Monday, October 13, 2008
INTERVIEW WITH VISTA PRINT
A few months ago, I started building a relationship with Jeff Esposito, one of the public relations guys at VistaPrint. I had mentioned VistaPrint here at Jim Sharp and he e-mailed me to thank me. Pretty impressive! That started a few e-mails back and forth that lead to this interview. You’ll see two powerful things here. The first is VistaPrint cares about small business; see this in the special offer he makes to sharpeners at the end of this interview. The other is the fact that VistaPrint was looking. They saw my post on my blog, sent a simple thank you, and that netted them even more exposure. Well done Jeff! And thanks for the great example of how to market a business!
On The Edge (OTE): Tell us how VistaPrint got its start.
Jeff Esposito (JE): VistaPrint was founded by our CEO, Robert Keane, in Paris in 1994. Our first Web site was launched in 2000 and has grown to a $255 million company during the 2007 fiscal year. The company’s growth and popularity has been tied to many of the free products that we offer. The most notable has been the offer of 250 free business cards. To date there are currently over 3.4 billion of these cards in circulation, and on the reverse of each of these cards is the slogan “Business Cards are FREE at www.vistaprint.com!”
Early on, VistaPrint was a place for small businesses and consumers to create high-quality printed products for a low cost. However, as the company has evolved over the past eight years, we have really become a small business marketing company that offers these businesses many options to promote their businesses. For small business owners that either do not have the means to hire a graphic designer or have limited design knowledge, VistaPrint offers Creative Services. This service has a team of VistaPrint designers who create marketing materials with input from the business owner. Businesses looking to start a direct marketing campaign can create a mailing online and send it out using VistaPrint’s Postcard Marketing service. Businesses can also do mailings in as little as 50 pieces. Recently Web sites have also been added to the product repertoire. Small business owners can expand their customer base with a custom Web site starting at just $4.99 a month.
The company also offers promotional products like hats, T-shirts, sticky notes and pens for an affordable rate.
OTE: Sharpeners typically market their businesses with business cards, fliers, brochures and post cards. How can VistaPrint help us do that more affordably?
JE: Traditional printers typically cater to large run print jobs. Many small and medium sized companies are not going to be producing these large orders and printers will usually turn away a small order, or charge a price that often is too high for the company’s budget. These customers typically head to office superstores or copy centers that offer a limited number of design options and minimal customization. VistaPrint employs patented technology to offer small run printed products at an affordable price. The Web site is also convenient, because it offers thousands of designs and you can get all of your promotional products in one place.
OTE: Some sharpeners like to market their business with a newsletter, either on 8 ½” X 11" or ledger size paper. Do you have a cost effective suggestion on how to do this in full color?
JE: Flyers are a product that sharpeners would be able to create on VistaPrint’s Web site. All of VistaPrint’s products are offered in full color, so sharpeners would be able to get flyers starting at just $29.99, as well as order other matching business identity products to help expand upon their brand. Businesses looking to give their newsletter a new look can also choose to design a brochure that could convey the latest happenings along with pictures in a mailable format.
OTE: Where would you suggest we go on your website to learn how VistaPrint can help us market our businesses more effectively with your products?
JE: Aside from being a top-notch Web site that offers small business marketing products, our company also has a number of highly-skilled marketing professionals who offer tips for small businesses in our Learning Center. In this section, sharpeners can sign up for one of our free live Webinars that give tips on certain topics like logo design, Web sites and postcard marketing. If they can’t make one of those, they can always view a video of past Webinars in the On-demand Marketing section or read marketing articles penned on topics from promotional marketing to marketing over the holidays and public relations 24 hours a day.
I appreciate the time that you have given me today to speak with the sharpeners. I would also like to extend a special 25% discount to your readers by going to www.vistaprint.com/sharpeners.