How to Plan and Launch a Print Marketing Campaign from Start to Finish

How to Plan and Launch a Print Marketing Campaign from Start to Finish

Read Time: 5 Minutes


10 Jun 2020

Print marketing campaigns are one of the best ways to advertise your business. Not only are they comparably affordable, they’re also a great way to spread awareness quickly to the exact people you want to target. But if you’ve never planned and launched a print marketing campaign before, it can be tricky to know where to start. 

As the Marketing Executive at the largest UK-based online printer, I’ve helped plan and execute numerous successful print campaigns. Using this experience, I’ve created this essential 9-step plan to walk you through each step of the process.

  1. Set a Clear Objective for Your Campaign

    Before you even start to think about what products or fun theme you want to use, you need to figure out which of your marketing goals you’re going to hit with this campaign. Ask yourself why – why are you sending a mailer? Why are you putting up posters? What’s the point?

    Goals such as ‘getting more sales’ are too vague – how many more sales? We recommend using the SMART goals model of goal setting to define the purpose of your campaign. This acronym uses sets out 5 attributes a goal should always be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. 

    For example, the above goal of ‘getting more sales’ could be made a whole lot SMART-er by adding extra details:

    “Increase sales of shampoo by 15% over the next six weeks.”

    Your campaign’s purpose will guide the content and medium, so it’s important to know why you’re doing something before you start doing it.

  2. Fix a Budget

    The next step is to decide on a budget. For this you’ll need to think about all the different costs your campaign is going to incur, not just the price of the printed product. On top of the material costs, addition costs might include:

    •    The price to hire a creative team (writers/designers)
    •    Packaging & delivery
    •    Printing costs
    •    Whether you need to pay to install or put up your print

    You can always keep costs low by designing your print artwork for free online. There are lots of different tools you can use, but I like to use our free design templates. That way you can choose a pre-made design, or start from scratch with a blank template.

  3. Choose a Suitable Marketing Medium

    Now you know your goal, it’s time to pick the right tool for the job! Booklets are great for sending out to existing customers to remind them of your product range, loyalty cards are the best option for increasing retention levels, flyers and posters can be used for raising awareness and boosting sales.

    Whatever you choose, make sure you’ve considered the job it’ll be doing and your target market’s preferred method of being marketed to. For more advice on what print you should choose for your campaign, get in touch with our customer advisors and we’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction!

  4. Decide a Campaign Theme, Key Message & Content

    It’s no good just putting your products, sales or promotions in front of people – you need to create a reason to make your target audience care. This is where campaign themes and clever content come into play. Picking a fun, relevant or interesting theme means your print is more likely to be noticed and remembered. If your content is useful, clear and speaks the language of your target market, recipients are more likely to keep hold and take note of what you’ve sent them.

    It’s always a good idea to theme a sale – it could be seasonal, or it could be your ‘biggest sale yet’. For products, make sure there’s a reason you’re promoting them to customers – maybe it’s recommended for them, or it’s this year’s must-have.

    Here at instantprint, we like to use our print campaigns to have added value for our customers. For example, we use the New Year as a reason to send diaries out for the coming year – they have our branding on, but they’re super useful and something people are likely to keep hold of.

    The more fun you have coming up with a creative theme, the more it’ll show in the finished piece and the more success you’ll have with it overall. 

  5. Write Clear, Direct and Engaging Sales Copy

    Writing your own copy for your print marketing campaign is one of the best ways to keep prices down. When you’re writing for marketing it’s important to remember to keep the text as clear and concise as you can. This means short paragraphs, sentences no longer than 20-25 words and engaging headings to split up the content. 

    The key thing to remember about the copy is, again, the purpose (are you sensing a theme here?). You need to tell your reader exactly what they need to do once they’ve finished reading. Should they visit your website? Follow you on social media? Join you for 2-4-1 cocktails on Friday? This is called a call to action, and a strong call to action dictates the success of your campaign.

    Copywriting not your strong suit? Make space in your budget to hire a freelancer!

  6. Keep Your Design Functional

    Although your design will differ depending on the type of print you choose, there are some print design tips that always apply. 

    For one, you should always use your design to make the message clear. Use strong headings and an obvious opening paragraph – not only does this tell the reader exactly what to expect, but it also grabs attention from the start. 

    It’s also best practice to use contrasting colours for the background and the text. You can always introduce a really bright colour like red or yellow to shout about a sale or introduce something new.

    And finally, don’t be afraid of white space. This is the area of your design with no text or design elements. It’s important not to overwhelm your reader by putting too much on the page. Leaving some white space also helps the reader to navigate the content in chronological order and makes your design more aesthetically pleasing.

  7. Decide Who’s Going to See Your Campaign (And How)

    Now your print marketing campaign is almost ready to go which means it’s time to figure out how you’re going to show it to the world. For a direct mail campaign (i.e. something you’re mailing out to customers), this will involve compiling a list of recipients and organising the postage.

    For something like a poster or PVC banner that’s being displayed to the public, you’ll need to plan your advertising space based on who’s going to see it and the legalities around it. You may need to get permission from the local council or the owners of the building you’re wanting to advertise on.

  8. Distribute or Set Up Your Campaign

    Again, the next step will depend on whether you’ve chosen to go down the direct mail route or print advertising campaign route. For direct mail, it’s time to do the Ps – print and post! For your adverts, you’ll need to set up your print in the desired location, taking care to make it look as neat and professional as possible.

  9. Measure Your Results

    Although measuring the success of offline marketing campaigns will never be to the same degree of accuracy as digital campaigns, there are a couple of methods that can give some indication of how well they’ve done.

    One of these is by using unique URLs or scannable QR codes that take the reader to a specific landing page for that campaign. Just be aware that some people may be heading straight for your homepage and searching for brand terms online rather than following the URL you give them.

    Another way is to add a discount code to the print that customers can then redeem online. You can then track the success of your mailer based on how many people have used the code!

    Try tracking your URLs and codes at different intervals – e.g. after 3 weeks, after 6 weeks, after 12 weeks – to find out how long it takes your customers to convert after seeing your print.


As print specialists, there’s nothing we love more than a fun offline marketing campaign! Share your campaigns with us on Instagram and Twitter at @instantprintuk or #instantprintuk for a chance to be featured on our blogs and social media channels.


About the Author

Hi, I’m Craig, instantprint’s Marketing Manager. I have a passion for discovering new and innovative ways small business owners can give their marketing a boost.