Growing The Family Business When The Industry Is In Decline

Growing The Family Business When The Industry Is In Decline, Facing Commoditisation and Most People Think It Is A DINOSAUR (Talk about being dealt a rough hand)

Blair and Simone Cariss took over the family business with the goal to grow Cariss Printing further.

carrisThis was a big step – previously Cariss Printing had relied on work ‘just coming in’ and this was the case until the recent economic decline – when many of their clients and businesses in general slashed their print budgets and relied more and more on online to replace printed materials.

The printing industry as a whole has become increasingly commoditised with many businesses now using print brokers who aggressively price shopped on behalf of their clients. So a lack of retail clients meant that printers in general were becoming more reliant on brokers and suffering with reduced margins.

Simone and Blair had noticed a trend that many of their loyal, long time customers were ordering less and less from them recent years.

In April 2012, Newsletter Marketing Systems met the Cariss Printing team – they were eager to launch their first newsletter just in time to promote their footy tipping competition, amongst other things.

Being a printer they felt that “if they couldn’t make a newsletter work in their business then no business could.” And in some ways they were right. They did have considerable advantages available to them that other businesses might not.

Printer’s Big Advantage #1: The newsletter was a demonstration of their printing skills. For Cariss it was like sending a sample of work each month on top of the usual advantages a business gets from sending a newsletter.

Printer’s Big Advantage #2: They could handle their own printing and fulfilment, usually the hardest part of doing a newsletter for many businesses.

The Only Difference In Their Marketing This Year Was Launching A Newsletter

After sorting through their database it was agreed who should receive a newsletter and who shouldn’t – there were some clients that they would be grateful not to hear from again. Cariss launched their newsletter and both Newsletter Marketing Systems and Cariss Printing were amazed at the results.

Many of Cariss clients that were decreasing both their order quantity and frequency ‘came back to life’ ordering more and more often. Some increased the total value of their orders as much as five times over the last financial year.

Cariss Printing can trace a $21,500 of income to the reactivation of lost customers (that hadn’t ordered in years).

Cariss Printing has used their Newsletter as a lead nurturing and lead conversion tool. Targeted use of their newsletter resulted in new clients collectively spending $60,000, $30,000 from a single client.

9% of their new client conversions can be attributed directly to sending out the newsletter. 5% of their new customers now come from referrals again driven by the newsletter.

Using their newsletter as tool to educate clients about their other printing services has increased the number of products clients’ purchase since educating their clients about how to use presentation folders and signage more effectively they have seen a marked increase in orders for these products, even from clients who had never ordered them before.

Using Newsletters To Fuel Their Online Presence:

Capitalising on their newsletter’s success, Cariss have been syndicating their content over social media – including their own blog Print2Profit, their Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages. Which is driving their SEO, increasing their lead quantity – more leads for them to convert with their newsletter.

After their one year anniversary, Cariss went and tallied up their ROI for the year – a 508% return on investment that could be tracked back to the newsletter.

Featured Company:

Simone and Blair Cariss

Cariss Printing



Benefits needed:

  • Reactivate Inactive Customers
  • Improve Lead Conversion Rates
  • Increase Customer Retention Rates
  • Increase Customer Referral Rates


  • 508% ROI on their Newsletter
  • $81,500 in new and returning business in the last 12 months that they wouldn’t have gotten without their newsletter
  • $21,500 in orders from lapsed clients coming back into the fold
  • 10% of first time orders can be directly attributed to leads receiving the newsletter
  • All of this done with only 60% increase in mailing list.