During a business expo hosted by the Maple Valley Chamber, I was flipping through a handout from a certain non-profit.
I noticed that the pamphlet I had been given contained several testimonials singing the praises of the organization.
Then an idea popped into my head.
Why not create a testimonials page for our shop’s website? We had plenty of happy customers who would surely be willing to share how glad they were to do business with us. Thankfully, I was correct.
Our Testimonials page provides a way for new customers to see what of our present clients have to say about the shop.
I’ve heard that the secret to good marketing is to study the methods of those who are doing it best and then copy them. This is how military forces the world over better themselves, the principle being equally applicable to business.
Taking a look at several nearby businesses, I saw that all of the best ones used testimonials from their clients.
One non-profit in Federal Way has a series of blog posts dedicated to relating stories of people their organization has helped. They often carry an emotional tinge to them, meant to pull heartstrings and summon the reader to action.
Elsewhere, a local car dealership has a whole page dedicated to allowing customers to share their experiences buying cars through the firm. This shows that they trust their customer base and that they’re willing to listen to them.
Having resolved to create such a page for the shop, I immediately began sending out messages to some of our most loyal clients in order to obtain testimonials from them.
This was much easier than I anticipated. Several of our clients were more than happy to provide detailed statements explaining how happy they were with our services. This was quite encouraging.
A little later, Kristin, our graphic designer, had a brand new Testimonials page up and running on our website! We plan to add to it as we get more testimonials.
In a nutshell, testimonials are a great way to hype your business because they give you credibility by bringing in a third party, like a witness in a court case, to validate your product or service.
We strongly encourage you to let your customers speak for themselves when it comes to marketing your business. Give your fans a means of communicating their happiness with you, and they’ll do the rest.
As part of my duties at the shop, it falls to me to handle various administrative tasks, such as filing invoices, sorting packing slips, and taking care of billing and payments. Often this last task can be rather frustrating.
Pictured here is a reenactment of my typical posture when faced with difficulties with the order entry program.
If you look closely, you will see that our order entry program looks like something ancient, a relic of the pre-internet age. Indeed, I understand that this particular program dates all the way back to 1989.
You can probably understand my plight when I say that it can be supremely aggravating to enter in deposits and other information into the order entry program. Navigating this nigh-prehistoric contraption is more of an art than a science.
To be perfectly clear, my primary duty related to the program is to enter in the payments for completed jobs. Jobs are categorized within our in-house accounting system as Level 1 (Entered), Level 2 (In Progress), Level 3 (Completed), and Level 4 (Paid).
(Being young in years and having less experience with the program than my boss, I may be mistaken in some of the particulars, but this is the gist of it.)
Problems occur in the order entry program when something gets misfiled. For example, a job that is ordered, printed, shipped, and paid for may still linger at Level 1 or 2. Alternatively, a job that has not been paid for may have miraculously found its way to Level 4.
The explanations for such phenomena are often mundane. They are typically the result of operator-error, either by me or one of my coworkers. On other occasions, this misfiling occurs due to a wonky payment deal that we’ve negotiated with the client. I decline to share further details regarding such instances.
The larger point is that our order entry program is quite archaic and is the source of hundreds of wasted man-hours that could have been spent fine-tuning our product and helping the customer. But until we can afford to invest in a completely updated order entry system, it will have to suffice.
My responsibility, therefore, is to try to make sense of it as much as I can while my boss is busy with other tasks. The better I can understand the program without his aid, the better my chances of continued employment are.
That said, I really wish we had something else. Really, it would be great.
As part of our marketing efforts here at the Renton Printery, we’ve delved into video production.
This mainly amounts to us posting whatever footage we happen to accumulate at the spur-of-the-moment.
For instance, we recently posted a video of our main printing press in action on our YouTube channel, featuring our trusty pressman, Mr. Tran. It was a short video, as most of our videos have been, and got us some buzz on social media.
Typically, we’ve found that video draws a lot of attention here at the shop. The first video we posted, really a clip show from the Renton River Days parade earlier this year put together by our graphic designer, got us a ton of hits.
Since then, we’ve put out some other videos, but they are few and far between. Progress is slow on our videography efforts, but progress is being made.
I’ve began serious work on a new video, currently in pre-production. It will be our most ambitious video project to date. No details yet, but when it comes to fruition, you will all be amazed!
We have a few other ideas on the shelf, including an ongoing series of segments we were going to do about printing history. Unfortunately, we got stalled in the scripting process and the idea got put back on the shelf.
But despite this setback, we are actively working on other projects which we prefer to stay tight-lipped about for now. However, there is no need to panic.
I will say that I am working with a good friend of mine who’s something of a film buff to the tell a very important story regarding a very important person doing a very important task at the shop.
(Please take my repeated stressing of “importance” with just a grain of salt.)
In summary, we’re working hard, we’ve got a plan, and we can’t wait to finish our project to so we can show you all how much we love doing this.
Remember, we’re sprinting— eh, printing for you!
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing advice on print-buying and business, along with notes on the state of the shop.