Digital marketing has largely been adopted as a key marketing strategy for many businesses, but that doesn’t mean print is dead. In fact, print and digital marketing can work together to create more effective campaigns.
By using print as an extension of your digital marketing efforts, your campaigns can go even farther than with digital alone. Print can help drive traffic to your digital channels. What’s more, combining print and digital allows for additional touchpoints in the customer journey, helping to boost brand awareness and improve engagement. Print not only adds more touchpoints, but it also adds variety and memorability to your campaigns to help your brand stand out.
Print marketing comes in many forms, including direct mail, brochures and fliers, sales materials like fact sheets and catalogs, print ads, and even stationery and business cards. Signage is also an important aspect of print marketing. By using these tangible items to reinforce the messages you send on digital channels, you can add authenticity and trust to your campaigns and make a greater impact.
Combining Social Media and Print Marketing
Social media is a necessary component of digital marketing. Through your social channels, you can have conversations, build relationships, and get customers more engaged with your brand. Using print marketing strategically can bolster these efforts.
One of the ways to combine print and social media is to use printed materials to direct consumers to your social channels. Include your social media handles on all printed marketing collateral, so customers and leads know where to find you online. You might even take it one step further and advertise exclusive content within your print pieces to gain new followers on a particular social platform. In that case, set up an autoresponder on your brand’s account for when someone new follows you, and share the content piece within that automated direct message.
Printed materials can also prompt consumers to join the conversation on your social platforms. Include a unique hashtag on printed collateral and encourage customers to use it online.
It can also work the other way—social media can bolster the effectiveness of your print campaigns. Social channels offer a wealth of consumer data beyond basic demographics, such as likes and interests, that you can use to create highly targeted print materials or direct mail campaigns. You might find success using this data to entice leads with targeted freebies like content or giveaway items.
Combining Websites, Email, and Print Marketing
Your website and email lists are two other crucial components of your digital marketing strategy. Current and potential customers use your website and emails to learn more about your brand and stay up to date. These, too, can be integrated with print marketing for maximum effect.
Use print marketing to drive traffic to key landing pages on your website. If you want to recruit email subscribers, add a QR code or a shortened URL that takes users directly to your sign-up page. You can also do this for product pages or digital catalogs; showcase a few popular products on the printed piece, then direct buyers to the full catalog or an order page. If you’re offering a giveaway, the same rules apply. Advertise the giveaway on the printed piece and include a QR code or URL that takes the consumer to a page where they can redeem the gift.
Two-part content campaigns also work really well with print and digital marketing. Include a teaser for a piece of content on your printed material, and direct customers to your website or email newsletter to view the rest.
Leveraging Digital and Print Technology
What’s exciting about the combination of digital and print marketing is that advancements in technology have allowed for greater interactivity between the print and digital worlds.
One example of this is personalization. Variable data printing, which allows variations in text, colors, graphics, and images based on the recipient, lets you personalize almost all printed materials. This extends to things like personalized URLs—when added to print pieces, PURLs direct customers to landing pages that are highly targeted and customized to them. You can even use PURLs to pre-fill a lead’s information into online forms.
Print goes farther using new technology like augmented reality, which blends the physical and digital worlds with just a smartphone. Similar to adding QR codes, you can use AR in print marketing to send the consumer to a landing page, form, video, or app; it can even allow them to make a phone call or send an email.
But AR can do much more to enhance the digital experience of your printed pieces. It can reveal hidden text, images, or graphics on your mailers when looked at on a screen. It can turn flat images on sales sheets into 3D models and make them interactive. You can even use AR to launch animations, videos, and sound effects to create more immersive campaigns.
Creating the Most Effective Blended Marketing Campaigns
Of course, when combining digital and print marketing efforts, you still want to adhere to marketing best practices. Most notably, make sure the content you send through any medium is relevant and valuable to the audience. Using print and digital together allows you to take this a step further and really personalize your content for a highly targeted campaign.
All of your materials—online and offline—should include a clear call to action. If you’re using print to drive customers to an online location, make the offer and directions clear and easy to follow, or you might not see as much engagement as you’d hoped for.
Also pay attention to the design of your printed and digital pieces and how they work together. Link graphics, colors, and fonts across mediums for brand cohesion. Make sure your print pieces draw attention, so consumers want to check out your digital offerings. Using special embellishments like foil, embossing, glossy or matte coatings, or die and laser cuts on your printed materials can grab and hold the customer’s attention enough to direct them online.
Finally, tracking your campaigns is extremely important. Consider how you will measure ROI for both printed and digital items. QR codes and custom URLs can help you track how many people are following through on the print-to-digital jump. You might also track usage of a unique discount code provided only on printed marketing materials to see how effectively your print campaigns contributed to purchases or conversions.
Print is just as important in your marketing campaigns as ever, but with today’s technological enhancements, print will serve a different purpose as a tangible extension of your digital campaigns. By combining your digital campaigns with print in unique and engaging ways, you’ll be able to amplify your marketing efforts and see better results.