Print is dead! Long live print!
For a long time now, there’s been talk about the demise of print, especially print marketing materials. After all, websites and digital media are quick and easy to update without the associated costs of making changes to a printed brochure or leaflet.
Certainly, when I started my copywriting career, it was all about print. I spent three years in-house and then a further four or five years freelance writing brochures, annual reports, leaflets, prospectuses, postcards, banners and everything in between. Then the print side of my business went quiet.
But is print really dead? I don’t think so and here’s five reasons why.
1. Print marketing gets your message heard
As customers’ inboxes become increasingly crowded with marketing messages, it can be a challenge to get heard above the noise. Even the most compelling of subject lines can get lost in the crowd.
While I wouldn’t suggest that you ditch your digital marketing, I do think there’s a strong case for investing in print sometimes.
For my education clients, for example, print is still a hugely effective tool. Potential undergraduates want to sit down with prospectuses and make side by side comparisons about courses, resources, facilities and accommodation. They want to be able to check one programme against another or thumb through printed pages that show them in full colour glory what their life will look like at their chosen university.
It’s the same for companies selling products – catalogues and product guides still have their place because they’re tangible, you can write notes in them, turn down corners of pages and interact with them in a way that just isn’t possible online.
2. Print marketing offers something digital can’t
I’ve had quite a few brochure projects to work on recently, each for clients that are aiming towards the high-end of their niche markets. There was a real pleasure in seeing my words set against vibrant colours and gorgeous designs. These clients understand that being able to give their customers a brochure that they could take away and enjoy at their convenience would help them stand out from the crowd.
Although interesting finishes, high quality paper and striking colour schemes do have their price, a brochure can be a great way of creating marketing that your customers want to keep and refer back to time and again.
3. It’s great for your credibility
It also helps to establish credibility by showing that yours is a business that operates in the real world as well as exclusively online. A well finished, gorgeous brochure can help you communicate your professionalism and boost your reputation.
4. Print marketing is harder to ignore
If you’re like me, I bet most of your snail mail these days is bills and takeaway menus. While I get HUNDREDS of marketing emails every day, I always open and read my post. I can’t help it, I experience a little frisson of excitement when an envelope addressed to me pops through the door, even more so if it’s handwritten or has a little handwritten note inside.
Print just isn’t as easy to ignore as email marketing. After all, an email is easily deleted.
I have a friend who is a busy marketing manager. Although she files all email enquiries from potential suppliers, she says it’s the print marketing that grabs her attention because it’s unexpected and she can pore over it during her coffee break away from the computer.
5. You can add a personal touch
Of course, print marketing doesn’t just have to be about brochures. Even a postcard or a hand written card thanking a client for their business can help you stand out as running a business that goes the extra mile for its customers.
Once a customer has made their purchase, follow it up with a thank you note, seasonal brochures or discount vouchers. Ask them for their date of birth when they sign up to your mailing list and then surprise them with a card on their birthday or at Christmas. These personal touches are all excellent ways to make a lasting connection with your valued customers.
Print may have been struggling to breathe for a while but it’s far from dead. I, for one, am enjoying its new lease of life. Have you made use of print recently? What did you do? Do you think it paid off? I’d love to hear your experiences in the ‘comments’ section below or over on my Facebook page.