As a startup or small business, it can feel like the budget is incredibly tight – too tight, maybe, to invest in printed marketing. However, it’s crucial that some money is set aside for this marketing investment – because printed media is THE way to get noticed.
Why? Today’s marketing strategies tend to focus strongly on digital media. There is no problem with this – but in order to do well, you’re going to need a pretty big budget and a very established website, which takes time.
Printed media can help to drive your digital marketing strategy, but it can also help small businesses set themselves apart from the competition. Print media is a novelty in our digital age: it feels good to touch a physical product, especially if we’ve traded something (like an email address) to get it.
Small businesses can make the most of the fact that print media is cost-effective: you can create short print runs to test something out, without breaking the bank. Whether you want to create smart invites for a product launch, or promote your opening gala with flyers, you only print what you need, and give it to the people you need.
Sure, flyering can make it tricky to track your marketing success (but not impossible!) as the nature of it is ‘give away lots and a few will turn up’ – but this is still very cost-effective when compared to gaining leads through digital marketing alone. A short run of flyers might set you back £30, equating to a few pence per flyer. If just ten per cent of people handed one actually attends, you’ve created leads at a significantly reduced cost when compared to bidding against expensive Google AdWords terms.
So, how do small businesses use print marketing to get ahead of their competition?
1. Make The Most Of Events
‘‘The challenge for a small business is to find a place where you can go toe to toe with your larger competitors. Understand that there are few places to compete. For example, if you're a brick and mortar business, you can't compete in the high street or through national media outlets. You can compete at trade fairs, in local newspapers or at competitions or events.”
- Jason Lavis, Managing Director, Out Of The Box Innovations.
Print media is really well-suited to events, whether a large trade show or small local craft fair. As well as making your stand ‘pop’ with the use of roller banners or posters, printed media is great as a lead generation tool.
Business cards are the first go-to thing to print – especially as you’ll need these for so many other things too. Find a design that’s a little bit different and memorable, such as rounded corners, folded business cards, or Spot UV finishing. You could print event-specific cards to use like coupons, with exclusive discounts for delegates.
If you have a lot of products but not much space on your stand, consider showcasing them with printed posters, postcards, or brochures, instead of bringing lots of stock that could clutter the stand. Let people take these away – in return for their email address, of course! Remember to capture contact information at any point you can, in order to build your marketing list.
2. Shout About It With Flyers
If you’re launching a new product or running a special campaign, hit the streets! Flyers with exclusive on-the-day offers are a fantastic way to increase footfall to your shop or restaurant.
Get the design right and people will sit up and take notice:
“It's got to pop and it has to communicate its message right away. If the message that a business is trying to convey is hidden amongst too much content, then you probably won't be able to appeal [to the customer].”
- Dan Salganik, Managing Partner, Project Manager at Visual Fizz.
3. Make Your Message Stick (Literally)
Branding is important for any company, but feels even more crucial for small businesses who are competing with the big organisations. It’s essential to make sure your brand becomes instantly recognisable, so get your branding out there on everything possible!
Stickers are an excellent and inexpensive way to brand anything and everything. From sealing envelopes to using as part of your product design, stickers are a great opportunity to spread the word about your company.
4. Give Directions With Signage
How do people know where to go when visiting your shop, restaurant, hotel, or event? Signage! Temporary signs made from correx are great for advertising promotions, directing traffic to an event, or for quick-change signs such as café wall menus that are regularly updated. Correx is very long-lasting, and totally weatherproof – but thanks to its fully recyclable properties and low cost, small businesses often choose this type of sign for short-term promotions or notices.
If you want something more permanent, consider placement of PVC banners on nearby railings or hoardings – make sure you have permission to hang them, first! These can be seen from a good distance away, helping people to take note of your business even if they’re just passing by.
5. Tie It Together With Social Media
Print media and digital marketing are a match made in heaven. Print media can reach customers on-the-spot (such as when flyering), or those who don’t have regular access to a computer (such as the elderly). However, if you ensure to include your online details on your printed media, you’ll see an uptake in digital traffic.
This is especially true if you run a combined campaign. For example, you could hand out flyers offering a special discount code IF someone visits your shop, takes a selfie with a key product, and posts it online with a specific hashtag. This will increase customer engagement, as people love competitions or getting discounts in exchange for (what they deem as) nothing – even though it takes them time and requires a social media post or two on their behalf, people are happy to commit to a brand in this way for a freebie or discount!