Print is not dead. In fact, it’s undergoing a resurgence. With the world being flooded by digital marketing, people don’t know where to look. As a result, print has carved out a new niche as a more trustworthy, reliable and memorable mode of marketing. That’s right, print is the new medium. According to Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, “print is non-traditional marketing. That’s where we are today. Blogging, social media, web articles… that’s all very traditional.” So if you want to stay ahead of the curve, why not use print?
Moreover, if you are a local business with a physical presence (perhaps you have an office, a studio, a restaurant, or a shop), print marketing may be the most effective way of making your presence known locally. Where digital is effective at targeting international consumers, print has the upper hand when it comes to local business. Research has found that local businesses believe print marketing is more important than digital. 68% said print is critical in their strategy, while only 8% said digital is critical. Furthermore, print has a higher reach than digital at the local level. Beautifully designed custom posters, flyers and brochures will help increase brand awareness, and draw local customers to your business, leaving lasting impressions.
An effective local print marketing campaign is all about strategy, design, distribution and measuring:
Start with an effective strategy. Make sure you know your audience, and your market, and ensure you’re up to date on the latest print marketing trends. Coordinating your campaign is crucial, and if you plan your offline marketing in tandem with your digital marketing, the two can successfully reinforce each other.
If you’re a small local business with a modest budget, try using guerilla marketing. It’s a very cost-effective way to boost your business, and helps to create a unique brand narrative. Stickers and posters can be used creatively to market your brand in a way that’s authentic, distinctive and cheap.
Guerilla marketing doesn’t have to be underground or old-fashioned, it just has to be intelligent, creative and subtle. The best thing about this local print marketing approach is it’s not in your face, allowing consumers to form their own connections with your brand, and relate to it in more meaningful and personal ways. Stickers are a great way to build up loyalty; consumers who wear stickers (perhaps on their clothing, or their laptops) not only advertise on your behalf, they also become brand ambassadors. This is a highly intelligent technique.
A recent study suggests that 79% of consumers find that reading mail is more convenient than going online. The majority of email advertising ends up lost in the world’s junk folders, whereas 81% of direct mail marketing is read and engaged with. Try sending out brochures, newsletters, or personalized greeting cards – make sure your direct mail marketing contains your brand logo, a personal design, and a QR code to drive customers to your website. That way you can use print to boost engagement with your digital content. Last year, direct mail gave an average ROI of 1300%!
Posters can visually attract customers to your business, and are a great way to convey large amounts of key information in a limited amount of space. A really effective poster design will influence and entice anyone who lays eyes upon it. Posters can be used to advertise events, show off new products and increase brand awareness. Moreover, if you print in bulk, posters are incredibly cost efficient, giving you a great ROI.
Now that you’ve found the perfect strategy, it’s all about finding the best design. A local print marketing campaign is only as good as it looks, and a strong visual image can do the work of a thousand words. When approaching design, you have two options:
Some businesses opt to design their own print – this is a great way to keep creative control (and cut costs). This could be especially worthwhile if you’re a small and resourceful business with creative flair, and you want your designs to be highly personal and authentic. If you think this is the best route for you, check out our rundown of the best free graphic design tools, and you’ll be getting started in no time.
Alternatively, if you have the budget for it (and don’t trust your own creative skills!) employing a high-end graphic designer is a surefire way to create memorable, high impact designs that will leave lasting impressions among consumers. Finding a great designer is an important (and often difficult) process, so make sure to follow our advice on finding the right designer for you. If you find a good match, there’s no reason they can’t bring your personal vision to life.
While strategy and design are important, distribution is absolutely key. It’s always helpful to keep in mind the 80/20 rule – you should aim to spend 20% on your strategy and design, and 80% on distributing your print content. Once your materials are ready, make the most of them; print in bulk, target multiple events, and use them more than once.
Where you hang your poster is as significant as the design itself. Location is everything. Displaying your posters on your own premises is the simplest and cheapest way of showing off your artwork. Depending on the nature of your business, this could be all you need.
If you’re aiming to target a specific audience, make sure you match your location with your ideal consumer demographic. This might require some research into the kinds of places your target audience tend to hang out. In other cases it will be more straightforward, for example, student campuses are obviously the place to reach students, whereas adverts in public spaces are likely to reach a larger cross-section of people. Remember that your choice of location will determine your exact audience.
If your target audience is broad enough to be found easily in public, consider handing leaflets to passers-by using street teams. Make sure you profile the people you hand leaflets to first, or even better, try to strike up conversation people one on one in order to build up interest before handing them a leaflet. This will ensure that less people are throwing away your flyers without even looking at them.
Moreover, make sure you choose the appropriate size when you print your leaflets. Credit card sized leaflets receive the lowest drop-rate, because they fit easily into pockets or wallets. Bigger, thicker leaflets can sometimes make people reluctant to take one. If you don’t want to hand out leaflets on the street, try posting them to customers, placing them inside packaged orders, or even collaborating with complementary businesses to help distribute your leaflets through their systems.
Local print marketing offers a great return on your investment. However, the difficulty arises in tracking and calculating an exact value. In order to really optimize your print campaigns and gain analysis from your marketing initiatives, you’ll need to track your print. In order to measure (and increase) your ROI, you need proof of consumer engagement. If you can include at least one call-to-action (for example, encouraging your customers to check out your business or event online), you give customers a clear response that you can track to determine the success of your local print marketing campaign.
Why not turn your printed flyers into promotional vouchers with coupon codes? Your customers are more likely to engage if they get a discount or a freebie (especially first-time customers in retail businesses, such as stores and restaurants). You can track engagement using coupon codes, to gain insight into where and why your flyer distribution yielded the best response rates. You can then consolidate the data you collect with existing customer data, and even trade this information with other businesses.
If your printed material is kitted out with QR codes, then your audience can unlock a whole world of digital engagement on the go. You can enable a QR code to do any number of things when scanned: open a website, link to your business page, show a video, play a game, make a phone call, or even send an e-mail. You can then track the responses via a URL referrer, helping you to measure ROI.
In 2018, print marketing will emerge as one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to reach new and existing customers at the local level. The most successful print campaigns will be coordinated carefully alongside digital marketing in order for both to compliment each other.
If you strategize effectively, create beautiful designs, and dedicate the majority of your campaign to managing print distribution, you’ll find your local business is the talk of the town.