Is Print Advertising Still an Effective Marketing Strategy?

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According to many observers, the much-heralded death of print media has been transpiring ever since the turn of the century. Yet, while there is no denying that the dominance of print is a thing of the past – ceded to the rise of the internet and mobile devices – it still undoubtedly has an important role to play in marketing. 

Indeed, there are many benefits of print advertising that entrepreneurs often overlook, even if some of its limitations have been laid bare by the versatility of digital marketing. With that in mind, let us look at the state of print advertising today to understand if it is still a viable marketing strategy.

What is print advertising?

Print advertising is a traditional advertising method, over a century old but still in use today. Some basic examples of print advertising include:

Newspapers – This is a classic format for print advertising, but also one that has been hit hard by the transition to a digital media landscape. 

Magazines – With niche audiences and a more flexible publication schedule, magazines are still a successful form of print media.

Direct Mail – Postcards and letters sent directly to potential consumers can still grab attention. This form of advertising can tie together well with information collected from a website.

Posters – One of the areas of print media that remains robust is flyers and billboards. Plastering a high-density area with attention-grabbing posters can still command attention.

The fact is that, although print advertising's overall impact has been lessened, it is very much still a part of our world. Most of us interact with print media every single day, even if we do not realise it. So how can you put that platform to work for your company?

Where does print advertising fit in today's media landscape?

While it may only have become a topic of major contention over the last couple of decades, the last century has seen many inventions that have made it harder for print media to remain competitive. From the inception of the radio to the rise of the television, advertisers have found ever-more diverse ways to produce flashier ads through more stimulating mediums.

However, perhaps the biggest blow to print advertising was the shift in distribution of print media. As news moved from bound paper to apps on our phones, it also became disconnected from the new generation of consumers. 

However, this does not mean that print media is no longer relevant. As an example, there are over 5,000 magazines and over 1,000 daily newspapers in circulation inside within the United States alone, and all of them feature advertisements.

Indeed, print media can be hugely advantageous for hyperlocal products, luxury items, or services that exist in a niche market. To illustrate this, let us look at some of the most powerful ways that print media can reach customers, and how your business can still use them today.

Print advertising for small businesses

If you own a small business that can only afford to serve clients in your immediate vicinity, print advertising might be the perfect platform through which to access your audience. One of the benefits of print advertising is that it provides a targeted and consistent advertising approach that might be just what you need to locate potentially suitable customers.

Advertisements offered by local publishers are often very cost-effective, too. With the right deal, you might even be able to secure long term advertising in an area that could have a significant impact. This process is not instantaneous, and it may take several months before you start seeing the results, but the benefit of long-term strategies is that they yield long-term success. 

It might take some reflection on what media your audience interacts with before you find the right place to advertise your business. A local weekly might be the best for an alternative market, whereas a simple penny saver or phone directory advertisement might be suitable for an older client base.

Print advertising for luxury brands

At the other end of the spectrum are luxury brands, which can also find immense success through advertising their products in niche magazines. These types of ads are not cheap, but then that's part of the point.

Print ads resonate with audiences and help establish trust in your company. If you have a product that needs to cast a wide net to find its audience, consider advertising in a national magazine to find consumers that have both an interest in your product and the money to make a purchase.

A glossy print ad in a renowned publication will give your products a cachet that is not achievable in digital advertising, too. You will elevate your company's brand while generating viable leads for sales.

Print advertising for local events

Print advertising is at its most effective when getting the word out for a local event. Whether your company needs to promote a concert, drum up enthusiasm for a grand opening, or introduce a new product, using local print advertising such as posters and billboards is a solid strategy.

Public print advertising supplemented by newspaper ads, direct mail flyers and any other advertising your company utilises, is a great way to canvas an area and generate the most interest in your event. Pursuing these strategies will not be cheap, but it is often highly effective.

Another advantage of print advertising is that it is still highly effective in rural areas. Since rural areas have, by their nature, lower population sizes, a direct mailing campaign will be much cheaper than canvassing an entire area. 

Print media advertising strategies

If you decide to pursue a print media approach, there are some best practices that you should keep in mind to obtain the most optimal results. These include:

Good design – One of the pitfalls of print media advertising is that people associate it with a bygone era. Evade those expectations with good, clean design.

Planning – Print media is inherently more expensive than most forms of digital advertising. For that reason, it is important that you pursue your print media strategy with a plan in place. Know what components will launch when and allocate your resources accordingly.

Track results – Use the same sort of diligence that you would with a social media or email marketing campaign. Measure your results and see which approaches work better.

Incorporate other advertising – Use print advertising in tandem with your other marketing campaigns. Tying print media and social media together can help create excellent guerrilla marketing opportunities, for instance.

If you are investing a significant part of your budget in a print advertising campaign, make sure what is being communicated is clear and straightforward. Put your logo, company name, and how you can help consumers front and centre. Do not forget to include a call to action to engage with customers from the ad, either. 

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Print media may have taken a hit, but it is not going to disappear anytime soon. Therefore, if your business falls into one of the categories listed above, it's worthwhile learning how to deploy it to maximum effect. Having this capability in your marketing repertoire may help you reach customers that you would never have previously been able to locate before, and can increase your sales in entirely new markets.

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