Case Study – Solways Printers

Tim Solway was the Managing Director of Solways Printers. Tim came to me in need of some help.  Tim had been running his printing company for over 30 years and clearly loved his business and had a strong bond with the people who worked for him. 

However, Tim told me what I already knew. Tim said, “The printing industry is in tatters, no one is buying print anymore, all marketing has gone digital and printers are going out of business on a daily basis.”

Tim continued “I need some help with my marketing.  We are really good at what we do, but not so good at marketing what we do.  We need to get an extra £20,000 per month into this business and we need to do it fast!  And by the way – I’ve got no money, or very little to invest in marketing.”  I told Tim that my aim was to help him to double his business in 12 months and he laughed!  We didn’t do it in 12 months.  We did it in 9 months.  In this case study, I am going to explain how!

The first step 

The first step was to pick up the low hanging fruit.  I asked Tim – “Do you have people who have asked for a quote over the past 12 months, but for whatever reason, they have not converted?”  “Yes,” Tim said “lots of them,”  I asked if he had been thorough in following these guys up.  “No,” he said.  “I’ve been busy!”  I then suggested that he should call each and every one of his quotes up and try to convert them into sales. 

We came up with a great script and Tim made 10 calls the following day.  During these calls, he got £8,500 worth of sales, as well as four referrals into other businesses and we turned those leads into over £20,000 worth of business. 

Not a bad 1st day!

Tim and his team continued to rake in those easy sales for several months.  

The second step

In the meantime, we started to work on his current clients and then get him set up on Google PPC Advertising. I suggested to Tim that he should pick up the phone and ask his past clients and current ones two very powerful questions :

  1. Did they need any printing doing right now, or in the near future?
  2. Who do they know that may need some quality printing doing either now, or in the near future?

Going back to his current and past clients literally opened up the floodgates!

Step three

Step three was a new website which we designed for him – you can’t be London’s leading quality printing company with a crap website (Tim’s words, not mine).

Once the new site was live we set about driving traffic to the site using SEO, PPC, email marketing and Social Media.  Then we worked on improving the CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) of the site.   We were now in month six and getting some significant new business in – we decided to take a bit of a step back and look at Tim’s clients.  Who are they and what did they want?

Step 4

I suggested to Tim that he needed to be more than ‘just a printer’.  He needed to position himself and his business.  Tim said that Solways was ‘London’s leading firm of quality printers’.  He was very strong in his belief about this and so we agreed to go with it! 

We positioned Solways Printers as ‘London’s leading quality printers’

So we decided to target the quality market.  Solways became famous for their quality 3 x normal thickness business cards (I know, I use them and every time I give them to anyone they comment on the quality and thickness). 

They started to target businesses, industries and organisations who wanted a top-quality product and were willing to pay top prices for both the product and for the professional advice that Solways Printers provides. 

Tim and I have become firm friends over the past five years.  He has taken me to the Cricket at Lords several times over those years and he has recommended me to several of his clients and contacts.  Tim is very kind in his comments about me and how much I helped him, to turn his business around, but the truth of the matter is:

What I told him was not so difficult, but what Tim did that others don’t is that he took massive and consistent action.  He picked up the phone and got on LinkedIn and wrote and sent out those emails. He invested in PPC Advertising and in a new website and OK sometimes his marketing was not 100% perfect and it didn’t always work. But he kept going and never gave up. 

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Steve Mills