How to Promote Your Brand with Print-on-Demand Services

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Especially in the fast-paced modern era that we're now living in, businesses are constantly on the lookout for newer, more effective, and less costly ways to get their products and services out into the world.

These days, it isn't enough to simply launch a new product. You need to do whatever you can to stand out in a crowd.

You need to be able to promote your brand and your creation at the same time - and you don’t have to necessarily break the bank in order to do it. That, in essence, is what print-on-demand is all about.

Also commonly referred to as POD, print-on-demand is a perfect way to grow your business and get your innovative products to the masses in a highly efficient way. 

This is true for a wide range of different reasons, all of which are more than worth a closer look.

What is print-on-demand?

As the name implies, print-on-demand is a technique that only prints or fulfills the item when the demand calls for it.

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A business is paired up with a third-party online service that customizes a blank item from their inventory based on the design that they're provided with.

For the sake of example, say you've written a book that is intended to promote your business. It isn't necessarily cost-effective to just print 10,000 copies, hoping that you'll eventually be able to get them all into circulation.

In addition to the fact that this will probably take a lot longer than you think it will (if it ever happens at all), you may end up getting stuck with a warehouse filled with unsold items.

Those are items that you will need to continue to pay to the store before you ever see a return on your initial investment.

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With print-on-demand, however, things go a bit differently. You create the design for your book and pass it off to your POD services provider

Then, whenever a new copy of the book is needed, it is printed - it's as simple as that. It's a great way to embrace smaller quantities of items, creating only what you need when you need it and not a bit more.

Here are some print-on-demand fullfilment techniques you should know about.

  • Direct to garment or DTG printing
  • Direct to film or DTF printing
  • Screen printing
  • Embroidery
  • Sublimation
  • Engraving

The benefits of print-on-demand

By far, the biggest benefit of print-on-demand comes by way of the lower overhead that it can usher in.

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As opposed to investing a great deal of money upfront in an inventory that you may or may not be able to fully move, you're essentially selling items one at a time.

In addition to the fact that you're not dealing with a warehouse filled with bulk inventory items that you have to pay to house indefinitely, you only actually pay when the item in question is purchased.

To return to the book example, if you were still dealing with bulk purchasing, you would have to pay upfront for all 10,000 books.

You would then, over time, hope to recoup that investment. With print-on-demand, however, you're only paying for what you're selling - meaning that money isn't tied up in the product itself any longer.

Another major benefit of POD services is that there is far less work associated with it than there would be through traditional means.

With other techniques, the work doesn't stop when the "creative" part of the process is done - it's only just beginning. You're responsible for having the items printed. 

You're responsible for shipping and warehousing them. You must be active in nearly every part of the supply chain, and this takes up a tremendous amount of time.

With POD services, on the other hand, your vendor will take care of the lion's share of these tasks.

This frees up your valuable time so that you can focus on those matters that truly need your attention. You may have been thinking that you’d need to employ a whole team on your own payroll, but this is certainly not the case with POD.

Speaking of time, another significant advantage of POD services is that they often take less time than the "old school" techniques people are used to. You don't have to worry about gathering inventory at all.

Just send your design off to your POD services partner, and they'll largely take care of the rest.

Who uses print-on-demand services?

All told, POD services are used in just about every industry that you can think of due in large part to the benefits outlined above.

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Content creators are big proponents of the technique, for example - and not just authors. Artists don't have to worry about making multiple copies of an art piece that won't sell because they can print each one as needed.

Nonprofit organizations use it as a great fundraising tool for the various causes they support. E-commerce store owners regularly leverage it to expand what they're able to offer to customers, increasing their customers' engagement accordingly.

But one of the most common applications comes from how you can promote your brand with the best branding services.

Print-on-demand is a great way to share items with logos or slogans on them in a way that both raises awareness and instills a great deal of loyalty in their customers - both qualities that are essential for a growing business.

5 reasons print-on-demand can benefit your business

1. Grow your audience with print-on-demand

Because of the speed inherent in the print-on-demand process, it's a great way to quickly get new products to market - something that is especially helpful during certain times of the year.


This is important in the phase of forming a business and when you’re just getting started.

Say you have a great idea for a seasonal item but you want to test the waters a bit.

Instead of going "all in" and creating those items in bulk, you can use print-on-demand to get products to the customers who actually want them in a matter of days

The same speed allows you to serve even the most niche markets without a massive upfront capital investment.

2. Use print-on-demand to advertise your brand

As previously mentioned, the opportunity of being able to promote your brand with POD services simply cannot be overstated.

Have you ever gone to an industry trade show and wondered how certain companies were able to get their logo on promotional merchandise like pens, bags, and even t-shirts so quickly? 

Print-on-demand is very likely how they did it and once those items get out into the world, they continue to advertise your brand far and wide.

3. Print-on-demand could increase your customer base

Because of the flexibility of print-on-demand, it also represents a great opportunity to diversify your product line as well. 

There are certain items you may want to create, but it just doesn't make sense to do so in bulk if you don't have guaranteed sales. Now, with POD services, you don't have to worry about it.

4. Print-on-demand may level up your image

The quality of POD services is also likely far above what you would be able to do on your own. This can make a better first impression among potential new customers with a better-looking product that they actually want to use and embrace.

5. Get immediate feedback with print-on-demand

Finally, print-on-demand is a great way to test the waters - especially ahead of a new product launch.

Are you not sure if your new "great" idea is going to live up to its fullest potential? Just print a few of them and see. Use the customer feedback from your client base to make the next round even better.

What do you need to start using the POD services?

Determine what to sell

As is true with most areas of business, the POD services process must always begin with an idea.

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That means you need to know exactly what to sell and who you're selling it to in order to make the impact you want.

Are you interested in printed materials like a book or pamphlet of some kind? Is your attention more fixed on promotional items that you can hand out at events like t-shirts or water bottles?

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Start by determining exactly what you want to sell before you carry on with the rest of the process.

Make a design

Next, you need to take that idea and turn it into a functional design that people will want to interact with. But don't start with the design and hope to build a bridge with your customers. Start with your customers and work your way back to the design.

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Who are these people? What do they like? What do they dislike? What do they want? What do they need? These are all the questions you need to answer before you start making your design.

Choose the right platform for selling

After that, you need to choose the right platform for selling once your products are finally printed. Again, think about your customers - where are they spending the majority of their time online?

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Not every platform has the same audience so learn as much as you can about yours and then choose the outlet where you're most likely to attract the attention of the right kind of people.

Many POD companies integrate with marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay. You can even go with ecommerce platforms like Shopify or Wix to save yourself time building your own ecommerce store.

And if you wish to be in total control, you can always choose WordPress or your own custom-built website for integrating your chosen POD service.

Choose your print-on-demand company

At this point, you'll need to choose your print-on-demand company partner. Always make sure you're picking someone with the capabilities you need and values similar to your own

You want a true partner - one who believes in what you're doing and that is willing to do whatever it takes to bring your vision into reality.

One of the key aspects to look for when choosing a POD company is its ability to ship worldwide and fulfill orders in a couple of days. Finding out if they have multiple fulfillment centers across the world is also a good idea.

It will decrease the chances of delayed orders in case something happens with one of the fulfillment centers. But product quality should be your main focus when choosing your POD service.

Create a product

At this point, you can get to work on creating the product itself. The rollout should be dictated by whatever your business goals happen to be.

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Don't forget that you're no longer stuck buying items in bulk - with print-on-demand, and you have a fair amount of room for experimentation, so be sure to lean into that to embrace one of the major advantages of POD services with open arms. 

The process of creating the product usually is as simple as placing your design on a product using the PODs’ own mockup generator

This will save you loads of time when creating products. Some print-on-demand services even offer galleries of freemium visuals that you can choose for your merch. This is especially handy if you don’t have designs of your own. 

For example, you could use the freemium images combined with your company's logo to create some interesting and unique creations for your products.

Experiment and see what works for you. The best thing about it is that it’ll cost you little to nothing.   

Start promoting your products

Once all of this is completed, you can get started on what is arguably the most important part of all: actually promoting your products.

Take to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and let people know who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Don't just tell them about your product in a highly technical way - that's only going to make someone's eyes glaze over.

Instead, frame the conversation around the customer themselves. They have a question that your product can answer.

They have a problem that your product can solve. Communicate the value you're bringing to them, and you'll be able to capture their attention.

5 branded merch ideas

When it comes to how you promote your brand with POD services, branded merchandise is almost always the way to go.

Not only do people get items that they actually want to use, but you essentially turn them into a walking billboard for your business - a true win-win situation in every sense of the term.

1. Clothing

The next time you go into a public place, take a look around you and count how many people are wearing various types of branded clothing.

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Whether you're talking about t-shirts with company logos or things like hats, people have shown that they are more than willing to promote a brand if the quality is there in terms of the item. Now, with print-on-demand, it will be.

2. Fitness items

The world of fitness is big business these days, and print-on-demand is your opportunity to get in on that action. Think about leveraging branded items like water bottles or even headbands that people can use while working out.

3. Items you can give away

This, too, is another one of those opportunities that are far too good to ignore. Anything that you can give out at something like a trade show - like the aforementioned pens or even notebooks - is well worth taking advantage of.

4. Product samples

Small-batch product samples are also a perfect way to get people interested in what you have to offer without committing to a full production run. 

Obviously, this isn't going to work for every type of product out there but if you do have something that falls into this category, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity.

5. Branded mugs

Whether someone is a coffee or tea drinker, it doesn't matter - we all have more than a few mugs lying around the house.

Now, thanks to POD services, one of those mugs can feature your logo. It'll likely stay in someone's kitchen cabinet for years, making sure that yours is a business that is always at the top of their mind.

Go and try POD

Overall, print-on-demand is more than just a great way to save time and money. It's a way for even the smallest of organizations to compete with their larger counterparts, especially in terms of marketing.

Now, you don't have to outspend those larger organizations to make an excellent impression among your target audience - precisely as it should be.

It's flexible, it's functional, it's effective - all at the exact same time. This is why, if you haven't already started to experiment with print-on-demand, now would be an excellent time to start.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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