3D Printing adds Novelty to Email-to-Print Marketing Campaign

A business acquaintance just started using 3D printing in his sale prospecting process.

I wish I had thought of it!

16661915478_2f3f1dc880_kFirst he collects names and email addresses when he does presentations. He offers a free personalized gift if attendees sign up for his email newsletter. Then he sends a “Thank you for signing up” email, directing them to a landing page where they can customize a 3D printed gift. The gift is printed and shipped with a personalized note. The shipment is tracked. He follows up with an email to make sure the gift was received. He invites the recipient to post photos on social media, sharing their experience with the gift. The conversation continues. Each month he proves his value in the email newsletter. He incorporates print when recipients move through key points in the sales funnel.

Happy prospects become customers.

Before he began having the gifts 3D printed, he worked with a distributor of a promotional products company to order and customize gifts. The amount of gifts he ordered became expensive, however, and the data input and shipping was a burden to him, He often procrastinated and was embarrassed when the gifts arrived weeks (sometimes months) later.

He finally went to his commercial printer to see if they could arrange to have the gifts drop shipped from the promotional products company without costing too much more. The printer listened and understood his true problem: managing this complex marketing program in a timely way.

Money was the reason for the phone call to the printer, but it was not the true pain point.

Instead, the commercial printer proposed a partnership with a local 3D printing company that was just launching. Using 3D printing was an option for cost control, as the 3D printer was offering a screaming deal for new customers. In return for an ongoing discount, the 3D printing company would get a bit of publicity on the landing/ordering page. The printer and 3D printer now are collaborating to design 3D printed gifts that will generate a higher response. They have worked together to lower manufacturing and shipping costs. The printer is the point of contact for service and tracking through a web-to-print dashboard. The 3D printing company charges a wholesale amount negotiated by the commercial printer.

With the newest version of his marketing program, my acquaintance says he does pay more than he did with the promotional products company. The upside, though, is that he has more clicks to the order page, more posts on social media, and more email sign ups. He says he likes having the commercial printer manage most of the details of the campaign. He likes having items printed and shipped promptly, which has lightened his mental load.

On his web-to-print dashboard, he can view the manufacturing/shipping process. He can also track clicks, leads, and conversions. Hot leads — based on if-then statements (rules) and buying signals — are delivered immediately to him by email.

In the end, he says it’s worth a higher cost.

He believes he has a window of time where 3D printed items will be a novelty, so that gives him an advantage. Being able to track and act on leads in real time has added value to the program.

I asked him, “When interest in 3D printed products starts to peter out, what will you do?” He said, “My printer has already shown me they can be creative and partner with other providers. I will probably go back to them and say, ‘What’s next?’ ”

What IS next?

Are you helping your customers turn their printed items into their most important competitive advantage?


Sandy Hubbardsandy_hubbard_printmediacentr is a marketing consultant and strategist who works with printing companies that are going through periods of transition or extreme growth. She understands the unique needs of printing companies and how to help them build a successful marketing program that can be sustained over the long haul, without stress. You can also find Sandy on Twitter every Wednesday at 4 pm ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn (@PrintMediaCentr) with the most lively and interesting printing chat on social media.

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