July 28, 2015
Take a moment and think about what your life would be like if you had to run all your marketing with handwritten communication only. Thankfully we don’t live in a world like that, digital marketing makes life so much easier, but print media is still essential in running a company that solely exists online.
Wait! Isn’t print marketing largely on its deathbed? Wouldn’t the likely clients of a digital company be most responsive to digital advertising channels? Though many people believe that print is on the way out, it’s still more effective than we realize.
Why Print is Still Needed
Think about how brick-and-mortar businesses use print. They mail out postcards; they install window decals with their hours and contact info; they hang banners or place sidewalk signs during a big sale. Though you may not have a physical storefront, print media can still be equally helpful to you:
- Print engages more of our senses than digital, making it memorable. As customers feel and smell paper, they gain tactile memories to associate with you.
- Print pushes you to consider how well your visual design translates across different media. While your logo and colors may look great on a monitor, how do they look printed?
Print helps you test your ability to engage your audience. When there is nothing but your brands design in front of them, how appealing is your design?
- Print gives you a tangible way to find credibility with the people you want to shop with you and helps you to build and grow brand awareness about your company.
- Print can introduce you to new people and drive traffic to your website. Mailers are a great traffic source for your website or eCommerce store.
How Print Boosts eCommerce
You might think this is all crazy talk, but almost all successful online stores use print to drive traffic and sales. Think about the catalogs you get in the mail and then log online to buy from them, or a flyer for a new product launching and then you went and liked a Facebook page to learn more. This was all done by the power of print and graphic design. Graphic design and printing help drive people to your website, and then all that time and money spent on creating an impressive website leads to profits because of the convenient browsing experience you provide. With an influx of apps and QR code readers, shoppers can now note the items they want in a piece of printing mailed to them, then go online and order when they’re ready. With a custom Web app they can even snap a picture of the item in your catalog and then buy it right from their Smartphone.
If you think a small catalog would help increase your traffic, start with a limited print run to test the waters and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Remember, a catalog doesn’t have to be 40 pages to be worthwhile. A five-page overview of your product categories and popular items can create just as much of a buzz. Even a one-page flyer can set you off on the road to driving more traffic and business to your website. Graphic design and printing fuel online businesses to help get them to the next level. If you’re not using them, you’re only hurting yourself.
Mailers are also crucial in creating buyer awareness. Just seeing your favorite brands is enough to remind them of your products and services. Testing this out in your local area with postcards is easy because sending branded postcards are even simpler to produce and mail than catalogs.
What Print Can Do for Your Social Media
Another area a lot of people don’t think about, is how graphic design and printing can boost social media. Believe it or not, they work amazing together. An engaging and consistent voice leads fans of your print campaigns to check you out on social media, and makes your social fans pay attention to your print ads.
In addition to using a consistent, shareable tone, you can help your print and social marketing work together in many ways:
- Engage multiple age groups of consumers. While elders tend to prefer print and younger shoppers search primarily online, neither group is fully in one camp or the other.
- Drive social traffic with printed calls-to-action. Mention hashtags that fans can use to join the latest conversation on Twitter, or encourage them to like you on Facebook for special promotions. People like to get great deals. Use social media to give them those deals and print ads to drive them to it.
- Share your online reviews offline. This makes your reputation more accessible and lets people see upfront what other people are saying about you.
Print and social media are not mutually exclusive. Fans will appreciate the effort you put into both, and the traffic your store receives will be proof.
Gary Cooke is a social media strategist and graphic designer with more than 10 years of experience in the digital world, including Web and user experience design. He has worked with and advised a wide range of clients on social media strategies, and how to present their brand in both the digital and printed worlds.