How to Combine Digital and Print for More Effective Marketing Campaigns

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.

8 Ways to Engage Local Customers Each and Every Day

Local small businesses live and die by their reputation among customers in a well-defined geographic area. If your local customers love your business and identify with your brand, a business can boom quickly and grow steadily. If they’re turned off by your brand identity, you’re likely to suffer at the hands of your only consumer base.

Getting into and staying in the good graces of local customers means not only presenting a business model and brand that’s appealing, but continuing to present that image. Forgetting about your business is almost as bad for your bottom line as disagreeing with it!

Staying in front of your local customers without becoming an annoyance can be tricky. Luckily, there are a few surefire ways to tread that line with impunity, keeping your business a local fan-favorite:

Explore Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a subtle, yet powerful way to stay on the local radar. If you’re a restaurant, invite local business reps to bring their lunch meetings to you. If you’re a print shop, volunteer your services for a local nonprofit. Influencer marketing is all about grassroots reputation building. Find people who will talk about your brand, and give them a reason to say positive things!

Get Involved In Your Community

If people see you as a fixture in the community, they’re going to support your business. Attend local events, donate to local groups and maintain your standing at the local level. Remember, every local impression you make is absorbed by your potential customer base.

Respond To Reviews

Whether positive or negative, it’s important to show your local customers you’re engaged. Responding on social platforms to reviews is a great way to stay in their world. Customers who take the time to leave a review or ask a question give you permission to engage them—capitalize on this in a simple, positive way and others will take note of it.

Advertise As A Service, Not Interruption

This is the essence of passive marketing. Display your daily specials on a chalkboard, leave your door open with a sales flyer at the entrance or offer a punch card for customer loyalty. These are all ways you can reach customers daily, without interrupting.

Improve Your Exterior Signage

As a local brick and mortar establishment, your exterior signage is going to do more for you than any digital ad. Make sure you’re making an investment in your primary storefront signage—it’ll translate into daily impressions that serve to keep you relevant within the local consumer class.

Consider Sponsorship

There are numerous opportunities for sponsorship with a community. From 5k runs to bike races, little league teams to car shows and more, these events need support. You’ll showcase the vested interest you have in local events and gain the respect of brand advocates who sing your praises. Moreover, if things like shirts or bumper stickers are part of the sponsorship, these items will continue to market for you long after the event has passed.

Support Local Radio

Local radio is a great marketing medium for your customer demographic—it spans only as far as your potential customers do! Having a radio spot here and there is a great way to get your name into the mix. Whether they’re sitting in traffic on the way home or scanning channels for something to listen to, customers are going to hear your appeal and remember it.

Experiment With Digital Ads

In the modern age of digital advertising, PPC ads can geographically targeted. Whether you’re advertising through Google or Facebook, targeting only your local crowd will make sure you’re getting face time each and every day. And, thanks to nominal costs, this blanketing method of advertising can also be the most cost-efficient.

Remember, your local customer pool is the only one you’ve got to work with: make sure you’re cultivating a brand that’s valued by them! Consider the above ways to stay relevant and popular among your local customers.

Want even more great ideas on how to get your business noticed in your local market? Come visit us, AlphaGraphics Middleton!

Why You Need Content Marketing to Build Customer Loyalty

In the age of fierce competition and high brand standards, building customer loyalty is key for small businesses. You want buyers to return to your company again and again because of what your brand has to offer. In order to obtain this loyalty, your brand will need to start by building customer trust.

Trust and loyalty are hallmarks of good relationships with your customer base. To accomplish these things, you need buyers to find value in your brand—not just in your products or services, but the company’s existence as a whole.

Unfortunately, it’s tougher than ever to have in-person interactions with customers, so you’ll need to shift your relationship-building efforts to new platforms and modes of communication. The best way to do this, and to build loyalty and trust along the way, is to use content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic approach to creating and delivering valuable, relevant content to your customers on a regular basis. Content marketing can take on many forms and be delivered through a wide range of platforms. Most importantly, content marketing is used to engage, excite, educate, and delight your customers in order to build those lasting, trusting relationships.

Why content marketing? The approach has a number of purposes:

  • Attract and engage customers: Posting content on a regular basis provides something for your current customers to engage with and enjoy, but it also provides more avenues for potential customers to find you and encourages them to give your brand a shot.
  • Demonstrate value: Customers don’t just turn to your brand for your products and services. They’re looking for value, whether in the form of entertainment, education, or expertise. Through content marketing, you can demonstrate your brand’s thought leadership and deliver consistent value.
  • Nourish and strengthen relationships: Creating engaging content helps to foster relationships with your customers, then continue to nourish and strengthen those relationships by remaining consistent and valuable.

A lot of brands misuse content marketing and are disappointed with their results. This is largely because of a misunderstanding of what, exactly, content marketing should be used for.

Content marketing is not about completing transactions. It’s not an ad that will close a sale or entice a customer to purchase right away. Rather than using content marketing to drive sales, use it to give your audience what they need and want. Whereas ads might turn people off or seem pushy, content marketing offers something interesting to the audience and positions your brand as an expert or an inspiration.

There are tons of ways to do this, from blog posts to videos to eBooks and infographics. Any type of useful, creative content can be incorporated into a content marketing plan.

For instance, if you run a clothing boutique, you might share photographed look books to inspire buyers’ fashion choices. If you run a plant nursery, you might create a series of videos teaching gardening basics. No matter what type of content you choose, it should inspire, teach, and engage a specific audience: your customers.

Using content marketing to build trust and loyalty

So, how do you use content marketing strategically to build trust and loyalty among your customers? There are a few ways you can approach it.

  • Be authentic: One of the most important things to remember about content marketing is that all your content—whether it’s a video series, webinar, or photos—should be authentic to your brand. Stick to the same messages, style, and voice you use in other aspects of marketing. You don’t want your content to come off as forced. Instead, it should feel familiar and approachable.
  • Tell a story: Nothing is quite as engaging as a good story, and storytelling is a great way to build emotional connections with your audience. Use content marketing to tell stories relating to your company. You could tell your brand’s story and history or even the story of a customer who found success by using your products and services.
  • Show how you do good: Is your business committed to giving back to the community? Does your brand support a particular cause, or do your employees volunteer for a local organization? Show customers how and why you choose to do good in this way. Done correctly, this type of content can build trust and loyalty by proving to the audience that you’re dedicated to more than just making money.
  • Humanize your brand: More and more customers are interested in learning about the faces behind their favorite brands. Content marketing gives you the perfect opportunity to humanize your brand by showing off the people behind your operations. For example, you could create employee spotlights or share photos of company events.
  • Allow customers to interact: The best content is that which allows customers to actually engage and interact with your brand. Try to incorporate interactive content into your marketing plan to open up a two-way conversation. Fun things like quizzes work well on social media, while webinars and workshops allow a smaller segment of your audience to get even more value from your company.

Give your customers what they need

You don’t want to make content just for the sake of making content. The most important aspect of content marketing is ensuring that you create and deliver content that’s tailored to your audience. Rather than push information and ads on customers to drive what you need and want, give them what they need and want. Doing this will show your customers that you have value to offer and will build more trust and loyalty.

To do this, you need to understand who your customers truly are. Drill down on their demographics and psychographics to determine the specific segments of your audience. Then, create content specifically for them. They should find everything you share useful and relevant.

The content for every brand will be different, but to narrow down on the focus your content should have, ask yourself:

  • What challenges do my customers have, and what solutions can my brand offer?
  • What topics are relevant to my audience?
  • What does my audience care about?
  • What can I teach customers that will add value to their lives?

Most importantly, don’t use content marketing to sell. Although your content should always be relevant to your brand and might even mention your products and services, its main focus should be on the engagement and value it delivers—not on your brand making a profit. When done correctly, content marketing will convince customers to check out your offerings on their own because they trust you and appreciate the value you have to offer.

Everyone pays more attention to content that’s tailored to their specific interests. By focusing your content marketing strategy around what your customers truly want, they’ll learn that your brand offers immense value. Continue using different types of content to nourish and strengthen the relationships you have with your customers; trust and loyalty are sure to follow, at which point you’ve created a customer for life.

Is a Social Media Presence Worth It for Your Business?

Is Social Media Right for Your Business?

These days, social media is everywhere. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter, either—it’s Snapchat and LinkedIn and Instagram and many more! Look around on the Internet and virtually everyone says your business needs a social media presence to stay relevant.

Certainly, many companies have used social networks to engage customers successfully. But does that mean you should do it too? Here are some pros and cons for small businesses who might be thinking about expanding their social presence!

Shows Corporate Responsibility

Social networking is an ideal way to show your customers that you care about the community. Any time your employees are involved in volunteering or otherwise engaging the community, you can share that with current and potential customers.

Localization of social media is key to having an impact. You can create content that is intimately linked to your locale, and your company, to show that you’re more than just a business.

Develop a Strong Brand Image

By being present in customers’ everyday lives, you have an opportunity to show them what makes your company stand apart from the competition. Emphasize the unique products and solutions you offer and leverage these intricacies to build your brand.

Through social networking, your store can become known for offering professional services and products of the highest caliber—not just because you say so, but because current and former customers say so publically as well.

Engage in Two-Way Communication

It has never been easier to talk directly to customers and potential customers. Responding to individual customer concerns on social networking sites demonstrates that you’re doing your best to put the customer first.

Remember that customers have no problem complaining via social media. Having a public forum for complaints is bad enough, but handling a customer complaint poorly could damage your reputation. Ensure that you handle every criticism—no matter how ridiculous—with respect.

Integrate Into Today’s Communication

Customers, especially millennials, expect your company to have a social media presence. It’s how customers learn your story. For better or worse, social media is the way people interact with the world now. Those who don’t embrace it risk being left behind, however those who embrace it poorly could actively be doing damage to their business’ reputation.

Requires Clear Goals and Metrics

One of the biggest problems with marketing through social media is that it’s time-consuming. You need to find out how best to reach your customers and keep close track of how engagement efforts are proceeding.

Without clear objectives for what you want social media to do—such as an increase in sales in certain sectors or engaging customers of a specific demographic—you risk wasting your precious time.

Before you start building a social media presence, ask yourself if it’s something you should be doing or if it’s a task best left for someone else. Consider the power that comes with a good social media presence and the damage that can come from a poorly maintained one. Above all, make sure you’re thinking critically about everything you do when it comes to social media, since this is the most transparent vehicle for your company to build a brand with.

The bottom line is that if you’re going to embrace social networking, you need a comprehensive strategy. You should look to enhance the brand while meeting specific goals for your own shop. Ultimately, each small business will have to decide if social media is right for them.

Don’t have time to manage your social media accounts? Find out how your AlphaGraphics Middleton marketing team can help you succeed on social media!