October 5, 2017
Think about this: The Web has become a standard channel for marketing, especially content marketing.
We expect to focus our efforts online to reach the masses. After all, it’s where they are.
In this climate, it’s amazing to say, print – a technology dating back centuries – is new and novel once again. In fact, Joe Pulizzi has been saying it since 2012:
Print holds incredible opportunities when combined with digital marketing strategies.
Buyers are still engaging with print and looking to it for help making purchasing decisions, too. A few years ago, Nielsen conducted a study that found about 56 percent of consumers rely on printed matter for product and sales information. The next biggest channel? Promotional e-mails, which came in at 37 percent.
Long story short: Embrace print, and use it alongside your digital content marketing efforts. You’ll reach a wider audience and hold their attention. You’ll also provide value in ways they might not have expected.
For some solid ways to incorporate print marketing in your content marketing, look no further.
4 Creative Ways to Use Print Marketing in Your Content Marketing
Your print marketing can support your digital content marketing, and vice-versa. Here are a few ideas.
1. Use QR Codes on Printed Materials – the Right Way
QR codes are those little black-and-white boxes you can scan with your phone to get more information about whatever the code is attached to. You can find these codes everywhere, from product packaging to street signs.
Used the right way, putting QR codes on your printed matter (like flyers, brochures, business cards, and more) can seamlessly link your print marketing campaigns with your digital ones.
The key words here are “the right way.” You have to make consumers want to scan your codes on print materials. You can’t just slap them on as an afterthought.
Here are good ways to provide valuable QR codes on your print marketing efforts, according to Search Engine Journal:
- Invite customers to scan the code to get a coupon.
- Ask them to scan the code to connect with you on your social media profiles.
- Give them more information when they scan. Lead them to your contact information, directions to your business, or offer product specs/details.
Finally, when consumers scan your printed stuff, make sure it’s a seamless experience. Take them to a landing page that’s optimized for mobile devices and provides the promised payoff.
An example of a QR code on billboard advertising via Social Media Examiner
2. Sent Direct Mail Coupons
Who doesn’t love a discount? Sending your prospects online-only coupons in the mail specifically presents unique opportunities, according to SiteProNews.
For one, they may be more likely to take you up on the offer because a print coupon is more tangible than a virtual one. The consumer can hold it in their hands, and they may feel more delight at discovering it in their mailbox for this reason alone. It feels more like a present.
Delighting your customer this way is a great strategy to make them engage with your online presence – first to score the deal, then to see what else you’ve got (cue digital content marketing!).
3. Create a Niche, Highly-Targeted Publication
This next technique may take more time and planning, but it could be worth it because of the amount of value it provides to your audience. In fact, you could call this old-school content marketing.
What is it? Printing a publication!
Think of this as an expansion of the value you provide regularly through your brand’s blog. The print medium allows you to go even further in-depth on relevant topics. Plus, it offers all the benefits Joe Pulizzi has outlined:
- It feels special. When we hold printed matter in our hands, we want to stop, sit down, and devote some time to it. Think about books and magazines – these are things you set aside your digital devices for, and you may even relish the time to unplug.
- It builds authority and trust, or strengthens them. You want to keep around customers you already have. For customer retention, you can’t beat the value of a great print publication that’s just for them.
- Offering a print publication gets attention. Physical mail is slowing down. Less mail in people’s mailboxes means less competition and more chances for you to grab some notice for yourself.
Content Marketing Institute has some great examples of niche publications from various brands. Take a look at thinkMoney, TD Ameritrade’s magazine that hones in on traders:
4. Include CTAs on Everything
Whatever type of printed matter you’re handing out, distributing, or mailing, make sure a CTA is on every single piece. This directs your audience to your online presence, which will get your digital content marketing in front of them, too.
However, your CTAs for print have to look a little different from your digital ones.
For one thing, the audience has to do more work to follow a print CTA – they can’t just click a link and get whisked away to an easy sign-up page. As such, you can’t risk confusing them or being too vague about what you want them to do next with the information you’ve provided. Tell them.
If you want to make following your print CTAs easier, see #1 on this list and provide a QR code to scan with their smartphones.
Bottom Line: Print Marketing and Content Marketing Can Support Each Other
If you’ve forgotten about or ignored print marketing, it’s time to take another look. This age-old technique for engaging and winning audiences feels fresh and new once again in the digital age we live in.
Plus, print marketing can actually tie into your content marketing. The two can give each other a lift.
Print materials feel special, different, and get attention. They can lead your audience to your online presence and digital marketing. Not to mention, printed matter can provide value to customers you already have and want to keep.
As they say, print isn’t dead. Turn to print and incorporate it into your marketing strategy. You may end up setting yourself apart from your competitors who are staying in the digital lane.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.