Why Printful’s Global Marketing Strategy Centers On Personalization5 min read

Many ecommerce businesses are successful when it comes to attracting and engaging their own employees. Yet others struggle to do the same with customers—the lifeblood of any ecommerce brand. Building 1:1 relationships with your customers around the world can be a challenging, yet very solvable problem, which Printful learned.

Founded in 2013, Printful is one of the largest multi-million dollar Charlotte, NC-based companies with a global presence including operations in the United States. The company operates a business that’s both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) business.

For the brand’s B2B customers, Printful supports anyone who wants to start a global ecommerce business by providing a full range of services like high-quality print-on-demand for brands that sell clothing, accessories, home goods, warehousing and fulfillment services, design services, photography services, and video services to small or medium-sized businesses.

For its B2C customers, Printful sells the same personalized, custom-print products to individuals. As of Fall 2019, they’ve printed over 14 million items—an incredible feat.

I recently spoke with Ottis Bailey, a content marketing specialist at Printful, who shared how he and his team were trying to create more personalized experiences for their customers so they could better connect with them and ultimately drive more revenue. He told me why Printful sought a marketing automation platform that would integrate easily with the brand’s custom ecommerce platform, and how it’s using interactive features and content marketing to connect more deeply with customers.

How signup forms have helped Printful connect with customers

Ottis said Printful wanted to build targeting and personalization in their communication with their customers, but they first needed a marketing automation platform that could help them do that.

“We needed to have more specific targeting and personalization capabilities so we could further develop relationships with our customers. Klaviyo allowed our whole team to get involved with email design, unlike the last email service provider we used which required HTML/CSS skills to get a great-looking template. The segmentation abilities are great. Automated flows are super useful. They offer lots of control and they’re user-friendly for the whole marketing team.”

“Klaviyo allowed our whole team to get involved with email design, unlike the last email service provider we used which required HTML/CSS skills to get a great-looking template.”

Ottis Bailey, content marketing specialist, Printful

Ottis said his team’s email marketing goals are rooted in personalization since the brand wants to send only the most relevant communications and materials to Printful’s customers. To achieve their goals, Ottis says they use signup forms early in the customer’s journey to actively collect information that will help them personalize their experience.

“When someone signs up with us, we introduced a feature that asks our customers to tell us what they want to do with Printful. We then use that data to send them the right information to help them achieve their goals. Klaviyo’s flow building UI allowed our marketing team to build more flows, optimize CTAs faster, and experiment with subject lines so we’re able to build new flows quickly, with great content and minimal development processes. This approach has been very successful for us. We’ve seen our flow open rates increase 31.7 percent since we switched to Klaviyo.”

“We’ve seen our flow open rates increase 31.7 percent since we switched to Klaviyo.”

Ottis Bailey, content marketing specialist, Printful

How Printful uses content to attract and convert more customers

To drive people to their website in the first place, Ottis says Printful has a blog where they publish relevant articles about the things their customers are interested in learning more about, which helps them drive organic traffic.

“Our blog is a marketing channel we use to educate people which in turn helps us encourage and nurture prospects to become customers. The articles we publish are about ecommerce tips and tricks for Printful users and ecommerce professionals in general,” Ottis said.

I asked him what kind of content his team shares on the Printful blog and how they get they use the content to attract more potential Printful customers.

“Our blog helps us to become an authority with our users because we offer them actionable advice on how to improve their ecommerce business. We promote our blog through email, social media, and on the Printful website itself.  We also have a monthly blog email where we summarize what we’ve published throughout the month, which we’ve created a dedicated segment for in Klaviyo. Readers can also subscribe to our weekly blog list. Our goal is to get non-registered users who are interested in ecommerce and who’ve signed up for the blog to become Printful users, which is why we use call-to-action (CTA) buttons on the bottom of each article” Ottis said.

“Our blog is a marketing channel we use to educate people which in turn helps us encourage and nurture prospects to become customers.”

Ottis Bailey, content marketing specialist, Printful

Why location-based features are essential to Printful’s global expansion

Printful has been growing rapidly within North America and Europe, and they’re not stopping there.

Ottis said they’ve been using location features within Klaviyo to better understand how many current subscribers they might have located in other countries and they then engage with them in their local language (through the use of local/regional keyboards).

“Our foreign language campaigns are performing incredibly well. This is part of our goal to target customers not only in English but also in their local language,” Ottis said.

As Printful’s business development moves forward and the brand gains a larger base of customers in new countries, Ottis says they expect to see their email list size grow just like they did in North America and Europe. Collecting email addresses for potential customers in this new market will enable them to build long-term relationships with their audience much like they’ve done successfully in North America and Europe, according to Ottis.

This article was originally published by our friends at Klaviyo.

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.