This blog was adapted from “Position Web Design Service in Your Print Shop” by Brent Weaver, CEO, uGurus. You can read the full article in the April, 2014 issues of Printing Industries of America: The Magazine. Brent is a featured speaker at the 2014 Print Leadership Summit, June 2–3, in Dallas.

Did you know that between 2008 and 2013, global print revenue shrunk by 5.2%?   The rapid growth of digital is giving printers many more options. If contracting print margins are hurting your profits, it’s time to take action.

If you’ve considered diversifying your business by adding digital services to your existing portfolio, you could be on the track to recurring revenue and greater profits. Some of the digital services you may want to offer initially for your clients are:

  • Web development for company websites and e-commerce sites
  • Supporting services like SEO and social media
  • Marketing automation, including managed email marketing

But, unfortunately, you can’t just add this new service and expect your customers to beat down your door for them. To avoid confusing customers when integrating digital, one of the important things to considerer first is your brand: How are you going to position these services externally to your customer base?

That’s where we looked to the expertise of Web design pro Brent Weaver. The CEO of uGurus, Brent helps Web professionals build their business and consults with Web entrepreneurs. You’ll have the opportunity to meet him at the 2014 Print Leadership Summit when he presents “Selling the Online Business Ecosystem.” But for now, here are two smart branding options and his tips for how to position Web services without deterring or confusing your customers.

Option 1: Add to your existing offerings
Bundle print and Web services and advertise new services under your existing brand.

Why this is a good option:

  • A quick way to advertise without a large investment.
  • Since your existing customers are already familiar with your brand, it’s an easy way to educate them about new services.
  • Bundling services and advertising, “we do Web too!” is relatively simple for any size business to implement.

What to watch out for:

  • Existing customers may be confused by the change
  • With a marketing message already focused on print, Web services may not sync with this message

Option 2: Create a separate brand and offer
Before you completely commit to a new offering, create a new, digitally focused brand even though internally you still do all the work.

Why this is a good option

  • New digital offering is separated from your brand’s primary offering
  • Acts as a test for your new service before you fully commit
  • Your existing internal team can manage the new brand

What to watch out for

  • Developing a new brand takes time, and you may not see the desired results immediately
  • You risk diluting your brand and losing your identity

So what do you do now?

It’s time to educate yourself. You’ve seen the advantages and disadvantages of either selling Web services within your brand or through a siloed offshoot. Now you have an important decision to make.

If you’re just starting out, you should know that offering digital services is significantly different than offering print services—you become more of a consultant than just an order taker.

Start with your print customers. Look at their online presence, and determine what Web services you can provide to find them a total solution.

For example, a customer comes to you for a printed promotional flyer. They want to attract additional business. This is an opportunity for you to offer added services. Find out, “Do they have a company website or e-commerce platform?” or “Do they use email marketing to communicate with their customers?” You can help them by developing more holistic solutions and a campaign to grow their business.

Fortunately there are a number of resources available to you, including:

  • Free Web Dev Tools—The Integrated Print Center has combed the Web for the best resources to get you started in Web development.
  • Mobile-optimized Websites: A Primer for Printers (white paper)—Learn to build mobile-optimized websites as part of an integrated print solution. (Member login required)
  • uGurusComing Soon! Online courses from the experts at uGurus help you learn how to grow your business with digital services: find more clients, close bigger deals, manage projects and clients, and find and hire talent.