4 Tips for Using Print Advertising Effectively in the Digital Age

Many marketers are quick to write off print advertising channels in this day and age. With the powerful targeting and data options in digital advertising, it’s not surprising that businesses are often apprehensive to invest in print advertising. A print publication campaign, however, can be used for quality lead generation as well as brand promotion, if designed effectively.

Print advertising, like any channel, is not a perfect fit for every business. While evaluating the potential of this option for your business, first consider who your audience is and where they turn to for information or industry news. For example, if your audience is engineers, they will use the internet but are also likely to read and trust prominent trade publications for the latest research, news, and products. Once you identify potential publications, ask their sales rep about targeting options. Most publications can provide you with a significant amount of information about their readership: industries, companies, job titles, and more.

If you decide to move forward with a print advertising buy, consider these tips in order to use the ad to effectively generate leads for your business:

  1. Combine a print ad with at least two other channels of advertising to the same audience

Many publications have other services for their readership, like a website or e-newsletter, on which you can advertise as well. The key to print advertising is making it one component of an integrated campaign. If a print ad is combined with a banner on the website and sponsored content on an e-newsletter, you are able to reach the reader multiple times across multiple channels. The marketing concept alluded to here is “frequency,” which is the number of times on average that one person sees your ad. The rule of thumb in marketing is that the frequency should be three, meaning the average person should see your ad three times. Try combining the print ad with either (a) two other advertising options or (b) print buys in consecutive editions of the publication.

  1. Ask the publication about lead collection options

Most publications publish a digital version of their print newsletter or magazine. Through the digital version, or perhaps through the supplemental email or website advertising you choose to do, some advertisers will give you the contact information for people who click on your ad. For marketers that are skeptical of how to measure the performance of a print advertising campaign, this feature allows for directly attributable lead generation. Make sure to ask your sales rep if the publication offers this option.

  1. Rent an email list from the publication

Many publications also allow advertisers to rent their subscriber list, or a segment of their list. By renting, you don’t get their contact information permanently, but you do get the license to send an email to them through the publication. These types of offers usually include the ability to (a) choose your targeted segment, (b) create an email in your branded template that drives to one of your landing pages, and (c) send the email in your company’s name. You can use this opportunity to craft a targeted vertical message to a corresponding audience. The benefit of renting lists through print publications is that you can get your brand in front of a highly-qualified list of new prospects.

  1. Look into all of the advertising options they offer

Print publications have significantly expanded their advertising options. Trade publications in particular now offer a plethora of advertising and content marketing opportunities. Take a look at a potential trade publication’s media guide for more information, but some of the non-print advertising options that I have seen include:

  • Writing or editing white papers for your company
  • Scripting and hosting webinars for your company
  • Developing and administering surveys to your target audience
  • Hosting your contest or sweepstakes
  • Custom research about your target audience
  • Vertical-specific magazines or e-zines
  • Designing e-cards for your prospects
  • Producing and promoting product or company videos
  • Producing and promoting podcasts
  • Article collaboration or sponsorship

Print publications have been adapting their advertising options to compete with the new digital marketing channels. Many have made an effort to learn about their readership and incorporate digital opportunities into their advertising proposals. Print ads can be an effective contributor in a multi-channel integrated marketing plan. Talk to a potential publication’s sales rep and learn about all of the opportunities they have to connect you to your audience.