According to the Gartner Group, businesses spend between one and three percent of total annual revenues generating printed materials. Yet, as social media and digital advertising continue to increase in popularity, many marketers question the relevance and effectiveness of print communications. Despite the rapid rise of online marketing, print is still a force to be reckoned with. A 2012 study of B2C marketers found that direct mail still leads in ROI for customer contact and retention over e-mail, outbound telemarketing and social media engagement. In addition, 79 percent of B2B organizations surveyed in a 2011 study by Marketing Sherpa reported that they find direct mail to be either very effective or somewhat effective for their organizations.
Marketers can tap into print’s business-driving potential with the following tips.
- Consider outsourcing. Before you even get started, consider whether you’re equipped to handle the task. While you’re an expert in your field, let someone else do the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing— consider asking for help from the pros.
- Tap your creativity. Whether you’ve opted to take it on yourself, or are working hand-in-hand with a printing expert, you want the finished product to represent your brand well. Is it visually appealing? Does it include catchy copy? You want your collateral— and your business—to stand out.
- Look the part. You’re a professional, so make sure your printed collateral looks professional, too. Proofread it well, and ask others to proofread it, too. Make sure everything is spelled correctly and that the grammar is correct. This is an investment, so don’t risk later regrets.
- Mind your pennies. Printing doesn’t have to be costly. Identifying a comfortable budget prior to engaging a printer can help keep your broader business objectives in mind and allow the printer to provide recommendations on how to most effectively tailor your collateral.
- Target your audience. Print advertising designs can easily be repurposed for direct mail pieces. Working with vendors like The UPS Store franchises, marketers can send direct mail pieces to customers and prospects targeted by zip code.
- Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Offer your audience something compelling, like an exclusive deal or a coupon. Not only can these help bring customers in, but they can help you track how well your direct mail strategy is working.
- Add print to your digital strategy. Even if you already rely on digital marketing tools, consider integrating print into your strategy. Highlight your Facebook page on your printed collateral, or consider including a QR code leading to your website. Remember that not all of your customers are as tech-savvy as you might be.
- Repurpose your materials. Once you’ve invested in design, reuse your visual brand for your printed fliers, coupons and mailers, and online for your social media channels, website and ads.
- Choose the right printer. Going for the low-cost option won’t yield the highest return on investment when choosing a printing partner. It is important for marketers to work with a printer who understands their business and can create quality collateral as audience needs evolve. Additionally, printers who offer the flexibility to custom print on-demand are particularly helpful for business owners in the restaurant and real estate industries, who might need to print weekly menus or updated housing specifications.
- Save time. When you’re on deadline, the last thing you want to do is get in your car and drive to the printer. Make your busy life easier by taking advantage of online printing services. Many local resources allow you to upload, customize, preview and submit your print request right from your desktop.
While digital advertising might be gaining popularity, printing is still as important as ever and shouldn’t be ignored. Finding local allies to assist your printing efforts, keeping track of your budget, spending smartly can put those dollars to work effectively and help lead your business to success.