How to Drive Local Business with Print Advertising

How to Drive Local Business with Print Advertising

By Janine Perri

When it comes to marketing advice, digital channels tend to get all the hype. However, with the proliferation of pop up ads, fraudulent websites, and malware, consumers often view digital content with more hesitation than the old tried-and-true print advertising. Research indicates that print advertising is far from dead, and is, in fact, a particularly useful channel for small businesses to have in their marketing mix due to its highly targeted nature and ability to drive more local, personal connections than large-scale digital campaigns.

Print advertising offers unique opportunities for local businesses to attract new customers and compete with larger businesses in the area (or nationally) while keeping costs down. Here are a few ways that local businesses can incorporate print advertising into their broader marketing strategy and how to maximize those marketing dollars.

Print Advertising: A Primer

To start, let’s define what types of marketing campaigns comprise “print advertising.” As the name suggests, print advertising is any collateral that exists in print form. This might include a dedicated ad in a physical magazine or newspaper, a direct mail piece such as a postcard or a catalog, or even a billboard along a major highway or posters in a subway station. Print advertising is often contrasted with digital marketing, which is composed of any marketing material that can be viewed on a computer or mobile device. Digital advertising might include desktop banners, mobile ads, social media marketing, email newsletters, and more. Although print advertising is generally seen as more popular with older demographics and digital marketing is seen as more popular with millennials and Generation Z, both print and digital appeal to a broad range of ages and demographics.

Small businesses can target their audience with publications unique to their region, town, or city and then target again with their niche.

Large-scale, national brands can be overwhelmed by options for print advertising, especially when it comes to magazines and newspapers. Broader reach often correlates to higher prices, and a full-page color ad in a national publication can quickly zap the marketing budget. Local businesses have a distinct advantage because they can geotarget more easily or find niches in their community. A local jewelry shop, dry cleaner, or restaurant is not going to advertise in Forbes but might want to buy ad space in the local pennysaver.

To hone in on their target audiences, small businesses can look for specialty newspapers or magazines in the area. For example, most regions will have small publications tailored to parents and families, as well as industry-driven publications like business journals. In addition to its newspaper and digital channels, the San Francisco Chronicle has smaller print magazines highlighting local sports teams, wine country, and recipes from Bay Area restaurants that provide ample opportunities to reach audiences interested in these topics.

Also, many small publications offer discounted rates for buying ad space in multiple issues. An advertising representative from the publication may also be able to provide an editorial calendar and provide recommendations for the client if they’re trying to target an audience relevant to any of the upcoming themes or special editions (like “Back to School,” “Winter Holidays,” or “Food and Wine”).

Print directories, by contrast, tend to be more evergreen and usually come out once a year. For businesses looking to advertise in a phonebook or directory, the Yellow Pages is still a reliable source for business listings and is a favorite tool among older generations and in rural communities. If these demographics are in the target audience, it is well worth considering this channel, too.

Use eye-catching, highly targeted direct mail.

Though print advertising usually calls to mind glossy pages in magazines or half-page ads in newspapers, those direct mail pieces sent to consumers’ doorsteps are also a form of print advertising. Direct mail might take the form of a “save the date” postcard, a flyer, or a catalog detailing the business’s offerings. In 2017, 42% of people read catalogs they received in the mail, a far higher “open rate” than many email campaigns.

Direct mail has, even more, targeting options than a print ad in a newspaper or magazine. When using direct mail, a small business can further target its list by only including recipients who have opted in to receive mailings. It is possible to add this as an option when customers sign up for an email list, or a business representative or store associate can ask consumers to provide their mailing address and opt-in at the point of service.

Aside from proper targeting, there are a few tips and tricks to increase the chances of your recipients reading your direct mail. For example, don’t overwhelm the recipient with too much information on the piece of mail. Make sure it’s easy to scan, using large fonts for readability, and incorporate images or infographics to communicate additional information in a visually appealing manner. Similarly, adding a personal touch like a person’s full name in color on direct mail can increase response rates by 135%.

Don’t just advertise; provide value.

Consumers should always “get” something out of print advertising, such as desired information about the business’s product or a discount. Print coupons are highly valuable to consumers and are an excellent tool to bring people into the store. Forty-eight percent of consumers prefer to receive a coupon in the mail (as opposed to another channel like email) and 91% use coupons they receive in the mail.

The more the “value” translates to consumers saving time or money, the more likely they are to engage with print advertising and patronize the business.

Include a call to action and contact information.

Politicians who send postcards in the mail are looking for a vote. Fundraisers that send out flyers are usually looking for donations. Small businesses are generally looking to find new leads and acquire new customers. Any of these goals would require a call-to-action to show the target audience the desired next step.

If the goal is to increase in-store purchases, have customers bring in their direct mail piece or mention that they saw the business’ ad in a specific publication for a special discount. If advertising an event, have a dedicated RSVP available online and/or include an RSVP form with a self-addressed envelope. A small business should make it clear that it is inviting potential customers to engage, and any marketing materials created in service to this end should always include a call-to-action.

Furthermore, include contact information such as a phone number and email address, as well as a website.

Use print advertising in tandem with digital marketing.

Digital marketing may not have replaced print advertising, but it can enhance it. Brick-and-mortar stores and small businesses should have a website that the print advertising can direct consumers back to for more information. Print pieces can also include links to social media, or at least show the icons (such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to show consumers where the business is active online.

Similar to adding a URL on a print piece, QR codes on direct mail, posters, and flyers enable consumers to scan the code with their smartphones and directly visit the website, without needing to type it into the menu bar or remember a URL to look it up later.

Email newsletters can also include an opt-in for consumers to receive direct mail such as catalogs and flyers, reinforcing the idea that all marketing channels are connected.

Measure the success of print advertising and use those insights for future campaigns.

In general, it is easier to measure the success of a digital campaign because you can track all traffic and analytics. Print advertising can also be measured, but it takes a bit more creativity.

When directing consumers to the website, use a personalized URL to specifically track the print ad as a traffic source, rather than lump it in with digital marketing campaigns too. While the general homepage for the business’s website may be BayAreaDryClean.com, it is possible to create a separate, personalized URL such as VisitBayAreaDryClean.com that goes to a landing page and then redirects to the website’s homepage. Measuring the traffic from this URL in Google Analytics shows how many people visited the landing page specific to the print campaign, if the users continued from there to visit the rest of the website, and if the print campaign resulted in a conversion.

In addition to this digital method, ask customers, either in person or through a survey provided through email or at the point of service, how they found the business. Creating a monthly report of all traffic sources and tracking progress over time will help determine which channels are working best and which should be tweaked or eliminated.

Most importantly, all marketing campaigns should integrate web, social, and print and work together to solidify the brand’s message in the mind of the consumer. In addition to increasing revenue, a strategic marketing campaign can also help small businesses strengthen their bond with their local community.

 

Go to our website:    www.ncmalliance.com

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