Try these 12 powerful strategies to create a better customer experience, streamline your sales process and build brand awareness.


New and veteran decorators often share the same pain points: They’ve stopped growing. They’re not reaching new customers. Their staff is bogged down in time-consuming back-and-forths with clients over artwork, struggling to get to the close. Their customers just aren’t inspired enough to call back with a repeat order.

At InkSoft, our mission is to give print entrepreneurs a much better way to sell printed products. That’s why we created a sweet tool to help you get there: our Online Designer.

We often think of marketing as merely advertising and lead generation, but effective marketing involves much more than that. To reach your target customers, you must think strategically about a variety of things including customer experience, the sales process, and brand awareness. 

Want to know how to do that?

Our online tool packs a massive punch in all the critical marketing functions you need to produce effective campaigns—think of it as the Leatherman multi-tool of marketing to help get your product and services to the customers who need them most.

Let’s do a deep dive into several use case scenarios in three key areas—and 12 robust strategies—where our Online Designer can help your business expand your reach and score more sales.

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The Online Designer: A Customer Experience Tool

Great marketing ensures that your customer’s path to success is super-easy to navigate. This means removing roadblocks and making the whole buying experience enjoyable. This sets the stage for this sale, but for the next, and the next after that. On repeat. Suddenly, you’ve created lifetime value for you and your customers. 

There are two distinct customer types that will benefit from the experience you provide through the Online Designer

  • Customers who have ideas and want to be involved in the design process. 
  • Customers who don’t have a graphic concept, but need one so they can order their branded goods.

We know some customers want to be completely hands-off, and that’s perfectly fine. Our Online Designer isn’t optimal for them. Instead, we’ll focus on use cases that make the customer experience for your ideal customer segments meaningful and efficient.

1: Create Instant Quotes

Use case: Customers easily get a quote using the Online Designer embedded on your website. 

Get ready: Install the Online Designer on your website—and promote the easy-quoting feature by focusing on how quick and easy it is for your customers to see a final price. Plus, you can show your customers only the products you want available for self-service, so they never have to go back and start over with a different product.

Benefits: 

  • Your customers score immediate service without having to call a rep or use online chat.
  • Your customers receive an immediate, accurate quote.
  • Your prospects feel motivated to purchase after seeing what their decorated end-product will look like through real-time rendering. 

Here’s how to do it: Create a flyer, digital ad or a social post positioning your online shop as the “best place to  turn your summer T-shirt ideas into reality.” Mention how fun it is to design a shirt tailored specifically for their organization, and show samples to fire up their imaginations. Our Online Designer gives your customers an easy way to design exactly the way they want, even if they’re the least techie people out there.

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2. Enable One-Stop Online Ordering

Use case: Empower your customers to order exactly what they want, when they want it.

Get ready: Install our Online Designer on your website, and include self-checkout options. That way, browsers can complete their orders online without the hassle of making a phone call to order.

Benefits: 

  • Prospects can place an order on their schedule.
  • With real-time virtual images, your customers see the end-product before they buy.
  • Your business is now open 24/7, even if your employees aren’t working. (That’s a major win!)

Here’s how to do it:  Your website and social messaging should direct visitors to your online, one-stop design shop. Drive home the point that ordering through your cyber design shop is easy and fun. Your prospects are more likely to order because they can see exactly what they’re buying—and even better, they don’t need to ever talk to a sales rep. 

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3. Build a Personalized In-Shop Experience

Use case: Make your e-store a fun place where customers watch their ideas come to life!

Get ready: Set up tablets or laptops as “virtual kiosks” in your showroom to show walk-ins your website’s capabilities—with the added Online Designer. Your employees can show prospects and existing customers how easy it is to build their own designs, or better yet, let them play around in the system. 

Benefits: 

  • Customers immediately see their ideas come to life without waiting days for artwork mocks.
  • Your in-store visitors have fun being directly immersed in the design experience.

Here’s how to do it: When a customer visits your shop, invite them to create a design on one of your innovative kiosks. (This goes a step further than just showing samples and talking about what you can do. Your customers can actually do it!) Then, if they’re ready to order, tell them they can do it on the spot, knowing their decorated garment is exactly what they envisioned. Not only are you giving them a top-notch customer experience, you’re also closing the deal on the spot. It’s a win-win!

Tip: If your customer needs to get permission from a manager or board before buying, make sure they walk out with a printed mock to help seal the deal.

4. Try Some Easy Brand Building

Use case: Your customers can design not one, but a full array of printable brand assets with our Online Designer

Get ready: Install the Online Designer on your website. Then, encourage visitors to create or modify their logos and artwork. They can easily create an entire library of assets without needing a professional designer or graphic artist. They can create exactly what they want, when they want it—and every design will look great.

Benefits: 

  • Your customers can tap into a vast library of artwork to create a new brand or give a fresh look to an existing one.
  • When buyers see their logo on products, it increases their desire to immediately purchase them.
  • Your team captures print-ready artwork and eliminates the need for time-consuming, back-and-forth art approvals. 

Here’s how to do it: Approach a local lacrosse club, for example, and pitch the idea that they can visit your website and design a brand-new team logo along with fan gear artwork for FREE! (Who would pass up that opportunity?) Tell them that you can use what they create on a range of apparel and promo products to promote their team.

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The Online Designer: A Sales Process Tool

Marketing isn’t just about getting people in the door. You want your customers to be happy. Plus, you want your team to love working with your customers. That’s why your entire sales process should be easy and pain-free for everyone.

We’re going to talk about how to make the processes in your shop as efficient and easy as possible. When you work better together as a team, it’s just inevitable that you’ll close more deals. 

Here are some ways our Online Designer can help you turn your sales processes ultra-efficient.

1. Drive More Sales

Use case: Use our Online Designer as a powerful sales tool for your team to present their graphic ideas quickly and easily. 

Get ready: Give every member of your design team access to the Online Designer. Then, train them how to quickly create print-ready artwork and renderings that showcase your shop’s design and decorating capabilities. 

Benefits:

  • Anyone on your team, even non-designers, can quickly respond to requests for quotes with quick-build graphic concepts. 
  • Present personalized graphics themes and new concepts quickly and effortlessly to prospects.
  • You get an immediate competitive edge over shops that can’t respond as quickly with pro graphics and logoed product renderings.

Here’s how to do it: Let’s say you receive a voicemail from a potential customer looking for employee uniforms, and you quickly create a mockup using the Online Designer. But, after a quick Google search about their business, you notice they support your local food bank. Using the Online Designer, you create an additional mockup of a T-shirt using their logo, the food bank logo, and a catchy tagline. Now, you can show them the uniforms they need, but you’re also planting the seed for a service project they could implement to promote their business and help a great cause. If you spend 10 minutes on this extra task, you’ll probably close their uniform order—and also increase their order substantially with your additional personalized T-shirt idea.

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2. Incentivize the Online Experience

Use case: Promote special pricing, discounts and offers to customers who order their products through your Online Designer.

Get ready: Prominently display ads, ad banners or pop-ups on your website and advertising channels, including social media platforms, that highlight these special offers just for customers who opt to use the Online Designer.

Benefits:

  • These special offers incentivize your customers to order online. In addition to being quick and easy, now they’re saving money. 
  • As more customers order online, your team saves time and avoids the less-efficient process of completing an order and approving artwork manually over the phone or via email. Your staff also scores more time to focus on other revenue-generating tasks.

Here’s how to do it: Advertise your Online Designer as an innovation that’s unique to your business. Spread the word that customers who try it earn a special discount or offer. This is also a compelling way to introduce your business to new customers and rekindle relationships with ones who haven’t ordered in a while.

Tip: Send an email blast to your subscribers showing all the benefits of this new and better way of ordering.

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3. Hit the Gas on Your Sales Process

Use case: Our Online Designer tool removes bottlenecks and frustrations during the once-tedious sales process. Your customers can communicate exactly what they’re looking for and it, in turn, reduces or even eliminates an endless back-and-forth design process.

Get ready: Integrate the Online Designer into your existing sales tools. It’s a smart idea to include a link to the designer in your initial email when you pitch or chat with a potential client. Tip: Add a link to the tool directly on your business card, so prospects get familiar with it right away. 

Benefits:

  • Your customers become part of the design process, instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for mock-ups from your team.
  • You’ll see noticeable time savings, as your art department reduces or eliminates on back-and-forth communications. 
  • Your shop enjoys a significant competitive advantage over others that aren’t using an online designer tool.
  • Your sales team can move the sales process along at a brisker pace, with a higher likelihood of closing the deal and making customers happy. (By the way, happy customers are repeat customers.) 

Here’s how to do it: Ask your sales reps to share a link to the Online Designer with potential clients. The messaging: This tool is an innovative way your company handles the design process. Now, your clients can see their designs in real-time, using print-ready artwork. If they don’t want to design the art themselves or need some creative input, your team can quickly present the mock-ups in the Online Designer and make small edits on the spot.

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4. Use Happy Customers to Build Your List

Use case: Create a list of your clients who’ve successfully used the Online Designer. When your prospects and other customers see how easy and revolutionary this online process is, the more they’ll buy from you and encourage others to do the same. 

Get ready: Compile the contact information you’ve received from Online Designer sessions and create a marketable list for email communications. Send them regular, upbeat email updates or newsletters and also offer them discounts for repeat business.

Benefits:

  • Happy customers come back again and again. Since they used the Online Designer once with results that exceeded their expectations, they’ll buy from you again.
  • You’re building a database of happy clients just by offering this online tool. Plus, once they’ve used the Online Designer successfully, you can promote new products and services much more easily.

Here’s how to do it: Implement an email campaign promoting your latest product, such as a new hoodie style. Send this email to your list of Online Designer leads and let them know that the process is still as simple as ever, and they have to check out how their logo looks on this new, must-have hoodie.

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The Online Designer: A Brand Awareness Tool

Of course, getting your shop’s name out there is a crucial step in building or scaling your business. There are numerous ways you can get the word out about your brand—word of mouth, paid advertising, optimized website SEO and social media. 

But, just getting your name out there isn’t the top strategy that will help scale your company.  You could rank first on every page of Google results and have an expansive reach on social media, but if you have an off-point message and sloppy appearance, you aren’t helping your brand. You’re actually hurting it. 

Here are some ways you can create brand awareness using our Online Designer. (Coincidentally, this same tool you’re using for brand building also sets your shop heads and shoulders above your competitors.)

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1. Use Contests to Build Your Brand

Use case: Implement a T-shirt design contest to create interaction and engagement with your prospects and customers.

Get ready: Once you decide on the rules and format of your contest, invite participants to create a T-shirt design promoting their organization using the Online Designer. When you’ve closed the submissions window, as participants to display their creations on their website and social media accounts. Then, you can announce a winner (or winners) and direct buyers to purchase the winning designs on various products online in an InkSoft Store. 

Benefits: 

  • These contests energize your customer base and create goodwill toward your company.
  • The design process becomes a fun activity and allows participants to get involved and make an impact.
  • Your business will experience increased brand awareness and exposure to a new audience.

Here’s how to do it: Offer your local Girl Scout troop, for example, the ability to crowdsource their next summer camp T-shirt design. Give each family flyers that promote the contest and encourage them to submit an entry for the new design via your Online Designer. Run the contest for a set amount of time, such as two weeks, and direct participants to use the Online Designer for their vision. The troop can then post all the entry designs on their social media accounts and people can vote on their favorite, using a poll. Once the winner is announced, invite families to purchase additional gear with the brand new summer camp logo on the troop’s personalized InkSoft store. And of course, the winner receives a free hoodie that proudly displays their design.

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2. Social Media Showcase

Use case: Showcase your customers’ designs on your social media channels.

Get ready: With your clients’ permission, highlight their completed designs across your social media accounts. Stress that these gorgeous designs were all created without any professional design input using your innovative online design tool.

Benefits: 

  • Your customers will probably share your posts on their social media accounts, which engages more potential clients who aren’t in your network.
  • New prospects will be inspired to create something of their own, no matter what their business, organization or industry—and feel empowered to do it with your easy-to-use Online Designer

Here’s how to do it: Every Wednesday, post several photos of your favorite customer designs on your social media channels. You could even use a special hashtag like #WinningWednesdays to spur additional awareness. Tag the original designers’ accounts and thank them for their business. Those customers will share your post, and your brand awareness begins to expand, reaching customers you never even considered pitching before.

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3. Cash In on Your Uniqueness

Use case: Tie all of your marketing campaigns to this message: Your shop offers a unique Online Designer tool that allows any customer to design their own pro, print-ready creations. 

Get ready: Create a unifying message that your online designer tool is accessible to everyone whenever they need it—and regularly send this message throughout all your brand’s marketing channels.

Benefits: 

  • Prospects correlate the unique customer experience you offer to an elevated view of your brand.
  • When prospects know how quick and easy it is for them to score custom decorated apparel, they’ll choose to order from you rather than from a competitor. 

Here’s how to do it: Create a set of assets with the message “Design a T-shirt online—and you’ll have it in your hands within a week!” Use this succinct message in Facebook ads, Google AdWords ads, a website banner, an Instagram story, an email blast, or even a direct mail postcard to local clients. Repeat this message over and over again on a schedule throughout the course of a few months to drive home how this tool sets you apart from the rest.

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4. Create a Landing Page that Inspires and Produces

Use case: Use the Online Designer experience as the landing page for your digital advertising. Prospects or customers who click on your ads go directly to a page that shows them how easy it is to get started designing, right now.

Get ready: Link your digital ads to your designer page. Include a little context and let visitors know how to get started.

Tip: Google’s Adwords team offers free assistance or you can leverage third-party digital marketing agencies as partners.

Benefits: 

  • You can convert a higher percentage of visitors because your landing page is interactive and “purchase-ready.”
  • You can target ads directly to your target audience.
  • Your results are instantaneously measurable. 

Here’s how to do it: Create ads specifically targeting businesses looking to rebrand their uniforms. You run these ads on Google AdWords, Facebook, and Instagram with the message, “Put some style in your breakroom: Design your new uniforms online in minutes!” A click takes visitors directly to your Online Designer. You will have verbiage to reiterate how easy it is to design the uniforms and get an instant quote right now. Your conversion tracking will advise you where to spend money on ads throughout the campaign. These targeted visitors tend to convert at a much higher rate because they are actively involved from the beginning.

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Get ready to watch your sales start rising

Our Online Designer expands the possibilities for your customers and your business. When you add this revolutionary tool to your existing website, you’ll immediately stand apart from our competitors. 

Happy customers are repeat customers, and also your best source of advertising through word of mouth. 

Start scaling: Add our Online Designer to your site. Then, employ these 12 powerful strategies to expand your brand’s reach, streamline your internal processes, and empower customers—who’ll order from you on repeat, and recommend your shop to others. Trust us, you’ll be on fire.

Take a virtual tour or request a demo of InkSoft Designer today!