Web Design & Internet Marketing

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Is Print Media Dead?

Should Print Media be a part of your Marketing Budget?

This is a question that frequently comes up with clients on effective ways to market their business. After websites, social media, and PPC advertising, it is wise to add print media to your marketing budget?  The answer, although vague, is “that depends“.  On what?  What industry are you in? Who are your target audience? In what region of the country do sell your products and services?  What are you advertising for … a store opening, a sale, an event or promotion, or just to promote your products?  What type of print media are you considering … newspaper, magazines, direct mail or fliers/brochures?  All of these factors should be considered before you add print media to supplement your online advertising.

Not a decision of Either – Or, but In Addition To

Although print media has lost its appeal for many industries, it can still be a viable option to supplement your online marketing strategy.  And I do emphasize the word supplement, because all current statistics point to the decrease in print ad’s reach and continually growing increase in all forms of digital media.  You cannot ignore or deny the success of internet marketing to promote a company’s product or services locally and abroad.

“Statistics show that the newspaper industry has seen a 27 percent decrease in size in just four years. Additionally, ad sales from print newspapers have decreased by 9 percent, according to Journalism.org. Not surprisingly, digital ad sales are up, especially for larger publications whose circulation numbers exceed 50,000.” – American Express Open Forum

Yet there are encouraging signs with some forms of traditional print marketing including magazines, especially ones that are industry-specific, and direct mailings still show a high rate of ROI (return on investment).  “79% of households say they read or scan direct mail ads; and on average yield at 13-1 return on investment ratio“, DMR Digital Marketing.

Why should Print Media be considered?

So in conjunction to your digital ads, let’s consider how print media can potentially add to your overall marketing success. Several reasons have been cited by various sources, including print media salesmen, that should be reviewed for your specific business model.  Here are the reasons they cite why print media still has value:
1. Retention:  magazines, direct mailings and sometimes even newspapers are kept in homes and offices for days, weeks or months, while digital ads disappear almost instantly.  (Note: Email marketing can be saved and viewed/printed later.)
2. Credibility: There is some illusion that content in print has more trust and credibility than what is seen on the internet.  “56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing.”
3. Target Audiences:  “Placing ads in publications such as specialty magazines can effectively reach niche audiences that may be more difficult to target online.” – Forbes.  Newspapers are still where the 60+ demographic turn to for local news and gossip.  Although magazines are surviving and will continue to over the next decade, statisticians predict, circulation and advertising are down and continue to fall each quarter (see infographic below).
4. Engagement:  It is said, again this is a conjecture, that readers are more engaged in print media than digital.  They may be more engaged when they have print media in hand, but their primary source for news, gossip, and education is now online.  From learning how to replace an filter in your HVAC unit, to reading breaking news on a recent national or international crisis to exploring the status of the latest Kardashian clan squabble, you are more than likely to Google it, visit your favorite news site or peruse Buzzfeed.

“Slightly less than half of Americans (47 percent) say they used online-only reporting sources such as Yahoo! News, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, or other blogs in the last week. Thirty-seven percent report using magazines — print or online — as a source of news in the last week. And, a third of Americans say they now get news from wire services such as The Associated Press (AP) or Reuters, something that was not easy to do directly before the internet.” – American Press Institute

5. Less Crowded:  Since there are more and more businesses choosing to put the bulk of their advertising dollars into social media marketing, PPC advertising and website optimization, there is less competition for space on the printed page.  You may be able in some instances to get a better ad rate than you did years ago, and your ad may have better placement and focus to the readers since the page is less crowded with ads.
6. Regional Considerations:  In less metro areas where communities are smaller, residents are older and traditional methods in all aspects of life are more trusted and relied on.  Thus, you will find print sources such as the local newspaper carries a bit more influence in small towns that in larger, metropolitan and tech-savvy cities.  As a local newspaper salesperson shared with me, ‘the local newspaper is seen more as a gossip rag’, thus the locals (those born, raised and schooled in one area) read it daily as not to miss out on the latest happenings of their neighbors and city council.

How to Integrate Print Media in your Marketing Plan

There are several ways you can use print media to promote your products as well as integrate your online marketing efforts. Its not digital versus print media, but print media enhancing your digital media presence.
1. URL Link:  Always include a link to your website and/or social media pages with a call to action.  “For more information”, “To Get your Promo Code”, “To place an Order”, “To Register for our Event”, and then include a link (hopefully an abbreviated or short link that is readable and easy to remember as well as type in).  “44% of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing.
2. QR Codes:  Use of a QR code (which is a symbol that is scanned from a smart phone or mobile device to connect to a specific URL or link) can integrate your print media to your online presence. The QR code could take you to your homepage or a special offer page that lives on the web.
3. Promote the Print Ad digitally:  After the publication or newspaper has gone to print, promote the ad or article on your website and social media.  “Check out our ad on the latest copy of So-and-So magazine,” and include a digital copy of your ad on the post.
4. If offered, pay for both.  If the print media publication includes a digital format on their website or has a package of online advertising in combination with the print ad, take advantage of it. That way your ad will be seen by different demographics from the same publication/newspaper and its much easier to link to from your website and social media.

Infographics to Show Current Print Media Statistics:




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