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“Magic” Marketing Solutions

Have your best year yet with a three-step plan that’s efficient and easy to follow.

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MANY SCREEN PRINTERS typically think about marketing as something that makes them uncomfortable, and this is for a good reason! A quick search of marketing plans online will produce a dizzying array of possible options and insist that these all are activities that need to be done on a weekly, if not daily, basis to keep up with them. The sheer quantity and complexity of initiatives and campaigns would make the majority of business owners confused and stressed.

The good news is that you can have your best year ever, and you don’t have to invest enormous time and effort into complicated plans. If you haven’t marketed your company before (many printers rely solely on social media posts or word-of-mouth referrals) or even if you are seasoned at marketing, you can get a significant boost from following three simple marketing steps: Stay connected with your customers, expand all sales, and ask for referrals and reorders.

Staying Connected

Keeping in touch with people that have ordered from you can be done in many ways. You can add them to an email list, or request for them to follow you on your social media, for instance. But the bigger question is, “Why should they follow you?” It is obvious that you want your customers to stay in touch so you can continue to get orders for them? But what’s in it for them? The key to staying connected to your customers in a meaningful way is to share ideas, updates, and other content with them that has a value for them to receive. So whatever method you decide to do should consider several related variables:

1. The content and method of delivery you choose should be something you are comfortable with and feel good about. This way you can be consistent and it will be easier for you to create regularly. If you don’t like to write, for instance, then emails may be less appealing than creating short videos or photos for social media. If you are not comfortable with creating content, then consider getting someone to create it for you, and the method that you feel reflects best on your company and its values for the customer.

2. Email lists are valuable if you know how to craft a good message and don’t overuse them or make things too salesy sounding. The big advantage to an email is that it comes as direct, personal communication and this can be great for an event you will be involved in or a promotion you are offering.

3. Whether you use emails or social media to stay in touch, make sure you ask the customer to join, subscribe, and follow your content to ensure delivery of your messaging.

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4. Once you have decided on the method(s) that you will use to stay connected with your customers, you will benefit greatly by putting together a simple content plan. Craft a simple matrix when you publish for the next 3-6 months and then backdate when you will need to have concepts, copy, videos/photos, and promotions ready ahead of time (See Figure 1). This will avoid you doing a race at the last minute and increase both the quality and consistency of your efforts.

“Magic” Marketing for Screen Printing Shops

Staying in touch and in your customers’ minds will increase both your day-to-day business and it will make any promotions, expansions, or diversification offers you have far more successful. If doing this yourself will be overwhelming, find a freelancer that you can trust to help you. It’s important to be consistent with some simple messages that provide your customers with product updates, the latest cool prints you have done, and some seasonal items as they are appropriate.

Expand All Sales

It is an unfortunate reality that most efforts to expand a successful sale come across as annoying if they are performed poorly. The net effect of this is that everyone is afraid to try these techniques for their own businesses, and this is an enormous mistake.
In testing, a properly executed upsell or cross-sell offer is accepted more than 50% of the time! In fact, doing upselling and cross-selling properly dramatically can increase profits on a large percentage of relevant orders. And since the art and/or screens are already prepared, any addition to the order is even more profitable for the printer.
The key to expanding all sales, where it is possible and relevant for the customer, is to follow three simple rules:

• Make sure the offer always is in the customer’s best interest, and that it is presented as an opportunity for the client to take advantage of. If the artwork that is to be printed on an item will fit a complementary item, then that is a perfect opportunity to offer it. A customer that already has told you he has a fixed budget and only wants exactly what he has ordered is not a good fit.

“Magic” Marketing for Screen Printing Shops

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• Do all the work for the upsell or cross-sell so that all the customer must do is agree. If a client orders two dozen T-shirts for his organization, then show him a layout of the design on a hoodie, for example. Then, tell him how, if he orders some hoodies with the exisiting order, it will reduce the average price of the T-shirts and he will save on the hoodies also because the design is already setup for the tees (See Figure 2).

• One of the most important factors is the timing of the offers. If you wait until the job is finalized and already in production, the customer may see it as salesy or an attempt to get more money. If you attempt the cross-sell too soon in the quoting process, the client also may feel you are overeager and focused on the wrong things. A good approach can instead be to offer the client a possible order modification at the art approval stage when he is most excited about the order. This also will provide a chance to visually show him his artwork on another product.

The method, wording, and process of expanding orders also is critical to practice. Whomever in your company will be engaging with the customers should take this process as a subtle challenge that can reap great benefits for the entire shop.

Referrals and Reorders

Most small, local screen printers may get the bulk of their business from referrals, so this tactic won’t be a surprise. The challenge to this process is to refine it, and then to create a fail-safe plan to make sure the message is delivered in multiple ways to every customer consistently. If there isn’t a formal process then sometimes it is likely in the hustle of the business, it will be forgotten. To be more consistent, it will be beneficial to have physical reminders that you can give to customers (like promo products or similar) that include the questions as well as additional reminders.
A good way to accomplish this is to have everyone that delivers products to a customer trained in the same process. This means they always ask two questions of every customer as an order is finalized:

A. “I’m really happy that you like your order. Do you know the best way to help me? That’s right! Refer me to someone else that needs printing too!”
“Did you know that if for some reason you need to reorder these, we have a reorder discount of x if you order by this date ___?”

B. The second part of both referrals and reorders is that you should have backup reminders on your paperwork, online on your website, and include them in electronic communications with your customers. The reorder process itself should be simple for the customer so he just has to respond and there will be limited steps to it.

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“Magic” Marketing for Screen Printing Shops

Many ways are available to test a referral plan so you can track it, and one of the best is to use a gold “referral card” that can be given from an existing customer to a new customer for a discount or bonus on the first order (See Figure 3). The new client just has to bring in the card or mention it over the phone with the code to apply it to the order. This way the referral can be tracked and measured and the customer who referred can be appreciated as well.


Without training it can seem awkward to ask customers for a referral or to remind about reorders. But the frame of mind you want to deliver it from is gratitude. If they really like you and your service, then they should know the best way to reward you in addition to being loyal clients. You shouldn’t hesitate to let people thank you with a referral or a reorder, because when it is done in good faith it is a win/win for everyone.

Marketing for screen printing doesn’t have to be overly complex or labor intensive, in fact, following the three simple steps of keeping in contact with your clients, expanding every sale possible, and asking for referrals and reorders can boost your business significantly in the year to come. Keep in mind that many printers will say they do these steps already, and they already understand them. The real question is if they have a plan for them to ensure they do them consistently and measure their effectiveness so they can refine them to get the largest profitable benefits going forward.

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SPONSORED VIDEO

Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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