There is little doubt that print publishers have had to weather an internet-inspired storm that has tried to change the way we market and communicate with our customers.
The result of this perceived threat to printed content marketing has been a more than spirited fight back and a more 21st Century approach that has resulted in combined marketing media being used to achieve better branding.
Print content marketing is just as effective as any other way of communicating and engaging with your customers and there are plenty of examples of how businesses of all sizes have embraced change and found a combined strategy that really works.
The challenge for printed media
Business has always been about the bottom line and whilst building a brand is recognised as good for long-term health, tangible results that you measure in numbers is often what drives people or their bosses in particular.
Trade publications have a long tradition of commanding their reader’s attention due to their niche readership and this meant that advertisers were also relatively easy to find in order to finance the production and distribution costs.
With the advent of the internet, it has forced a rethink and whilst some high profile magazines no longer have print editions, others have thrived and have no intention of abandoning printed media.
What this means for your business
The good news for SME’s is that printing techniques and costs have been trimmed thanks to improved technology and the fact that many of us can now recycle our ink cartridges and get a better deal on printing costs now compared to before, making printed media a cost-effective option.
The other positive point to consider in addition to the cost aspect is the fact that you now have less competition vying for the attention of readers, giving your magazine or newsletter the chance to really make an impact when it is delivered through the letterbox.
Spot the difference
Having established the continued need for print media and also acknowledged the fact that digital branding is also a fundamental part of your marketing strategy, you need to be aware of the different impression they both have on the recipient.
Innovative print design for your website is certainly important and when you consider that most web pages are skimmed in less than 15 seconds by the viewer, you need to work hard on that design to get their attention.
When you produce printed media, the design and print materials that you use will have to be visually engaging for a lot longer than 15 seconds, and ideally need to be capable of achieving a perpetual impact.
Make the effort
There are countless pre-made templates available online that are either free or relatively inexpensive, but the money spent on hiring a professional graphic designer would be well spent if you want to avoid your material having a highly generic feel to it.
Creating a custom design and original print material will help you to stand out from the crowd and your goal should always be to have visually cohesive combined web and print materials that not only complement each other, but also help you to build an instantly recognisable brand image.
It is well worth making the effort to create material and images that have a strong impact and remember to work with your designer to use CMYK colour mode for your printed material and also ensure that your text is embedded or outlined in the final saved file, just in case there is an incompatibility issue with the fonts that are installed on your computer.
Call to action
As already stated before, ROI is the key driver for many businesses when it comes to their marketing strategy and if you are going to make that effort and spend time and money to create a highly presentable piece of printed media, you need to ensure the brochure or newsletter works hard to get you a return.
This means that in the same way that many blog posts online are designed with a conversion goal in mind, your printed media needs to include a call-to-action.
The ideal mix for your printed media should be something that is informative and engaging with a high degree of relevancy, but it should also employ a subtle but effective call-to-action message that encourages customers to start helping you to recoup your outlay costs.
Web and print do not have to compete, but should actually combine, so that you achieve better branding and a more effective level of communication with your customer.
John Sollars is the owner of Stinkyink.com, from its startup in 2002 to its standing as the #1 printer cartridge supplier in the UK. On the way he’s picked up a wealth of printer knowledge that is invaluable for cutting printing costs. He enjoys posting about his experiences on the web. Keep up with John’s posts on Twitter.