discussing print marketing

Don’t Give Up on Print Marketing – The ROI Is Mind-Blowing!

I bet you didn’t know that print marketing has a mind-blowing ROI, did you? One of my clients is in the business, so I’ve written about it a few times. The numbers never fail to impress me. Consider these stats from DMR that are specific to direct mail:


  • 79% of households say they read or scan direct mail
  • 7 out of 10 consumers report that they find direct mail more personal than online ads.
  • 56% of all consumers trust direct mail more than any other advertising method.
  • 48% of consumers hold onto direct mail for future reference.
  • Direct mail yields an average 13:1 return on investment


I don’t know about you, but I definitely hold onto direct mail for future reference and use. Print isn’t just about direct mail, though. It also includes:


  • Brochures
  • Product catalogues
  • Books (more on this below)
  • Posters
  • Tradeshow displays
  • Banners
  • One-page flyer
  • Ads
  • Business cards


When I first wrote about this topic in 2016, I said, “It is logical to think that print marketing is going the way of the fax machine.”


Obviously, it hasn’t. We still buy print newspapers, magazines, and books. We send and receive cards in the mail. And at this time of the year, we are being inundated with holiday catalogues.


You think companies big and small would spend money on print materials if it didn’t support their sales goals? Definitely not.


Print marketing is endlessly creative


The different types of print pieces I listed above don’t necessarily sound super fun or sexy, but they can be.


Years ago, my husband and I were spending the weekend in Encinitas, our favorite beach town in California that is just north of San Diego. We wandered into a Roark pop-up store, a cool men’s clothing line (that just introduced women’s). While my husband tried on a few things, I spotted a slim soft-cover book. I asked about it – it was free. So I grabbed a copy.


I didn’t open the book until we were on the plane flying back home. It’s titled “Strange Daze in a Hanoi Haze,” and it follows the fictional adventurer Roark through Vietnam. It’s part travelogue, part catalogue, part brand story.


In short, it’s brilliant, and that’s why the book remains on my bookshelf six years later.


A few copywriting rules for print


Like any marketing project, good design will only get you so far. Yes, it will grab people’s attention, but the message and copy do the heavy lifting and turn that attention into action.


Here are our copywriting rules for print:


Spend time on the main message


Each print marketing piece should only have one main message and call-to-action. Start sliding in competing messages and multiple ways people can act and your audience will become confused. Once they’re confused, they won’t know what to do – and so they won’t do anything.


Spend plenty of time writing a high-impact headline that will have your target market nodding, “YES!” Using a question or statistic in your headline is sure to grab attention.


Make sure your messaging is clear and consistent…


Clear and concise marketing copy is the name of the game. I once endured a pitch deck presentation that included EVERYTHING about the company, including all the research that went into the product. It was mind-numbing. No one cares about that stuff!


Keep copy to a minimum. Only highlight the top benefits, differentiators and/or features of a product or service to ensure your copy is focused on your audience (see below).


Integrate your overall brand messaging whenever you create a print piece – consistency is so important. We always weave in a brand’s topline messaging for any marketing project, like their tagline, value proposition, and differentiators.


And focused on your audience


This is too important a point not to call out separately. Always focus marketing copy on how you help your client, not on how great you and your company are.


That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your brand at all. I just finished up a big project for a recruitment platform that was specifically built for one industry: SaaS software. Whenever the company itself was mentioned, it was along the lines of, “We worked in SaaS software sales and know how hard it is to find, hire, and retain top performing candidates. Our platform solves for this.”


Notice how the message inspires head nods. Anyone trying to build a successful SaaS software sales team has also experienced these challenges. You better believe they would love a solution that works.


Invest resources in print


If you’re going to invest in print, don’t skimp on quality. Work with an experienced graphic designer who can speak “print,” provide guidance, and work directly with a great printing company that believe in quality assurance.


This might sound like overkill, but would you want your first tradeshow banner and supporting materials to look like it was designed by a 17-year-old and printed at Kinko’s? (No offense to 17-year-olds or Kinko’s.)


Someone experienced in print might suggest all sorts of improvements to increase your ROI, like A/B testing the headline or call-to-action.


Finally, hire a copywriter to nail the message. Yes, you can do this yourself in-house, but an outside perspective from a marketing expert can really elevate the piece.


Bring in social proof


One of the fastest ways to build trust and credibility is by including testimonials and/or reviews on print pieces.


For smaller pieces with limited real estate, a Google Review graphic with your star rating and number of reviews is fantastic.


For bigger pieces, like a 10-page brochure, quotes from happy clients are pure gold.


Be creative!


Don’t be afraid to think WAY outside the box, like Roark. An 88-page soft-covered book is a big investment, but plenty of other affordable and fun ideas are out there:


  • A mini-infographic
  • A set of cards, each with a unique tip or trick on it
  • A fold-out paper mobile that can be hung up


What cool stuff have you seen on print? And are you planning on doing anything with print in 2023? I’d love to hear about it.


And if you’re ever in doubt about the ROI of print, bookmark this blog post and revisit those stats I shared above.

No Comments

Post A Comment

Skip to content