Print Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Small Business
by Claire Parker, Staples® Contributing Writer
Despite the attention given to digital marketing, printed marketing collateral hasn’t lost its relevance. Print materials and promotional products are tangible expressions of your brand and remain vital parts of any successful small business marketing plan.
Printing is more affordable than ever, which means your marketing budget goes even further. You can get inexpensive 2-sided business cards on high-quality paper, professional signage that grabs attention, and useful promotional products to extend your brand. And many printers offer graphic design services like logo design, making it even easier to present a big-time image on a small-time budget.
Use these suggestions from marketing experts and small business owners to create and make good use of offline marketing materials.
Printed Marketing Collateral
Business Cards & Loyalty Cards: These little pieces of paper really pack a punch. Customers can grab a few to share with friends, and you can hand them out at expos, professional meetings and even social events. “When you hand me your business card, you create a mental and visual link,” says Monica Doss, entrepreneur in residence at Wake Forest Innovations in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Even after I’ve added you to my contact database, I keep your card.” Wallet-friendly loyalty cards are cost-effective incentives that encourage repeat business and build fans. Choose a nice promotional item or apparel (see below) to reward customers when their cards are complete, or offer free or discounted product from your inventory.
Pro Tip: For a more impressive look, go for a coated or glossy stock paper, or make your business card do double duty by using the backside as an appointment card.
Posters & Banners: Large-format graphics get attention and allow you to show off products or announce a special offer or promotion. “Use oversize format printing to make a full-color poster for an upcoming event,” suggests Jon Feagain, art director of Adhere Creative in Houston. “Mounted oversized prints on foam core make perfect store signage,” Feagain adds.
Brochures &Flyers : Even in this day of digital and mobile everything, these printed marketing collateral materials are still important marketing tools. Brochures and flyers are important as a way to present your information quickly and remind your customers about your products and services. You can deploy these materials in direct mail marketing campaigns (see below) to prospective or current customers, or use brochure holders to display the materials at the front counter and in trade show or expo booths.
Pro Tip: In addition to your messaging, logo and location, include testimonials from satisfied customers, your URL and your social media handles.
Direct Mail: Data from the USPS shows that 79% percent of consumers read or scan advertising mail and find direct mail more convenient than going online. And the Direct Marketing Association found direct mail marketing is seven times more effective than all digital channels combined. You can design brochures and flyers to be sent through the mail, or use these other options for a small business direct mail campaign:
- Postcards: Put your logo on a card to promote events or specials to customers, or as thank-you and holiday message notes to loyal patrons. If you have a great image or graphic — an historic storefront or a unique product — create picture postcards for customers to take along as mementos or to send to friends.
- Branded Envelopes & Letterhead: Investing in high-quality envelopes and letterhead emblazoned with your small business’s logo is always a smart decision. The envelopes establish a good first impression for direct mail campaigns, as well as when mailing invoices, gift cards and correspondence.
Branded Promotional Products
Promotional Items: Use your logo strategically on promotional items and tools. Choose promotional products that are functional, like phone chargers or thumb drives, so they actually get used where people can see them so they do the marketing for you. Even branding on useful items your staff uses with clients, such as logo pens, can have a big impact.
Promotional Apparel: Wearable branding, whether donned by staff or customers and fans, is effective and long lasting. “I have my beloved Panasonic windbreaker, and one of my best friends lives in a Panavision hat — I never see him without it,” says trade show veteran and consultant Michael Millar of Los Angeles.
Pro Tip: “There is nothing worse than getting a paper-thin T-Shirt from a brand you love,” Millar says. The negative effect is two-fold. Fans won’t wear it, so you lose your marketing bump, and “it’s a reflection on the brand’s product quality. Better to go with cheaper — i.e., less expensive — swag than cheap-quality swag.”
Even if you rely on email marketing, social media or websites for the bulk of your outreach, there’s always a need for printed marketing collateral. Use the print marketing ideas on this list to boost your business without breaking your budget.