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Is Print Media Relevant for Your Retail Business in 2021?

woman reading a magazine
Image courtesy Pixabay

With “digital” being the biggest buzzword of the 21st century, not paying attention to print media is only normal, especially for new retail stores. Many businesses tend to rule out print advertising because it’s expensive and difficult to track. 

However, promoting your business in reputed newspapers and magazines can be highly effective in tapping into new audiences and driving engagement. 

Let’s discuss why print media is relevant for retail businesses in 2021 and how you can use it to achieve business growth. 

Should Retail Businesses Use Print Media in 2021?

Coming straight to the question, “Is print media relevant for retail stores in 2021?” The answer is a big YES, and it will likely never become obsolete. Print media will be relevant and valuable where there is a physical customer experience. 

Ask yourself this. Have people stopped reading newspapers and magazines? Have brochures become obsolete? While people tend to consume the majority of information online, print media isn’t going anywhere. 

Besides, print media isn’t limited to brick-and-mortar retailers. Amazon, the world’s leading eCommerce company, readily places ads in newspapers to reach a broader audience. 

Moreover, the digital advertising space is crowded, as every retail business is advertising online. By leveraging print advertising, you can stand out from the competition and reach consumers via a new channel. 

So yes, print media is relevant for retail businesses in 2021. However, it isn’t the same as it was before. Running standalone ads may not be as effective. Almost 80% of smartphone users make a purchase online at least once in six months. Mobile has become the new shopping platform, and therefore, your print ads need to complement your digital advertising campaigns. 

QR codes do an excellent job of bridging the online-offline gap. You can create a custom QR code with a QR Code generator, include it in your newspaper or magazine ad, and link it to your website, landing page, or product page. This way, you can use print ads to support your digital marketing campaigns to achieve better marketing outcomes. 

Key Advantages of Print Media and Advertising

Now that we have established that print media is still relevant, let’s discuss the key benefits of using print media for your business. 

Build Reputation and Relationship

Inarguably the biggest benefit of print media advertising is that it facilities reputation development and relationship building. When you appear in a reputed newspaper or magazine, your credibility increases significantly. Therefore, print media is a highly effective strategy if you want to build a reputation in a local community. 

Cost-Effective Marketing

While print advertising may not be as cheap as Google display ads, they’re still fairly inexpensive. And unlike digital strategies that require a lot of optimization, print media ads are easy to implement and execute. All you need to do is develop a visually appealing advertisement and submit it to the advertiser. 

Most retail businesses tend to support their digital advertising strategies with TV ads and digital signage, which can be exorbitant, especially in competitive locations. Print media advertising is a cost-effective alternative that helps you enhance your advertising efforts without hurting your wallet. 

Long Shelf Life

Long shelf life is another major benefit of print media. When you run a digital ad, there’s no guarantee that the same user will see it again. Hence, it’s easy for users to forget your brand. TV ads are persistent, but you can’t run them forever unless you have a colossal advertising budget. 

Print media ads have the longest shelf life. People who are fond of reading magazines keep them for months or years. This means your brand has multiple chances of coming in front of your audience. The same goes for newspapers. People keep a newspaper for at least a day, so they’re likely to come across your ad more than once. 

And the more often a user comes in contact with a brand, the more likely they are to convert. In fact, marketing fundamentals state that a prospective buyer needs to see or hear a brand’s marketing message at least seven times before making a purchase. 

Control over Appearance and Placement

Another big advantage of print advertising is that you have complete control over how it looks. You can determine its size, placement, typography, and other attributes. You don’t have such control in digital advertising. 

If you use display ads, Google will show your ad on any website based on its algorithm. You’ll have no control over how your ad looks or how big or small it appears. This greatly reduces the impact of your advertisements. 

Increased Attention Span

The digital age has killed the human attention span. The average human attention span is eight seconds, almost the same as a goldfish. Information overload – too much information – is the biggest reason for this declining attention span. Therefore, when you market yourself online, you have only eight seconds to grab people’s attention. 

Thankfully, print media has longer attention spans than digital media. People tend to read printed materials slowly and deeply instead of skimming through them like they do on online platforms. 

Non-Invasive and Engaging

How many times do you see an ad online and feel good about it? People hate ads online. In fact, close to 800 million internet users use ad-block tools – 17% of all internet users. Thus, when you run an ad online, there’s a 17% chance that an ad-block tool will block it. Clearly, that’s a wastage of your advertising dollars. 

Print media ads aren’t invasive, and they don’t adversely impact the user experience. And if your advertisement is engaging, it can encourage instant action. You can include QR codes in your ads to enable readers to connect with your brand instantaneously. 

Effective Local Targeting

Lastly, print media advertising works great if you want to target a local audience. Suppose you have opened a new retail store and want to promote yourself to potential customers in your city. You can place ads in local newspapers to reach a large local audience in less time. Print advertising is one of the fastest ways to reach a highly targeted audience. 

How to Leverage Print Advertising to Boost Brand Awareness and Sales?

There are many advantages to using print media advertising for your retail store. But how do you get started? 

Here are six helpful tips to make your print media advertising campaigns more impactful. 

Find the Right Publications

The publication you work with is the biggest factor to consider when investing in print advertising. Ensure that the publication you choose has an audience that fits the profile of your target customers. For example, if you’re a fashion brand, you need to find publications whose audiences are interested in fashion.

There are many niche magazines available. These include Cosmopolitan in fashion, Wall Street Journal in business & finance, and Sports Illustrated in sports. 

Try to Provide Value

The golden rule of marketing – don’t sell; educate – applies to print advertising too. Instead of asking people to buy your product, try to educate them about how your product can make their lives better. 

Unify Your Message

Print media can be slightly expensive. So, when you find a slot in a popular newspaper or magazine, it can be tempting to include as many details as possible. Avoid cramming in too much information, and keep your message short, to the point, and memorable. 

Use More Visuals and Less Text

If you’re not sure how to keep your message snappy and avoid information overload, here’s an effective tip. Try using more visuals and less text. Also, make your design simple and sticky and include white space. Select colors wisely and use a clear, bold font that is easy to read. 

Leading companies like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Apple are all known for their minimalist ad campaigns. Remember when McDonald’s launched a campaign to tell people that it offers Wi-Fi? The campaign included nothing but French fries forming a Wi-Fi signal, along with the McDonald’s logo. 

Integrate Your Print Campaign with a Larger Campaign

Running a print media ad as a standalone campaign isn’t the right strategy. To make it more effective, use it as a part of a broader campaign. In fact, it’s never the right approach to use advertising channels in isolation. An advertising strategy should be integrated, with print media complementing digital media and vice versa. 

As discussed, QR codes can help you bridge this gap. You can put up QR codes on your print campaigns and link them to landing pages, appointment booking pages, product pages, etc. 

Track Your Campaign’s Performance

The final tip is to track the performance of your print ad campaign. There are several ways to do that. You can closely monitor how your sales have increased after launching the ad. If you sell online, tracking direct website visits can also help measure engagement. And if you are using QR codes on your ad, you can track how many times the code has been scanned. 

Wrapping Up

Print advertising isn’t going anywhere, and ignoring it means missing out on potential awareness, engagement, and revenue opportunities. If you’re a new retail business, make sure that you have a print advertising strategy in place that complements your primary marketing campaign. Also, bridge the online-offline gap and provide an integrated experience to your customers.

About the author


Akshay Deogiri

Akshay Deogiri is an SEO Outreach Specialist at Beaconstac, enabling businesses to bridge their gap between the digital and offline worlds through custom QR codes with their flagship QR Code generator.