print advertising still works

How To Incorporate Print Advertising Into Your Online Marketing Strategy

Print advertising is dead.

At least that's why most people will tell you, especially us online marketers.

While print advertising is not as effective as online marketing in most cases, it still has value and can become an important part of your overall marketing plan.

Why Online Advertising is Better Than Print Advertising

  • With online advertising like Google Adwords and Facebook Ads, you can choose the exact audience you want to target so you are much more efficient with your ad dollars.  With print advertising, you are usually doing mass targeting (and paying for it) which means that 98% of the people who see your ad will have no interest in it.  It's also called the “Spray and Pray” method of advertising.
  • With online advertising, you are usually only paying when people take action on your ad by clicking on a link or watching a video.  With print, you are paying for the estimated number of people who might see your ad regardless if they actually see it or take action on it.
  • With online advertising, you get rich analytics that tells you every single thing that happened to your ad. You will know how many times it was displayed, how many people clicked on and what happened after they clicked on your ad.  With print advertising, you are mostly in the dark about what happens once your ad is released, unless you are doing tracking with an offer code or special phone number, but you still have very little data about what happened with your ad.

So with all of these negatives about print advertising, why would anyone still want to use it?


Why Print Advertising Still Works (somewhat)

  • Certain demographics, especially older age groups, still like to read newspapers, magazines and still like checking their mailbox every day.  These people may prefer paper over digital and print is a great place to reach these people as they may not be as active online.
  • Certain types of offers, like coupons for restaurants, still work very good with print.  Getting a coupon delivered to your mailbox is easier than having to optin somewhere with your email address to get a coupon that you still need to download and print in most cases.
  • If your business needs strong branding and top of mind to make a sale (think car dealers) then print advertising is a great way to stay in front of someone over the long term if you have the budget to sustain a campaign like this.


So how can print advertising become a part of your online marketing strategy?

The easiest way to create a marketing funnel is online, driving traffic to your website.  In driving people to your website you can do a number of things such as:

  • Get people to sign up for your email list, usually by offering an incentive like a coupon or free digital downloads like an ebook, checklist or template.
  • Tag them with a remarketing cookie so you can advertise to this person at a later date using Facebook Ads or Google Adwords.
  • Make an online sale or encourage them to fill out an online contact form.

All of these methods allow you to obtain some vital information about the person and also gives you the ability to reach out to them at a later date.  So you should use your print and offline marketing channels to drive people to your website where you will now have a number of options available in terms of tracking, communicating with and selling to these people.

It's the best of both worlds, you get to reach an audience that may welcome traditional advertising vs online advertising but still get all of the benefits of online marketing.

Sample Print Advertising Funnel

Print Advetising Funnel Template

Download PDF

Tracking Your Print Advertising

When it comes to offline marketing, even if you send people to your website, it can be difficult to determine where that traffic originated from.

Instead of driving people to your homepage, use a dedicated landing page for each traffic source.  So if you run an ad in your local coupon clipper magazine, make an offer where they can sign up to receive additional coupons and send them to a special page on your website like this, “”.  By doing this you can use Google Analytics to see how well your print ad is doing as only people who see the ad will go to the landing page you setup.  You will also easily be able to track who signs up for your offer once they are on the page.  Do this for each of your print ad campaigns.

You should always add unique landing pages, phone numbers, offer codes and coupons that are unique to each ad campaign.  This will allow you to track the effectiveness of each print ad campaign regardless if they come to your website or not.  It may sound like overkill and too much work to do this for each print ad campaign you run, but spending money each month on an ad campaign that does not work will cost you a lot more money in the long run.


Get the most out of your ad spend

The problem with print advertising is that most of the time it is a one-off event.  People will either throw away your ad or they may keep it for a while and eventually take you up on your offer.  But if someone decides to redeem your coupon or calls to get pricing or an estimate, most businesses fail to capture their information, which means you have no way of reaching them again.  By bringing them into your online funnel, you now have ways to communicate with them regardless if they give you their information or not.  Being able to follow up and stay top of mind is a great way to increase conversions and ROI on your ad spend.

Print advertising is traditionally an inefficient marketing channel as the majority of the target audience you are reaching are simply not interested in what you have to offer.  But by incorporating online marketing strategies and employing an online marketing funnel, you are able to get more mileage out of your ad spend.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.