In a digital world, we wanted to uncover the role print plays in enhancing the customer experience. An affordable and trustworthy marketing strategy, print marketing is used by both large and small businesses, but an increased focus on improving how customers experience your brand has meant that print has had to adapt quickly. Here are our top 8 ways of using print to create an exceptional customer experience.
What is Customer Experience? (And Why is it So Important?)
Customer experience is the impression you leave on a customer at every point of their buying journey, from acquisition all the way to following up after a purchase. Multiple teams affect this experience, from your marketing to your customer service team, so it’s important to focus on all touchpoints your business has with a customer.
If we were to ask you about the last time you had a great experience with a brand, you’d be able to tell us exactly what it was and how it made you feel – and the same goes for the last bad experience you had too.
If you have a good experience, you might post about it online and recommend a brand or product to your friends and purchase again, if you have a negative experience, you’re more likely to leave bad reviews and avoid the business in the future.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you leave your customers with a positive impression of your brand.
Keeping customers happy and engaged not only makes them feel great, but it can also lead to a number of other benefits to your business, like increased revenue, higher retention rates and more brand loyalty.
According to research by PWC:
- 73% of consumers point to customers service as an important factor in their purchasing decision
- 63% would share more information with a company that offers a great experience
- One in three would walk away from a brand they loved after just one bad experience
- 42% would pay more for a great experience
With the importance of providing excellent customer experience at an all-time high, what role does print marketing play in the equation?
How Can Print Enhance the Customer Experience?
Tell a StoryOne of the key elements of your brand is your brand story. Without this, you’ve no way of differentiating your business from your competitors. You want to build something that customers care about and want to invest in. But, you can also use your story to engage customers and improve their experience.
Use your print marketing to reinforce the key messages in your brand story – maybe you’re a family-run business, maybe you experienced some kind of hardship that inspired you to start up. Whatever your story, make sure to make it personal.
If you’re struggling to incorporate this into your print design, including testimonials and reviews in a folded leaflet or on a postcard is one way to include this. This is an incredibly authentic way to show how your business helped solve someone’s problem that can trigger emotion and empathy in the reader, which are both key ingredients for a successful brand story.
Use QR CodesCustomers today are a lot more technologically capable than those of the past. That’s why it’s important to create a seamless experience across your print and online marketing channels.
Whatever you do, don’t let anyone convince you that print is dead. It really isn’t! A study by Nielsen found that 56% of consumers cite mailed materials, like letters and newspapers, as their main source of information when making a purchasing decision.
Of course, we’re not saying you should abandon your digital marketing strategy in favour of print – we’re saying you should make the most of both approaches and combine them for the best results!
For example, linking to your website or social media platforms, and adding scannable QR codes to flyers and posters are all fantastic ways of creating a seamless transition between your print marketing and online channels.
CustomisationIn an age where everyone who’s anyone is online, branding isn’t just about businesses anymore – especially when it comes to people’s profiles on social media, bloggers, and YouTubers.
Gifting custom branded print merchandise, like mugs, T-shirts, and notebooks, to customers who are already advocates of your business as well as potential social ‘influencers’ whose followers are similar to your target audience kills two birds with one stone: it creates a positive experience for those receiving the gift and it spreads brand awareness to whomever the giftees show the gift to.
Play with New TexturesOne of the reasons print is such a memorable form of advertising is because it’s something you touch; you hold it in your hands and feel the paper. The texture of the paper plays a huge role in a customer’s impression of your brand, and therefore part of their experience.
Choosing thicker stocks is a great way to give your print a more premium feel, but that’s not where texture choices end! Some print products, like greetings cards and invitations, have heavily textured stocks that create an entirely different effect. Some are artsy, some have flecks of unbleached wood running through them, and some are more natural colours.
You will often also be given the option to add a lamination to your print. This is an extra layer on top of your print design that makes the paper super glossy or smooth and matt.
Printing your marketing materials allows you a lot more customisation options for switching up the experience for your customers.
Get CreativePrint advertising has always been a creative medium. We personally love getting creative with our direct mail and love finding ways to use print in new and innovative ways to inspire our customers!
For example, to share our passion for sourcing paper sustainably (with a Christmas twist), we recently sent our customers a Christmas tree planting kit. We printed stickers to label the pots and gave instructions and extra information on flyers. Register with us for free if you want to be included on our mailing list and receive direct mail like this!
Direct mail is great for acquisition and retention, so you can build a campaign to suit any of your business’s goals – just remember to tailor the mail to match the customers’ experience (i.e. depending on whether they’re a new customer, a returning customer and any other splits in your data you want to market to).
Be Thought ProvokingSuccessful print advertising can make you stop and take notice. That’s why it’s a great way to engage customers and get them to think a certain way about your business. This print ad by Marmite plays on two things people in the UK just can’t agree on – Marmite and Brexit.
As print is a cheap and usually non-permanent marketing tool, it suits this humorous play on popular culture perfectly!
Give Customers Something UsefulWe’ve all got that friend. The one who always has tissues, headache tablets, spare snacks. One way of enhancing your customers’ experience is to be the business equivalent of that really useful friend.
Things like notebooks, calendars, fun organisational stickers and tote bags are all really handy things to have. Hand them out in store, or mail them out with orders as a useful extra to give your customers a positive experience of you brand.
Top tip: If you add your logo to these printed gifts, you’ll also get the added benefit of boosted brand awareness whenever your customer uses them!
Improve Brand LoyaltyHow exciting is it when you get free rewards from your favourite companies? Rewards schemes are a great way to make your customers feel valued – and keep them coming back for more. But you don’t need to be a big brand to be able to implement one. Loyalty cards are a lot cheaper and easier than developing a rewards-based app! Just stamp or sign them every time a customer purchases a product and let them build up points to earn rewards.
So, What is Print’s Role in Building a Positive Customer Experience?
Print plays a valuable role in customer experience, especially for small businesses and those sticking to a tight budget. It can make a customer stop and think, it can make them feel valued, and it can even shape their buying journey.
We’ve also discovered that print and digital go hand in hand, and you should implement an omnichannel approach to create a seamless experience for customers who shop with you online and offline.
In the future, this line between print and digital could blur even more. We caught up with one of our customers, James, the Founder of Be Presentable who told us about how he uses augmented reality to create interactive print. Check out James’ interview here: