Most print and copy shops find the competition fierce enough to realize they need distinctive marketing ideas to pull in business. You probably have competition from local print shops, printers in others states and those based on the Internet. Standing out from the crowd requires a focused, consistent marketing effort to let prospects know you offer more than just value-oriented solutions to their print and copy needs.

Differentiate Your Business

Unless you’re the only copy shop in town, you need to make your business look different from the rest. You may choose to offer the best pricing in town, suggesting that you can beat any competitor’s price for printing and copying. Providing extraordinary customer service both at the counter and on the phone can also help differentiate your shop from the competition. Getting word out that you are always willing to help small businesses with small projects may result in more business from a market segment that is often overlooked when it comes to printing.

Use Drip Campaigns

After you obtain the contact information of qualified prospects, you must market to them until they buy. Calculating how often your prospects need print or copy services gives you an idea of how often you should get in front of them so they choose your company when they’re ready to buy. Using a process known as drip marketing, send out print or e-newsletters every month or two or mail postcards and flyers announcing special discounts, new copying and printing services or other news. Drip marketing efforts can also include calling prospects regularly to determine if they need services. Calls also give you a personal way to introduce prospects to the various services you offer.

Seek Referrals

Ask for referrals from happy customers and reward them for sending qualified prospects your way. Better yet, when the prospect buys a certain amount of copying or printing services, provide another reward to the referrer to thank him for the business. You may want to send the referrer a gift certificate or offer a deep discount on his next copy or print project. Consider setting up a referral network with businesses that appeal to the same customers as your print shop does. For starters, target graphic designers, marketing firms and ad agencies since they often need printing services.

Promote One-Stop Shopping

Shops that provide more than just printing and copying services attract more customers. Offer design services to assist clients with their print layouts before the piece goes to print. Consider adding binding, packaging and shipping services that help your client get his project done seamlessly and without the hassle of running to different shops. When clients come in, suggest additional services, such as stapling and binding, to make the customer aware that you offer more than just basic printing and copying services.