When your company uses printed marketing materials, choosing the right printer is an important business decision. A reliable, reputable company brings life to your designs — they make your business look its best. Before you make a decision, it’s a good idea to look carefully at each printer to find the right fit.
- Printing Capabilities
The first thing you should consider when choosing a printer is their capabilities. This is particularly crucial if you have special requirements for your marketing campaigns, such as large-scale trade show graphics, banners, or signs. Some companies, such as SpeedPro Imaging Charlotte, can even create vehicle graphics and large-format pieces.
It’s usually pretty easy to find out whether or not a company can handle your projects — simply head to their website and look for a list of capabilities. If a company offers special types of printing, they’ll usually make it public. Not sure? A quick email or phone call can help you find out. Keep in mind that you don’t have to rely on a single printer for all of your marketing projects. You might send your standard business card and poster jobs to one company, and use a second company for more specialized printing projects.
- Printed Samples
When a customer looks at your marketing materials, they automatically make a quality judgement. If your materials are beautiful and well-made, it says positive things about your company. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask the company for samples of their printed work. Most businesses are happy to provide these items. What happens if you need large items that can’t be handed out as samples, such as large corporate signage? Find out the names of the printer’s local clients, and check out their work in person. That’s an excellent way to judge the quality of the product and see how it looks. This is especially important when you’re looking for high-value items, such as trade show booth setups.
- Past Client References
If you rely on printed materials for your marketing efforts, quality is just one part of the equation. The second part is the relationship you have with the printer. Will they respond quickly to your questions? Are they speedy with changes? Will they work with you to create the best possible products? The best way to get an idea of how a printer works is to talk to past and current clients. Most printers will provide a list of client references. You can also find references by reaching out to your professional contacts to find people who have worked with the printer. These personal discussions can help you get a better idea of which company is the best fit for your business.
- Availability to Meet Deadlines
Is your company working with tight marketing deadlines? As you’re researching printing companies, it’s important to find out if each one can meet your printing deadlines. This will depend on each company’s current workflow. If you need a fast turnaround time, but the printer has a full workload, it might not be the right fit. To avoid unpleasant surprises, come prepared with a list of your key, non-negotiable deadlines. This will help the printer decide whether or not they can handle your projects in a timely manner. If you sense any hesitation, it’s a good idea to keep looking.
Chances are, your company is working within a specific marketing budget — which means that price is a key consideration. Once you have a list of companies you like, it’s a good idea to check out their prices. This usually means that you need to get a quote from each company. Be sure to include the specs for the quantity, as well as any rush deadlines or unusual requirements. When the companies send you quotes, you can decide which prices fit your budget.
- Public Reputation
As part of your research into a potential printing partner, it’s a good idea to check out their public reputation. A great place to start? The internet. Do a quick Google search and look for any news reports or reviews. If the company has social media profiles, check out customer comments and questions. This should give you an idea of how responsive the printer is, and the type of relationship they have with their customers. Don’t worry if you see a negative comment or a complaint — instead, look at how the company responds. If they’re professional, swift, and helpful, it lets you know that they take action quickly when an issue arises.
- Look at Customer Support Options
When you’re investing part of your marketing budget with a printer, customer support is a big deal. When you’re looking into a company, check out the resources they dedicate to support. Is there a phone line you can call? Do you have a dedicated account manager? Can you text or tweet the company? If your marketing campaigns are fast-paced and intense, timely support can go a long way toward helping things run smoothly. After all, your printer is a partner in your marketing campaigns; a supportive partner is essential for a strong relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask the printing company how they respond to customers and which communication channels they prefer.
When it comes to picking a professional printing company, a little research can go a long way. The right printer can be a valuable partner that helps support your marketing efforts.