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Some of the web's power hitters continue to take advantage of a powerful marketing strategy that many web-based companies ignore: print marketing. Small web-based businesses, in particular, often fail to recognize the enormous sales and growth potential afforded by print marketing. There is a good reason stalwarts such as Microsoft, Apple, and Nike continue to invest in print marketing: It works, and it works well. All you need is to understand a few basic tenets about print marketing and start brainstorming to come up with some great print marketing ideas that will help propel your web-based company into the future.
Why print marketing?
Before you can take advantage of the following print marketing ideas, you should understand why print marketing is a good idea to begin with. Print marketing has three major benefits for web-based companies.
The first is targeting. Print marketing allows you to target your unique audience and vastly increase your chances of making a sale. The second is competition, or lack thereof. Since so many of your web-based competitors are focusing solely on online advertising strategies, you can leapfrog their efforts by going right to your customers. Print marketing offers a more personal experience for your customers that means they'll give your postcards, brochures and other materials more attention. When a potential customer holds your postcard, there is only one ad on the page (yours) and no distractions. When a potential customer is surfing the web, he faces tons of distractions (such as editorial content) and several ads on the same page.
Finally, print marketing is economical. Even though your initial investment to design, print and send, say, 10,000 postcards is more than the cost for 10,000 web impressions, your ability to reach your target audience in a more personal setting means you will yield a higher return on investment – that is to say, with the right mailing list, offer and design you can easily make more money by sending 10,000 postcards than by buying 10,000 impressions.
Print marketing idea 1: Postcard to website
Postcard to website has been proven time and again as one of the most effective and economical ways to market web-based companies. This direct-mail marketing strategy is simple: Send postcards with a special offer to a qualified list. Include a time-limited call to action that motivates customers to visit your website to redeem your special offer. Once they're on your site, make sure you collect information such as a coupon code so you can track your postcard's response rate and an email address so you can likewise market with that medium.
Print marketing idea 2: Poster to website
Poster marketing is another great way to get customers to your website. Instead of having a mailing list, you need to know where your target audience goes and secure permission to plaster your posters there. This is typically easy, especially if you're willing to pay for a little ad space. The same principles of offer, call to action and tracking apply here as they do to postcards.
Print marketing idea 3: Sticker to website
It is unfortunate that many companies vastly underestimate the power of sticker marketing. Stickers not only brand your company – on anything, anywhere – they can motivate action by delivering a special offer coupled with your URL. The key to successful sticker marketing is to make them appeal to your target audience so they'll use them and to effectively distribute them to your audience. Events, direct-mail packages, sales meetings, partner packaging and other opportunities make this process easier than it sounds.