Promoting a 3D printing company is more challenging today than ever before due to the huge number of companies in the space.
What techniques can a company use to get their message to the 3D printing public? I’ve got seven approaches for you to consider:
Influential Marketing is not a new concept, but it has grown in popularity due to the potentially viral impact of social media.
How It Works: Identify your influencers and keep engaging with them. They are people that can help create some buzz, sooner or later, around your products and services. Engage them through your social channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Facebook.
Influencers are also found at Additive Manufacturing / 3D Printing trade events. Find and talk to the person who can help you along your path to success, follow-up with them after the event and contact them again before the next event. Spend less time with those who can’t help you.
Affiliate Marketing is offering a commission to businesses that can promote and sell your products.
How It Works: A 3D print company wanting to do this is known as the “Advertiser”, and is willing to pay a commission when a specific action has been completed. This could be a sale, a client lead for future sales, a printed coupon, or other items.
It may sound challenging to set up, but it isn’t: there are services such as CJ Affiliate can help set it up for you with almost no troubles at all.
Drop Shipping is an occasionally used approach to sell more products.
How It Works: A business capable of having an online store can sell and promote your 3D printing equipment, accessories, software, etc. without storing actual inventory or shipping. The drop shipper, usually an online shop of some kind, receives the order and transfers it to the manufacturer for production and shipment. The products or services would be delivered from your existing channels.
Resellers are the most commonly used approach by 3D print manufacturers.
How It Works: A reseller will purchase a batch of your products with the intention of selling them at higher cost. Resellers are usually regional partners that can visit potentially buyers in person and provide any necessary support and training.
The catch is that you must sell your products at a discount to the reseller so that they can make a profit. But you’ll make up the difference in added sales, at least theoretically.
3D print Companies looking for resellers should have a list of pre-requisites in mind, and I found such a list by Autodesk that is a very good guideline. Here are a few of their listed pre-requisites:
- Employ, on a full-time basis, appropriate sales and technical staff per authorization and partner type
- Actively market and promote our products
- Maintain an office in a commercial facility - not a home office
- Offer installation, support, and training for all of our products sold to users
Embedded Marketing or product placement is increasingly used by media companies, although it’s hard to spot sometimes.
How It Works: It often involves ads placed within stories, shows or videos, but it could vary depending on your objectives and budget. It could also involve written words, video, visuals or links. To do this, you must choose a website with relevant 3D printing stories to your business and approach them with a proposal.
Online Advertising is the most frequently used promotional approach.
How It Works: Online advertisements are often sold by a cost per page views. Ask relevant websites for viewing metrics and statistics on the website’s target audience. Choose to advertise on a site that has relevant content and has a good reputation in the industry - and that would be a good match for your 3D printing business. It’s never a good idea to appear on a disreputable service.
Buying Guides are becoming more popular.
How It Works: A website maintains a repository of information that readers consult when researching a purchase. Choose to be listed in ones that provide additional value, as they attract more buyers. Look for ones that can dynamically qualify your leads through lifestyle questions. Also, chose a buying guide that is not affiliated or sponsored by other 3D print companies to avoid biased results.
Often successful 3D printing companies will do a combination of these and may try all at some time. The success rate of each varies; some may work for a while, but then decrease in value, so it’s a good idea to keep trying different approaches.
Do you have any advertising techniques that I didn't list and works particularly well? I'd like to hear about them.