We may not use the radio as we did before TV, and we may not use TV as we did before Netflix, but history shows that a new medium doesn’t necessarily cancel out older media. If you still use magazine and newspaper ads, you’ll find that you can get a lot more bang for your buck if you support your print marketing with digital marketing.
Why are you using print?
We hear plenty of reasons for continuing to use magazine ads, billboards, and other forms of print. Here in Northwest Arkansas, we often hear that “everybody” reads a particular local magazine or newspaper. We know that this isn’t literally true, but it’s a strong reason for choosing print.
It’s also not literally true that “nobody reads magazines and newspapers any more.” In fact, 51% of respondents in a recent survey had read two or more magazines in the month before the survey was conducted. Older, more affluent people are more likely to read print magazines.
Even newspapers, the least successful form of print besides phone books, still exist and are being read. Though their readership continues to decline sharply each year, newspapers are far from dead. In fact, 20% of Americans in a recent study said that they often get news from physical newspapers. Older people are more likely to read newspapers in physical form. If your target market includes older people, print makes sense.
There may also be a prestige aspect to print advertising. We saw a young man in an experiment we were doing with print advertising nod over an advertisement and say, “They look legit.” This is an anecdote, not a scientific observation, but you may have had a similar experience yourself. Print advertising is an expensive investment, relative to digital ads, so your use of print could make you look more upmarket, if not more legit.
Digital marketing supports print.
If you follow up a direct mail campaign with an associated email campaign, you can expect to see 50% higher results.
Nielsen’s most recent annual global survey of trust in advertising found that 58% of consumers trusted magazine ads, and 60% trusted newspaper ads. These are fairly high numbers — above half — and higher than the trust level for TV ads.
However, consumers have much greater trust in company websites. The only thing more trusted than a brand website is a recommendation from a friend or family member.
So you should include your web address in all print ads. Give readers a reason to go to your website — “Download our free information packet” or “Book your first appointment online” — and you’ll get even more traction. Certainly, if you have photogenic products to sell, make sure to direct readers to Pinterest or Instagram.
If prestige is part of the equation for you, add the print connection to your website as well. If your eyeglass frames are “As seen in Glamour Magazine,” flaunt it, even if you didn’t buy the ad.
Track your results.
It’s hard to track the results of print ads. Circulation numbers don’t guarantee that any particular number of people actually saw or read your ad.
Make it easier to judge your ROI by providing an online destination specific to your ad. Add a page to your website with a special URL, and put that URL in your ad. Go against our usual SEO advice to keep your special page from turning up in search.
The visitors to this page, which you will be able to see in your web analytics reports, will tell you how effective your print ad has been. Up the ante by offering a discount or some other conversion point. The number of people who go to your special page and the number that download your special content or make a purchase will give you useful data for your next marketing strategy decision.