POST WRITTEN BY Expert Panel, Forbes Agency Council
Print advertising is not dead. In fact, some people prefer print to digital. According to a study by MarketingSherpa, when asked which advertising channels they trust most when making a purchasing decision, 82% of respondents said they trusted print ads in newspapers and magazines.
Not only can printed ads help with building brand trust, but print advertising can also help a brand reach a wider audience. But how can you create a standout print ad that also complements your digital campaign? How can you make sure your printed ads are effective?
To help answer those questions, 14 members of the Forbes Agency Council offer their advice for the most effective ways to approach print advertising.
1. Break The Pattern
Create a print ad that veers away from the patterns surrounding it. If a publication features mostly text, include bold colors and images in your ad. If a magazine contains primarily photographs and art, your ad should emphasize content and blank spaces. Tie your print and digital campaigns together using the same creative concept to ensure consumers recognize your brand across both mediums. – Timothy Nichols, ExactDrive, Inc
2. Keep The Branding Consistent
Keep the branding consistent across all mediums. Whether someone sees your ad while flipping through a magazine or surfing the web, make your campaign instantly recognizable. Disruptive print campaigns need to speak directly to consumers. Including a recognizable hashtag on your print campaign can help tie together offline and online campaigns. –Bernard May, National Positions
3. Use Your Best Posts As A Guide
The most powerful social posts work just like great print ads — compelling visuals paired with insightful headlines. Comb through your best-performing posts. Find what they have in common and use that to inform your print work. Uncover which visuals and headlines were most relevant for different audiences, and use those insights to vary your messaging in a relevant way across publications. – Jess Cook, TMV Group
4. Focus On Targeting, Offer, And Design
As with digital, the best print ads succeed when you do your research, target smartly and then back it up with a great design. For example, we just created a print piece for one of our higher-end clients. We researched the marketplace, decided what the ideal driving distance was for a real client, targeted homes that had a combined income of over $90K and created a nice piece. It worked like a charm. – David Kley, Web Design and Company
5. Make Your Print Ads Interactive
Print ads don’t have to just sit there and look pretty anymore. By using a combination of QR codes and customized mobile phone apps, a print ad can create interactivity between the brand and the consumer. Merging the real world to the digital world is an enhanced brand experience that most people will find memorable and will want to share with friends and family. – Henry Kurkowski, One WiFi
6. Keep It Short
Keep the copy to a minimum. You only have a few seconds to capture the reader’s attention, which you won’t accomplish by inserting whole paragraphs into the ad. You should have an eye-catching headline, a couple of sentences of copy, and clean visuals that tell a cohesive story about your brand or the solutions you offer. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
7. Create A Call To Action
Print ads that create a call to action and provide benefits both offline and online are the ones that are typically most successful. They will stand out and typically be more memorable, as a person has a reason to hold onto it and not throw it away. – Jordan Edelson, Appetizer Mobile LLC
8. Remember The ‘Rule Of Seven’
It takes at least seven exposures for a consumer to act on a message. When you identify your consumer’s journey to purchase, build a campaign that connects with the target when they are online and offline. Using print and digital together to tell the campaign story is not only cost-efficient, but also incredibly effective when the consumer journey is clear. – Katie Schibler Conn, KSA Marketing + Partnerships
9. Share Only A Part Of The Story
It may sound unorthodox, but in my experience, leading with a print piece that ties directly into a campaign interactive generates traffic. Make sure the print piece doesn’t let too much out of the bag; don’t tell the whole story. It has to be a tease and hook your audience. Otherwise, what’s the point of going any further? If the print piece says: “Go here and win,” then I know it’s probably a sweepstake, which may lose me. –Paul E. Benninghove, Phalanx Digital Inc.
10. Leverage The Power Of QR Codes
In my opinion, one of the easiest ways to have your print ad complement one of your digital campaigns is to leverage the power of QR codes. All smartphones and tablets are equipped with the capability to scan a QR code and lead a potential customer to wherever you need to take them online. It really is a seamless way to link your real-world ads with your digital presence. – Matthew Santos, Foxtail Marketing
11. Know Your Audience
The best way to leverage print and digital together is one of the most obvious but, surprisingly, often overlooked parts of advertising strategy: know your audience. Know who they are, where they are and what they want. The best creative ever won’t move the needle if it’s in the wrong place. If you don’t know, do your research. Research can tell you who, what, where and how to speak to them. – Carey Kirkpatrick, CKP
12. Use Augmented Reality
To stand out, you need to create a campaign where traditional media meets modern media, and that’s where augmented reality (AR) can come to the rescue. Incorporating AR technology to print advertising can enhance your audience’s experience and create a viral sensation. Print advertising is indeed not dead, but implementing AR to print can do wonders and complement the digital campaign. – Cagan Sean Yuksel,GRAFX CO.
13. Align With A Single Message
If you are running a print campaign that complements a digital one, it is important that both campaigns are aligned with a single message so that the audience gets it from multiple places, adding to their list of touchpoints. Additionally, even print ads can and should have a call to action. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
14. Make Your Efforts Work Together
This isn’t just about standing out in the context of where the ad is found, the right wording, or the tech/AR/digital or amplification. This is about using print as a touchpoint for truly integrated marketing. Make your images, message, tech and amplification work together in a single ad that still feels simple, classic and incentivizes your consumer to pay attention. – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan