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Hate Wasting Money on Print Advertising? Avoid These 8 Mistakes

By Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 02, 2015 @ 12:44 PM |


Digital marketing is like Marcia Brady – it gets all of the attention while print marketing – the Jan Brady of the group – sits in the shadows. But Jan, we mean print, has a lot to offer businesses of all sizes. In fact, 76% of small businesses say their ideal marketing strategy would incorporate both print and digital communication.

If you’ve tried to incorporate print into your media mix but haven’t gotten the desired ROI, you might be making one (or God forbid more) of these eight mistakes.

1. Not Defining Your Target AudiencePrint Advertising - Target Audience

This is actually the biggest mistake in print and digital, and if you get this step wrong or overlook it completely, none of your other tactics will work no matter how well executed. If you fail to define your target audience, how will you be able to craft the right message? Getting a return on your investment means knowing exactly who your market is, what they need, and how you can best present your solution.

2. Neglecting Brand Consistency

Each of your print marketing campaigns will and should have a specific goal, but that doesn’t mean you can neglect your overall brand consistency. Each aspect of your marketing plan must be consistent when it comes to brand identity. Being instantly recognizable takes out any guesswork and allows your audience to make the connections between what they are seeing now and what they’ve seen in the past.

3. Using Less Than Quality Materials

Small business owners are always looking for ways to save money, but printing on less than quality materials isn’t the way to do it. If your collateral looks cheap, your brand looks cheap. If you have the choice between printing your own collateral and using a professional printing company that can offer high-quality products, always go with the pros.

4. Ignoring Your Repeat Customers

So many marketers make the mistake of putting all their advertising dollars and efforts into drumming up new business, when the reality is, 80% of a company’s business comes from repeat customers. You cannot afford to ignore these people. While direct mail campaigns or radio spots designed to bring in new customers are an important part of a marketing plan, never forget to build loyalty among existing customers through promotional gifts or rewards programs.

5. Forgetting to Edit and ProofHate Wasting Money on Print Advertising? Avoid These 8 Mistakes

Before any campaign is fully rolled out you must be sure to edit for message and proof for errors. Scrutinize every facet of your promotional materials or print ad and consider whether or not it is contributing to your overall message. Then, proofread extensively to find any possible errors. You don’t want to print 10,000 copies of a brochure or have your ad show up in the Sunday paper with glaring errors.

6. Selling Product Features Instead of Benefits

You may think the features of your product are exemplary and no doubt they are, but your prospect will buy for emotional reasons. Features are facts, and facts don’t get an emotional response from the reader. For instance, “Our cleaner uses patent-pending secret enzymes” is a feature of your product. What your potential buyer really wants to know is the benefit, or what’s in it for them, “Our cleaner kills any pet odors in your house so you’re not embarrassed when company comes over.” Always try to hit those emotional buttons.

7. Don’t Make It Hard for People to Order

You want your print ad or collateral to make it as easy as possible for you to get the sale. Don’t try and save money by only printing your web address. If a prospect wants to connect with you immediately with questions, they should be able to pick up the phone and call you.

Making them go to your website first to get your number is one too many steps and you’re likely to lose sales. Always include your full contact details and let prospects decide how they want to communicate and place an order.

8. Sending Prospects to Your Homepage

Always list a URL address to a landing page. If you send people to your homepage they are likely to browse, get lost, lose enthusiasm, and click out. But a landing page is specifically designed to keep the prospect’s interest focused on your ad’s sales message. It continues the print conversation into the digital world. And make sure your landing pages have a strong call-to-action. In other words, tell your prospect exactly what to do (AKA close the sale).

If you’ve been wasting money on your print advertising chances are you have been making one or more of the above mistakes. When you make the necessary corrections, you’ll be surprised how quickly your ROI can improve.

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Image credit: Nic McPhee

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