Social media websites might seem like a newfound way of doing business, but people have been socially networking since the dawn of civilization. Before social media sites, businesses used printed marketing materials to make a connection with their customers and it’s a practice that is still going strong today.
Both social media and print marketing are effective at attracting new customers, yet one is not inherently better than the other. According to a Pitney Bowes Survey, 76% of small businesses state that their ideal marketing strategy utilizes both printed and digital communications. In order to successfully use both mediums to attract customers, you need a print marketing strategy that enhances your social media presence—and vice versa.
1. Research your target audience
One of the best advantages of social media is the ability to directly connect to your customers. Having a pipeline to your audience lets you know more about who is buying your product and, more importantly, how you can best reach out to them. Observe the way your customers are reacting to your brand on social media sites and you’ll have a better understanding of how they will react to your print marketing ideas, too.
You can even use social media to find out what else your target audience values—not just how they react to your brand, but the other brands that vie for their attention as well. By studying how other brands effectively reach these audience members, you can better plan an effective print marketing strategy that does the same. It’s also a good idea to learn about the interests and values of your target audience to get a better understanding of who they are as a consumer.
Once you know more about your target audience, you can apply this knowledge to your print marketing strategy so that you have a better chance of attracting the type of people that would be interested in your brand. By tailoring your printed design and message to the things your target audience values, you will create a stronger connection. Not only that, you’ll waste less time and money trying to appeal to the general audience, leaving you more opportunities to connect with the audience that will convert to sales.
2. Present a strong brand identity across all platforms
You can only successfully combine your print marketing and social media campaigns if they’re compatible with one another. It’s crucial that your social and print campaigns have the same look and message to create a unified brand identity across the board. If one is different than the other in look or message, it can create brand confusion with your audience, which leads to lost conversions.
It’s in the best interest of your brand to keep reinforcing the same message on all platforms because repetition breeds familiarity. If your audience is attracted to your brand because of its message or look, those feelings will only be fortified when they see the same information again. This also means that your audience will retain information about your brand for a longer period.
People are creatures of habit and thus become drawn to the brands that are familiar. By keeping a unified look throughout all platforms, you have a greater chance of your audience reconsidering your brand, even if they passed on it the first time.
3. Bridge the gap between generations
Social media may seem old hat by now, but it is still a relatively new way for businesses to connect with their customers. Because of this, there are still many older customers who have held out from using social media sites or cannot understand it. You can never reach these potential customers if you’re only using social media to show off your brand—you have to include print media because it’s what these customers know.
On the flip side, the younger generations are social media savvy, but they are also used to being marketed to through social media. There are thousands of brands on social media sites targeting the same customers that you are, so the competition for their attention is greater. Approaching these younger generations using print media allows you to make a stronger impact because there is less competition to contend with than online. Studies also suggest that young people are surprisingly receptive to print; a survey commissioned by Two Sides shows that 69% of 18 to 24-year-olds in America prefer to read print and paper communications rather than off of a screen.
Of course, the best way to cast the widest net possible is to utilize both social media sites and print marketing collateral in tandem. This makes it easier to attract customers from all walks of life instead of focusing on just the customers that you can convert from one medium or the other.
4. Cultivate testimonials from social media sites
The most effective print marketing campaigns utilize testimonials from real customers to provide social proof that your brand can make good on its promises. It used to be that you had to personally ask your regular customers for testimonials or put out a comment box and hope for the best. Nowadays, you can cull testimonials from any social networking site where people are talking about your brand; many customers know that this is the best place to leave feedback that will actually receive attention.
If you want to try and attract new testimonials, you can encourage customers to leave feedback through a special offer or promotion. Never pay a customer for a testimonial; instead, try a contest or drawing where entry requires the customer to leave a positive comment about your brand.
Before using any testimonials from your social networking sites in print media, always ask the customer for permission to reprint what they said. When editing testimonials, only make grammatical edits for clarity—if you try to alter the endorsement too much, it will lose its authenticity. The best testimonials for printed media include as many details about the speaker as possible, including name, location, relevant job title and a picture of what they look like, all of which can be obtained through social media.
5. Promote your social media profiles with a call to action
Strong print marketing designs require a call to action so that the audience knows what to do with the information they’ve received. This is usually a simple command such as “call for a free estimate” or “visit our website and sign up today.” However, you can also use a call to action to direct customers to your social media sites.
The best calls to action provide an incentive for following through, such as “friend us on Facebook to be the first to learn about our exclusive deals.” Your calls to action should be as easy as possible for the audience to perform without having to take any extra steps, so be sure to include the URLs for any sites you want the audience to visit. If they have to search for you online, chances are they’ll give up before they get around to finding you.
Quick response codes (QR codes) are a popular new method for easily driving your print audience to a website or social media site. The code acts like a hyperlink which can be accessed using the camera on your smart phone or tablet. This makes it possible for the audience to go directly to your social media site without ever having to type in a URL—which makes them more likely to do so since less work is involved.
6. Create print marketing worth sharing
For many people, the best part of having a social media profile is sharing the things they find interesting and finding out what interests other people. Social media users like to share things that are unique, clever or original, which prompts many brands to cultivate creative content for the express purpose of having it shared and attracting new customers.
However, your print marketing materials can have that same “viral” quality if they’re well-made or creative. Using special techniques such as custom die cutting, embossing and spot coating will improve the likelihood of recipients sharing it with the people they know—both online and in real life. The online audience will appreciate how unique it looks and how much thought was put into the design, while the real life audience will appreciate how unique it feels and make a tactile connection with your media.
Another technique is to design print collateral that is inherently sharable. For example, a sell sheet containing your main message could include tear-off strips with a call to action (such as “Call us!” and your company’s phone number). A potential customer can easily tear off a strip and take action, leaving more calls-to-action for others to observe; they might even pass it on to other prospects afterwards.
Design is a big industry and there are many places online that celebrate creative media design. You can share pictures of your marketing materials on these websites and blogs, which in turn will lead to more word of mouth business and more online social interaction between your brand and potential customers.
7. Track the effectiveness of your media
A successful print campaign isn’t about creating a design and hoping it works; it requires testing to make sure that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. If you ensure that your print campaign leads potential customers to your brand’s social media page, you can easily track your progress and see how people are responding to your message. This allows you to adjust your marketing plan accordingly so that you can create the most efficient strategy for your brand.
Through social media, you can connect with your audience and find out how they’re discovering your brand. Social media sites give you the tools to track how many new followers are coming in after you put out a big print campaign, thus giving you the ability to gauge the effectiveness of your media. You can run polls and ask questions to find out what customers like and what they don’t like when it comes to your marketing strategy .
You can also hand-pick some of your more vocal followers on your social media page to provide simple test marketing services through the site. You can ask them their opinions on potential print campaigns to find out which ones they like best and which ones are ineffective. If they are fans of your brand, they’ll appreciate being brought into the “inner circle” and you can offer them special discounts and deals in exchange for their opinion, which is cheaper than hiring a test marketing service.
Social media isn’t just a way for you to connect with your customers—it’s a way for you to connect with the brands that help keep you in business. For truly amazing printed materials, you need to maintain a professional relationship with your printer–and one of the best ways to do this is through the printer’s social media page. This is often your most accessible channel for special offers and services, as well as information on how to create the most effective print strategy.
Do you have any additional ideas or suggestions for combining your social media and your print media? Do you have questions on how to effectively create a print marketing campaign? Leave your inquiries and comments below!
Latest posts by Vladimir Gendelman (see all)
- 9 Ways for Startups to Save Money on Print Marketing - April 2, 2013
- 7 Surefire Techniques for Successfully Combining Your Print Marketing and Social Media Campaigns - February 12, 2013