Print vs Digital marketing

Posted By PrintElf

Mini surveil question:
How much spam is in your inbox right now?
How many will you open and read?

Let me guess. Lots…and… none. The digital avalanche of spam has made us oblivious to the intended message. We can’t see the trees in the forest. And as time progresses it seems there will be no end to this insidious problem. We are inundated with time wasting emails from around the world. If you are like me, you feel like “calling it quits on emails”, yet we are obliged to keep on using it as a means of communication. 

Print vs digital marketing

At the same time we have noticed our physical mailboxes to get “leaner” over the years. I remember the weekend Miami Herald to be two pounds heavy. Packed with endless paper adds for TV’s, Winn Dixie commercials (“Where is the beef”, remember?) and Botox parties. It all vanished. With the advent of the internet marketers flocked to the internet for the Holy Grail. Everybody followed like sheep and abandoned paper. Now we have to suffer through silly banners and popup blurbs. Even a movie trailer is preceded with a commercial you have the least interest to watch. Everywhere we turn, commercials. We have become numb and oblivious to the constant shower of digital data.

So what do you do when you want to escape the followers? You look for a niche market. The king is dead, long live the king. Yes, turn your attention to the physical again. Have you noticed a trend of vintage goods? Venture down to Barnes & Noble (yes, they still exist, at least as of his writing) and check out the gnarly collection of vintage vinyl records. Check out the bold printed sleeves. Take them in your hands and smell the aroma of freshly printed paper. Some of them even have the song’s lyrics printed on the back. It’s an experience, a joy and feeling of back to the roots a digital download just can’t provide.


Our brains are attuned for print

Studies show, direct mail requires 21 percent less cognitive effort to process than digital media. There is also a 75 percent retention where consumers remembered a brand. Compare that to only 44 percent for the digital counterpart. 

Print allows us more time to process information and make a decision

Did you ever return home to find a door hanger at your entrance? I bet you looked at it 100%. In fact you even flipped it around.


Competition is much smaller (as of yet)

Because advertising dollars are flowing into (mostly) Google's pocket I suggest to give direct mail a try. Have an attractive postcard professionally designed. Also, give EDDM (every door direct mail) a try. Or why not print bookmarks


Printed advertising is in your face

People are forced to make a decision for each and every direct mail piece they receive. Good design and a proper call to action is more likely to avoid the trash can. Still, the consumer’s eye will nonetheless glance over your printed matter. In contrast, an emails Subject line is reason enough to be deleted. Postcards and door hangers are the favorite and best bang for your buck.


Highly targeted

While digital advertising is mostly defined by demographics, direct mail allows to be granular down to the household or business. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. With digital marketing your target may be honed with unprecedented accuracy .



Do consumers trust more print or digital content? Turns out, traditional printed ads and content is trusted more, even amongst younger generations. There is something traditional, permanent and established about printed paper.


Social connect

Naturally, this is where digital adds and content shines. Therefore it is imperative to include links to your social content within your printed marketing material. Why not run a promotion that ties both worlds together? To an extent you can even track your media conversion by using bitly as your tool. This handy service will track when someone clicks a link. However, I suggest to create a special landing page with a friendly URL to make it easy on your clients. For example: “For special promotion visit”. Note I left out the www. In today’s time most people know this is an internet address, and prefer the shorter version.


What print media?

Direct marketing is very effective with large dimensioned mailers. Oddly enough scented paper has the highest rate of attention followed by content in envelopes. Envelopes with hand written (script) fonts have are 35 percent more likelihood to be opened. Postcards are another excellent media, especially oversized and UV (gloss) coated substrate. Full color printing is expected today and plays an important role. An amateur designed ad piece is much more likely to fly straight into the waste basket. Rather wait until you have the funds to execute your ideas properly with a professional designer. You want all your add pieces to fall in line with your corporate image. Last but not least, consider door hangers. Naturally they are only suitable for a local business. The conversion to business rate however is rather high with such an in your face approach. Gardeners, dog walkers, handyman, roofers, car care etc. should take advantage.


So, print or digital?

Naturally this depends on your business. Brick & mortar and service businesses gain plenty by going the print route. You’All need a healthy combination of both worlds. As you might know, competitive keywords you purchase from AdWords can easily cost you $10 per click (you read right). Let’s say you have a law office. Direct mail advertising for two zip codes might cost you $1000 including postcard print cost and postage. A competitive keyword to appear on Google (with AdWords) can easily cost $15 per click. That results in about 67 visits to your website when spending the same $1000. At a conversion rate of 2% this could result in a call to action of 1.34. In the real world however, most conversion rates are very low. In other words, people will click on your link to simply peruse your site and not purchase anything (window shopping). 


In conclusion

I think print is back again and a wonderful addition to your digital marketing initiatives, Give it a try, it might cost you a lot less than you think.

Thank you and good luck.


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