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Many believe that online marketing has overshadowed print marketing in recent years, but this assessment is only in perception. Sure, the advent of online marketing has changed the game - this was inevitable. Still, print marketing remains a viable solution to market products and services.
The reality - and the irony - is that precisely because so many companies have diverted budgets to online marketing strategies, print marketing today is a more powerful medium than ever for promoting products and services. When more and more advertisers clamor for online marketing reach, they drive prices for online marketing services (supply and demand) and make it easier than ever for you to reach customers with print marketing campaigns.
Direct mail, in particular, is well served by the online marketing industry. Postcards, brochures, catalogs and other materials do not replace websites and e-mail campaigns; rather, they augment those efforts by generating interest in the first place. When you go head-to-head against online search engine marketing competition, you're often a single link in a sea of others. However, when you're the only postcard in the mailbox promoting an incredible offer to the right person, they'll skip the research phase and go directly to your website to take the next step in the purchasing process.
Online and offline branding
Your online branding efforts are exponentially more powerful when they're accompanied by offline branding efforts. Print posters, door hangers, flyers, brochures, rack cards, business cards, calendars, and other materials with staying power to brand your company offline. When customers see your company online, you'll have instant credibility because they've heard of you.
Print marketing isn't limited to a print-to-web format. Web-to-print can be just as effective. Try having your website visitors sign up to receive an informational guide or booklet that's directly related to your business, or include a sign-up form that lets customers subscribe to a print newsletter. E-mail newsletters are great marketing tools, but their relative inaccessibility (you have to be in front of a computer) and delete-ability lessen their influence. Print newsletters, on the other hand, are hard to ignore, and when they're filled with excellent content they're often read by recipients. Use newsletters to brand your company and stay connected with customers, which will help build loyalty and long-term relationships.
The new ways to leverage print marketing for success really aren't so new themselves, but the addition of the online element to your print marketing strategy is. Companies that choose one or the other risk losing market share, while companies that work both online and offline marketing techniques in tandem are primed for success. If you want to propel your business ahead of your competitors, you will be wise to take advantage of print marketing opportunities that they're missing. Remember that marketing is an investment with a measurable return - so hone your direct-marketing skills and get busy selling your products and services with a multi-front marketing campaign.