The DIY Branding Guide Branding & Business Basics

Digital vs. Print: What’s Right For Your Business?

by Carl Jackson
on Apr 08, 2017
Newspaper print textured background

Print Matters by hellomartco

If you haven’t had much experience in marketing, it can be tricky to decide where’s best to promote your business. There are so many options: websites, social media, printed material, and even broadcast and outdoor advertising. For most smaller business, the choice comes down to digital versus print. So, which one should you pick?

Digital, obviously. Right?

Not necessarily. Digital marketing has its advantages, but even in 2017 there’s a place for print. Direct mail wins hands down over email when it come to getting people to take action, with a noticeably higher response rate and likelihood of taking immediate action. And this isn’t just something that’s favored by older demographics; a large number of millennials also having a soft spot for print.

It’s not that hard to understand why; think how many emails you receive each day, and how much of what you receive actually stands out at a glance. Print allows you to create immediate impact through design, and gives your customers something physical to connect with.

It’s also useful to remember that print isn’t just flyers or brochures. Print comprises everything from clothing to household items, meaning that you can put your branding on something people will want to hold on to and use. Look around your home or office, and chances are you’ll be able to find a piece of print marketing; the sticker on your laptop, the calendar on your refrigerator, or even that one really comfortable t-shirt you wear to bed every night. Print marketing can let you into your customer’s home and give your brand a long-term presence in their lives.

Wow, print’s amazing, forget digital!

Not so fast. Digital is still an important part of your promotional mix, partly because it’s also made up of so many different and versatile types of marketing. Websites, emails, social media accounts, and even display and search advertising are all effective ways to promote your business in a variety of ways. On the internet, you can have a two-way conversation with customers, provide an interactive experience, and you can get them to take action immediately.

Remember, too, that you can integrate your print and digital marketing. From something as simple as including your social media accounts on a flyer to offering voucher mailouts for online sign-ups, there are any number of combinations to make your digital and print promotions complement each other.

Okay, so, both? 

Definitely, but be strategic and do your research.

There are a huge number of resources online to help beginners build their first marketing strategy, from comprehensive starter guides perfect for small businesses to more niche channel-by-channel tutorials. These should always be your first step; without a solid strategy you’ll struggle to get results from any marketing campaigns, online or in print.

You should also take inspiration from the work of others. Save emails from campaigns that you loved, screenshot ads, and keep flyers and direct mail. If it’s caught your attention, then there’s a good chance it’s a great piece of marketing. You can also take inspiration from pre-made templates. From print templates to websites, there’s something that works for every business (plus if you find one you really love, all the design work’s done for you already).

One last time, sum it up for me.

Both print and digital have a place in your marketing mix. The key is to think about your business’ needs and go into whatever you do with a clear strategy. Finally, take plenty of inspiration from the marketing you see around you, and use what works in your own campaigns.