5 powerful print marketing trends to bolster sales in 2020

December 19, 2019

Digital marketing is everywhere. That's why, if you’re seeking a competitive edge in 2020, print marketing could prove your best ally. The print marketing landscape has changed dramatically since digital and mobile marketing came on the scene; new innovations in print technology allow for advanced engagement that influences customer decisions. Grow your business this year with these five print marketing trends to bolster sales in 2020.

1. Immersive print marketing

Postcards, flyers and banners are all cost-effective marketing tools, but companies that want to endear themselves to customers are trending toward more immersive print marketing tools, such as booklets, newsletters and multi-page brochures. These tools offer plenty of real estate so you can tell your brand story and foster a sense of solidarity with customers.

It’s the information era. Your customers want meaningful insights, helpful advice and to identify with the brands they buy from. Booklets, brochures and newsletters afford you the space to share information with customers.

They’re tangible, too, which carries greater meaning to a younger customer base that’s used to ignoring the barrage of digital advertisements. They know how easy it is to deploy a banner ad or send an email, but a beautiful booklet featuring a textured cover and packed with information that caters to their needs makes a powerful statement: You care about your customers. They’ll reward you for the effort.

2. Improved personalization

Personalization is nothing new, but it’s a step many companies skip on their print marketing initiatives. However, personalization is no longer a luxury. It’s expected in an age when nearly every email salutation kicks off with customers’ first names.

Variable data printing makes it easy to include customers’ names and other personalized information such as city, job title and even hobbies on direct-mail marketing tools. All you need is a mailing list with each variable defined, and you can ask your printing company to apply variable data to postcards, brochures, booklets, catalogs, envelopes and other mailers.

For example, let’s say a landscaping company wants to send postcards to every resident in a targeted neighborhood called Rolling Hills. Rather than read “Save 20%,” the postcard copy could be: “Hey John, take advantage of 20% off, exclusively for Rolling Hills customers.”

The company could even get creative by including neighbors’ names: “Hey John, want your lawn to look better than the Wilsons’? Enjoy 20% off, exclusively for Rolling Hills customers!”

3. Print to digital marketing

Advancements in print-to-digital marketing make it easy for customers to instantly respond to your print marketing materials. For example, they can scan codes with their mobile phones to immediately purchase an advertised product, fill out a landing page form or “like” a social media page.

Other ideas include links to videos, interactive product demonstrations and even augmented reality. For example, a tourism bureau might print a booklet with a map of the city. Travelers can scan the map, then follow directions on their phones to local hotspots. They could even take interactive tours complete with visual overlays when they hold their phones up to historical buildings and other attractions. Sponsored partners could insert location-based ads to nearby coffee shops, restaurants and gift shops.

Online tools offer additional possibilities. Let’s say a local salon wants to promote the hottest hairstyles. It could send a postcard with a discount coupon and a scannable code that links to an app that allows customers to upload their photos, try out different hairstyles, then instantly schedule an appointment at the discount price.

4. Advanced tracking

We’ve discussed how print marketing can be used to deliver special codes and coupons. This type of technology also allows for advanced tracking that can motivate sales and inform future marketing campaigns.

For example, you can employ unique coupon codes that, when scanned, link to personalized landing pages that greet customers by name and make product suggestions based on their purchase and browsing histories. We already know personalization influences sales, after all.

In addition, advanced tracking can automatically detect which customers respond to your special offers. That data can then be used for future campaigns: For example, you’ll know which neighborhoods have the best response rates or which combination of shared demographics converts.

5. Foster trust, authority and credibility

Today’s customers are constantly bombarded by digital ads. They’re savvier than ever, and they can cut through the noise to ignore irrelevant and sales-y pitches. They want to have long-term relationships with trusted, credible brands that cater to their needs just as much as brands want to have relationships with them.

Help customers get what they want and need with informative brochures, booklets, postcards and flyers  even if you’re not the best option for every customer. In fact, focus your efforts only on the subset of customers you’re perfectly suited to. Illustrate how your company advocates for your customer base.

Customers know they have choices, and they choose wisely. That means your print marketing should work to foster trust, authority and credibility. Don’t focus exclusively on making sales, but rather on helping customers achieve their goals. This seemingly minute shift in mindset can pay huge dividends when your audience believes you.

Print marketing in 2020 will trend toward more personalization, immersive experiences, customer relationships and integrating print with digital technologies. Use these trends to your advantage to attract more customers and grow your business in 2020.

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.

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