If you want to get into the print side of marketing your business, you can’t go wrong with the basics: business cards and letterhead, for example, are some great classic pieces that are relevant for every organisation, from small business to multinational corporation. If you want to take your small business advertising to the next level, print is a time-honoured way to get there. Here are a few print marketing ideas to get you started.
1) Develop a mailing list
Many businesses have mailing lists these days, but for the vast majority, it’s an online list. It’s rare these days for companies to sent out print newsletters to their customers. If you’re able to write something that’s both interesting and useful, a regular newsletter can be a great way of encouraging repeat purchases and recommendations. It’s also a simple way to show your appreciation to your existing customer base. Run a monthly competition or add a purchase incentive such as a discount or free item with purchase, and your newsletter will be something that your customers look forward to rather than filing in the rubbish bin.
2) Circulate Press Releases
Are you launching a new product or service or sponsoring a local sports team? Did your business just achieve an important milestone? Write a press release and send it off to local print publications. The idea of writing a press release might seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think. Free templates are easy to find online, and as long as you keep it simple and factual it’s hard to go wrong.
3) Tell People What’s on Your Mind
Another way to get into the local papers is to find out if any have opinion columns or other features where members of the public can have their say. This can be a useful way to get some free local advertising, and you don’t necessarily need to write a piece that’s heavily business-oriented for this to be useful. All that matters is that you’re getting your name (and hopefully the name of your business) out there.
4) Offer Purchase Incentives
There are lots of ways to approach this aspect of marketing when you’re working with print, and often you’ll find you actually have more flexibility with print than you do with online purchase incentives.
Cafés and other small-but-frequent purchase shops typically employ incentive cards of the “buy 9 get 1 free” variety, but there are plenty of other ways to incentive sales. One option is to provide a permanent discount for a specific demographic, such as students or senior citizens. If you choose a demographic that’s part of your target customer base, word-of-mouth promotion is likely to win you more customers too.
Another option is to print one-time discount cards, and hand them out with purchases over a certain value, to potential new customers at trade shows or other events, or provide them to partners in your business network.
5) Celebrate with your Customers
Holiday greeting cards used to be a fixture for many local businesses but they’re not so common any more. This means they can be a great way to stand out in the crowd, and give your customers a small thanks for their loyalty throughout the year.
A greeting card with a small discount or other purchase incentive is particularly valuable, and it’s a nice and simple way to build some goodwill at the busiest time of the year. If it’s not feasible to mail out greeting cards, they can also work well when included with holiday retail purchases.
6) Promote with Postcards
When you need more space than a business card can provide, but don’t need a full A4 size piece to get your point across, a postcard is a perfect happy medium. This format is particularly good for creative types—such as artists, graphic designers, and photographers—who need some extra room to showcase their work.
The postcard format also lends itself well to promotional freebies for discounts and limited-time events such as an invitation to a pop-up shop or other exclusive events.
7) Use Written Testimonials
Many people love giving opinions and recommendations when they receive great service, and your satisfied customers are a potential goldmine in terms of positive advertising. Ask for written testimonials from people who are particularly glowing with their praise, and use them on future marketing materials such as brochures and flyers. Social proof is a hugely powerful form of advertising, so don’t let these opportunities go to waste.