Custom-Printed Products Business

Overview Of Business Model
Promoting your Web site or business these days is a fully integrated process of traditional and progressive marketing techniques. A popular way to do this is to have the logo, URL, or business name printed on various items that we see and touch each day—things that are kept around a computer so that your Internet address is front and center when your potential client is only a click away from your Web site. Custom-printed products like coffee mugs, mouse pads, sticky notes, pens, and pencils are ideal promotional items to be used as giveaways at a trade show. Many businesses are promoting their Web addresses even more visibly on building signage, vehicle signage, or window awnings.

The Web is a perfect place to showcase and provide this service. Graphic files with corporate logos can be zipped and sent to you via e-mail. You can electronically send these files to all the production businesses that you hire to fulfill each order if you choose to outsource this activity. Clients probably should pay online for their order, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Skills Needed
You will need experience and contacts within the custom-printing business and a firm grasp of graphic design techniques. If you decide to do the design yourself, you could save more money than if you outsourced this work.

Cost To Start This Business
Your initial setup costs include a personal computer and the appropriate software. You will also need to pay for the design, development, and hosting of your Web site, and possibly your storefront solution and merchant account setup. All additional costs are associated with promoting your business online and offline. The cost to set up and run this type of business ranges from $3,000 to $15,000.

Number Of Employees Needed To Start
This business can easily be started with one part-time individual.

International Potential
There is international potential for this type of business. You can reach businesses everywhere online, and many will be interested in this type of promotional product if it is marketed properly.

Important Business Issues To Be Addressed
This business has a low cost of entry. For this reason, you may want to target your printed products toward one particular niche of online customers. You might decide to specialize in customized items for the workplace that promote the company’s URL. You might decide to provide unique products for the software industry. Choose a niche that promotes heavily, has a substantial budget for marketing, or participates in trade shows where giveaways are popular.

Make sure to keep yourself up to date on the best deals for the products you print on, and try to arrange a preferred customer or volume discount with the printing house you use so you can increase profits. As custom products have no market value to anyone else, you might want to get a deposit with the orders or have them prepaid.

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Online Marketing Techniques

  • Develop a comprehensive link strategy. Generate links from appropriate cybermalls, trade show supplier directories, and business product directories.
  • Generate some great samples to display on your Web site. Perhaps you could include a few great testimonials on that page of your site as well.
  • You might develop a mail list so that visitors can request notification whenever you add new products to your product line.
  • Develop a sponsored listings campaign to bid on appropriate keyword phrases with the popular search engines.
  • Develop an associate/affiliate program whereby other sites can recommend your service, provide a link to your site, and receive a commission or referral fee every time a customer links through and makes a purchase.
  • Develop a banner advertising campaign targeted at trade show sites and business product sites.

Additional Income
You could easily expand your product line once your customized items are selling. Remain open to customer suggestions and new ideas for customizing.

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