You learned how to screen print and now you are ready to make a profit. That money isn’t going to make itself. It’s called a side hustle for a reason, time to start grinding. Welcome to marketing. How are you going to attain and retain your customer base?
Before beginning any form of marketing, you need to establish your voice and brand. What do you want your customers to feel or think when they see your logo and shop aesthetics? How do you communicate with your customers? Are you very formal, casual or somewhere in between?
Branding is a whole topic that should be well thought out and planned, we will cover this topic later this year.
Today we will cover the 4 easiest methods to start marketing for your shop today.
A common question we get from printers is “Do I need a website?” If you asked multiple printers this question you would get very different answers. Some shops can survive off word of mouth without paid or social advertising, which is super awesome, however this doesn’t hold true for every shop.
There are also shops that thrive off having a professional website. All printing shop websites are different from what we have observed. Some are very basic and include only the necessary information to find and contact the shop, while some have quote builders for customers to get pricing on the spot. There is not a right or a wrong way to do it.
This brings us back to the question, “Do I need a website?” In our opinion if you aren’t already an established printer having a website that can be linked to your social media profiles is highly recommended. A website builds credibility and is the first place a customer will visit to get a feel of the brand and who you are. Also, a website with your location will rank organically* on google throughout time and be shown to people searching for a local screen printer. *Organically means to rank without paying for advertising space.
As most already know social media is king and arguably a requirement to market if you are trying to be relevant. The marketing tools available on social media alone are immense. On social media platforms you can build your brand identity, showcase your artwork, display customer reviews, communicate with customers, join communities of potential clients and so much more. Below we will go over our favorite free platforms and why you should be regularly posting and marketing on them.
Instagram and Tiktok are great platforms that allow you to reach large audiences in your target market. Your business profile becomes a storefront in which you can display content for sale or services. Direct messages (DMs) become a central location for communication between you and a potential client. DMs are also a great place to keep communicating with your customers after the sale to ensure they are satisfied and to help retain them as a customer for future orders.
Facebook offers much of what Instagram and Tiktok have available, but they also have community forums that are amazing tools to gain access to large, targeted audiences. By joining local Facebook communities, you can connect with 1000s of people in your area that at some point or another may need printing for their soccer team or their corporate gifts. Simply remaining active on these forums and offering your services can get your company in front of a lot of people within seconds.
Yelp and Google
Registering on Yelp and on Google as a business is another free way to draw a lot of local attention. Yelp may be popular for restaurants, but it is increasingly being used for services as well. On Yelp customers will be able to see previous customer ratings and pictures of your work. Yelp is also great because with one click a potential customer can call you to talk about an upcoming job. Registering on Google as a business has the same advantages as Yelp, the added benefit to Google is that 46% of all searches start on Google.
In a hurry to reach more customers or ready to take your shop to the next level? Paid ads are the next place to start. There are several places we recommend starting if you are new to paid ads.
Google Ads and Yelps Ads: These are the ads that you see on the very top of Google/Yelp when you search for anything, AD is displayed next to the relevant search. If starting on google we recommend local settings only, don’t expand ad visibility to the whole United States.
Facebook/Instagram Promoted Posts and Ads: There are two ways to pay for ads on FB and IG. Promoted post is the easiest and most recommended if new to paid ads. You can select a post that did well will engaging your audience and pay $5-Inifite amount of money to run an ad to an audience that is like the audience currently following your account. The next is Facebook/Instagram ads, here you can run full campaigns across several platforms including YouTube to your desired demographic.
Influencers: The next paid form of ads is influencers. Are there any local stars in your area that could rock a t-shirt you printed and promote your brand or printing shop? There are an infinite number of ways to work with influencers and compensation doesn’t always need to be in cash, sometimes they will just take fun merch.
We highly recommend starting with free methods of advertising before paying for ads. We also recommend working with someone experienced in paid ads or taking a crash course to learn paid ads. Money goes quick on a daily ad budget, don’t get yourself into a hole before your store has the chance to take off.
Word of Mouth/ Communication Style
A business only succeeds if there is a customer base on which it can survive on. For customer relations to thrive you must cultivate them. Effective communication you will earn trust, a more efficient workflow and satisfied customers resulting in repeat customers. Repeat customers are the bread and butter of a business and are crucial to the success of your shop.
By truly understanding your customers’ needs and developing a relationship on a personal level you will not only build a client list but friendships. By producing excellent prints and growing great relationships you are increasing your odds of word-of-mouth business. People love to tell others about great experiences, but they also love to share poor experiences; keep this is mind during every customer interaction.
We have gathered more marketing tips from our printing community found on Instagram @screenprintdirect and our Facebook community The Printers Club
@highrangetradingco a super cool and fun DIY Momma Boss says -
“Put yourself out there as much as possible but stay true to yourself and your vision for your business. The right customers will find you! “
@iiivisions is an artist that focuses on street art and has a few words from the streets –
“Be you! put out the content and art that you love. Your vibe attracts your tribe.”
@northbrookpress is the type of shop small printers strive to be and they have these words of wisdom for you all –
“Although social media is important, Google can also be your best friend. Make sure your Google business page is set up and properly optimized and make sure that you reach out to customers for reviews on jobs that you’re really proud of! The first thing the customer usually does on their journey is Google “screen printer near me” and guess who they’ll likely go with? The shop with the most/best reviews.”