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Even in the Digital Age, Print Advertising Can Be a Powerful Asset


With U.S. marketing dollars shifting more and more toward digital advertising in recent years — with the medium projected to account for a whopping 61% of marketing revenues nationally in 2022 — it’s hard to fault those who might believe that more traditional forms of advertising such as print are dying. But contrary to popular belief, print advertising can still be very effective in reaching certain target audiences. And when employed as part of a strategic advertising mix, print advertising can deliver immense value to marketers and brands.

What makes print media advertising so valuable in a healthy marketing mix? Among the reasons it can be well worth investing in:

  • Consumers tend to put more trust in print ads than in other forms of advertising. In fact, according to research, more than 80% of U.S. consumers say they consider print ads trustworthy. (Online pop-up ads, which 25% of consumers reported trusting, came in last place.)
  • Research suggests that consumers engage with and recall what they read in print at higher levels than they do with online content.
  • Conversion rates for print ads (and particularly direct mail ads) routinely top those of digital ads.
  • There are still certain demographics that spend little to no time online, and advertising in the publications they follow offers a chance to reach them.
  • Digital and print advertising can work together in a healthy marketing mix. For example, print ads can direct readers to a brand’s website, social media channels, etc. for added impact.

7 tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your print ads

When your brand does employ print advertising as part of a healthy marketing mix, you can employ a range of tactics to make them more impactful. Consider these seven ways to add extra appeal to your print ads and to make them a more effective element of your overall marketing strategy:

1. Make the visual appeal pop

No matter where you place your print ad, you’re likely to face a crowd of other advertisers competing for consumers’ attention. And for your ad to stand out from the rest and get noticed, visual appeal is key. Carefully think through all of the elements of your ad, including your color scheme, font choice, logo placement and image choices, to ensure that they all work together to create an eye-catching ad.

2. Keep copy clear and concise

A print ad is not the place for long-winded copy, which can overwhelm the audience and/or quickly lose its interest. Rather, the copy in your print ad should typically be short, taking up a relatively small portion of the ad space and focusing on a single, specific takeaway. Think strategically about the driving purpose of each print ad you place and what you want consumers to take away from it. Further, be sure to provide a clear call to action that urges viewers to take the next step you’re seeking from them. That action could be to visit your website for more information, call for a quote, attend a sale or event, or take whatever else the next step in the path to conversion may be.

3. Master consumer-focused messaging

Many print advertisement examples put the primary focus of their messaging on the advertising business’s products or the offer at hand. And while this is obviously important, it’s also critical to first and foremost consider the target market, its needs and its preferences. By developing a deep understanding of your audience and what drives it, your messaging can be tailored to better address their pain points and move them to take whatever action you’re seeking of them.

4. Choose the right channel

Channel selection is another area in which having a strong understanding of your audience and its behaviors/preferences is key. Choosing the right print-advertising channels that can most effectively reach your target market is, obviously, a clear way to achieve better results and maximize the ROI of your ad spend. Dig deep into consumer research so that you can uncover the print ad channels that your brand’s target audience follows the most, then leverage those channels to get your print messaging in front of your ideal consumers.

5. … and consider a cross-channel strategy

Print advertising should be just one part of your brand’s overall marketing strategy, and all of the elements of your marketing efforts should work together to achieve your business’s overall strategic marketing goals. By ensuring that the messaging and imagery used in your print ads complement that used on your social media channels, in your email newsletter, in your other advertising placements, etc., your brand can solidify your messaging and help make your point hit home with consumers. Further, your print advertising can point consumers to your digital assets such as your website and/or your social media channels for more info on your offerings.

6. Accentuate your advantages

Whatever your brand’s competitive advantage(s), make sure that you highlight it/them in all of your ad campaigns. This, of course, will let consumers know that not only do you provide the solution that can address their pain points and meet their needs, but that your offering is the right solution and the one they should choose over all the other options on the market.

7. Track your results

While print publications can provide their distribution numbers to give you an idea of the potential impact of advertising with them, it can be hard to quantify exactly how many consumers your print ads are reaching. But there are clever ways to track the numbers of consumers each of your print ads is bringing in. For example, consider including a custom, ad-specific URL in your print ads that leads people to a landing page where you can track incoming traffic. By evaluating which of your print ads are bringing the most visitors to your website, you can invest more advertising dollars in the ones that are producing the most results. A similar tactic is to include an ad-specific code on any coupons you include in print advertising, which will allow you to see which ad placements are resulting in the most conversions based on the number of coupons consumers redeem.

No matter where your brand is advertising — whether via a traditional channel such as print, radio, TV, direct mail or outdoor advertising, or via a digital channel such as paid search, social media, native or display advertising —  Brandon’s team of data-driven marketing experts can help you make your advertising dollar go farther and your results more impactful. Contact us today to discuss how we can help your business grow.

Courtney Olbrich

Courtney Olbrich

Chief Growth Officer

Courtney is our Chief Strategy Officer. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing and advertising, with a wide variety of clients. Hailing from Metro Detroit, Michigan, it comes natural that she is an avid sports fan. So much so that all of her pets are named after professional baseball stadiums!

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