How to Start Marketing Your Décor Print Services

Deciding to add services like custom-printed wallcoverings and canvas wraps to your business is the easy part. Getting the word out and bringing in potential customers is where the challenge lies. Here are 5 tips to help you get started with marketing décor print services:

  1. Fix your identity. If your operation has always been called a “sign shop,” consider adjusting your business name or adding a new business unit specifically for décor services. Target which services you want to offer (start with one or two) and determine which products you want to print to. Once these are nailed down, the business name and focus will start to fall into place.
  2. Practice and promote. If you’ve decided to add customized digitally printed wallcoverings as your new offering, find a project you can work on as a beta site. Perhaps a restaurant that a friend owns or a business you regularly frequent that could use an update. Offer to print wallcovering for a room for free so you can get real-world experience in terms of the work flow, installation and product performance. When you’ve successfully completed a project, use before, during and after photos on social media and email campaigns to show off your new expertise.
  3. Connect with others. Get to know local interior designers who could capitalize on your new services. Attend networking events and learn about community projects that could allow you an opportunity to show off your work and get free publicity. Focus on collaborating with other professionals who may need the talents of your graphics team to create artwork for canvas wraps or customized patterns for wallcovering — and charge them reasonably for this niche service.
  4. Upsell to current customers. Opportunities are everywhere. If you’ve been creating backlit displays for a retail outlet, ask them if they’re interested in a wall mural to liven up their store. Same goes for restaurants, hotels or corporate accounts that you print signage for. Could they use a fresh accent wall or canvas wraps to add ambiance or elegance to their spaces?
  5. Get your content together. Create a sample book (or web page) of the types of work you can do. Photos with finished applications will go a long way in helping your customers to visualize what you can customize for them.

If you have questions about marketing décor services or success stories to share, tell us about it in the comments below.

Guest Blog: Creating Versatile Images for Multiple Uses

When it comes to commercial applications, the creation of an image often takes place before a camera is even touched. From the standpoint of the person capturing the image, one of the most important factors, beyond the message, is how the image will be used.

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By Pete Wright

Whether you are on the front end of the process creating the concept for a campaign, in the middle capturing the images, or on the back end creating the finished work, it’s important to be clear on the overall vision of what the final presentation will be.

Many times, a company may decide they’ll be using an image that will cross many different media platforms: print (direct mail, pamphlets, magazine, billboards, etc.), social media or broadcast. Versatility is important for images like this. In other words, consider approaching an image so that it has a good amount of negative space for text and will work equally well if cropped vertically or horizontally.

Simplifying Sales and Sidestepping Sign Restrictions with Perforated Window Film

Sears Auto Center Window Graphics by AW Artworks
Nothing fancy here, but these window graphics, printed on LexJet Aqueous Perforated Window Vinyl (70/30) by AW Artworks, get the word out about all of the services this Sears Auto Center provides.

On-premise signage is arguably the most effective way to get the word out about your business to a mobile audience, especially given the fracturing of media through this, that and the other app and social media.

Many businesses struggle with restrictive sign codes or shopping center guidelines that make it difficult to stand out from the crowd. In the case of a Sears Auto Center in Madison, Wis., the mall in which the center is located doesn’t allow much outside of a main ID sign.

The Auto Center tried various types of banners and even a large Michelin Man blow-up, all of which had to be taken down per the mall’s signage rules. So the Auto Center’s owner turned to Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks, based down the road in Sun Prairie, Wis.

Though this type of project is not in AW Artworks’ wheelhouse, as Wredberg puts it, he wanted to help and try something outside his wheelhouse, which is primarily fine art and photo reproductions.

“They had some mismatched vinyl lettering on their garage doors and wanted something more attractive to draw more attention to the variety of services they offer,” explains Wredberg. “I talked to Rob Finkel at LexJet and he recommended LexJet Aqueous Perforated Vinyl (70/30), so we ordered a sample and tested it on the window. We ordered a roll of it, laid it out, printed it, sprayed it with a clear, water-based poly and installed it today. It went on easily and it looks sharp. They wanted to be able to see out and it provides some shade inside as well.”

Car Window Graphics
With the leftover window perf material from the Sears project, AW Artworks produced these popular stickers for the back windows of cars for Wisconsin-proud people. Andy Wredberg reports that they’ve sold about a dozen of these.

Now this type of project is squarely in AW Artworks’ wheelhouse, and Wredberg plans to use it on the studio’s sidewalk-facing windows to promote this additional product line. Based on similar window promotions AW Artworks has done in the past for banner stands and canvas wraps, AW Artworks should see more of this type of work in the future.

“I was a little concerned at first because we don’t normally do this type of application. I thought installation would be beyond my skill set, but I just pulled the release liner off a couple of inches to get it started, smoothed it down and was really easy. It only took about an hour,” says Wredberg. “It’s very readable from far away. They’re really a full-service auto center and I don’t think a lot of people realize the capabilities they have, so this will help them.”

A Professional Showroom that Sells at Spectra Imaging

Spectra Imaging Showroom

When opportunity knocks Spectra Imaging’s owner, Brian Rogers, answers. Rogers has had his eye on a space adjacent to Spectra Imaging’s offices and production facility for the past couple of years and when it became available he jumped on it.

It's a natural progression from Spectra Imaging's new showroom into the conference room.
It’s a natural progression from Spectra Imaging’s new showroom into the conference room.

“The area is perfect for a showroom because it naturally leads into our conference room. Our sales staff can take clients through the showroom first and then go into the conference room for a meeting,” says Rogers. “People are so visual and if you have the products set up then they sell themselves a lot easier than simply showing them photographs of your work.”

The makeover was simple: they took the doors off the hinges, replaced the carpet and painted the walls to match the rest of Spectra Imaging’s interior. The overall effect is professional, which is exactly how Spectra Imaging prefers to position itself, and happens to be how it operates as well.

Spectra Imaging's lobby is tastefully decorated, providing a professional atmosphere in which to conduct business.
Spectra Imaging’s lobby is tastefully decorated, providing a professional atmosphere in which to conduct business.

Spectra Imaging is tastefully decorated, as you can see in the photos, while it promotes its work through well-conceived pieces, from the displays in the showroom to the inkjet-printed images in the conference room, as well as framed pieces touting the company’s recognition from both inside and outside the industry.

Rogers reports that the showroom has more than its duty and exceeded expectations as far as generating interest, and ultimately, sales. The key is to set it up so that it makes sense. In other words, there’s a natural progression from one display to the next so that potential clients see options from good to best to meet their needs from both a budgetary and messaging standpoint.

Of course you can’t show everything, particularly those larger projects that would take up the entire space if they were replicated in the showroom. However, and perhaps most importantly, it shows the variety of inkjet materials and finishes on which their graphics can be printed.

WPPI Announces Speaker Lineup for WPPI U

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) announced today its speaker and instructor line-up for WPPI U, taking place Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 at WPPI 2013 in Las Vegas. This university-style, two-day workshop provides the fundamentals of photography to help today’s up-and-coming photographers strengthen their shooting skills and learn how to be successful in their business and marketing practices, according to WPPI.

Educational seminars for professional photographersScheduled to teach at WPPI U are renowned professional photographers Jerry Ghionis, Kevin Kubota,  Henk Van Kooten, Doug Gordon, Moshe Zusman, Lindsey Adler, JP Elario, Jared Platt, Tim Meyer and many more.

All WPPI 2013 classes, events and trade show will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from March 7-14.

WPPI U classes will include topics such as:

  • Lighting and Posing
  • Business and Branding
  • Marketing
  • Postproduction (Lightroom and Photoshop)
  • Social Media
  • Weddings, Portraits, and Seniors

Each class is two hours and a Portfolio Review and Reception for participants will be hosted at the conclusion of the first day. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion from WPPI and a WPPI U T-shirt. The advance-purchase price for WPPI U is $125 for the two-day program if purchased online by March 6. The onsite price is $150. WPPI U sponsors include: Graphistudio, Bay Photo, Sigma, Millers, Adobe and more.

Registration (Http://registration3.experientevent.com/ShowWPP131/?flowcode=ATT) for WPPI 2013 and is open now. Registration rates are $275 for WPPI members and $399 for non-members. These rates include one free guest, all Platform classes, special events and a three-day pass to WPPI.

For more information about WPPI 2013 and all of its workshops and events, go to: www.wppionline.com/wppi-show.shtml

Promotional Production with Sunset Production Matte Canvas

Printing photos on canvas

Always looking for an edge, Dan Johnson, owner of Dan Johnson Photography in Grand Rapids, Mich., has found one with LexJet’s new Sunset Production Matte Canvas.

A longtime proponent of the Sunset canvas line, particularly Sunset Select Matte Canvas, Johnson was looking for a canvas that would split the difference between consistent quality and economy for his “mass market” work.

When it comes to custom canvas projects, Johnson generally sticks with the more high-end Sunset Select Matte Canvas, but he also prints what he calls a “promotional” product: consumers find Johnson through an online promotional site and send Johnson a photo they want on canvas. It’s quick and easy for Johnson to produce and provides a consistent cash flow, he says.

The Sunset Production Matte Canvas helps boost margins a bit and those on the receiving end are quite happy with what they’re getting.

“We got our first roll of the canvas recently and printed 10 to 12 pieces from it right off the bat. Within a couple of days, clients who received their canvases left really positive comments on Facebook or directly through email,” says Johnson. “My first impression of the canvas was that it lets light through, but once you coat it, paper the back and hang it on the wall it doesn’t matter. No one hangs it with light purposely showing from the back. Ultimately, I was impressed: the color comes off just right and it works perfectly with Sunset Satin Coating. And, because it’s not as thick, it’s easier to stretch and make the corners look really nice.”

When Johnson fulfills the order he includes a coupon that sends these customers to his website for more.

“We hope we get them back and that they’ll want more canvas or other types of prints. We can provide a fairly consistent cash flow with these promotional offers. The cost savings with the Sunset Production Matte Canvas is fantastic and is very helpful for us with these promotional products,” says Johnson.