Some say that the hardest part about breaking into the fabric printing industry is getting started. So if you already have that done, pat yourself on the back. The hardest part is over. Now the question is, how do you get people to your shop? How does one make their presence known to their target audience and get them through one’s doors?
In this blog, we will discuss some helpful ways by which you can network your business, find your clients, and ultimately build a thriving printing business.
How to Find your First Customers
The first step is to think about what kind of people would need printing and fabric printing services. This is called zeroing in on your target market. The reason this comes first is that it allows you to focus your efforts on the right people.
It is essential because you don’t want to waste your time, resources, and money trying to reach people that have no need or interest in printing.
Begin with thinking about the kinds of people who would need or want what you are offering. This is your target market – the ones you are going to be focusing your attention on.
The next step would be to create a client list.
These are the people you will be reaching out to. You probably came into the market knowing a few people in the industry or you know people who need your services. However, if you went into the printing business somewhat blindly, you can still generate a promising client list.
You can start by asking your friends and family if they or anyone they know needs your services.
Then you can include a referral incentive to maximize your chances of generating names to add to your client list. For printers, trade shows are a great place to meet new potential clients. Once you have a decent list of potential clients, it is time to reach out to them.
Email lists are another excellent way to tell people about what you do and what you offer.
Of course, you can always meet your potential clients face to face. Go to a local art studio or surrounding businesses and try to start a conversation with some of the owners. Ask if you can leave your business cards for their clients to take.
Starting a printing business from the ground up can be slow. You may not drum up a whole lot of sales at first, but that is why it is so important to follow up with your contacts. Keep sending emails and be persistent in face-to-face meetings.
A client might not need printing services the first time you ask them, and they may even forget about you. However, when your name shows up at the right time (when they do need printing), you will be the one they go to.
Closing on Your First Customers
There are some practical ways that you can turn your contacts into converted customers (those who will pay for and use your services). As stated earlier, printing businesses tend to be very local.
You can use your location to your advantage of becoming a fixture in the community. Maybe join your local chamber of commerce or attend events in the area.
If you have the time, enroll in an art class at the local junior college or adult school to get plugged into the art community. People are more likely to use your services when they are already familiar with you.
Social media presence is huge these days.
Be sure that you are active on social media. Follow businesses that fall in line with your target market, artists, designers, and some people on your client list. Like their posts and offer up some of your own that reflects what you can offer them.
Promoting your Printing Business
Once you have a steady clientele base, you are going to want to solidify your status as a reliable printing service provider. You can ask clients to write reviews or post content of your business in exchange for discounts.
Little league sports sponsorships and business banners at community events are another good way to promote your printing business.
If you are hosting or involved in an event (an art show at a gallery or the community college, for instance) try to get the local media involved. Reach out to the local newspaper and television stations and see if they would be interested in covering the event.
Trade and craft shows are also beneficial for the printing industry.
There is a trade show for just about every niche so seek out ones for artists, fashion designers, musicians (concert flyers), the fabric industry, textile industry, theater (playbills) and all of your target markets.
In the End, It’s All About Persistence
All of these tips require persistence. Just because you do have an established customer base does not mean that you can’t grow it. Nor does it mean that people won’t forget about you. Just because these are the first steps in increasing your printing business does not make them one-and-done tactics.
Stay persistent with promotion, customer conversion, and clientele growth, and you will give yourself the best shot at a successful printing business.