Do yourself a favor: the next time you are part of a web-to-print discussion, don’t be so quick to dismiss it. Take the opportunity to learn what it means for you and your materials, how easy the storefront interface may be for you and your team, and exactly the types of jobs that would be processed using this online solution.
To be honest, the print industry hasn’t done such a great job of explaining what web-to-print is and why marketers should give it a second look. In essence, it’s a printer’s capability to offer you, a customer, your own branded storefront, through which you can manage the seamless and easy production or ordering of many of your print jobs as well as email campaigns and promotional items, to name a few. You have control of what you print, when you print it, how many you print and where they get delivered.
Ideal web-to-print applications are jobs that are templated and get printed again and again in customized ways. For example, you may have sell sheets for your sales team to use in the field. This is an easy product to “templatize” and, as needed, to customize according to a rep’s personal needs. Stationery and direct mail products are another natural application for web-to-print technology. You could upload the templates for all of your printed versions into the system, and when you need to print a new order, you simply input the new copy and imagery, if applicable.
Not convinced yet? Well, take a look at these 6 compelling reasons why web-to-print or even non-print items can make perfect business sense for your company.
- Cost savings. Rather than reinventing the design wheel every time you need a piece produced, you can access the job in your own storefront, modify as needed, and print exactly what you need. No need to get the usual rounds of approvals for a product that everyone’s already signed off on.
- Eliminate obsolescence. Sometimes, it can be extremely difficult to figure out the exact quantity needed for your marketing materials – and if you’re responsible for printing enough to supply multiple locations, you may be padding the numbers just to prevent running out. Well, say hello to 2014 – and web to print! Use it to print exactly the quantity you need. You don’t get caught shorthanded, and you can forget about shelves filled with outdated materials.
- Brand consistency. The larger your organization, the more important it is to ensure your materials have a consistent look, from paper to imagery to type treatment to corporate colors. This is perhaps the most important benefit of using a web-to-print solution. Your products are designed, approved, and added to your own storefront, where the brand guidelines will remain safe and secure. Think of how beneficial this will be if there’s turnover in your marketing or design group.
- Digital asset management. Most web-to-print systems include a powerful and robust digital asset management component. You can add all of your corporate images – logos, photos, illustrations and other graphics – in an organized system, so that they’re easy to access, view, and add to your print projects right from your storefront. Once it’s set up, all of your creatives and production managers will be relieved that they no longer have to maintain their own individual files.
- Centralized order process. When you upload your print projects into your own web-to-print portal, and your digital assets are there as well, it will be incredibly easy to process your orders. All those time-consuming approvals that traditionally take place among the key stakeholders in your firm (like IT, Editorial, Legal, Creative and maybe HR) can become a nuisance of the past: they’ve approved the original design and content. They won’t need to see every version of the jobs you’re reprinting from the online system.
- Budget control. Take a good look at the first 5 reasons why web-to-print makes good business sense for your company, and together they create this 6th and most compelling reason: you’ll save money. Not only will you stop printing quantities that you never use, but you’ll also eliminate lengthy approval steps in every print job you process. And if you’ve developed a habit of having your printer bid on every job you need produced, you can now kiss that step goodbye for all of your jobs in your own online portal. You get pricing ahead of time so you know what your cost-per-job will be, for different quantities. How’s that for a great budget planning tool?
Moving to your printer’s web-to-print solution makes sense for all of these reasons. Repeat print jobs are easier to update and order. You have powerful reporting tools at your fingertips (literally). You know in an instant what your quantities are, job by job. You know what your costs are. You know your brand’s corporate guidelines are safely stored in the system (talk about relieving stress!).