actually do that?

    Many print companies will tell us, “Everyone who wants to buy print is a prospect”, of course but can you get a little more creative, come on!

    Here are a few ways to do define your target customer and then some ideas on who you should / can actually target.

    • Is there an industry you sell a lot of print to? If so then make sure to consider them a primary target customer.
    • Look at the job titles of the people who buy from you. Are is there a pattern or a lot of the same job title? Consider them a customer.
    • Is there a specific product you want to sell? What industry uniquely uses that product? That’s a target customer (if you promote that product)
    • In general your safe targeting anyone in a marketing decision making position. Director of Marketing, Marketing Manager, Marketing Coordinator, etc.
    • And then you have publishers like Printing impressions that puts out a list of the top 25 Markets for print. Focus on one or more of those!  Here is the list if you haven’t seen it: https://www.piworld.com/resource/top-25-hot-markets-for-print-demand-in-2019-20/file/


    Once you’ve made a decision here you are ready to move on to the next step.


    Printing Company Marketing Plan Step 2: Determine Your Budget

    Determining a budget is easy.

    Some think it will be a huge effort and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be.

    If you have a marketing budget that you’ve created each year, then you’re already done because you already do it.  If you don’t then think of any of the marketing activities you’ve done in the past year and estimate how much you spent. If that number is one you feel good about for the next year then use it, if you feel you could invest a little more then add to it.  This doesn’t have to be rocket science.

    If you are planning on attending events, having a booth, traveling, etc. then you’ll probably want to put a little more thought into it, but in general as long as you have a number you’re good because you’ll just work backwards from the channel efforts into that number.


    Got a number? Yes?!


    Then it’s time to move on the next step, Channels.


    Printing Company Marketing Plan Step 3: Agree on Channels

    There are a ton of good places for printing companies to market, but let’s break it down to 3 primary areas.

    • Offline
    • Online
    • Email (Existing Customers)

    Your offline efforts can include national or local trade shows, local events, and direct mail.

    First off we’ll tell you… Don’t Do Sponsorships that only show your name and logo somewhere.  It doesn’t help!

    If you are choosing to do trade shows you likely know what you are doing or are getting all the details for it, we won’t go into detail on how to choose and set up for one of those, but they can definitely be effective.

    Local events are a very successful place to be.  If you’ve chosen a solid target set up at local events where those customers attend and bring printed samples of the things they will need from you relevant to them.  For example if they are packaging people bring samples of packaging! Pretty simple.

    And Direct Mail is obvious and you’re all over that, no need to elaborate on our end.


    For Online Efforts you need to optimize your website to show up in the search engines, post blogs, post to social media, run ads and send email.  Period, it’s that simple!

    Here’s an article by us on how print companies can create and run successful ad campaigns  AND here is a page that talks about how to market your printing company online successfully.


    And Email is again straightforward.  We do recommend using email as a part of your online efforts, but when we separated it out here we mean that you should be marketing to your existing customers past and present by sending emails to them. Literally the more visible you are to them the more they will buy.  The more strategic and creative you are in your email the more they’ll buy.

    Here is a page on our site that talks about email marketing for print companies.


    On to to your Theme (some call it messaging and positioning)


    Printing Company Marketing Plan Step 4: Define a Theme

    Defining a theme can be as easy as saying “I am going to market beverage printing to beverage companies” or “I am going to promote 24/7 availability OR Quick turn printing to Marketing Decision Makers”.

    Or it can be complicated and focus on “Tell & Show Industry X, companies in Y geography with 100+ employee head count, job titles of Marketing Directors and VPs of Marketing how easy we make their job by doing ABC things”.

    Either way you’ll do the same thing. Distribute assets to them saying and showing those things.

    But putting it to paper solidifies it and creates a common idea on what your going to say!


    Lastly build and launch.


    Printing Company Marketing Plan Step 5: Build the Assets & Launch

    This says it all.

    Now you’ll just build out the assets for each of your decided on channels, targeting the people you chose, saying the the things you defined as a theme within the budget you define.

    Then Launch, Go Live, Attend, etc.


    This is Guaranteed to get you More New Business.  More Leads & More Sales!



    Have Questions? Call Us at 866-357-7422

    Or Submit your information below



      Day 1 at PRINT 19 was a Success!

      We got to meet with a lot of interested print companies from all over the U.S. and all them had the same things to say…  “How do we get in front of more customers online?”

      Obviously we were excited to talk to everyone about that and set them on a path that will generate those leads and sales online.

      But we also felt even more determined to push harder on making sure that the entire Print Industry knows how to do this well!

      So make sure to check out the resources we have available here on Digital Marketing for Print Companies.

      And for fun, here are a couple shots from our booth with new “Acumen Fans”.


      Have you every asked the question: Who Should I Be Targeting on Facebook?

      This is one of the Most Common questions we hear from print companies when it comes to Facebook.
      And it’s actually a really good question!

      Why Did We Put This List Together?

      To be honest it’s our business to put together content & campaigns for printers like you which in many cases includes running Facebook ads to get you in front of new customers. BUT we know you’ll want to try this out.
      And if you do try it using what we’ve shared here and it works (which we know it will), then we’re hoping to get a shout out from you online or at least some feedback on the results you achieved!

      Who are the Targets?

      We have the exact settings & targeting for you in a PDF for download but to give you a quick glimpse into what the interface and targeting will look like for you we’ve shared a snapshot below.


      Download the Facebook Targeting PDF Below

      If You Have Questions on This Call Us at 314-736-4434


        It’s true that most B2B companies aren’t doing any content marketing at all.

        And of those that do, most are simply pushing out awareness focused messages that don’t convert.

        We know it’s tough out there to make this a priority, but if you are currently running any content marketing or plan to do any in the near future then read on to learn how to make sure what you do gets results.


        The Top B2B Content Marketing Ideas for 2019

        • Run LinkedIn Ads sponsoring your company page content
        • Run LinkedIn InMail Ads that email your top customer targets
        • Write blogs that are Q&A style
        • Create a price sheet and put it behind an info gate and promote it


        We explain in more detail below.


        Run LinkedIn Ads sponsoring your company page content

        This is probably the best way to instantly get new leads in 2019.

        The targeting LinkedIn provides is unmatched when it comes to B2B.

        Now for this to work you’ll need to produce content that will get promoted.

        We have content suggestions in our other two ideas on this list, but literally any relevant post about your company that includes a problem, solution and call to action that links back to your website is worthy of sponsoring that content.


        The customers targeted will see your ad in their feed, click on the call to action button and convert on your website through a form or call to get more information and do business with you.




        Run LinkedIn InMail Ads that email your top customer targets

        Similar to sponsored content you can target your primary customer and get in front of them very easily using LinkedIn InMail ads.

        The big difference here is the ad type and how it is presented.


        With InMail ads you as an individual (or someone on your sales team) will send an email through the LinkedIn messaging system directly to those targeted customers.

        So not only does your message get to the target on LinkedIn but it also goes directly to their email address which is usually connected to their phone.

        This means you’re getting in front of the buyer immediately!


        Again you’ll need to craft a message that is compelling to the buyer, speaks to a problem you solve and the solution you have for solving that problem paired with a Call to Action that either moves them to…

        • Message you back
        • Click through to your website where they can convert there
        • Or call you directly by listing your number in the message


        This works really well and scales your sales team in a very efficient way.




        Write blogs that are Q&A style

        Without going into a deep dive on Keyword Research for B2B companies we’ll say that many of your customers are searching on Google asking questions they need answers to. So you’ll want to do keyword research to identify How they ask those questions and what terms they use when asking.

        Once you have that craft a post that literally opens by asking that exact question and follow it up with your answer. Preferably the answer is something that you offer as a product or service.


        Many B2B marketers make the mistake of sharing a lot of 3rd party content or ideas that really are good ideas, but have not compatibility with your business and would never generate new sales. 

        So be sure to make it 1st party knowledge tied to what you do as a business.


        Create a price sheet and put it behind an info gate and promote it

        One of the most popular downloadable assets that we see work well for B2B companies is a price sheet.  The reason this is so popular is because so many B2B businesses don’t share their pricing.

        While we understand you may not want to share your pricing like most of these companies you can at least give estimates for these customers to take a look at.

        To do this you’ll need to create a page (landing page) on your website with a form that when submitted will present them with the price sheet.


        For example…

        If you are a manufacturer and sell a variety of parts upload your price list each month so your prospective customers can see costs and viola you know have a list of leads to contact.

        Or if you don’t want to share exact pricing create example statements of work or groupings of products showing the prices for that SOW or the price breaks for volume purchases of a specific product line. This is still valuable as it will give the prospect a better understanding of what they can expect when working with you.


        Regardless of if you do one or all of those B2B content marketing ideas we can Guarantee you that they will produce new leads for your company.



        If You Have Questions on This Call Us at 314-736-4434

        Or Submit your information below


          While this article is very specific to Banner Printing it actually applies to every term you are looking to rank well for. So let’s set the stage…

          You want to rank better in the search engines for terms related to Banner Printing right?

          The question is “How do you do that?”.


          There are two things you have to consider.

          • Traditional Keyword Research vs Strategic Keyword Research for Printing Terms
          • The search engine results mix (or distribution)


          We explain in more detail below.


          Traditional Keyword Research VS Strategic Keyword Research for Printing Terms

          In traditional KWR the rule of thumb is to enter the name of the product / service you want to rank for into a keyword research tool and capture the term that has the highest volume with the lowest competition. Then optimize your page for that term.  This is not bad advice and does work the majority of the time.



          If you want to get better results you’ll do this.

          Strategic Keyword Research.

          To do this you have to brainstorm a little to come up with other ways that customers search for your product / service.  This could be that they call the product / service something else or they search the “fix” your product / service solves.

          You just may find a term with better volume, a lower competitive saturation and better mix in the search engines. We’ll talk about the mix in a second.


          The Banner Printing Keyword Example

          Let’s say you want to rank for Banner Printing.

          We also think you should rank for that.


          When doing a keyword research task you find that Banner Printing shows up as having 9,900 searches per month with a moderate level of competitiveness.  That’s good news!



          But then you think about the ways customers were asking for that service on calls.

          They were saying Custom Banners quite often.

          Let’s research that term.


          You find Custom Banners returns a search volume of 14,800 searches per month and a similarly moderate level of competition.




          You do a quick check and see that Google is return similar results.

          Companies like yours selling banners.


          We suggest optimizing for the Custom Banners term!


          The Search Engine Results Mix

          We mentioned this earlier in the article that the search engine results will have a mix of elements.  These are typically ads, maps listings, natural / organic listings, Google My Business information, structured snippets and sometimes Product Listing / Shopping ads.

          What we advise looking at as most important (for product / service terms like Custom Banners) is are there maps results and do the organic listings under the maps show massive national competitors or a mix of national and local competitors.

          If the organic results have a bunch of big national competitors (Vistaprint, Buildasign, etc.) then you’ll need to focus on optimizing for getting into the maps listings!

          If there is a good mix of local companies in the organic results you’ll be optimizing for both the maps and organic results.


          Example of Search Engine Mix for Custom Banners



          In summary…

          If you want to rank for Banner Printing start by optimizing for Custom Banners, but also include the term Banner Printing in your page copy.

          AND get yourself claimed, verified and optimized with the Google Business Listing service.



          If You Have Questions on This Call Us at 314-736-4434

          Or Submit your information below


            We know you have questions because we are talking with print companies every day about their marketing and how to make it perform better.

            The team wanted to invite you to Send Us Your Questions!

            Here are some examples…

            • How can I get more leads from Organic Search?
            • How can I get more leads from Social Media?
            • Why aren’t my Google Ads generating a positive ROI?


            Submit your questions below and we’ve love to get you answers.


            Submit Your Questions using the Form Below


            Call Us at 314-736-4434


              Companies in the Print Industry are DOING NOTHING Online. Why?

              This is the question everyone should be asking.

              We have been asking this question of many printers in the industry and the most common answers we get back always fall into two categories.

              1. Online Marketing Doesn’t Work For Our Print Company / Print Industry Company
              2. It’s Too Expensive and Takes Too Long to Get Results


              Online / Content Marketing Doesn’t Work for the Print Industry

              Not to sound too harsh, but this is just wrong!

              We work with a ton of companies in the Print Industry and it works for ALL of them.

              It really comes down to doing the marketing activities online that will actually produce results for you.  Yes, this sounds a little vague but below are a few details that ensure it works.

              • As long as you ARE Targeting a specific audience it works
              • As long as you ARE Optimizing your website & Google listing for search engines it works
              • As long as your site IS Optimized for conversions it works


              Even those details may be a little too vague, but you can read even more detail here: https://acumenstudio.com/print-industry-digital-marketing/


              It’s Too Expensive to Market Online

              I can tell you it’s much more expensive to NOT market online.

              You’re missing out on tons of opportunity and the second your competitors figure this out and start doing it you’re dead in the water.  *at least until you start doing it well yourself


              The problem really is with our Industry (Digital Marketing / Content Marketing).

              There are too many marketers and agencies that say they are the “Guru” of this or the “Expert” in that, but the truth is they just know how to market themselves.

              You MUST know the industry you are marketing for (Print in this case) and be good at the tactics of what you recommend (SEO, PPC, Social, Email and Analytics).


              If you’re hiring a marketer in-house or an agency ask them these things…

              • How well do you know SEO?
                • Can you show me an example, tell me how you did it and the results you got?
              • How well do you know PPC?
                • Can you show me an example, tell me how you did it and the results you got?
              • How well do you know Social Media & Paid Social Media (LinkedIn Ads and Facebook Ads)
                • Can you show me an example, tell me how you did it and the results you got?
              • How well do you know Google Analytics?
                • How have you used Analytics to solve a marketing problem?


              If you do these things then your online content marketing will work AND will cost less AND will get you More Leads & More Sales.

              You can read more about Digital Marketing & Content Marketing for Print Companies by Clicking Here.


              Call Us at 314-736-4434

              Or Submit your information below


                Have you thought to yourself any of these questions:

                • Why is online so complicated?
                • Where do I find the time fit in digital marketing?
                • Does digital marketing even work for the print industry?

                It’s likely you have or had a similar question.

                And you’re not alone!


                The biggest problem with digital marketing today (and the digital marketing industry) is that it has created itself into being overly complex.  There are so many options, the platforms are constantly changing and to figure all of this out you have to spend a lot of time reading to stay on top of it and trying things out to see what works.

                But it doesn’t have to be that way!


                The 3 Steps to Succeeding Online for the Print Industry

                To make digital marketing easy on yourself just do these 3 things.

                • Focus your effort
                • Keep it Simple
                • Commit


                I know those sound really generic and doesn’t have the tactical application you might be expecting, BUT I am going to share with you the tactics of doing those three things here.


                Focusing Your Effort & Keeping It Simple

                These two go hand in hand as we focus to keep things simple.

                Focus is most applicable to generating a return.

                Like most marketers will tell you, segment and target your message!

                But what most marketers want you to do is have 6 personas that have 3 different mindsets and now you have 18 customer types you have to create and message for.

                FORGET THAT!!!


                Same thing goes for the tactics of digital marketing.

                There are so many things that can be done for each discipline and it’s nearly impossible to stay on top of it all if you aren’t an agency where your business is to stay on top of it.

                Think about it… SEO, PPC / SEM, Social Media, Social Ads, Email & Marketing Automation, Conversions, Goals, CRO, etc.

                That’s a lot.


                But again only a fraction of what can be done is best suited for your needs, in your market for your target customers.

                So that’s what you want to do.


                Committing to the Marketing Plan

                So you know the audience you’re going to focus on and the tactics suited for you.

                The last step is to just DO IT!


                This is the 2nd most common place where companies in the print industry get hung up.

                They will seek some sort of perfection that doesn’t actually exist and never pull the trigger.

                That’s a lot of wasted time and money to then do nothing.


                It’s true that you’ll want to tweak things after they have run to make them work better, but if you commit and see results you’ll feel a lot better about going even harder and getting even BETTER Results.

                To move ahead is most important because doing nothing will get you nowhere!


                In conclusion our recommendation to you is…

                Pick a target customer (real estate brokerages, financial advisors, marketing agencies, etc.) and create a campaign that targets them on LinkedIn sends them to a landing page created for them and gives them a PDF created just for them. This will get more sales from your target audience.


                Optimize your title tags, meta descriptions and h1 tags to include the words people search for when looking for your services.  Add a contact / quote form to every product / service page on your site with a button for them to click to call if they prefer.


                And ACTUALLY DO IT (the committing part).


                Then you will get found more often by new and existing customers, generate more leads and close more business.



                Call Us at 314-736-4434

                Or Submit your information below

                  Have you ever asked the question, “How can I spend less on ads, but still get more leads”?

                  We assume the answer is YES and it’s likely you’ve asked that numerous times and heard the answer “Of Course I / We Can”, but the results NEVER came.

                  This is something that we hear over and over again from print companies (and those in the print industry).


                  The problem is that today everyone thinks they are a marketer.

                  And in theory we are all marketers, but the difference between those who are good and those who can’t deliver results are the marketers that Don’t Know How to Execute.

                  So we’ve provided the two things you need to do so that you can spend less on ads but still generate high quality leads.  Target a specific customer and create a campaign specifically for them.


                  *Because we DO Know How to Execute!


                  Target A Specific Customer

                  This sounds simple and it’s likely you’re thinking “duh”, but the fact is the majority of print companies don’t do this often.

                  We are not advocating abandoning everything else you’re doing and we aren’t saying tailor your business to only focus on a single customer segment, but what we ARE saying is start running a campaign that is targeting one specific customer segment to better connect and convert new business.


                  Here are some ways to best identify a customer segment you can target

                  • Is there an industry that you have a lot of example work for? This is helpful in legitimizing your expertise and provides a lot of good content for case studies.
                  • Is there an industry you want to do more business in? This is an easy way to break in.
                  • Is there something you do that is unique for a specific industry which provides a significant differentiator between you and a competitor? This will help close deals quickly!


                  Whatever industry you choose to go after you’ll need to target them using social media.

                  This is the most accurate and cost effective way of targeting buyers in specific industries.

                  LinkedIn is where most of the print companies are seeing success today.


                  So let’s talk about campaigns.


                  Create a Campaign for Your Target Customer

                  This is the easiest part.  There are just a few things to create so that you have a clear campaign for your target customer that will get the to convert as high quality low cost leads.

                  Here are the things you’ll need to create

                  1. Landing Page with a form
                  2. PDF to download
                  3. Ad(s)


                  Start by creating the landing page.

                  This will include copy that describes an issue that customer segment is facing, a description of what a positive outcome looks like for that customer once their issue is solved and a call to action asking them to download the PDF that shows how they can get to that outcome.


                  Next develop the PDF they will download.

                  This can be a case study, a whitepaper, a catalog, a step by step tutorial, etc.

                  It must be something interesting to this specific customer segment.


                  Last create an Ad or Ads.

                  In our experience and research targeting a specific customer segment is most easily deployed on LinkedIn.  So the Ad you will be creating is a sponsored post.

                  This means you will create a post for your LinkedIn company page and then put ad spend against it to expose it to your target customer.

                  We typically start with 1 ad and as volume picks up or the ad begins to not produce as much try running another version.


                  The LinkedIn Ads Manager

                  You will need to have a LinkedIn company page.

                  You’ll need to create a LinkedIn Ads Account as well to run these ads.

                  But it produces so well.

                  Targeting criteria on this platform includes job titles, years of experience, industry, specific companies and more.


                  By doing this you’ll be focusing your ad spend to a finite audience with a message that speaks directly to them, giving that customer segment a deliverable custom tailored to their needs, which will Convert Like Wildfire!


                  Call Us at 314-736-4434

                  Or Submit your information below