Why Waiting for the First Customer May Not Be a Great Idea

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Why Waiting for the First Customer May Not Be a Great Idea

Still Waiting?

Over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of attending a number of trade shows and conferences that were tailored to printers, mailers, and fulfillment companies.

At those events, it can be quite exciting to talk to those in the industry that are early adopters of technologies and channels such as mobile and social media. These companies have already invested in new software or hardware, they’ve already updated their website to talk about the new solutions that they can offer, and they are taking time to train their employees, customers, and prospects about their enhanced capabilities.

Everyone is not an Early Adopter

There is another group in the industry as well. These are companies that also recognize that the worlds of marketing, communication, and education are shifting. They may ooh-and-ahh when they see a demonstration of how a new technology may help them ride the wave of that shift.

However, when it comes to actually making the investment into that new technology (whether it’s in time, money, or other resources), they may decide that they’re not quite ready. In fact, their reason for not moving forward is often this:

“I know that I need to offer this type of solution but I’m not going to make the investment until I bring on my first customer with those needs.”

From what I’ve seen, this can be a dangerous strategy.

Peter Muir of BIZUcate has a saying that fits into this discussion. He often asks service providers, do you wait for work, do you look for work, or do you create work?

In the print, mail, and fulfillment industries, there is a growing number of early adopters that are busy creating work. They are using the technology that they’ve invested in to present and market new ideas to their clients. They are creating conversations through more channels than their competitors, they are building awareness of their brand, and in many cases they are closing sales.

Because this group is hard at work in finding new ways to succeed, those simply waiting for the first customer to walk in demanding “I don’t just need this simply printed and mailed. I need a multi-channel marketing campaign to truly reach my audience!” may find that the waiting game can be lonely. And when it comes to doing business nowadays, waiting can be brutal.

Reasons To Get Started Today

If you have found yourself in the position of waiting to invest resources into new technologies and solutions, here are a few reasons why you should stop waiting, and start making it work for you:

Self-Promotional Marketing Efforts

Rather than wait for your first customer, become your own first customer! If you’ve purchased software that lets you create landing pages, personalized URLs (PURLs), QR Codes, emails, and more, then launch a campaign for yourself that uses those channels!

Execute and measure marketing efforts that either help you to generate leads, to gauge customer satisfaction, or to simply build awareness. Also, you could create an online storefront that makes it easier for your team to access and order merchandise, digital assets, and other collateral.

Internal Training

Do not wait to learn how to use your new software and/or hardware on your client’s dime. By putting it to use first for yourself, you will be able to better equip your staff with the knowledge and experience to get the job done right when you do receive a paying customer.

This applies to those that will actually build and execute campaigns and storefronts.

But it also applies to your sales reps. How can you truly expect them to sell solutions and technologies if they’ve only heard about them on webinars or read about them on sales slicks? Rather, let them experience firsthand what is involved with launching a campaign or an online ordering portal. Let them experience the benefits for themselves.

In that scenario, you will be arming them with practical knowledge, selling points, and demonstration tools.

Conversation Starters

Do you want your customers and prospeects to come into your office and ask you about QR Codes, PURLs, social media, etc.?If so, there’s no better way than to light the spark that ignites the conversation. Put QR Codes on your business cards, signs, and other printed materials. Send them a direct mail piece with a personalized URL. Invite them to Like your Facebook page and to follow you on Twitter.

These types of activities may not only get the conversation started with the people that you do know now, but they also may help you to reach new prospects that need similar solutions.

One More Reason Not to Wait

Simply launching a multi-channel marketing campaign to promote your services does not guarantee sales or success. But it can absolutely give you an advantage over your competition. If things do not go successfully, it will perhaps help you to realize that you might need more training, or different technology, or different resources internally.

But if you find out what you need early enough, you’ll be equipped to deliver solutions that truly help your customers succeed.

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