Print. It’s an essential means of communication, one of the first we learn. After speaking, the ability to put characters to paper and send our message into the world is the most powerful tool we are given to make ourselves seen and heard.
While many things have changed, including the choice of mediums we use to communicate, and even what we print and how, the power of print has never lessened — even in this digital age.
Nowhere is this truer than in the business world, where print is still a critical component of virtually every marketing campaign, workflow, and customer interaction. It can also provide the competitive edge you’ve been looking for.
The Proof is in the Printing
When everyone else was falsely proclaiming the death of print, FedEx (NYSE: FDX) Office was busy proving its power. In a recently conducted survey of more than 800 respondents, FedEx demonstrated emphatically that professional printing services help four out of five small business owners stand out from the competition. Here’s how.
While there is no doubt that we live in an increasingly digitally driven world, both at work and home, the survey by FedEx Office indicates that everyone, from customers to business owners, prefers the tangible characteristics of printed materials. Print is comfortable, familiar, tactile. In fact, that desire for familiarity, to touch and feel, is so strong that 49 percent of survey respondents said, “A world without paper would make them feel stressed or annoyed.”
It makes sense. When it comes to the things that matter most – our holiday greetings, wedding invitations, thank you notes, even our family photos – print is always more powerful than digital. Viewing a product image online simply does not – and cannot – have the same impact as a brochure full of glossy, full color pages you can hold right in your hand.
In a press release, Brian Philips, president and chief executive officer of FedEx Office, said, “In an increasingly digital world, where tablets, computers, phones and TVs are our main sources for consuming and engaging with information, FedEx Office recognizes the importance of print, from helping business owners succeed to assisting students in reaching their project goals, and everything in between.”
How SMBs Should Use Print
One of the biggest challenges small business owners have is standing out from the crowd. What makes your restaurant more appealing than the one down the block? Why should clients choose your law firm, or customers buy your product? Differentiation is as important as value, and can make the difference between gaining a customer, or watching them walk on by.
The survey from FedEx confirms that while digital workflows can dramatically improve the way you work, when it comes to interacting with your customers, there is power in print (especially color printing). You can win customers just by following the basics: printing company materials like brochures, business cards, and your most commonly used marketing materials – and we can show you how.
85% of consumers agree the quality of print indicates the quality of services. Is your print material accurately representing your business?
Print Marketing in Practice
Small business owners who participated in the survey agreed that professionally printed material reflected positively on their business.
Perhaps more convincingly, 85 percent of consumers surveyed said they are more likely to patronize a business who employs custom professionally printed materials like business cards, signs, flyers or banners. Keep in mind that the emphasis here should be on both the power of print, and the importance of quality printing. Nine in 10 respondents said the quality of printed materials is an indication of the quality of service the business provides.
Nine in 10 consumers, an overwhelming majority, agree that the need for printed materials will always exist – and we aren’t just talking about our Baby Boomer and Gen X customers either. Close to half of millennials said they like having something professionally printed at least once a month. Print was especially important to customers with relation to official documents and contracts.
Going paperless may be great for your workflows, and great for the planet, but it’s just one way or working, not the way you should see the world. Whatever changes may come, print will always be as important to you and your business as it was the first time you wrote your name, mailed a letter, or drew a picture.
As a small business owner, you have the freedom to decide where and how to leverage print to its full benefit, and where a digital route works best. That may mean print for customers and digital for employees, or finding the right mix of both. A Xerox channel partner can help you choose a strategy that works for both your business aims and your budget, and get you started on a path to a more efficient office, and a more effective print strategy. Contact one in your area today.
Brighten your office and communicate effectively with a little help from our small business resource center. Whether you are trying to create a strong brand identity or simply want to inspire fellow employees, our free business templates provide you with a professional resource for all your business needs.