Online and Print: Like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

Some self-appointed experts proclaim there’s a vast difference between the brave new digital world and more traditional media like print. Although there are obvious differences in the way messages are delivered, fundamentally there are more similarities than it may seem.

At the core, it all revolves around communication. We are still trying to communicate the same things:

  • Persuading recipients to open our communication
  • Encouraging people to read our relevant messages
  • Convincing our target market to believe the point we are trying to get across
  • Driving people to take action on our message

There’s no denying that the Internet has changed how we communicate. However, it would be a mistake to believe that digital should completely replace message delivery methods like print. As studies have shown, most people trust print more than email and social media. Anyone can send out a tweet, blast an email, or publish a Facebook post, but only legitimate businesses will invest the time and necessary resources to create a print campaign.

It’s interesting to note a recent trend with many online retailers and other Internet-based businesses using print advertising to drive visitors and sales to their websites. Even Google uses direct mail. Online and print work well together when there’s a solid strategy in place.

One of the unfortunate side effects of the digital age has been the exponential increase of spam and junk aimed at businesses and consumers. The low cost barrier to entry has encouraged irrelevant messages to fill in-boxes and clog the Internet with useless information. It turns out there is a cost to free.

The other negative side effect of digital delivery and the Internet has been to give equal footing to the useless and the idiotic. This makes the job of having your messages stand out even more difficult.

Whether you’re writing an email, a web page, or social media posts, it’s a struggle to be seen and heard above the massive onslaught of junk and spam in the digital wasteland of today. Ironically, the new additional marketing mediums of today have made it much harder, not easier to get your message across.

Despite the issues, digital is here to stay. But print is not going away either. There are strengths for both mediums. Smart businesses and marketers know that for any campaign to work as well as it can, there must be a combination of print and digital.

Using print and digital together is a lot like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sure, you can have one without the other, but it tastes a lot better when you combine the two.

Boost Your Marketing With Postcards

You probably get at least a few postcards in your mail every day. Have you noticed that you always look at the front and usually flip them over, too? Postcards are incredibly hard to resist because there’s something compelling about that small, stiff card stock.

Postcards are experiencing a revival as business owners and marketers are rediscovering the powerful impact postcards can deliver. What’s so great about postcards? Postcards have several advantages over many other marketing channels.

  • Postcards are less expensive to print.
  • They don’t require envelopes or other inserts.
  • Postcards provide an instant visual connection with the recipient.
  • The limited space for copy and graphics forces you to get to the point quickly.
  • Recipients don’t set them aside to read later, leading to instant reaction.
  • Postage is often lower than with other forms of direct mail.
  • Postcards are great for personalization (with variable data printing – VDP).
  • Postcards work very well in driving website traffic.
  • Postcards are fantastic to use in a series sent over time to educate, engage, and drive sales.
  • Graphics and copy are easier to create.
  • Postcards work well for both short-run and larger-volume orders.
  • Postcards make great appointment reminders, thank you notes, and follow-up cards.

Think of postcards as mobile mini billboards. They get your message across and can travel at very economical rates.

Of course, postcards do have some limitations. They’re obviously not great for any type of promotion or campaign that needs lots of space for copy due to the size limitation. It’s also not easy to generate direct sales with a postcard campaign. However, postcards are fantastic for creating awareness and generating sales leads. In fact, it’s hard to beat postcards for economical lead generation campaigns.

Postcard Creativity
Postcards can be created in traditional sizes, as well larger sheet sizes. They can be die-cut with custom-size shapes in order to stand out and create attention. Postcards can be made from very thick card stocks, laminated, and even made from plastic stock. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Using Postcards
Direct mail is only one way to use this powerful marketing tool. You can also include postcards as part of a media or brand identity kit; as a promotional handout at trade shows and networking events; and as part of a sales letter insert.

Marketing Takeaway
The humble postcard is a powerful counter-measure to digital marketing. As more people are turned off by spam emails and other digital waste, they’re paying more attention to postcards. Postcards have a higher read-rate than many other marketing mediums because they are easier to digest quickly.

Postcards have a place in your marketing campaigns. If you use eye-catching, powerful design in addition to strong, to-the-point copy, combined with a call to action, there’s a great chance your target audience will respond the way you’d like when you use postcard marketing.

Beating Your Competitors Using Non-Conventional Marketing Tactics

If you’re a small business, you have a noise problem. There are so many ads out there that your potential customers just block them all out. This means that most marketing campaigns are just a visual form of white noise that people instinctively ignore. So your have to find a way to stand out and seize the attention of a jaded audience. Unconventional marketing is not a choice; you have to be different if you want to beat your competitors.

Larger corporations have massive advertising budgets that allow them to flood the media and Internet. You don’t have that luxury, but you do have another advantage. You may have a smaller target customer base, but you also have a closer connection to them. You know what your customers want and what is important to them. That knowledge is something larger corporation spend thousands of dollars trying to get.

Your familiarity with your community must be the basis of any marketing push you do. The purpose of an unconventional marketing strategy is to seize the attention of your potential customers through surprise. But if your campaign annoys instead of pleasantly surprises, it will drive potential customers away. That’s why using your knowledge of your community is so vital when building your campaign.

Another thing you should avoid is letting the ad overwhelm your brand. It’s really easy to come up with a memorable ad, execute it well, and then have customers remember the ad but not the company that created it. Advertising works best when there’s a clear connection between the content of the ad and the product you’re trying to sell. This way, the content of the ad increases your brand’s value.

With those warnings in mind, you should know that there are no standard unconventional marketing strategies; if something is standard, it’s not unconventional. But there are some strategies that are a good starting point toward building an unconventional marketing plan.

For example, take advantage of local landmarks. Local landmarks are a great place to advertise because people see them every day. One way to really stand out is to use these natural focal points to get your brand’s message out. A great example of this is Alteco Super Glue. On a large bridge that had 155,000 cars pass over it daily, Alteco attached a large replica of one of its super glue tubes to one of the steel cable supports. This emphasized the strength of the glue, and the display received a lot of positive attention from the local media. The key to doing this right is to ensure that the ad doesn’t offend your potential customers. As a result, it may be wise to avoid landmarks that have significant cultural or local meaning.

Going against convention is good. But it’s not enough to be unique; you must always remember to build a relationship with potential customers with every ad you create.