Web2Print: Forcing Efficiency on your Customers


When I first started meeting large corporate clients, I often remarked that there must be a better way to do things. It seemed such a waste of energy – especially for some of our bigger clients – to spend so much time placing print orders, proofing artwork and playing email tag while they sorted out the proofs and handled the other miscellaneous calls, emails and Skypes that we would receive from marketers and designers, desperate to ensure their campaigns were off to a perfect start.

When my dev team presented our Web2Print platform, however, I instantly fell in love with it – its simplicity, its cohesiveness and the ability to find everything I wanted, all in the one place. I knew some of my customers would want it instantly, while others… well…

With a couple of my accounts, I felt like I was practically forcing change upon them, but when they returned to me a few months later, telling me how much time and money I’d saved their organisations and how efficient everything was now, I said to myself, “Ali – now you have to help other people realise just how awesome this platform is!”

So here we are.

This is the first post in a series of fourteen, all related to Web2Print. This edition is going to talk about getting your customers interested in having their own Web2Print account.

I hope you find them entertaining and useful!

Feel free to leave comments or get in touch with me over Twitter!

Make Them Want It

Why should customer adopt a Web2Print platform, in the first place? They already know what they like. They already know what they want. They’re happy!

Well if everything worked that way, there’d never be a need to advertise or market anything at all…

What’s actually in it, for them? Motivations fall into three basic categories, in my experience:

1. Save a boatload of money.

Yes. A boatload.

Web2Print platforms massively reduce the overhead costs of administration and processing orders. Ordinarily, my clients have someone to perform the briefing, someone to do the proofing, someone who approves the changes, someone who runs up the invoices, someone else who determines the allocation of resources – on and on! And with my larger clients, they often have multiple personnel performing these duties. You can see how these costs can start mounting up – and if you’re a small business, you probably can’t even afford to employ a specialist to handle all of these tasks.

Look how much pain there is in your normal ordering cycle for an average print job!

With a Web2Print platform, my customers can use existing templates to completely reduce design costs. They don’t even have to be technical or know how to use specialist design software like Adobe Photoshop or InDesign.

All they have to do, is log in and pick something they like. If they want, they can even customise it. The instantly generated proof guarantees that the order will be correct and the clear interface means a customer can select their own finishes while understanding the transparent costing process.

An added bonus, of course, is when my customers are planning out an entire campaign with a range of different printed materials – now they can ensure consistency and cohesion between branding for all the different items they want to produce, preview and proof everything and then send it all off for printing in one go.

2. Where did I leave that thing..?

This is a huge selling point for my biggest customers – never lose historical examples: just re-use them! They love the way the platform stores all previously ordered print runs, all archived forever. Structured. Organised.

If my clients liked a particular design and want to see more of them, all they have to do is repeat the order with just one or two clicks.

Oh, need a new business card? Can’t remember where you left the template? Don’t worry. It’s on the Web2Print account. Click: select that template. Click: select these details. Click: print 400 of them. Done.


That simple.

3. No more holiday-handcuffs.

What happens if Bob in Design suddenly decides to take garden leave for a year – but he was the guy who talked to the printers! Nobody else knows their number – nobody else knows who you normally deal with – but your deadline is Friday and it’s already Tuesday! Argh!

You will never lose time, or muddle up processes, or suffer through absences ever again. Web2Print is centralised: you don’t have to disturb Bob in his garden.

Worse – what if you usually send your business cards to Printer A, your letterheads to Printer B and your flyers and brochures to Printer C? How do you keep track of all of that? How do you ensure that your corporate branding looks the same across the board?

Using a Web2Print platform means that you never have to worry about losing a relationship with your print provider that might span years, just because Bob has gone. The platform will still be there and still love you, for all your foibles.

Finally, as an added bonus, if you’re out and about at meetings or just commuting to and fro, you can still place an order without having to wait for quotes or responses or telephone calls. This is a far more flexible and mobile relationship than I have with even my wife!

Taking Away the Pain of Printing

The real key is to show as well as tell.

Remind your customers, if they have an Agile environment, this Web2Print platform will appeal directly to that mentality. Agile in name and in nature!

Encourage your clients by using a variety of encouragements – demonstrate the financial benefits, the ease of use and all of that – but why not also customise a landing page to reflect their logo and branding so they feel special and more directly involved with the entire process!

Don’t be too shy to go directly on-site to your customers and perform a demonstration for them, right at their own desk. Nothing more clearly demonstrates ease of use and speed of ordering than being able to produce a perfectly proofed print job, right there, where they normally sit and work.

Push your service level agreements so they understand completely that you are directly committed to them and their print goals – reflect this in your uptime, maintenance and ongoing support provisions. Don’t forget to include your SLAs in your comprehensives proposals document, which you remembered to prepare in advance of your demo.

Be prepared to hold your customer’s hand, especially if they are reluctant. They will quickly see the benefits of the Web2Print platform as soon as they become more familiar with it.

The Logical Conclusion

Don’t forget the key elements of a Web2Print platform from the user’s point of view.

The re-ordering of consumables (you know the sort of thing – business cards, letterheads, compliment slips, etc.) is much quicker. By a lot.

In addition, the billing system is entirely transparent so customers never have to wonder where their money went. Their accounts are clear and always available to them, however they wish to use this info.

Last thing – you don’t have to be technical to use a Web2Print platform. That’s the ultimate beauty of it – everyone can use it, regardless of how well they understand TCP/IP or how well they can code in C#. Everyone, form the lowly intern to the lofty CEO, can now request a print order, completely opening this process up to all and sundry.

Given the simplicity, the cost-effectiveness and the ease of use, I’m confident your customers will eventually agree: Web2Print platforms? The only logical conclusion for all print requirements.