Say it with me: Print is dead. Now let us both go wash our mouths out with soap at uttering such vulgarity and outright untruthfulness. Will meet you back here once mouth has been thoroughly scrubbed…
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, don't ever talk about the death of print again. But it’s funny (not really) how “those in the know” are still making this bold statement when it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it is because of the emergence of so many digital channels that print is experiencing a rebirth. Instead of killing print, the Internet, through QR codes and promo codes, is giving print advertisers other avenues in which to engage their audience.
According to FedEx Office’s Fourth Annual Signs of the Times Small Business Survey, though many small business owners reach customers and prospects via online channels such as social media, more than half surveyed (53 percent) said they planned on using more traditional channels such as newsletters and direct mail.
Also, research conducted by RP Data revealed property professionals who used a combination of print and digital channels were able to move their inventory for a higher price and with less time on the market.
Benefits of Combining Print and Digital Channels
Connect with Consumers on Their Terms
Consumers will no longer come to you; you’ve got to go to them, wherever they may be. By using a combination of traditional and digital channels, you can be sure to reach your audience at just the right time and in just the right place.
In some ways consumers are like squirrels; they scare easy and need to be patiently wooed before they’ll take that nut out of your hand. Print campaigns are a great way to begin wooing your audience, especially since print is still the most trusted form of advertising. From your print ads you can then send readers to your online assets where they can truly engage and interact with you.
More Metrics at Your Disposal
When you use an integrated marketing approach, you have more metrics at your disposal that can help you determine what’s working and what isn’t.
Extend Your Reach
Some consumers, like Millennials, tend to spend more time online while others, like Baby Boomers, still prefer to get their information from printed sources like newspapers. By using a combination of channels, you have a much better chance at reaching a larger audience.
Things to Consider When Mixing Print with Digital
A recent study by Nielsen research revealed consumers are interacting with brands through more touchpoints than ever before. Yet more proof that combining print and digital is an effective way at engaging consumers where they already are. But how do you develop the right mix of media that will reach your overall campaign objectives? Through some good ol’ fashioned research and planning that will uncover data you may use to develop your strategy. Look at things like:
Your Ideal Customer’s Online Habits
How long do visitors generally stay on your website? Where does most of your traffic come from? Which of your site’s pages get the most attention? Where else do consumers hang out online the most?
Is your product or service a repeat necessity or a one-time purchase? Does your audience compare prices before buying? Are they on a budget?
What Is Their Emotional Life?
What are your customers’ needs, wants, likes, dislikes, desires, problems, worries, etc.? What makes them tick? What scares them?
What’s the Easiest Way to Reach Them?
Are your customers an older crowd that would rather have a conversation start in an ad in their favorite magazine before that conversation moves online to your Facebook page? How often do they check their email? Are they active on social media? Once you understand your audience better you’ll have a firmer grasp on what combination of channels to use and where your advertising dollars need to go.
As you can see, the death of print has been greatly exaggerated. Small businesses have a habit of looking at print advertising and digital advertising as separate entities, but the truth is they work best when combined in an integrated, holistic marketing strategy.