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Print Marketing Mistakes

When you’re starting a new business, marketing is one area that requires investment. From business cards to brochures, posters to social media, it’s important to use all options at your disposal. While much of the focus has been on digital marketing, print marketing campaigns continue to be extremely important. However, a mistake on your print materials can prove costly and time consuming. Here are the 9 most common print marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.

Business Card
Business Card

1. Trying To Do It All Yourself 

One of the most common mistakes for new business owners to make is to try to do all the marketing on their own. While some aspects of marketing may be feasible to do by yourself, others (including print marketing) can require more in-depth knowledge and skills to do well.

By investing in a professional designer or an online printing shop, you can actually create better-quality products the first time round. Printing shops can offer a range of services, including guiding you on the best formats to use, as well as offering stock upgrades or even samples (such as business card slits or special coating) which can improve the quality of your final product. If you’re inexperienced when it comes to print marketing, using a printing service can save you time and money by preventing costly mistakes. 

2. Not Doing Sufficient Market Research

It’s important that you have a clear idea of who your target audience or market is and what most appeals to them. Invest time researching the different types of copy, fonts, graphics and images that you’re intending to use. Do they appeal to your target market? Are they delivering the desired message? If not, you have the opportunity to change them before spending lots of money on print materials which you’ll later need to re-print.

3. Using Stock Images

“One of the worst mistakes you can make is to use a generic stock image,” says Emma Simmons, a project manager at Essay Roo. “Chances are, if you’ve used it, so has someone else. Instead, use unique images. If you provide a service, sharing before and after pictures can be a great strategy as it provides visual proof of the benefits and impact of your services.”

Images that tell a story or which are emotionally compelling will be more likely to attract audience’s interest and engagement. The quality of the image is also important. There are a range of camera and editing software options which you can use to create a more professional image. However, it can be more cost-effective to hire a professional who is skilled in the process to do this for you. 

4. Not Understanding Image Formats

As well as the image itself, the image format can make a big different to your campaign. A low-quality, pixelated image is going to make your marketing campaign stand out for all the wrong reasons. 

Although some image formats (such as .png and .jpg) may provide a clear image when you’re looking at a screen, the same cannot be said for their printed versions. When it comes to print, you need to have a good understanding of what type of high-resolution format you need to use if you want to get a clear image. 

Similarly, the color format for printed products differs from that used on a computer screen. Even though an image or design may look great on a computer, you should always test it out in print first before spending lots of money on your print marketing campaign. 

Postcard Sizes
Postcard Sizes

5. Not Having A Clear Understanding Of Technical Elements

It’s not just images that need clear formatting. Depending on the type of print marketing materials you’re looking to create, you’ll have to take different things into consideration. For example, brochures, catalogues and posters can come in different sizes, which will impact on your formatting. Similarly, items such as business cards can come in different styles (e.g., standard or folded) and have different coatings. These can impact on the durability of your product.

AAnother important aspect to consider, is that you’ll need to leave at least 3mm around every side of your design for the bleed. For more complex designs, it can be a good idea to increase this to between 4 to 6mm. Otherwise, you risk your design being cut short. Working with a print shop, such as ChilliPrinting, can be particularly helpful. They can offer guidance and suggestions on different formats, coatings and other options which can help your print campaign look more professional. 

6. Not Linking To Digital Content

Even though you’re using print marketing, you can still combine it with digital marketing techniques. One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure that you include your website’s URL in the print materials, along with your business’ social media handles. This way, you’ll be able to guide your audience to your digital content.

Another increasingly popular and common option is to include a QR code. By ensuring a QR code is included on your print campaign, customers can easily connect to your business online. By promoting the digital content via the print campaigns, you can significantly increase engagement and interaction with your business and brand.

7. Creating A Design That’s Too Busy

It can be tempting to use up as much space as possible to communicate with your target audience. However, this can backfire and actually result in visual overload. The result will be a campaign which is messy, difficult to decipher and ineffective.

White space can be a powerful tool when it comes to print marketing. It can make your campaign more accessible and easier to read, which means people are more likely to engage with it. Your design should be attractive, but also clear and concise. It should be organized and have a clear logic. Most importantly, all of the elements should follow the same theme and support one another. Working with a professional designer can help you to get it right the first time and avoid wasting money having to redo it in future.

8. No Clear Call-To-Action

If your print materials don’t have a clear call-to-action (CTA), then they are a waste of money. Identify what your goal is and make sure that it’s clear to your audience too.

“Stick to one very clear CTA,” says William Dixon, a business writer at OX Essays. “Be clear and direct with what you want people to do. The CTA should be immediately visible and accessible. Make sure that it’s somewhere obvious on your campaign and that it leads to a goal, whether that’s a sale or a connection.”

9. Failing To Proofread

Even the most carefully designed campaign can instantly lack credibility if you fail to proofread it. Before going to print, it’s essential that you check the copy. Spelling and grammar mistakes show a lack of attention to detail and carelessness, which customers are unlikely to forgive. Ask someone else to check it over too, as they may spot a mistake you’ve missed. Consider using a proofreading software program if you’re not confident doing this yourself.


Print marketing can be a powerful tool, enabling you to connect to your target audience. Aim to use authentic images and invest in market research. Make sure that your print campaign has a clean, simple design with a clear call-to-action and take the opportunity to connect your print materials to your digital content. Above all, don’t forget to proofread your materials before going to print. 

It can be worth investing in professional services to help you navigate technical aspects of printing, which can be the difference between a professional product or one which looks amateur and disorganized. Taking the time to create a high-quality print marketing campaign can save you time and money in the long-run and ensure that you connect with your audience for the right reasons.

Kristin Herman is an experienced marketing writer at FreeEssayWriters and Academized. She has written for a number of online magazines and blogs, including Boom essays, amongst others. Kristin enjoys keeping up to date with the latest business developments in her spare time and attending conferences.