Is Printed Collateral & Marketing Dead?
This weeks discussion is based a round a question sent in by a lovely and loyal follower of Barnacle & Lime….
“ Is printed collateral and marketing a waste of time and money now that the world has become so digital”
Great question! and one I am super passionate about. So straight up, without a flinch… No it is not a waste of time and money and it is something you should certainly consider. So some may ask what printed collateral and marketing is, so lets quickly cover that to start. Printed collateral and marketing is quite literally, printed forms of communication that are sent or delivered to your customer. Think flyer, business cards, brochures, stationery, postcards, compliments slips, thank you letters, on boarding documents, stickers, bookmarks…the list goes on. Now it really is an easy assumption to make thinking that print is “dead” but in this post I will cover the advantages and also disadvantages of using printed collateral in your marketing approach ( please note this information is angled more toward service based businesses, however there will always be the cross over to product based businesses and I will be touching on these briefly too)
Lets look first at the disadvantages of printed collateral
Mistakes cannot be corrected easily or instantly like digital
Updating Disadvantages - shelf life
Its reach is lower
Turnaround, Planning & Time
Restricted size and content
Advantages of printed collateral
Credibility, Loyalty & Trust
Print readers are proven to have bigger attention spans & Retain information more effectively
Easier to stand out
Lasting imprint or “staying power"
Top of the ‘Inbox"
You can also have a digital version
Personal & Memorable
Supports your digital presence
It gets noticed
Not all clients or customers support digital
Bang for your buck
Choose your space easily
Talking point & reference
Having a look quickly at both of these, you can see that the the advantages are great and the disadvantages are a pain… so here are a few suggestions to overcome those.
Mistakes cannot be corrected easily or instantly like digital - Invest in a copywriter or take your time when proofing. Get your colleagues, friends and even family to run their eyes over things as those small mistakes or connotations can sometimes be overlooked by one party.
Updating Disadvantages (Shelf Life) - Rather than creating printed collateral that is “sales” driven, create collateral that is informational, educational and somewhat timeless and leave the sale promotions for online. Example - instead of sending a a flyer out locally that features a $99 March only deal, create a flyer that advertises your business and service that invites people to view these deals online. Another great practice is to feature a coupon or tear off piece that never expires, such as 10% off your first service or order.
Another good proactive is to create general printed collateral in your stationery suite that includes blank branded postcards and bookmarks.
Environmental - Consider the environmental impact your printing is having and consider engaging in a program that gives back. Here at Barnacle & Lime I care about the environment and for every print job completed, I plant one tree with Carbon Neutral Australia… Yes one tree! For every print job completed since December 2018 and onwards, Barnacle & Lime has and continues to plant one tree. We all know that printing certainly takes or taxes the environment in some way or other regardless of the stock used so is plant for print here in the studio! We also encourage recycled stocks where possible:). Each month, Barnacle & Lime tally their print projects and purchase a tree for each. Find out more about carbon neutral Australia by viewing their website HERE. Thank you to the following Businesses who have chose to print with Barnacle & Lime - One tree was planted on each print project thanks to you:) Cultivate Design Co Queensland, Mavin Real Estate WA, VanCraft Fitouts Australia, Concentric Concepts Queensland, Isla & Ollie Queensland. While I am on this topic I would also like to highlight that I encourage every small business to find some way to offset the impact their service has on the environment. Regardless of if you are a hairdresser, accountant, plumber or blogger, there are ways you can implement environmental awareness into your business. These changes may seem “small” but they are a start!
Reach Is Lower - Yes your reach is lower but it is more personal and can in-fact be more direct particularly for service based businesses. Let's say that you are a handyman and would like to promote your services - you could invest a few hundred dollars on paid online advertising, or you could invest it in quality and well designed letter box flyer. The perks of online is that its going to pop up in sidebars and sponsored places but what about those people who aren’t really looking for your service or your online add appears spammy or or they are just simply not a digital based household? well that’s why print is great! A quality flyer in the letterbox that grabs attention, shows local presence, gains trust and brings your business name directly into the household….and possibly gains a position on the fridge! so in summary…”Debbie” scrolled past your advertisement online a few weeks ago but did not need your services at the time! now she does, she cannot remember your details and ends up taking a guess and hiring someone else local. Whilst “Kevin” received your printed flyer a few weeks back and popped it on the fridge incase he ever needed it and this morning his window needed repairing… straight to the fridge without even thinking, he has your number and you get the job + new contact/client.
A quality flyer in the letterbox that grabs attention, shows local presence, gains trust and brings your business name directly into the household….and possibly gains a position on the fridge!
Cost - I have touched briefly on this above in regards to summing up costs digital vs print but let's look a little closer. Firstly your design and printed collateral is tax deductible… beauty! Secondly, if you find the right printer and have the correct files, printing is in-fact quite cost effective if you are sensible (no need for foil and fancy bits if you have a clean, fresh and well branded design). A good way to look at things is treating print collateral as an “investment” not a cost
TIP: Ask your designer to also supply a digital version of your project so you can get more mileage by using it online too! Perfect for opt ins, freebies or resource downloads.
Turnaround, Planning & Time - We all know that digital is instant… scary in a way! You can decide in the morning you are going to run a flash sale and its up and visible by lunchtime. I could go into a lot of positive and negatives about this but the main one I can think about is… a last minute decision like this is not usually a good one. Promotions, sales, offers and events should all be planned well ahead regardless of your service or offering so printing time can easily be scheduled into this. Again if you are looking to plan ahead - download the free annual B&L planner
Restricted Size & Content - When it comes to digital, a document can be 100 pages long or a landing page can have a funnel that’s ten tabs deep! So its normal to feel a little “stifled” when it comes to narrowing information to feature or promote. Studies have shown that online attention span is slowly decreasing (and attention span in general really!) so firstly… awesome to see you're still here reading this! Ok but this means that having something tangible to easily refer to for information is a great tool. When it comes to narrowing down content for print, the saying “KISS” (keep it simple stupid) really does apply. Provide the details, facts, supporting content and call to action - basically everything that one could need to either call you, pop on your website, view your socials or consider your services. If you have lots of information to share, use the call to action on your printed collateral to draw the person direct - so for instance “find out more at” or “read further” “see recent jobs” etc etc.
Provide the details, facts, supporting content and call to action - basically everything that one could need to either call you, pop on your website, view your socials or consider your services.
Quality Control - Now this is a biggie! As a designer, I have and still do hand over print ready files to my clients which does come with a small concern. A project can look amazing on screen but when printed on a home desktop printer or at the local “self serve print bar” things go south really quickly. My suggestion here would be to work with the printer your designer uses (like I offer here at Barnacle & Lime) OR supply your designer with the name of the printer so they can access the die lines, print profiles and setup guidelines. These days there are many platforms that offer cheap printing and yes they do work but my advice would be, get a small run first or go to serious extent to avoid inlet & laser printers that are not of high quality. I would like to add to this… there is some terrible quality digital content out there too! So regardless of what media you use..go for quality not quantity! and that means social posts, blog posts, online adverts, facebook advert etc etc
A project can look amazing on screen but when printed on a home desktop printer or at the local “self serve print bar” things go south really quickly.
International Reach - This is a hard one to give a “simple solution” too but with this post being aimed at service and maker based businesses your target would be more localised, in reach and be based more around your city, state or country.
Would you like to find out more about design and print services here at Barnacle & Lime? CLICK HERE to download the info kit! See you in a fortnight - Ebb x