Just a few years ago people were shouting "Print is dead" from the rafters. These premature prognosticators couldn't have been further from the truth as online and print marketing are melding into cohesive multi-channel campaigns that prove to be more effective than either on its own. Even the largest corporations that were founded online have stepped into the print marketing arena to drive traffic to their sites. The following are a few ways companies are combining online media and printing to further their business success.
Get a great mailing list
You can sell the right product to the right person, every time. That's why high-quality leads are so important, and it is the reason why many online-based companies are incorporating the proven return on investment of direct-mail postcards, brochures and catalogs to bring highly targeted traffic to their websites. Let's say you own a website that sells a better mousetrap, and you need to get the word out. You might go online, define a targeted mailing list using a tool such as PsPrint's mailing list maker, and then design a postcard with a great time-limited coupon code for the mousetrap - redeemable by entering a name and e-mail address on your site. You mail the postcard to the people on your mailing list; if it's a good list then you'll get a good response rate. They log on, enter their e-mail address, and buy the better mousetrap - and you have a sale and an e-mail lead.
Ask for mailing info on your website
You can also ask for mailing information on your website to get leads for direct-mail campaigns and build your own list. Many sites offer free downloads, discount coupons and other incentives to help them collect mailing addresses. If your site does have a better mousetrap, and someone signs up for the free coupon, you have a very interested customer who just needs a little help taking that final step. Send them a postcard!
Try a booklet
Postcards aren't the only direct mailers you can send to bring people to your site. One ingenious search engine and ad-serving company recently sent a booklet that explained the ins and outs of effective search engine marketing to customers who had signed up to their service but had low success rates. The thought process was likely that these people were discouraged, but if they knew how to profit from the system they would come back and purchase more advertising.
Freebies such as these are great, but even if you don't have the budget for a large booklet mailing, a simple 4-inch by 6-inch or jumbo 6-inch by 11-inch postcard will do just as well if you give away the free information on your site in exchange for a coupon code.
Banners, signs, brochures and catalogs: These are all incorporated by online companies to drive traffic and sales; just as websites are utilized to define targeted mailing lists. The bottom line is that print marketing traditionally has a much higher average response rate than online marketing, and this is a figure that goes up as you fine-tune your target niche. Direct mailers are more personal than online advertisements because the customer holds postcards and catalogs in their hands, engages in the content and isn't distracted by some blinking light on the top of the page. Be creative and come up with your own online media and print marketing campaign. Chances are that if you use the two to complement one another, you'll end up with a better response and higher return on investment than you ever expected.