It’s true, most mentions of the word “marketing” these days are preceded by the word “digital.” But just because our faces are so often stuck to screens, that doesn’t mean that paper is dead. Don’t believe it? Read on.
Exhibit One: Direct Mail
When was the last time you clicked on a banner ad? It’s not just that they try to pry us away from the content we care about. We’ve trained our eyes to not even notice them. And even if the colorful graphics do stand out, there’s not enough room for the words that might persuade us to click.
Email is still a good tool for staying in touch with existing customers and interested people who have opted in. But how many unsolicited sales emails have you responded to lately? The problem here is that no matter how much time they’ve spent crafting a strong Subject Line, your eye simply slides past that tiny text when you’re scanning your Inbox.
Here’s where direct mail has a huge advantage. The trick though, is to grab the recipient’s attention with a big, bright, compelling benefit message before they have a chance to drop the piece in the trash.
The oversize postcard format is a popular and inexpensive choice for print marketing. But to immediately capture the eye, be sure to put that irresistible main headline on the same side as the mailing panel, since people go through their mail with the mailing panels face-up. For some unfathomable reason, the majority of print marketers get this one wrong.
Exhibit Two: Community Magazines
If your town has its own local magazine, you’re lucky to be tuned in to all kinds of civic and commercial resources, offerings and opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t know about.
If you own a company that serves area residents, it’s a great chance to advertise to people who, given the choice, would be happy to support their community by buying from local vendors.
Those publications often also include feature articles about the people behind those small companies, and how they turned a dream or a personal interest into a growing commercial venture. Isn’t buying from them worth a bit more than what you’d otherwise pay at Wal-Mart?
Exhibit Three: Personal Notes
It’s not often listed among print marketing options. But a heartfelt handwritten note to a prospect or customer or business associate breaks through the clutter and makes an impression like nothing else.
It could be an invitation, a thank-you, or a sales-nurturing ‘touch’. But of course, it’s about personal connections here, not the hard-sell.
Custom notecards with matching envelopes can be inexpensively printed with your company’s logo, visual branding, and even a subtle theme line. Hand-addressed and hand-stamped, this simple effort will always make it to the “keep” pile when the recipient is sorting (and mostly trashing) their daily mail.
Let’s Get Creative
By nature, print marketing allows for a degree of flexible creativity that box-within-box digital designers wish they had. So go ahead, be creative, push the boundaries, and go where no designer has gone before.
It typically takes repetition to break through to a buyer’s consciousness. On the other hand, if we see the same exact thing over and over, we tend to tune it out. Fortunately, the blank-canvas flexibility of print allows you to produce a series of mailers or print ads that balances continuity with variety.
So the next time your company is trying to get the word out, remember that ‘inbound’ efforts have not replaced ‘outbound’ campaigns. And ‘print marketing’ has a much longer history of success than ‘digital marketing.’