1. Focus on Exceptional Customer Service
This may be the most important rule of business. We’ve all had crappy experiences with vendors. There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re putting somebody out by giving them your hard earned money. Think of the way you like to be treated, when you buy something. Show your appreciation for the opportunity to work with them by following through and being super responsive to questions and requests. The more you’re able to simplify the process the better. Businesses and organizations are very busy, just like you. Try to do what you say you’re going to do and if that’s not possible, let them know early on. Being upfront and honest with customers will build loyalty that no marketing dollars can buy. You instill confidence in your customers by communicating changes or possible complications that can prolong the agreed upon deadline.
2. Sponsor Events or Charities
Who sponsors events and most charities? Businesses! By sponsoring your local youth club or non-profit events you’re getting your name in front of other businesses that need your services. Printing shirts at cost to support your community is a great way to get your name out there and very cost effective.
3. Leverage Social Media
Post pictures of your prints and tag your customers as much as possible. If I’m a landscaping company, and I happen to see a competitor getting new cool shirts printed I’m more likely to do the same thing. Your hope should be that your screen printing customers succeed. When your clients succeed, you succeed.
4. Create Marketing Partnerships with Businesses that Align with your Values
You more than likely have friends or associates with large social media followings. Partner up with them by offering to print their shirts at a reduced rate in exchange for social sharing and tagging. Offer a discount code if possible and watch the orders flood in. It’s the classic “win, win”. When a business person is pleased with a product or service they naturally want to share that resource with others. Word of mouth advertising is very useful for screen printing shops.
5. Get Comfortable With Saying No
This is harder to do than you think. If you set up a baseline profit margin that you need to keep the lights on and support your growth, you must not take jobs that will threaten your margins. The best way to manage this is to have a referral network setup. If someone only wants 3 shirts and aren’t willing to pay for the real cost of labor, material and set up then refer them to an online resource or another printer you know that specializes in small runs. I had a referral arrangement with a embroiderer. I sent her requests for embroidery and in turn she referred screen printing to me. The point is to leave the exchange with a possible solution. A “soft no” if you will. Often those same screen printing customers call you again when the need arises because you helped solve a problem for them. Turn a “no” into trust building.
6. Under Promise and Over Deliver
The number one complaint I heard from screen printing customers lamenting over a poor experience they had, was how late the order was. Pad your delivery time for about 1-2 days. You’ll see how delighted your clients will be when the box shows up 2 days before they were expecting it.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.