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Is print media still relevant? In the age of the internet, this is the question that will never die. But let’s think about this question a little more carefully – the media keeps asking, yet there’s no evidence that print has lost its impact. Not being the biggest promotional platform isn’t the same as being totally irrelevant.
Rather than pondering the ongoing use of print, it’s time for businesses to focus on strategic application. The following proven approaches can amplify your company’s reach and connect you with the community.
Keep To The Classics
If you’re going to buy print advertising space, there’s no reason to veer away from the classics. Advertise in newspapers, magazines, and conduct direct marketing campaigns. Small, local businesses can benefit from this just as much as major corporations if they choose the right markets.
One big name that’s turning back to embrace the power of print is Kohl’s, the department store with over 1100 locations. After rough sales in early 2016, the brand shifted advertising funds to emphasize print marketing. The company has considered who their target audience is and historic patterns suggest that this group will respond well to print ads.
Smaller businesses may not have the budget to send out full sales fliers or take out newspaper ad space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of small-scale direct mailings. Print custom postcards with sale offers and send them to your customer database. This is an especially powerful approach for local businesses – it reminds your neighbors that you’re out there waiting for them.
Print marketing isn’t just in newspapers and postcards; it’s also placed on billboards and outdoor signs – non-traditional modes of print that can really draw serious attention. No matter where you live, there are probably prime outdoor locations where you can advertise.
One common spot for outdoor advertisements today is on the side of large, community garbage cans. Or, you might sponsor a community sports league – teams typically display advertisements for their sponsors on signs, shirts, or programs. This sort of very public advertising also shows your commitment to your community – plus, the fact that it’s personal and local can make it more effective than any digital outreach.
Think Timing Over Form
Digital advertising has really pushed marketing professionals to think creatively about the shape of ads. They’re embracing animation, videos, and interactive advertising content. On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for simplifying your ad structure and turning your concerns to factors like timing, emotional impact, and diversity of content.
Timing is an especially powerful factor in effective print advertising. For example, it may not be worth the printing and placement costs to advertise during marketing-dense times such as Black Friday or the week before Christmas. Instead, look for gaps in the sales cycle where you can grab the attention and do so at a lower price. You want to place your ads when you can have all eyes on you.
Print advertising may see improved effectiveness in the next few years as competition for prime space falls. That means that small companies may have the ability to get larger or preferred ad territory that they couldn’t afford before.
The modern marketing department needs to find a way to strike a firm balance between digital engagement and print promotion. In doing so, you’ll also be splitting the difference between personal, targeted outreach and a broad, low cost, but less personal touch. It’s not a compromise, it’s widening the circle. The more diverse your advertising tactics, the broader your potential client base – and that’s always a good thing.