Social media, online ads, newsletters, conversions — if it’s online, your company does it all. Yet there’s still a part of you that thinks there may be a sector of the population out there who wants to find your business, but can’t. Where do you find them? What websites do they look at?
These are the wrong questions. Print marketing, as it turns out, is still as effective as ever, and it’s not limited to a specific sector of the population.
In fact, it hasn’t gone anywhere — according to the CMI’s report in 2015 the top paid advertising methods in B2B in North America were "Search Engine Marketing" at 66%... followed by “Print or Other Offline Promotion” with 57%.
Even better: the digital world has made print marketing feel more tangible and real, which in turn gives you a bonus — if you do it right.
In short, print marketing still works so long as you employ the top tactics to take your brand offline and back into the real world.
This one only counts if your business is suited for it. If you’re a digital nomad who works in consulting or IT… maybe you don’t need to worry so much about taking out an ad in the local paper.
If you’re an insurance agent or a dentist, however, your business is perfect for local advertising.
Combined with another tactic you’ll read on this list — personalized URLs — you can even create local ad campaigns that you can measure. You don’t have to pick any one sales funnel, either. You can advertise both your phone number and your website and let the potential customer pick the rest.
If you want to incorporate your print advertising with your online efforts, it’s not as hard as you think. You simply need to enlist the assistance of QR codes.
What do QR codes do exactly? The question is, what don’t they do? With a QR code in your print campaign, you can achieve the following:
**Print ads for apps. **Instagram and Angry Birds are two examples of popular apps that have used creative QR codes in their advertising to steer users toward downloading.
Business cards. If you have a tech business, such as consulting or web design, a QR code is a great way to show off your prowess while accomplishing good logistics at the same time. Some prospective employees have even used it to show their future employers where to find their resume.
Print-to-web. Perhaps the most ubiquitous and powerful of all QR code uses is simply directing someone from a print ad to an online website. It’s a great way to grab mobile users who are on the run but still taking the time to pay attention to print ads.
QR Stuff is a popular spot for obtaining your own QR codes. For some uses, they’re free — if you want analytics on your QR code (and you likely will), however, you’ll be expected to pay.
It’s all well and good if you can direct your print audience to your domain page — but it’s not particularly good for analytics. Why? Because you need to measure the source of your incoming traffic if you’re going to stand any chance at figuring out which advertisements are working for you.
You can accomplish this in a few ways, the most prominent of which is the specialized URL, also known as the landing page.
This can be as simple as setting up different landing pages for each campaign, which will require different QR codes for your print ads. It might take a little time for initial setup, but it will pay dividends in analytics.
Engagement Through Periodicals
Airbnb, a new-economy platform popular with millennials, showed the enduring popularity of print when it released Pineapple, a magazine for its network. Though the Pineapple project didn’t endure, the massive magazine project was popular enough that Airbnb continued to explore ways of building a sense of community through print.
Most worth noting: people don’t ignore periodicals. Though tablets rule the world, it’s not as if a fresh magazine has become any less valuable or worth reading.
Trade shows are all about the booths, the experience, the in-person interaction. But when potential leads go home, what are they left with? In most cases, they’re left with business cards, brochures, and newsletters.
In other words, print materials.
Your impact at trade shows and other live events is only cemented when you leave with potential leads. Whether you do that through QR codes, website referrals, newsletter signups, or old-fashioned print materials is up to you.
As with trade shows, the quality of print marketing shows with your in-person interactions. In other words, networking. A business card with a QR code — we’ve already addressed that. But what happens if you’re a bakery that wants to make a splash? You make edible business cards, of course.
Maybe you don’t have to go the full baked-goods route, but it’s worth exploring opportunities to stand out when you network. In the long run, the associated printing costs can be minimal compared to the business these memorable print materials generate.
A Word on Effectiveness
If you paid 2 cents for a customer who spends $100, you wouldn’t particularly care which medium carried your ad, would you? Probably not.
Some reports suggest that an old-school tactic like direct mail can cost just $26 in CPM or "cost per thousand." If that direct mail yields half a dozen leads, is it worth the price of admission? It’s the same question you’d ask of any advertising medium.
The migration to the world of online marketing is understandable. Achievements are easy to measure. Campaigns are easy to set up. Advertisements are easy to change on a whim. But that doesn’t mean print marketing has lost its place — far from it.
In the digital world, print media has become the new novelty. If you want to build your business, it’s a stone you can’t afford to leave unturned.