TL; DR: By pairing Vistaprint‘s website builder with custom business cards and promotional items from Vistaprint, small businesses and solopreneurs can run professional online and offline marketing campaigns to grow their brands. Senior Director of Digital Products Alfredo Ramos shared how the family of brands serves and impacts various customer segments and helps people turn ideas into livelihoods. That close-knit relationship with customers drives Vistaprint product development, meaning all their needs can be met with relevant, affordable, and easy-to-use tools that resonate with small business owners and their clients.
As someone who grew up in the web hosting industry, Alfredo Ramos was used to working with customers who were perfectly fine being left alone. They had server space and could upload their content and files, and that was enough.
After several years of leading the digital product portfolio at Vistaprint, however, Alfredo enjoys the rich partnerships Vistaprint can form with customers as they take the first steps in exciting new ventures.
“One of the first things you do when starting a business is to get your business card,” he said. “That puts us in a unique position to form strong, lasting relationships with brands and customers and small businesses really early in their journey.”
By concentrating on the ultra-small businesses that have only one to five employees, Vistaprint can leverage its global footprint and resources to ensure motivated customers can translate into strong websites and promotional items into business success.
“We’re helping the smallest of businesses portray themselves professionally, incredibly, and creatively,” Alfredo said. “The way large companies pay agencies or squads of marketing and design employees to create this professional, omnichannel brand identity, we’re able to help these small businesses do that across both offline and online marketing.”
Helping Solopreneurs and Small Businesses Take Their First Steps
For roughly 20 years, Vistaprint has stayed true to its initial goals of giving small business owners access to the same high-quality, customized promotional items that large companies can invest in. Founder and CEO Robert Keane developed technologies to deliver professional-grade printing services in small batches and made Vistaprint among the first companies to enable customers to design and order products entirely through a web browser.
“Anyone with the passion, ambition, and spirit to run a business should have access to customized marketing products that help them connect with customers, professionally and affordably,” he said online. “We have pursued that vision from day one — and we always will.”
Now, as one of the world’s largest printing companies, Vistaprint serves more than 17 million customers and pulls in north of $1.4 billion in annual revenue. Business cards have expanded into brochures, signage, stationery, coffee mugs, and apparel — “anything you can print on,” according to Alfredo.
Realizing that small business marketing is increasingly happening online instead of solely through printed promotional materials, Vistaprint leadership mirrored customer behavior by shifting additional resources into digital marketing tools.
“For me, one of the things that is so great about Vistaprint is working in a company with a global scale that concentrates on empowering small businesses to meet their various challenges,” Alfredo said. “We see ourselves as a partner for all things marketing for small businesses.”
In 2011, Vistaprint acquired Webs, the DIY suite of website, social media and mobile presence solutions for small businesses. The website builder and hosting leader provided Vistaprint with a strong foothold in the digital marketing industry, as well as the talent, expertise, and infrastructure to help business owners without technology experience take that next step.
How Vistaprint Serves Different Customer Segments
By acquiring Webs and its suite of digital marketing solutions, Vistaprint has been able to concentrate efforts on expanding its services and improving the experience for a variety of customer segments across all platforms.
“Historically, the Vistaprint audience has been small business owners and entrepreneurs that are trying to make their business into their livelihood, and need to market themselves offline with a professional, credible and consistent image” Alfredo said. “The customers we’ve engaged with through our website builder and social media marketing tools have similar needs. We provide them with the tools and know how to look professional and consistent online, even if they are not tech savvy.”
Through its acquisition of Webs, Vistaprint has also brought the social media marketing tool Pagemodo into its suite of digital services for small business. This empowers social media managers at small companies to craft strong profiles, campaigns, and interactions across various networks, without any design or technical skills.
Alfredo adds: “We can serve our customers with products across both online and offline marketing channels at a price point that is respectful of their budget. It gives us a lot more room to get creative and have different strategies around how we help customers with their marketing.”
Design Matching Enables Users to Build an Omnichannel Brand
Because Vistaprint can impact all corners of a small business’s marketing plan, Alfredo is particularly excited about the platform’s design matching functionality.
“Once you design your business card at Vistaprint, you’re creating a template,” he said. “That decision is ultimately bigger than just choosing a design for your business card. It’s also choosing a look and feel for your brand, from your colors to what your logo is going to look like, and what fonts you’re going to use. How are you going to express the personality of your brand to the world?”
Currently, Vistaprint helps customers build additional marketing products that incorporate their design decisions, from letterhead to postcards. The company is working on helping entrepreneurs apply that brand identity to a matching website, creating a cohesive brand experience.
“It’s interesting when our customers think about a brand,” Alfredo said. “Their first reaction is, ‘Wait, I’m just a person or a small company. I’m not a brand.’ Then, when you explain the importance of having a unified appearance to the world, whether you’re doing online or offline marketing, it clicks. They start to understand this is important and very doable.”
From there, Vistaprint expertise and design services can help customers build an online presence worthy of their business goals. Leveraging Webs technology and experience, Vistaprint launched a comprehensive set of white-glove, do-it-for-you design services to foster users’ creativity and success.
“What we hear through and through with our customers is that they know they need to be online, but they aren’t confident about what they need to do from the design and marketing perspective and need help,” he said.
Building a Trusted Partnership With Customers From the Ground Up
Alfredo credits the company’s customer base for providing the feedback and ideas that drive product development and enhanced features. Vistaprint conducts research, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews with customers, along with Net Promoter Score surveys and qualitative analysis of customer support interactions.
“One of the things we work really hard to do as a company is to be customer-first and to co-create with our customers,” he said. “We’ve put a whole slew of feedback mechanisms in place so we can more deeply understand what our customers are looking for and ultimately be sure that we are working on the things that are most important to our customers.”
Oftentimes, that means checking personal desires and pet projects in favor of the demonstrated response from customers in the short term, while balancing those initiatives with the larger overall goal of the company. When push comes to shove, though, the partnership and support Vistaprint offers customers triumphs.
“A majority of our customers are highly active and engaged entrepreneurs,” Alfredo said. “They’re going to roll up their sleeves, and they’re going to figure it out. The reality is their time is limited, and so they’re looking for a partner to make it easier for them.”