Reaching Your Customers: Print or Online?

Your goal is to connect with new and potential customers. Whether you want to inform, educate or convert you must find a cost effective, yet measurable, way to connect with these customers. Should you reach out through traditional methods such as direct mail postcards and catalogs? Or should you opt for an online campaign using emails and social media to drive people to your website? Based on the research I’ve been doing lately it seems the answer is not one or the other, it’s both.

Print to Online

Take IKEA for example. We’ve all seen and probably used an IKEA catalog. It’s such a great marketing piece that the company allocates 70% of its annual budget to producing the catalog. So, how does this printed piece work together with an online marketing campaign?

 Norway IKEA encouraged their followers on Facebook and Instagram to take a picture of an item in the catalog and post it online with a specific Hashtag along with the name of the product. To motivate their followers every week IKEA gave away an item to one of the users who had uploaded the image.

"They dramatically increased their online followers."

 The results were impressive. Within four weeks IKEA’s followers had recreated the print catalog online. In addition, they dramatically increased their online followers. Thus, print pushed people to an online experience.

Reddit Ask Me Anything

Online to Print

Now take a look at Reddit. If there has ever been an online venue that is truly the epitome of “online,” it has to be Reddit. It’s full of news, opinion, entertainment, or just about anything else you can think of. It’s basically an online bulletin board for anything and anyone with an idea, opinion, want or need.

With all the various sections on the site, called subreddits, you can find someone who wants to exchange ideas on politics, technology, cute dog pictures or whatever you’d like to talk about. And, if you can’t find a topic that you’d like to talk about, you can always create your own subreddit. Reddit is user generated and user edited. So, you may ask, how is it possible that something so “online” could have anything to do with print?

"There’s been a very diverse group of individuals who have participated in IAmA including Barack Obama..."

 One of Reddit’s most popular subreddits is, /r/IAmA/ or Reddit "I Am A". It is here that anyone can ask a specific person any question they want. There’s been a very diverse group of individuals who have participated in IAmA including Barack Obama, Madonna, Bill Gates, Ron Paul, Bill Nye, David Copperfield, Michael Bolton, and many others. Again, you may ask, what does this have to do with print?

 In 2015 Reddit published, Ask Me Anything – Volume 1. The book is a collection of some of the most popular participants in the /r/IAmA/. The print copy sold for $35. And, Reddit isn’t the first to turn their online content into an offline print product. There have been fashion, pet, fitness, and many other websites that have turned their online materials into print magazines and marketing pieces. 

Google direct mail

And, it’s not just websites. Google itself has its own direct mail campaign that promotes the use of Google AdWords. They are using an offline marketing tool to promote an online marketing tool.

So, if you want to connect with current or potential customers you need to think both offline and online. You may want a printed catalog, a book or a direct mail piece that leads to a social media site or a website. Or, you may take content from your website and turn it into marketing collateral that can be left with a potential customer or handed out at a trade show. Either way, if you want to reach your customers you need to use both print and online tools.

Signs of the Times Consulting is able to handle any ‘ink on paper’ job. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long run offset printing project or short run digital printing job we proactively manage your project from start to finish. We work seamlessly with you and your agencies to achieve your overall marketing objectives. We print brochures, direct mail pieces, corporate reports, training manuals, sales inserts, catalogs, and more.

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