Some know-it-alls erroneously predicted that the advent of digital marketing heralded the doom of print marketing, but the fact is print marketing has distinct advantages digital marketing is unable to reproduce: personalization, tactical interpretation and environmental targeting, to name a few. Rather than bury print, digital marketing has liberated it — because customers can now go online to find more information, print marketing doesn’t have to be everything to everyone, nor does it bear the sole responsibility for delivering brand messages, which means marketers can now position print marketing to take advantage of highly-targeted audiences and circumstances.
This isn’t to say digital marketing can’t be powerful, because it most certainly can. However, it’s even more powerful when paired with a collaborative print marketing effort. The following lists ten ways print and digital marketing are more powerful together.
1. Postcard to website marketing
One of the most powerful marketing strategies today is to promote your website via direct-mail postcards. A highly-targeted mailing list comprised only of people who fit your best customer demographics — aka “those most likely to buy” — means you’re making efficient use of your marketing investment.
Postcards can serve as mini-catalogs for e-commerce stores by showcasing a few of your bestsellers or a representative offering of your entire product base. Then, you can direct customers online to view your entire catalog. Motivate response with a time-limited coupon code, redeemable online, which will also allow you to easily track your response rate, conversion rate and ultimate return on investment.
2. Print to app
If you have a mobile app you want to promote, or that is used as a marketing tool on its own, print marketing can help motivate customers to download and install it. Posters, flyers, postcards, banners, newsletters, stickers and other print marketing tools are perfect for marking mobile apps because they can promote your app in a variety of different places — preferably, those your target audience frequents.
One excellent advantage print marketing has when it comes to promoting mobile apps is lack of competition. That is to say, you can place print marketing materials in areas competing apps aren’t advertising. The online environment has become incredibly cluttered with competing mobile app ads, so even when you pay for placement (or diligently work for SEO), you’re going to have to beat your competitors head-to-head to get the download. With print marketing, you can customers directly to your app download page without the distraction, provided you employ strategic placement.
3. Table tent to newsletter subscription
If you own or operate a restaurant, bar or nightclub, you know the value of an ample email newsletter audience; sending regular email blasts to let customers know about current specials, new menu items, upcoming events and other information is a great way to drum up more business. Convincing customers to subscribe can be difficult, especially when customers aren’t interacting with you online to begin with. Enter table tents.
You can print table tents that promote your newsletter on every table, along with a QR code customers can scan to be taken directly to a mobile-friendly sign-up page. Even better, include an instant coupon customers can redeem to save money immediately. This will motivate customers to instantly subscribe to your newsletter while they’re waiting for their meals to arrive. Their confirmation emails can then be used to get the instant discount at checkout.
4. Newsletter sign-up to print brochure
All marketers would love to blanket the world with their marketing materials, but budget constraints make efficient marketing the only way to maximize ROI. It’s far better to send your brochure to one person who has expressed interest in your product or service than 10 people who have not. With that in mind, you can promise additional information in return for an email newsletter subscription.
Here’s an example: let’s say you have a print booklet, brochure, report or white paper that yields an excellent response rate for its comprehensive information and marketing prowess — but only when interested customers can hold the tangible materials in their hands. Thus, you want to get your brochure (or other item) in the hands of interested parties only. You set up an email newsletter subscription on your website that promises a free information kit in return for customers’ email and home addresses. You might even offer a valuable coupon to be included in your print marketing package.
In this scenario, you’re only sending your print materials to customers who have expressed interest directly on your website, so you your audience is extremely well-targeted. Customers benefit by receiving more information plus a coupon, and you benefit from getting tangible marketing materials in your customers’ hands. You also get email and home addresses for follow-up digital and print marketing efforts, respectively.
5. Print newsletter to social media
A monthly or quarterly print newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with customers on a level that’s personally more engaging. It’s also an excellent way to promote new products and services, demonstrate how your flagship products can help improve customers’ lives, and establish credibility and trust that lead to long-term customer loyalty. Print newsletters can also be gateways for social media likes and followers.
Since your print newsletter demonstrates your expertise in your given field and simultaneously builds trust, you can use it as a platform for customers to deepen your relationship by following you on social media. Of course, you’ll have to work a dedicated and engaging social media presence, but if you can do so your newsletters can help you get followers and grow your online audience.
6. How-to guide booklet to e-commerce
One of the best ways to drive customers to your e-commerce shop is to distribute how-to guides in the form of print booklets. A well-written how-to guide that delivers excellent value to your customers will generate trust and confidence in your recommendations.
The best how-to guide booklets feature engaging step-by-step processes for making choices and accomplishing desirable tasks. For example, an interior décor retailer might print booklets that walk customers through the remodeling process and offer ideas for colors and decorative accessories – “How to Remodel Your Dream Bathroom,” for example. A pet store might print a booklet that tells customers how to set up a saltwater aquarium. A mechanic might print a booklet that tells customers how to keep up on automotive maintenance at home and include an in-shop maintenance schedule.
Your booklets can drive customers to your e-commerce shop by making in-content product recommendations, including product spotlight pages, and including a page of relevant coupons for products covered in the text. A good booklet shouldn’t be entirely self-serving; all advice and products recommended must be sound, of course, and it shouldn’t read as an advertorial. If you can provide accurate and valuable content, your customers will trust your recommendations and go online to buy your products.
7. Sticker to website marketing
Stickers can be placed practically anywhere, from car bumpers to public bulletin boards to windows, walls and backpacks. That means you can reach your target audience with stickers no matter where they go, and you can use those stickers to promote your website with a URL and/or QR code.
Be creative with your sticker placement so that it has relevance to your customers, or place stickers in surprising areas to help customers commit them to memory. An example of both would be stickers placed on ceilings above dentists’ chairs to promote a mouthwash, which is a real-world campaign launched by one company.
8. Posters and flyers to online donations
Nonprofit organizations can distribute posters, flyers and even door hangers in targeted neighborhoods to encourage online donations for their respective causes. Well-designed print marketing materials that stir emotion and fuel response are perfect for motivating donors to contribute toward the improvement of an undesirable situation.
You can print posters, flyers or door hangers that include a special URL or QR code for tracking purposes and to make it easy for customers to easily donate via computer or mobile device. Your URL or QR code should take customers to a page where they can easily donate via a variety of options: credit card, PayPal, Google Wallet, etc. You can also take advantage of this opportunity to collect email and mailing addresses for future donation drives.
9. Business cards to social media
It’s often said that people don’t do business with companies, they do business with people. That’s why business cards are staple marketing tools, and why they feature people and not businesses. Thus, business cards represent excellent opportunities to invite potential customers and other contacts to connect with you online via social media: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, etc.
The best strategy is to feature one social media profile prominently — the one that has the most value for your customers. If you routinely network on LinkedIn, then you might want to send professional clients there. However, if you routinely share home decorating ideas on Pinterest, you might want to send your remodeling clients there.
10. Hang tags for newsletter subscriptions
Similar to table tents, but for retail shops instead of restaurants, hang tags can excel at motivating customers to subscribe to your email newsletter. Print hang tags that offer a special instant coupon in return for subscribing, then place them on your bestselling products. Prominently point out the benefits of newsletter subscriptions, such as special VIP sales and coupons, and include a mobile QR code or URL so customers can quickly and easily subscribe right by the rack. It’s a win-win situation: You get to collect email addresses for future marketing, and customers get to save money instantly.
Each print and digital marketing tool listed here is proven on its own, but, as you can see, when used in tandem they can be even more powerful. What’s your favorite print/digital marketing campaign?