Which Print Marketing Path Should You Take?

Brian
January 24, 2012

Small businesses, especially startups and sole entrepreneurs, struggle with marketing budgets. Sure, we'd all love to go all-in and take advantage of every type of marketing there is, measure the results, and find out what works best so we could work it time and again. But reality dictates that many small businesses can take advantage of only a few marketing channels at one time. The reasons aren't only limited to marketing budgets; the time it takes to develop and deploy an effective campaign, much less track and measure its return on investment, can be prohibitive – especially for those in service industries who do the majority of the work themselves. There are a few marketing avenues you do need to be in if you're going to operate a successful business. You need a web page, for example, or at least a Google Places profile so customers can find you. And you need print marketing to help get people to your web page or to bypass it altogether and get customers in the door (or on the phone). The question is, which print marketing path should you take? Print advertising Print advertising in magazines, trade journals and newspapers, though on the decline, is still a viable opportunity for many types of businesses. The benefit is that you can reach a large, targeted audience. The drawbacks are that you have many other advertisers competing for audience attention on the same pages and that pricing can be prohibitive. The latter is especially true for more popular publications that can charge a premium for advertising space. Mass marketing Printed mass marketing materials include flyers, posters, brochures, vinyl banners, table tents and other printed marketing materials with large distributions are placed in areas where a large audience will see them. Such print marketing materials are exceedingly affordable to print and distribute, reach a very large swatch of potential customers, and can yield a very good return on investment. Direct-mail marketing Direct-mail marketing includes postcards, brochures, sales letters and sales packages, catalogs, newsletters, and other printed marketing materials that are sent directly to customers. Most direct-mail marketing campaigns begin with a mailing list comprised of individuals or organizations that meet certain demographic requirements, thereby allowing companies to send promotions only to those who are most likely to buy. Public relations Many people draw a line between marketing and public relations, and while there are significant differences there are also many similarities. Press releases announcing new products and events, for example, could be considered marketing; and so could press kits that include letterhead, presentation folders, CDs and DVDs, brochures, flyers and posters. Printing public relations materials can be cost effective, but there are also risks when it comes to placement: There is no guarantee an editor will publish your news. So which print marketing path is right for you? It depends on your budget and your goals, of course, but you also have to realize that all marketing represents an investment with an anticipated return. That is to say, your marketing campaigns shouldn't cost money, they should make money. Direct-mail marketing is the most effective because you have less competition and better targeting, but you also have to pay for postage. Mass printing is cheaper yet less targeted. Print advertising is highly targeted but expensive, and public relations offers no guarantees that your efforts will pay off. For small businesses, freelancers and sole entrepreneurs, the best bet is to engage in each strategy, one at a time, until you learn to make it profitable; then move on. Start with mass printing or direct-mail marketing, which will help you measure your returns and plan for future marketing campaigns.

Brian's picture

About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:22 am #

This is very true. we are a small business cards printing company, http://LeCards.com, and we use a lot of these type of marketing tools to advertise our business which in return we get clients.

Although they are old methods, they still bring results, even for a printing company.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:22 am #

[...] Which Print Marketing Path Should You Take? [Brian/PsPrint] 0 Comments [...]

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Brian January 07, 2016 03:22 am #

Thanks for the feedback - they are, in a sense, "old methods" because they've been successfully employed for many years. That being said, there are many new methods being used to make these marketing processes more efficient, more affordable, and more profitable.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:22 am #

You've got great insights about printing and mailing, keep up the good work!

Brian's picture
Brian January 07, 2016 03:22 am #

Thanks for the kudos, print direct! The more we know about what our readers like best, the more we can keep putting it out there!

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