If you were in business before the internet took off, you’ll remember how much of your marketing made it into print.
From brochures, flyers and banners through to posters, media ads, exhibition stands and even beer mats – printed materials were the mainstay of promoting your business, products and services.
These days, the web has opened up a wealth of new marketing opportunities. You can run targeted ad campaigns on Google and Facebook. You can tap your phone on someone else’s to exchange an electronic business card. You can run complex inbound marketing campaigns to drive sales and build up your mailing lists. Add to this your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, your website and blog – these, and more, give you a whole range of effective marketing channels that are often cheaper than print.
It’s a mistake, though, to think that print marketing is dead. Far from it. As recently as 2017, the UK was still the world’s fifth-largest producer of print products and the industry had a turnover of £13.8 billion. There’s still a huge demand to keep those presses in action!Quality print – still bringing in major returns
Smart businesses know that print marketing can still generate excellent returns. Indeed, as more marketing has moved online, printed materials are rarer and get noticed more than ever. If you produce brochures, flyers and other items after your competitors have dropped them, then yours are the ones that will grab people’s attention.
Print marketing still has a big audience, which is why it’s important to keep it as part of your marketing mix. There are other reasons, too. First, if you use good quality print, it sends customers a message that you are successful enough to invest in your marketing. Secondly, print can convey a personal touch that you simply can’t replicate online. We all receive and quickly delete dozens of marketing emails daily, but if a business takes the trouble to write to you personally then you’re much more likely to read what they have to say.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in online marketing. Far from it. To succeed, you need to match your marketing to your audience – and that can mean combining both digital and print channels to get results.
Mixing your marketing channels for success
Let’s look at an example of how you can do this well. Imagine that you are targeting prospective clients for your business. One common way to do this is to send a message to a relevant decision maker via LinkedIn.
If you pitch your message well, it can work. But I have a technique that builds on the approach and gets a much better response.
First, I send the message via LinkedIn. It’s not a pitch, but simply a friendly note asking the contact to look out for a distinctive envelope in the next day’s post.
The next day, they see a light blue, square envelope in their mail. Your earlier message has primed them to expect it, so they already know who it’s from before they open it.
Inside they find a personally-addressed and hand-signed letter, making your pitch. It’s accompanied by printed examples of work you could do for them. In addition, there’s a brochure that gives them background about your company and it’s offering.
This technique – a powerful blend of both print and digital channels – is likely to get you better results than a purely digital or purely print approach. One complements the other because you’ve taken the trouble to personalise your marketing to a particular person. Try it for yourself – you’ll be surprised by how effective it can be!
For me, the key lesson is to make sure you’re not ignoring the potential of print marketing. Digital marketing is great, but if you don’t keep print in the mix you could be throwing away the potential for lots of new business. We’ve helped many of our clients put this right, and we’d be delighted to help you with your print campaigns too.