IntroductionDaily-deal websites, text messages, social media – the marketing options have exploded as businesseslook for new ways to attract customers in an increasingly digital world. But for small businesses,print marketing – from brochures to direct-mail postcards – still plays a big role because it’s cost-effectiveand easy to produce. In this report, we’ll look at how you can combine your print marketing with digitalmarketing efforts to get the most out of both.The StatisticsMost agree that the reports of print marketing’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. While manypeople assume that everyone, especially the younger generation, has tuned out things like direct mail,a study by the U.S. Postal Service1 found that that wasn’t the case. In fact, they said: • 87% of Gen Y and 86% of Gen X bring in the mail the day it’s delivered. • 73% of Gen Y and 68% of Gen X survey respondents had used coupons received in the mail.Marketing Sherpa found similar results when they surveyed B2B marketers.2 The majority of respondentssaid direct mail was either very effective or somewhat effective for their organization. While organizationsof all sizes liked direct mail, it was especially popular with businesses with less than 100 employees.However, we’ve all also seen the statistics about the growth of social networks and the mobile web.EMarketer.com reports that in 2011, 65% of U.S. web users will use social networks. And comScore.comreported that 43 million people in the U.S. owned smart phones in an average month fromNovember to January 2010, up 18 percent from the previous six months.3 So whether youlove or hate these technologies, it’s clear that you’ll need to embrace them if you want yoursmall business to thrive. So how do you go about adding them to your marketing mix?1
Print vs. DigitalTo help you decide which medium is best for your marketing campaign or message, let’s start by taking alook at the benefits of print marketing vs. digital marketing.Print Marketing and Direct Mail • It’s tangible. It makes your company look solid and trustworthy. • It’s difficult to ignore. Everyone still sorts through their mail – there’s no automatic spam filter. • It’s good for static information, like product specifications or your contact information.Digital Marketing • It’s dynamic. This makes it good for information that you update regularly, like pricing or special offers. • It’s interactive. Digital marketing, especially social media, makes it possible for consumers to easily give you their feedback and ask questions. That dialogue with customers is extremely important in today’s marketplace – consumers want to interact with the companies they dobusiness with, not just receive advertising.Next, we’ll look at some of the new technologies available, and best practices for combiningthem with your print marketing.2
Quick Response (QR) CodesYou’ve probably seen QR codes – those little squares that look like TV static – in action (you may have evenscanned one to download this). While they’ve been relatively slow to catch on in the U.S., comScore.comestimates that 14 million people scanned a code in June 2011. Use was highest among men ages 18-34.4How They WorkQR codes are barcodes, just like the ones the clerk scans in the grocery checkout line. But they hold a lotmore information than a standard barcode, and are becoming popular for businesses in a world wheremany consumers live on their smart phones.Instead of having to type a web address into their mobile device, a customer can simplyscan the QR code with their smart phone’s QR code reader (free versions are available inmost app stores). The QR code reader then quickly and automatically directs the user tothe web address or other digital content.3PostNet NC141 in Asheville, NC created theseQR codes for (from left) Wild Birds Unlimited inSouth Asheville, Frankie Bones Restaurant andLounge in South Asheville, and Books &Breadboard at Biltmore Village in Asheville.
Where to Use ThemWhile the uses for QR codes are endless, here are a few ideas to get your small business started. • Save space on your business card by using a QR code for your web or social media sites, or for a map of your location. • Use them on banners, posters, yard signs or billboards to minimize the need for text. • Direct customers to in-depth or digital information they can’t get in a printed piece, like a video demo or an email newsletter sign-up.QR Code Best Practices But before you start putting the codes everywhere, here are some do’s and don’ts. • Don’t link to a site that isn’t mobile-enabled. Nothing will turn a consumer off faster than trying to access a website on their phone, only to have to scroll back and forth or zoom in repeatedly to find what they’re looking for. • Do make it the proper size for the piece you’re putting it on. For instance, if you put a QR code on a poster, test it and make sure it’s big enough that the consumer can scan it from a few feet away. • Do include some brief instructions. Since QR codes are still new to a lot of people, some simple instructions (“Scan me with your smart phone QR code reader!”) will help increase use of your code. • Do include a call to action. You want the consumer to know that scanning the code is going to be worth their while. (“Scan the code for a video demo”or“Sign up to receive our email newsletter.”)4
Personalized URLs (PURLs)A PURL is a web page or microsite that is tailored to a specific recipient, making them great for creating amore direct relationship with a customer segment or vertical market. They also allow you to track whichrecipients demonstrate the most interest in your product or service, which can help streamline your salesprocess.PURLs in ActionLet’s say a pet store wants to increase response to their next customer postcard mailing. They have adatabase that lists the customer’s name, the type of pet they own, and the pet’s name. They decide tocreate PURLs for each customer, and print the PURL on the postcard. So www.petstore.com/bob-smithdirects Bob Smith to a page with a photo of a dog and a special offer for dog biscuits for Fido. Meanwhile,cat owner Jane Jones is directed to www.petstore.com/jane-jones, where she sees a photo of a cat and aspecial offer for catnip for Fluffy.ICD Global, who specializes in print communications for global pharmaceutical companies, has a greatexample of a personalized web page at www.icdglobal.net/personal-url.html.Getting StartedWhile most printers, including PostNet, can help print the PURLs on your direct-mail pieces, you may needto work with a web programmer or online marketing agency to createthe web pages. Here are a few good resources to help you get started. • www.easypurl.com • www.prospectclick.com5
Social Media in PrintThere’s a good chance you already use social media for your business, whether it’s LinkedIn to helpnetwork, or Facebook to interact with your customers. If so, print marketing can be a great way to help increase awareness of your social-media presence.Integrating Print and Social Media• Put your LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook URL on your business cards to encourage contacts toconnect online. If you use a Facebook URL, be sure to claim your shortened username to make it easier for your contacts. • Hold a contest on your Facebook Page, and use print pieces – like a flyer or postcard – to drive people to enter. • Use a wallet-sized card to remind customers to visit your Yelp or Google pages and review your business. While dissatisfied customers will seek out your pages to post comments, happycustomers may not think to do it unless you remind them!Social-Media Best Practices • Know the rules. Before you run a contest on Facebook or ask customers to review you on Yelp, make sure you’re familiar with their guidelines. • Give to get. Remember that social-media is different than advertising. If you want referrals on LinkedIn, refer other businesses. If you want more Twitter followers, follow others,retweet them, and contribute valuable content of your own. • Maintain boundaries. Keep your personal and business presences separate. Your customers may not want to see your vacation photos, and your family maynot want to know about your daily specials.6
Ready to Get Started?If you’re ready to start integrating your digital and print marketing, your PostNet Neighborhood BusinessCenter can help. Visit www.postnet.com/locations to find one near you.About PostNetFounded in 1993, Denver-based PostNet has more than 800 locations worldwide, including severalhundred in the United States. Each locally owned and operated PostNet Neighborhood Business Centerspecializes in meeting the design, printing, copying and shipping needs of businesses and busy consumers,with a focus on exceptional, personal customer service. PostNet centers offer full-service digital printing;full- and self-service copying; document binding and finishing; and services like graphic design, computerrental stations, private mailbox rentals and more. They also offer expert packaging services and shippingwith UPS, FedEx, DHL and the U.S. Postal Service. To learn more, visit www.postnet.com.71 http://www.delivermagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/whitepaper/Gen%20X,%20Gen%20Y,%20and%20the%20Mail%20Study.pdf2 http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=318523 http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2010/3/comScore_Reports_January_2010_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share4 http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/8/14_Million_Americans_Scanned_QR_or_Bar_Codes_on_their_Mobile_Phones_in_June_2011