Print Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

Today’s guest post is by  of Printfirm.com

365.26: MagazinesThe rise of online marketing leads many small business owners to abandon print advertising in favor of less expensive web based options. Why waste money on pricey print ads when internet outreach costs mere pennies? There’s only one flaw in this logic: your customers still live in the physical world, so digital marketing only goes so far. Besides, it’s never wise to put all of your adspend into one avenue; research suggests that the most successful campaigns utilize a combination of digital media (emails, social media) and old fashioned ink. If you’re still skeptical about print media, read on to discover how traditional marketing materials impact ROI.

6 Small Biz Printing Ideas

Cost always ends up on the list of reasons to avoid printing. Magazine ads come with a premium price tag, but there are plenty of other affordable print products to add to your arsenal. Here are some common print alternatives in order from lowest to highest price:

  • Signage – Signage usually refers to vinyl banners, yard signs, roll up banners, etc. These items are similar to billboards on a smaller scale. Signs and banners are a way to invite everyone in the neighborhood into your store, including the folks just passing through. Raising awareness in a non-invasive way brings in more foot traffic and reminds your existing customers to stop in again. Signage certainly comes in handy at trade shows and outdoor events where you have a booth to decorate. Best of all, signage lasts a long time, so you get the most bang for your buck. Yard signs will run you about $20 and a 2′ x 3′ vinyl banner costs about the same price.
  • Business Cards – Business owners might not consider cards as advertising tools, but they help tell your company’s story in a compelling way. Business cards are considered a corporate staple, which means they lend small brands an instant boost in the credibility department. Business cards also give prospects something tangible to hang on to after a networking event or a trade show. Besides, there’s nothing more embarrassing than being asked for a card and having nothing to show for your life’s work. Business cards printing rates are pretty reasonable as long as you already have artwork. Custom designs require a larger investment; use free online templates if graphic art is beyond your financial means.
  • Stickers – Stickers are an easy way to reward your loyal customers and spread the word about your services in the process. Bumper stickers are very popular, but don’t feel boxed in with a rectangular shape. Consider circles, ovals, and custom shapes for a unique creative edge. You can always hand out stickers at your cash register or toss a couple in with a shipment as a fun way to thank customers for their orders. You can also put stickers on product packaging, strategically place them around town, or make a special set to promote a new product. If you really want to go the extra mile, run a sticker contest through your social media channels. Just make sure you follow all applicable rules on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The best part about stickers is probably the printing price, which starts at about $80 for 250 items.
  • Letterhead and Envelopes – Branded letterhead, including envelopes, is probably very low on your list of priorities. Nevertheless, company letterhead serves a similar purpose as business cards in that it makes you look more professional. In the world of push button communication, a hand written note on official letterhead will go a long way in building long term relationships with clients. I know I was impressed when Vocus (PR Web) included a personal thank you along with a complimentary copy of their latest marketing guide. Letterhead shows that you care enough about your appearance to pay attention to the finer details. That’s the kind of impression you want to make on everyone you encounter. Letterhead printing prices vary between 1 color and full color starting at approximately $75.00 for 500 sheets of paper. Matching envelopes will run about $77 for the same quantity.
  • Postcards/Flyers – Targeting is one of the biggest drawbacks to online marketing. When you’re promoting Facebook posts or using AdWords, you usually end up paying for tons dead traffic. These platforms may allow for geo-targeting, but precision carries heftier fees. Postcards and flyers can be mailed to homes in your area directly or dropped off at nearby coffee shops, transit centers, and newsstands. The design is key to capturing the audience’s attention. Instead of simply introducing your company, provide an exclusive incentive that the receipts must mention to redeem. Pre-designed business flyers will run you around $15.00 for a set of 50, which is nearly as much as a single click for ads featuring highly competitive keywords.
  • Brochures – Brochures may not be the best fit for every brick and mortar business, but certain industries see strong results with these impressive lead generators. Restaurants, law firms, insurance agencies, real estate agents, and other service based sectors find brochures tell their tales through an elegant presentation. Brochures work well as direct mailers, at trade shows, and make excellent centerpieces for your lobby. Aesthetics drive brochure campaigns, so concentrate on graphics that really speak to your target market. Tailor the content to the buyer i.e. show the prospect what you will do for him or her and write sales-oriented copy. Flesh out the text with compelling headlines and summarize each page with easy to read bullet points. Most importantly, complete the piece with an unmistakable call to action that creates a sense of urgency. Otherwise you’re not going to achieve your goals. Business brochures are about $38 for 50, so it’s best to pay for a professional design to ensure positive ROI.

How to Measure Print ROI

Speaking of ROI, critics charge that print advertising lacks the detailed analytics of online reporting systems. Don’t let the naysayers fool you because there are lots of ways to track a print campaign. You’ll know your ad is working as soon as someone walks in the door holding a flyer or a brochure. Other indicators are spikes in type in or direct traffic to your website. When customers see your URL on printed materials, they tend to go directly to their browsers instead of searching for the business name. Organic searches with your company name go along with this as some people prefer to see a variety of information from several sources.

Are you still skeptical about the value of print media? Ask your questions in the comments below!

About the Author: Katherine Tattersfield is a professional copywriter and social media manager at PrintFirm.com. She fell into online marketing in 2010, and built her career around this dynamic field. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Northridge (Summa). When she’s not writing, Katherine enjoys photography, skateboarding, graphic design, and chasing her dog around with her husband. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus.

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