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Back-to-School: Graduate to the Collegiate-Level

Create Quotes and Bids for Back-to-School Printing Services

It might feel like summer just started, but many of your customers are gearing up for the busy (and lucrative) back-to-school season. While the opportunities to promote print to K-12 schools and districts are well documented, it may be time to graduate to the next level — the collegiate level. Not only do colleges and post-secondary vocational and trade schools offer institutional opportunities to sell print, but they also have more on-campus groups and organizations and, in some cases, an enthusiastic fan base for associated academic and sports teams. 

Selling solutions to these institutions requires a slightly different skill set. There are fewer post-secondary schools than K-12 schools (under 6,000 in the US), so crafting a story with a value proposition and solution set is necessary. They are almost always larger, with more layers to navigate as you target and cultivate the buyers of print. On the upside, their size translates into more opportunities and larger budgets. In fact, colleges often have three distinct customer profiles associated with educational printing services. 

On-Campus Group Opportunities 

A big part of post-secondary education is finding your tribe — people with shared interests or purpose. These can be educational and professional societies, athletic clubs, academic teams, or the Greek life of sororities and fraternities. All these on-campus groups recruit members, host events, and solicit donations to their general fund or for specific causes. Direct mail, flyers, posters, and banners are commonly used products but remember to upsell outdoor signs, table covers, and pop-up tents. These can be used for on-campus drives and events, where groups are competing to stand out to attract the approval of students, parents, and patrons. They are the gateway to larger opportunities across the campus since they have fewer layers of decision-makers and budget approvals. 

Institutional Opportunities 

Every educational institution has many print opportunities that require navigating numerous departments to find the decision-makers. A great place to start is with the facilities management team responsible for facility and grounds maintenance. This department is a heavy user of indoor and outdoor signage to help visitors and students orient and navigate across campus. Signage needs to go beyond wayfinding to include banners for special events along with seasonal banners. 

Admissions and alumni teams also use print extensively in recruitment and fundraising efforts. Direct mail campaigns can use variable data printing to target individuals as part of their daily toolkits. To increase conversion rates, multi-touch campaigns are the norm. 4over offers several direct mail VDP solutions that can be used in multi-touch campaigns, including personalized mailers, flyers, tri-fold brochures, and promotional booklets. 

Each educational department needs different printed products, too. Solutions may include setting up a storefront where students or staff can order course packs, workbooks, or other instructional materials. The department administrators may also find convenience in ordering letterhead, business cards, and other branded stationery. 

Fan Opportunities 

Schools with strong alumni or athletic programs have a built-in fan base that wants to show their support through branded merchandise. Think of all the products that allow them to show public support for their favorite college and mascot! Game day gear can include magnets for their vehicle, pop-up tent and tear drop flags for tailgating, and numerous promotional products from t-shirts and hats to folding chairs and water bottles. Just remember to abide by any licensing agreements to use the school’s name and likeness, which is more common with larger schools. 

Printing for schools takes some research, skill, and specialized focus on customer relationships—but you have what it takes! And with a reputable trade printer like 4over behind you, you can become the go-to print and promotional products supplier to local colleges, universities, and trade/vocational schools by starting with a few small orders with successful outcomes and taking those case studies and stories across the campus to scale up your success. 

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As one of North America’s largest trade-only printers and a trusted source for print fulfillment since 2001, 4over helps print, design, and other creative services resellers grow profitable businesses. We do this by offering a vast selection of quality print products at guaranteed trade-only prices. Our expansive e-commerce catalog includes everything from standard marketing collateral like business cards and brochures, to harder-to-find specialty, large format, and promotional products.

Our capabilities span gang run offset, digital, grand format, and promotional printing across six production facilities, staffed by experienced, committed operations teams. With locations across North America, state-of-the-art equipment such as powerful Incas and Scodix UV machines, and fast turnarounds, 4over offers our customers savings, selection, and scale. We serve large franchise printers, single print shops, print brokers, graphic designers, photographers, and every type of print reseller in between. Learn more at Trade.4over.com

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