Why is everyone always attempting to hold funerals for old forms of communication? Just because we can communicate online doesn’t mean we don’t do it on paper anymore. I mean, did bicycles or horses disappear when the automobile became mainstream? No. Print communications are actually a lot like horses and bicycles because with all three, balance is important.
I’m serious. To create an effective communication strategy, you need to balance print with digital communication.
Digital can’t do it all
First of all, print does offer some things that digital communication cannot:
- Tangibility: No one’s going to notice that Facebook post just laying on your coffee table.
- Credibility: Hey, if they spend money on ink and paper, it must be true. Print does add a sense of legitimacy that’s hard to get online. People might be afraid to click links, but picking up paper, no problem.
- Engagement: Readers are more engaged with print; digital text is typically only skimmed, and in about 15 seconds at that.
When figuring out the right balance of print and online communication, it’s important to understand who your audience is and where they want to find you. Call me old-school, but when one of my favorite print magazines went fully digital, I never read it again. Knowing how your customers engage and interact with your content online and off will help you decide which pieces of your marketing plan should live on the web and what should be printed.
Here’s a hint: use digital tools to help you send more targeted print media so it’s reaching the right people. By using data to segment lists, you can make print work harder by integrating it with your digital tools.
To be most effective, your digital media needs to work with your print media. They should be seamlessly integrated. Even in this digital age, 70% of marketers currently use print media to direct readers to digital content. Print is a valuable resource that helps drive interest in what’s happening online.
One way to use print to drive online interaction is with QR codes. I recently purchased a towel bar that looked easy enough to install from the instructions printed and tucked in with the product. But, let me tell you, the QR code printed on that instruction sheet saved the day by linking me to a video showing me how easy the installation could be.
Keep in mind, whether you’re online or in print, your business has one brand and all communications need to be telling the same story. Your logo is your logo be it an avatar or printed on the front of a postcard.
Blogs are great, and so are e-books. But as someone who loves the scratch of pen on paper, I’m pretty excited about the fancy new Allée notebooks that just came in. And why would Allée invest in notebooks in the age of the digital tablet? Because print is not dead; it’s not going anywhere. Print is part of your complete communications strategy.
Now, how do you plan to use print for marketing next year?