You probably know Vistaprint for its print marketing products, such as business cards and brochures. But a few years ago, the company launched a digital marketing division, Vistaprint Digital, to help small and micro businesses get and be found online.
Products that make up the digital solutions lineup include a completely redesigned website builder, email marketing, local directory listings, social media marketing and more. You could say it’s a “one-stop shop” for just about every product a small business would need to conduct marketing campaigns online.
Scott Bowen runs Vistaprint Digital as its vice president and general manager. He spoke with Small Business Trends via telephone to share the rationale behind the company’s decision to extend its core product base to include digital.
Digital a Natural Analog to Print
Bowen sees digital as a natural analog for most of the physical products.
“Business cards equate to a domain name and website in the online world, and a marketing brochure becomes a social media or email marketing campaign,” he said. “We bring the complement in the online world to the core physical marketing products that Vistaprint is best known for.”
According to Bowen, the company’s vision is to provide the world’s only omnichannel marketing platform for small business.
“We believe there is a valuable intersection between print and digital that, when done in thoughtful, compelling ways, provides unique value for small and micro businesses and helps them purport themselves in a more professional manner,” he said.
Bowen cited two statistics that added fuel to the Vistaprint print-digital integration fire:
“There are more than 45 million micro businesses worldwide (those that have between one and ten employees), 27 million of which are in the U.S., and 70 percent of those market both in print and online,” he said.
Redesigned Website Builder
The premier player in Vistaprint’s digital solutions lineup is a newly-redesigned fourth generation website builder that enables users to create a site that integrates seamlessly with Vistaprint’s print products.
“We recently found that one-third of consumers discover small businesses for the first time online, but 45 percent are unlikely to shop at one with a poorly designed website,” Bowen told Small Business Trends.
“To stand out in a crowded market, the business owners we serve need a professional online presence today. They need to be able to easily create a professional, consistent brand across print and digital, and only Vistaprint can help them achieve that.”
Bowen described the website builder as having two distinguishing characteristics: seamless design matching between print and digital and a page construction system that relies on blocks.
“Since most of the people who use the website builder are already Vistaprint customers, we can expose and integrate print assets, such as the logo, flourishes and accents found in their print products with the website,” he said. “We can also make other print assets — brochures, photos, artwork — available via the shared file manager.
Regarding web page construction, Bowen said that most DIY-website builders use a “blank canvas” paradigm. That was also the case in previous iterations of Vistaprint’s platform. The new version, however, utilizes a “building block” style design architecture.
“We use blocks to assemble the website,” he said. “Users simply drag-and-drop content blocks to build a page and then string the pages together to create the site. There are blocks for events, calendars, photo and video galleries, ecommerce and more. To update media and text inside a given block, users just point and click.”
In addition to arranging blocks, users can also change fonts, headers, footers and colors universally with a single click.
The website builder comes with an array of professionally-designed templates that match the user’s industry and goals. Also, the templates are fully responsive, making sites useful on mobile devices.
Another feature — custom domain names that remain free for as long as the user stays with Vistaprint Digital.
Bowen said Vistaprint designed the builder so that even a non-technical novice could create a site in an hour from start to finish.
Pricing ranges from $5 to $25 per month, with free custom domains included in two of the packages.
Aside from the website builder, other digital marketing solutions that complement the company’s traditional print offerings include local listings, social media marketing, email marketing, business email, custom design services and more.
Not a Marketing Automation Solution — Yet
While all these features add value and make life easier for the small and micro business owner, it would be nice if Vistaprint could offer a fully-integrated marketing automation platform, similar to enterprise solutions such as Marketo and Hubspot. However, the company is not there yet, said Bowen.
“Some very specific elements are integrated — social and website, and contact and email — but there is more to be done on the integration side,” he said.
Currently, Vistaprint offers digital products bundled in different combinations and a la carte. Most products cost $10 per month each, but all come with a 30-day free trial.
Visit Vistaprint Digital for more information about all of Vistaprint’s digital solutions.
The underlying code generated by these types of website builders is usually bloated and clunky, but if the alternative is not having a website then you need to get on the bandwagon. Having a website (not just a Facebook page) is critical.
Since they already have the business market, why not offer digital services? Since they have a brand, it would not be that hard for them.