Web-to-Print Marketing: Strategies for Enhancing Value and Driving Revenue Growth

One of many lessons the COVID-19 pandemic has taught printers is that communicating with customers, establishing relationships, and being viewed as a true partner are critical elements to long-term business success. Whether it’s through personal contact and the deep-rooted relationships between a sales representative and his/her customers or the marketing communications that promote services and educate audiences, meaningful communication and relationships are key drivers of sustained growth.

During conversations with print marketers and executives, it’s always interesting to hear about the effort and resources invested into generating new revenue rather than strategies to grow existing customer revenue. According to research conducted by Bain & Company and published in Harvard Business Review, acquiring new customers is anywhere between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining and growing existing customers. In times like these when marketing budgets are tight and optimizing conversion rates are more important than ever, it’s the existing customer-base that should be getting most of the focus. For printers with a web-to-print service offering, customers using web-to-print technology are the perfect audience for results-driven marketing campaigns.

Incorporate web-to-print into your company’s marketing plan

Too often, printers sell a web-to-print storefront to a customer only to disengage after setup and implementation. Given customers with a web-to-print presence are likely to be larger, more profitable accounts, wouldn’t it be best to ensure these customers are getting as much value and driving as many orders as possible? Remember, the more the customer pushes through the storefront, the more you, as the printer, are producing and invoicing.

Thus, when assembling your marketing plan and overarching strategy it’s critical to consider how to generate more revenue from web-to-print customers. These tactics could come in many forms, including regularly sharing new features and functionalities within the web-to-print product, clearly and proactively communicating new print products and services that could be offered through the storefront, as well as campaigns for optimizing web-to-print conversion rates.

Understand your customers and how they utilize web-to-print services

Web-to-print solutions facilitate a diverse range of use cases and workflows, from B2C eCommerce to B2B customer portals and in-plant ordering systems. Because your print shop and the customers that you serve may utilize web-to-print in a variety of ways, it’s important that you segment web-to-print customers and fully understand how they use the product.

Why are they using web-to-print? What is most important to them? What types of print products are sold? How is demand generated?

This type of knowledge can only be achieved through a strategic effort to intwine the marketing, account management, and sales teams and create synergy that not only leads to a deeper understanding of the customer, but results in tactics for enhancing customer-specific web-to-print value and production output.

Customer engagement and marketing automation

On a tactical level, there are some very simple marketing activities that can be implemented and automated across your web-to-print customers. These activities are typically rooted in digital and email marketing, and when done correctly, can have a significant return on investment.

In May 2020, EFI released AutoEngage for MarketDirect StoreFront. AutoEngage aims to raise the bar for web-to-print marketing automation and provides customers with a simple marketing toolset for increasing customer engagement and optimizing conversions. Learn more at efi.com.

Abandoned shopping cart emails

Across the eCommerce landscape, more than 75% of shoppers place an item in their online cart only to leave the website and abandon the checkout process. This drives marketers crazy as it suggests how fragile the conversion process can be.

Abandoned shopping cart emails are a highly effective way to drive shoppers back to their online cart and increase order conversions. In fact, studies have shown that a simple abandoned shopping cart email can increase sales 10-15%!

Because abandoned shopping cart emails are designed to be automated, the return on investment for marketers is extremely high. With EFI’s AutoEngage module, the web-to-print user database is directly tied to a robust email design tool, which allows marketers to easily create abandoned shopping cart templates, configure personalized system variables and links, and target a select group of users within the database. Once these initial steps have been completed, the email will automatically distribute any time a shopper abandons a shopping cart within a given timeframe (e.g. 48 hours).

Promotional codes

Ever wonder why you receive so many promo codes and discount offers? Because they work! People love feeling like they received a great deal and will more easily spend unplanned funds if the offer is right.

While communicating promo codes through traditional print sales channels can be difficult and time-consuming, web-to-print allows marketers to easily configure and communicate special incentives with just a few clicks. Through the use of email marketing, marketers can utilize any promo code created within the web-to-print platform and distribute personalized emails to targeted audiences with very little effort.

Product marketing

General product marketing through targeted email blasts might seem relatively simple, but with a little creativity and strategic thinking, there are endless opportunities for generating web-to-print engagement. Depending on the customer, what types of web-to-print products they offer for sale, and their audience, you’ll want to tailor your product marketing email strategy, accordingly. Here are a few ideas and triggers that might warrant a product marketing email:

  • A new product has been added to the storefront
  • A “Top 10” list of the most popular print items purchased
  • A new brochure template has been designed and is sure to stand out with your customers’ buyers
  • A newly ordered paper substrate is perfect for high-end business cards
  • The December holidays are around the corner and seasonal products have been added to the storefront

Again, through a simple email design tool and access to the web-to-print user database, product marketing emails can initiate engagement from buyers and drive orders, revenue, and customer value.

Track your results

While there is no shortage of marketing ideas, it’s critical to understand which ideas produce the best return on investment. Blindly implementing marketing tactics without knowing how the customer is responding is a recipe for disaster.

Most web-to­-print solutions, including MarketDirect StoreFront, provide standard reports on orders, revenue, and production. Marketers should regularly review these reports to understand buying trends, frequently purchased items, customer volume, and how buyers are utilizing the tools within the web-to-print product. Additionally, marketers can gauge what marketing strategies and tactics are contributing the best results.

Through the use of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, marketers can also gain access to hundreds of data points that can enhance marketing communications and campaign efforts. This includes insights into website traffic, audience demographics, device preferences, most viewed products, and which online sources are referring the most traffic to the storefront. Additionally, users can create eCommerce funnels and configure goals that allow marketers to visualize the buyer’s journey – from the first product view through order placement.


In today’s competitive landscape, having a web-to-print presence alone isn’t enough. Print executives and marketers must better incorporate marketing strategies and tactics into their web-to-print programs and place greater emphasis on revenue growth from existing customers. By understanding the customer, incorporating web-to-print into the overarching marketing plan, employing a few simple email marketing tactics, and constantly tracking results and measuring success, web-to-print will add greater value to print shops and customers, alike.