HI, my name is Kevin Smith, the marketing manager at Heritage Printing & Graphics. I’m the author of most of the content used to promote Heritage and our brand, both digitally and in print.
My career began in the furniture industry in North Carolina, spanning over 20 years, until I resigned and enrolled in college, at the age of 40, obtaining a degree in Internet Technologies.
During my education, I began working for a small website design firm, successfully working my way to manager and building a team of graphic artists and webmasters. My role quickly evolved to sales and marketing and expanded in 2004 to include internet marketing. That’s when I met Corey Creed.
Corey Creed is the owner and president of Hippo Internet Marketing, thanks to his tutelage, I was invited to teach monthly internet marketing and social media classes for two chambers of commerce. My small, part-time website business never gained any traction, but when I converted it to KJr’s Marketing, it went viral (locally).
In 2015 I was approached by Joe Gass, owner of Heritage Printing (KJr’s best customer), offering a full-time marketing manager position at Heritage. I resigned from the website company and began dissolving KJr’s, to focus exclusively on Heritage Printing’s two primary locations. My commute to Charlotte, NC began.
Heritage Printing is a commercial printer and wide format printer, serving the Greater Charlotte, NC and Washington, DC areas, it was a 2.5-million-dollar company when I joined.
In the 4th quarter of 2015, Heritage acquired Beacon Printing Inc., located in Waldorf MD., and relocated our Leonardtown, MD operation closer to the DC market. Waldorf is approximately 20 minutes outside the capital belt.
In 2017, Heritage Printing expanded our brand to include Heritage Custom Signs, separating our commercial and wide format capabilities into two brands. My duties doubled, and I began creating and managing a 4th website.
My initial goal was to double the revenue of Heritage and in mid-2018, we reached the 5-million-dollar mark! My duties include managing all online content and brand recognition, overseeing the creation of our in-house marketing materials and outside advertising. I support our outside sales team with content and paraphernalia to on-board more customers.
I attended Moz Con 2018 in Seattle, Washington. It was an exceptional week of travel and education, I returned with a new perspective on our approach to marketing. I believe that “Influencer Marketing” is the key component for brand recognition and growth.
Personally, I enjoy my small farm in Troutman, NC with my wife and dogs. I like to fish and hunt small game. I’m an avid Reds fan, love the Spurs and our local NFL Panthers.
My nickname, KJr, came from a close friend in 1988, becoming a pen name for my writing, eventually evolving into a brand.
I love rainy days, good movies, sports and popcorn!
Internet Marketing: noun the action or business of promoting, selling products or services online.
With the internet growing by the second, the opportunities to promote your products and services are immense, so large that it can seem overwhelming. Some fundamental local campaigns will get you noticed.
N.A.P. (name, address & phone) is critical, start with your Google My Business (GMB) listing, most citations pull your NAP from your GMB listing, so make certain it’s complete and correct.
Choose the most appropriate category as possible for your primary category. If you are unsure, check your competitors listing. List the categories you fulfill, but don’t select misleading categories, it’s better to have 8 accurate categories than 10 category listings with 2 that you don’t fit under.
An accurate business description is important, briefly describe what you have to offer. Stay away from long lengthy descriptions, even if the citation (your business listing on a directory) will allow it, people do not want to read your company story, it should be on your website if they do.
Business hours are often the first item visitors are seeking when searching for your offerings. Make certain that your business hours of operations, even holidays are correct. If you offer after hours availability, add that too.
Your website URL (uniform resource locator) AKA domain name, should be a full path, meaning: https://yoururl.com. Notice the S at the end of http, that means you have invested in a secured server, a very important aspect of your website and online visibility. (www. is no longer necessary).
If you have a service with a price, add it to your listing. Make certain you keep these updated, having the incorrect price online will do more harm than good. It’s best to leave it blank if you are not going to monitor it.
Accessibility is good if you have handicap parking and a ramp. Amenities are another aspect that will persuade visitors to choose your business, Free Wi-Fi and Veteran Led are influencers, use them to your advantage if they apply.
List your preferred payment methods, it’s best to provide only the ones you use and omit the ones you do not accept. People will get aggravated when they feel mislead, especially if they are in the purchasing funnel.
Photos tell your story visually and may impress your potential visitor. Take the best photos possible of your facility, products and people.
Lastly, there are thousands of directories available online, attempting to validate all your listings is an impossible task, BUT there is good news. Focus on your GMB listing first, then your social media accounts, then look at what directories your competition are utilizing and consider claiming those listings. There are SaaS (software as a service) available that will offer you a dashboard that will enable you to populate nearly every field, even videos. Yext has developed a software program that is very robust because they have paid premium accounts with a large number (over 70) of directories. There are agencies that provide a local service too, Whitespark is well renowned for their ability to help businesses with their local presence.
My 6th contribution to the category: Marketing for Printers, takes us into the world of marketing agencies vs. in-house marketing departments.
I’ll begin by introducing myself; I’ve worked full-time with internet marketing, sales and website design since 2005. I managed a small website company, owned and operated my marketing agency and now work exclusively (in-house) for Heritage Printing.
Determining between a marketing agency or an in-house marketing department is based on your goals and finances. It’s a “get what you pay for” world, in-house will cost more, but will return a greater value, an agency is less expensive, and it typically takes longer to reach your goals. If your aspirations are to grow exponentially, develop an in-house team, if money is an issue, an agency can design a plan you can afford.
You Get What You Pay For
In-house Marketing: a person or persons, working full-time, on-site, to develop and manage the marketing of a company.
Duties can include, but not limited to:
Marketing For Printers
The largest advantage is time, marketing happens much faster with a dedicated department, he/she/they can dedicate days and/or weeks to a single project and reach very high goals quickly. Changes can be made immediately, simply by asking vs asking and waiting your turn in the queue with an agency. Control over the marketing is easy with an in-house team, reports and meetings can be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly.
The disadvantages are cost, a good marketing person/team has high value and high cost, small businesses may not be able to absorb this cost until the return on that investment pays off.
Marketing For Printers
Marketing Agency: a 3rd party vendor hired to manage specific marketing projects. Duties can include all the above and more. The advantages are diversity, having a team brainstorm an idea, will provide multiple good opinions and objectives to overcome obstacles and reach goals. Another benefit is cost, an agency can customize a marketing strategy to your budget and focus exclusively on specific areas of interest.
The main disadvantage (as mentioned earlier) is time, being a client of a company does not provide exclusivity, they have other customers (or they wouldn’t provide value) with needs as great or greater than yours. Patience is a Virtue, is a critical component with agencies.
I have worked for an agency, owned an agency and for the last 3 years, as an in-house marketer, I can’t say one is better than another. I can say that both can provide value, and both can be beneficial to a company.
Understand your finances.
Be very clear with your goals and what you categorize as failure and success.
Research thoroughly whomever you are considering.
Stay on top of the program, insist on reports, regular meetings and opinions to improve.
Be prepared for failure, it’s rare to find a good fit with any marketer the first time.
Prepare for a long commitment. Marketing takes time, I never make promises on results because there are no promises, other than I promise to try my best.
Good marketing people are hard to find and hard to keep. If you find someone you trust, make certain that person is invested in the company, the sense of ownership and worth is key to retention.