Three Ways to Integrate Print and Digital Advertising

The following is a guest post from Kevin Jordan, owner of Redpoint Marketing Consultants.

In this digital world we live in, study after study has shown that there is still a place for print advertising in your marketing plan. However, if you’re still treating print advertising as a separate piece of the pie from your online marketing, you’re missing the boat (and there’s a lot of additional sales on that boat).

Here are three ways to integrate print and digital advertising that will not only help you more easily track your return on investment, but will also increase that return—possibly in a dramatic fashion.

Use landing pages

If you are responsible for marketing a brand and you don’t know what a landing page is, it’s high time you learned. A landing page is a one-page website (or, in some cases, a mini-site consisting of a few pages) that has a very specific purpose—converting as many visitors to that page into leads as possible.

Usually, advertisers will create a landing page with a unique URL to use in conjunction with an ad. The colors, imagery, and branding on the landing page will match the ad (whether it’s a banner ad on a website or a print ad in a magazine). The page will go into much greater detail about the offer mentioned in the ad, and will have a very obvious call to action (such as filling out an opt-in form, clicking through to a website, etc).

The reason landing pages are so effective at capturing leads is that there is nothing to distract the visitor from the main purpose. There usually is no menu at the top of the page, and if the page is designed correctly (using the extensive research that has been done on landing page optimization), it will take advantage of human psychology to maximize the conversion rate. You can even run split tests between two different versions of a landing page to determine which one converts better.

On-line advertisers have been using landing pages with ads for years, but print advertisers have been much slower to adapt. Many print ads direct readers to the home page of a company’s website, which means that it will be difficult or impossible to track the effectiveness of the ad. Sure, you can still use coupon codes to track conversions…but you won’t be able to track how many people came to the website but didn’t convert. With landing pages, you will be able to track this information, and use it to fix “leaks” in your sales funnel.

Embrace mobile

Ok, so QR codes didn’t exactly take off like advertisers hoped they would. However, there are still many ways you, as a print advertiser, can take advantage of the fact that your target audience probably will have a hand-held computer (in the form of a smartphone or tablet) within a few feet of them when the read your ad.

  • If nothing else, you should be certain that the website or landing page you mention in your ad uses a responsive design (meaning it displays correctly regardless of what type of device someone is using to view it).
  • Consider creating a mobile app for your company and using your ads to promote it (this will be more appropriate for some brands than others)
  • Have an option in your ads for people to opt-in to your list via an SMS message (you’ll need a compelling offer for this, because people are much more hesitant to give up their phone number than an email address)
  • If you have space available in your print ad, go ahead and slap a QR code on there for the sake of the five people out there who love scanning every QR code they see. After all, they’re free to generate, so you might as well use them. Just be sure to also specify the URL you want people to visit in print.

The amount of people using mobile devices to access the internet will only continue to grow, so if you’re a print advertiser, it’s not something you can afford to ignore.

Promote social media contests and sweepstakes in print ads

I always think it’s funny when I see icons for various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter in a print ad—as if I’m supposed to click on them with my finger to visit the company’s page on that platform. When a brand does this, it’s almost like they’re desperately trying to be “hip” by showing people that they’re “with it” when it comes to social media.

Here’s an idea—instead of simply putting social media icons in your print ads, why don’t you create a compelling reason for people to engage with your brand on social media, and mention that in your ads? For example, offer people the chance to win a prize by posting pictures of themselves using your products on Instagram or Twitter, with certain hashtags. That way you’ll not only gain followers, but you’ll also get your customers to promote you for free to their followers.

There are many apps available for running contests and sweepstakes on social media, which will make the task much easier to manage. Of course, this strategy won’t work with every brand (if you sell anti-depressant drugs, I might steer clear of this one), but if you have good brand recognition already and lots of loyal followers, it could be very effective. Be sure to follow all applicable laws regarding contests and sweepstakes in your state.

There are many other ways to integrate print and digital advertising, of course, but the three mentioned here are some of the most basic and easy to implement. Have you found a way to successfully integrate print and digital advertising for your brand? If so, leave a comment below and let us know how you did it.

About Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is a small business marketing consultant based in central Virginia, and the author of the soon-to-be-released book The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation.   He’s also the host of the Small Business Marketing Minute Podcast, which is available on iTunes and Stitcher radio.  He is a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and specializes in helping local business owners create a rock-solid marketing strategy for their business.