Marketing Secrets: Tips for Advertising with Print

by / ⠀Startup Advice / April 21, 2013

Maximize Print MarketingPut down your phones, stop tweeting and sharing for a moment, and let us talk about traditional marketing.  Print marketing may have taken a hit with all the advancements of smart phones, tablets, and the internet, but it has proven through the years that it is still effective and continuously relevant. Even now, millions of postcards, flyers, business cards, are still in circulation all over the world and bringing business to mega corporations and small businesses alike, and it doesn’t take much to realize that print is still a very valuable marketing tool. All you need is an understanding of how modern marketing operates as well as a few simple tips.

Know all your options.

Take out a pen and piece of paper and try to list down all of the different printed materials that you know of. Billboards, newspapers, posters, inserts, magazine, cereal boxes, soda cans, T-shirts, etc. Chances are you’d be sitting down listing things all night, and that is a testament to just how extensive printing really is. Of course, knowing all of the different options is only the first step, and sooner or later you would need to narrow down your choices and choose the alternatives that would be of most use to you. Hotels and spas, for example, use a lot of flyers to list down all of their services and hand out brochures to wow and entice customers with beautiful pictures. On the other hand, restaurants have a lot more use for discount coupons and personalized place mats.

Quick tip: There is nothing wrong with using flyers, posters, and other common prints even if everybody else is doing it. You just have to make sure to creatively set yourself apart.

Team up with the right printer.

Of course, the only thing that would limit your print marketing efforts aside from imagination is your ability to produce the prints that you have in mind. Most companies and small businesses do not have the equipment or the expertise for anything but the simplest of prints, and that’s where printing companies such as come into the picture. Using a variety of techniques from offset printing to digital printing and even to 3D printing, professional commercial printers can handle even the most complex of jobs. However, the dilemma is looking for the right printer; not all printers are the same, and in an ideal world you need to find one that guarantees speed, quality, and low costs.

Quick tip: Take a look at samples and previous projects of the different printing companies you are looking to get an idea of where you can get what you want. When you’ve chosen a printer to order from, always make sure to check the proofs to avoid unnecessary mistakes in printing.

Take advantage of the tangibility of print. 

The difference between an actual letter and an email is that you can physically hold on in your hand while you can only look at the other through a screen. And while everything nowadays is all about mobility and less waste, there is something different with something that you can touch, feel, and smell as opposed to mere pixels. A lot of people, for example, have created some very unique and memorable business cards such as business cards that can be used as puzzles, wrenches, and even refrigerator magnets. This shows resourcefulness and inventiveness while at the same time highlighting the fact that all digital business cards are useful for are to look pretty and to burn battery life. There is no changing the fact that printed materials take up space and can be bulky; what you have to do is to turn that around so that it works in your favour.

Quick tip: If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas, ask yourself what could convince you to keep a print in your pocket instead of throwing it away in the trash.    

Track your efforts.

It is all well and good to print up a storm if your budget can handle it, but only if your efforts are turning in results to make the costs worth it. If you don’t evaluate the response to your print advertisements then you are basically shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. It is as simple as putting in a survey or a number to call on your prints and tracking those customers who respond to your call to action, and more important than that, it is about improving your strategy based on the data that you are able to gather. Evaluation and response measurements is something that every business and company should be doing, that is if the end goal is an efficient and effective print marketing strategy.

Quick tip: Keep good records on the data gathered so that you are able to see shifts in trends and are able to compensate for that.

Integrate with digital.

These days, everyone has some sort of gadget at their disposal, and anyone who refuses to believe that or take advantage of that is trapping himself inside a cave. Digital marketing is the new fad because new doors are being opened by better technologies each day, but it is not necessarily replacing print marketing entirely. Instead of thinking of it as an either-or situation, it is better to make the best out of both worlds and try to make the offline methods work with the online methods. Some examples are putting your Twitter handle or Facebook account into your prints or add QR codes for smart phone users to have fun with. There’s no use fighting technology, but there’s no reason to turn our backs on methods that have been and are still useful to us either.

Quick tip: Where you place prints, such as posters, have a big impact on how effective they will be. For example, putting posters with QR codes in a place with WiFi access lets customers scan the codes without trouble at all. After all, you can’t assume that everyone everywhere has a data plan, no matter how common it is.

Print marketing continues to be relevant even in the face of the raging tides of the internet. It has served businesses well over the years, and there is no reason to believe it won’t evolve along with the new trends. With such a great tool at one’s disposal, the only thing left is to learn how to use it effectively, and hopefully these five simple tips helped just a bit.

Lena Martin is a professional writer specializing in marketing and branding for small businesses.  She has a great passion in entrepreneurship and small business and has a degree in Journalism and Marketing Communication in Dallas, TX. As a writer, she uses her entrepreneurial skills to help businesses push through smart marketing and to stand out of the crowd. Get in touch with Lena on twitter and Facebook. Lena’s blog Small Business Telegram

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About The Author


Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.

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