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We live in a digital world, but any good marketing strategy involves both print and digital efforts. In fact, A 2018 FedEx survey found that 85 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with a small business that has professionally, custom printed materials. What’s more, direct mail marketing has the highest conversion rates, above all online marketing mediums, according to 2017 DMA/ANA Rates Report.

To make the most of this multi-channel marketing approach, you need to have a unified marketing strategy.

Use the following elements to bring these mediums together and in turn, drive sales, get clear on ROI, and modify as needed to grow a thriving business.

Goals

Print marketing and digital marketing complement one another. As such, your goals for both need to be aligned so you can avoid overlap, while also making the most of each unique platform. As you build your marketing strategy, consider how each platform can work together to reach the goals that you set. Here are some examples:

Example #1:

  • The goal: Boost online sales by 5% this quarter.
  • The execution: Create a direct mail campaign with an online coupon code, and deploy online ads via Facebook.

Example #2:

  • The goal: Drive traffic to new product page.
  • The execution: Hand out flyer with QR code to new landing page while at an upcoming conference, and send email to current customers promoting the new product and page.

The first step is to set these goals and then separate them into two: How can print achieve this? How can online achieve this? This will guide your strategy, just as it would if you were using one channel while ensuring that you’re making the most of the benefits for both online and print. 

Branding

Consistency in branding—from voice and messaging to font and colors—is critical, and even more so as you move from online to offline. ClearVoice explains, “Brand consistency is the pattern of expression that affects what people think about your company. The more consistent your messaging, the more consistent your branding—whether via words, design, offerings or perspective. Your brand should build awareness and develop trust and loyalty with customers.”

If you haven’t done so yet, now is the time to create your brand guidelines or a brand playbook. This ensures that when someone sees your flyer, they recognize your brand as much as they would on Instagram or via email.

The basic elements of your brand guidelines should include:

  • Logo: Variations for different marketing needs.
  • Tone of voice: Are you friendly and informative or silly and informal?
  • Colors: Include specific colors that will be used consistently.
  • Font: Choose up to 3 complementary fonts that will be used both online and offline.
  • Messaging: This encompasses your core values and mission statement. Check out this messaging checklist.

You can also include specific words that are used and not used, photography style (soft and bright or dark and serious?), and illustrative elements—anything that’s important to your brand look and feel should be outlined.

Tracking

Tracking is as critical to your offline, print marketing efforts, as it is for your online efforts. When done right, you can see the effectiveness of both online and offline side by side, allowing you to modify and update your strategy as needed.

The good news is, it’s also easy to implement, regardless of the offline materials you’re using. As you build your unified strategy, keep this in mind.

In Print Marketing: How to Leverage This Powerful Tool, experts at MyCreativeShop share two simple ways to track your marketing materials alongside online marketing:

Shortened URL or QR code: Both of these can be placed directly on the print material itself, whether it’s a brochure at an event or a flyer that’s been hung around the community. This gives you a similar data point as online marketing: click-throughs. You can track these click-throughs via Google Analytics or your ecommerce tool, depending on how you set it up, to overall ROI.

Custom offer code: Use a custom code to track how many people took advantage of your offer. This code can be entered online, if you have an online shop, or used in person. The cashier simply enters the code into your POS system, allowing you to see how many sales came directly from that effort. From there, you can easily calculate ROI.

UTM parameters: If you’re linking to the same page, both online and offline, use parameters to tell which source drove traffic. For example, if you’re linking to the same landing page, you don’t need to create a new one for each medium. Instead, append a code to the link for each one.

Metrics

To assess your efforts properly, you need to have a unified list of metrics you’ll track to measure the value of both print and digital. This allows you to compare and contrast, not just ROI, but raw numbers as well, to see what’s working and what’s not. Some metrics that can be compared between both mediums include:

  • Traffic or clicks to the website or a specific landing page
  • Purchases made, offline or online
  • Inquiries via your website
  • Sign-ups for an event
  • Downloads of a digital product

Continually track these metrics, month-by-month or per campaign. Tracking metrics requires consistency to find patterns and modify as needed, so build this into your strategy.

Review

The most vital aspect to any marketing strategy is reviewing your efforts on a regularly set interval, preferably month-over-month. This is especially important for a unified strategy that includes both print and digital marketing because the two will likely have very different results. Knowing these results will allow you to consistently put your budget in the right place based on data, not assumptions.

For example, if you saw more sales come from your mailed offer, while a lot of queries came from your marketing email, you might place more budget in the offline channel and less in the online channel.

Use all the elements mentioned above to do your review. When you track the same metrics, set complementary goals, and maintain brand consistency, you’ll have all the data you need to effectively review your efforts and tweak your strategy, reflecting ROI and overall value of each platform.

Unify Your Marketing Strategy

Unify your print and digital marketing strategies to see the most value from both. When you set the same goals, determine metrics ahead of time, and track the results, you set yourself up for success with this multi-channel approach.

About the Author(s)

Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels is an entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications including Forbes, Fast Company and Entrepreneur. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more.

Founder and CEO, Jessica Thiefels Consulting
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