It’s daunting: all of your company’s print ads, brochures, business cards, POP displays, trade show materials, signs, apparel, gizmos, digital assets, you-name-it are on your current web-to-print portal. Or worse, they’re scattered across various hard drives and thumb drives with inconsistent file names and various versions that are a huge time suck to wade through. It’s your entire marketing world, and managing it is enough to drive you crazy.

If you don’t have a web-to-print solution, start there. If you DO have a portal already, make sure it’s serving you fully. Whether the customer service is less-than-stellar, the software is difficult to use, or the capabilities are just not capable, you may be ready to make the move to another portal. The thing is, it’s easy to feel stuck with so many moving parts. How can you move a mountain like this without total turmoil?

It’s easier than you think. First of all, you need the right tool.

How to Know a Good Print Portal When You See One

There are many web-to-print portal options on the market, so knowing what you need is more than half the battle. As you evaluate web-to-print portals, make sure you kick the tires on these important differentiators:

1. Smart Software

When you’re organizing a large number of high-resolution, massive marketing files across a large number of locations, there are certain capabilities you’ll need in order to ensure smooth workflows. For instance, you’ll need the tools to manage budgets across locations, grant permissions to specific users, streamline multi-layered approval workflows, and even oversee brand compliance.

Look for a portal that integrates seamlessly with your current website, has reliable file transfers, an effective communication vehicle that eliminates endless and confusing (not to mention time-consuming) email threads, a robust search engine, and a tracking system to measure your marketing effectiveness. It should make it easy to upload, stop, and resume print jobs. Ideally, it will also feature excellent IT help.

2. Customizable Assets

One of the best features of a marketing asset management (MAM) repository is being able to access high-quality marketing pieces that have a consistent look and feel (and then customize them for the hours, addresses, or other unique features of different locations). The idea is to provide your locations with multiple options that ultimately stay consistent across the company, but are highly personalized by location or even customer or patient. Make sure that you can tailor your pieces with dynamic content customization. Some platforms even let you personalize pieces with variable data printing technology.

Related: What is Variable Data Printing, and Why Do You Need It?

3. E-Commerce Ease of Use

Is their interface easy to use? Is the platform compatible with your system? There are a number of different web-to-print solutions available. Each has its own interface and dashboard, so check that the one you choose has all of the capabilities you need and that you’re comfortable with its interface.

4. Strong Security

Like all online platforms, security is paramount. Not only is it critical to protect your marketing assets, but it’s critical to protect your billing information too. Make sure that your provider has the security in place to keep all of your data safe.

5. Scalability

A good portal will help you grow. As you add new locations, ensure that your web-to-print provider can handle that volume.

Related: Streamline Your Franchise Branding with Web-to-Print

You Need the Right People Too

A tool is only as useful as the people behind it. Here’s what to look for in your print portal team:

1. One-Stop-Shop

Can the people behind your portal handle the entire range of actions you’ll need, from setting up the creative (even offering writing and design services), to easy ordering, printing, fulfillment (mailing), and storage options? The more services you can bundle, the better. You’ll skip the extra time spent managing several vendors and leverage your buys to get significant savings. Which leads to….

2. Bulk Buying Opportunities

Not every provider can help here. At Ironmark, we have the ability to order many items in bulk and then store them for you at no charge so that you can take advantage of the savings at larger price breaks. This is a significant budget booster.

3. Marketing and Printing Expertise

Are they experts? Some vendors don’t stand behind their software the way you’d expect. You want superior software that’s backed by excellent customer service and the know-how you need. Look for a team that’s magic at marketing and has the professionals to help you create, manage, and strategically deploy your marketing assets – and your portal.

Put It Together

Here’s where we can help. At Ironmark, we’ve transitioned companies’ massive marketing assets to a best-in-class solution without the dreaded downtime and lags. Our web-to-print portal solution ticks all the boxes above. Our people power is our greatest strength, from the strategizing to the creative ideation, to the deployment, fulfillment, warehousing, and ultimately the raging success of your marketing efforts.

Ready to make the move? Let’s make it worth your while.

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