Guest blog by Ryan Stevens
We all know that printed proofs are important, but getting this message across to clients — particularly to “digitalized” clients — isn’t always easy. We can’t deny that technology is taking over, and it’s natural to be excited and optimistic about new ways of working, about advanced functions and features, and about all the bells and whistles that come with futuristic tech, but many clients now can’t see the wood for the trees; they can’t see that the best way to view examples of printed materials is through printed proofs.
In order to get your digital clients excited and enthusiastic about printing proofs, you need to use them wisely. It’s all about showing clients something “real” in what is fast becoming a virtual environment.
Here are 3 ways to use your printing proofs to really amazing your clients:
- Make Printing Proofs Familiar. Perhaps one of the worst things you can do is surprise your clients with printed proofs; showing them something out of the blue that completely goes against their digital expectation. Instead, use the notion of printing proofs right from the get-go, and incorporate the idea into early discussions. You may even wish to show examples to give a better impression of what clients can expect, and make print more familiar, rather than more alien. Not only can this help clients to prepare for the proofs, but it also works to raise awareness of the importance of print and, ultimately, it may even help to minimize objections.
- Justify Your Work. Simply showing your client a printed proof when what they really wanted was digital isn’t going to be enough to win them over in most cases. While it’s frustrating, you may wish to use printing proofs while simultaneously justifying your work. One of the best ways to do this is to utilize your client’s own words; “we’ve done this to ensure consistency with your own branding;” “we’ve done this to instill confidence in your audience.” By highlighting the fact that the printed proof does the job and directly addresses the client’s needs, requirements and preferences, you can work to minimize the impact of “outdated” print.
- Hand It to Them. One of the best ways to use printing proofs to amaze your clients is, quite simply, to hand it to them! Tactile experiences are highly underrated, and many of us don’t appreciate how touching something can affect our thought processes. Children are actually much more in tune with this; that’s why babies put objects in their mouths, and why children can’t keep their hands off expensive ornaments. Use your printed proof to enable clients to get a feel for the paper stock, for the weight of the total product, for the texture, for the size. Even if clients don’t realize it, holding a printed proof can be hugely influential.
Share Your Knowledge
Ultimately, if you really need to amaze your clients who seem to be stuck in the online world, it’s worth taking a little time to educate them and share your professional insight — don’t be afraid to take the authoritative route. Explain that there is a difference between knowing what to do and knowing how to do it. Digital proofs, of course, have their place; they show clients that you know what to do. It’s only printed proofs, however — real, physical, hard copy proofs — that show clients you know how to do it.
Printing proofs are an integral part of business sustainability, so it’s essential that design and printing firms understand how to continue using printing proofs for best effect, even in the digital world.
About the author: Ryan Stevens is a print expert who enjoys sharing industry knowledge with print enthusiasts all over the web. As CEO of Replica Printing Inc, Ryan is involved with all major printing styles and options on a daily basis.