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How to Use Print Advertising
to Drive Your Online Sales

By Peter Koeppel

These days, advertising your product or service requires much more than simply a print ad campaign or even a television blitz. To reach today’s consumers in the most efficient manner, you need a mix of offline and online ads. And while many advertisers are already aware of the power of television advertising to drive sales and online traffic, few realize the potential of print advertising and how it impacts a company’s bottom line.

New research from iProspect and Jupiter Research that looks at the influence of offline channels on online search found that 67% of online search population is driven to search by offline channels. Of that percentage, 30% come from print ads. Even more impressive is the fact that print advertising topped the list of offline media sources that led to a purchase, with 30% of search users who opened their wallet and bought online coming from a print medium.

So what does all this mean to today’s advertisers? It means that if you’re not using print media, such as magazines and newspapers, to advertise your company, product, or service, then you’re missing out on not only sales, but also web traffic that could in turn lead to future business. But before you rush out and place any old print ad with the hopes of a big online payout, take note of the following guidelines that will enhance your print campaign success.

Put key search terms in your print ad: Including your web site address or URL in your print ad is obvious. But don’t stop there. Realize that readers don’t necessarily take your web site address from your ad and type it into their Internet address bar. Often, readers remember some other key item from your ad, such as the product name or tagline, and search that phrase in a search engine. That means your print ad needs to prominently display your company name, product name, tagline, or any other pertinent descriptor or keyword your customers would remember. Therefore, before you design your ad, think like your customer and create a list of keywords they would likely search for if they were looking for your product. Then, include those words in your print ad so you can reinforce the message into the readers’ minds.

Use your print ad as a “sneak peak” of your product: Since print ads are static, you often can’t give readers a complete overview of your product or showcase all the “bells and whistles.” That’s where your online presence comes in handy. You can entice people with your print ad, and then use your web site as a way of demonstrating the product and showing all it can do. Show a video of the product in action or give a demo of what customers will experience. Take your print ad to the next level by using the interactivity of the web to get prospects involved with your product before they even own it. The more involved you can get people, the more apt they are to buy.

Use your online presence as a way to further educate the consumer: Depending on your advertising budget you may not be able to afford running a full page print ad every month. Instead, you may need to make the most of a quarter page ad or even less. If so, don’t despair. Since print advertising is all about long-term exposure, you need to choose the largest size ad you can afford to do for the long-term basis. Any information you can’t include in your print ad can go on your web site. So in addition to having demos and video clips on your site, make sure you include a section with all the pertinent technical or educational information your prospects may want to know about your product. When you give your prospects adequate information, you make their buying decision much easier.

Use the web to elaborate your print testimonials: Most print ads contain a few testimonials from satisfied customers. Your print ads should certainly do the same. To make the testimonial even more powerful, have the same person do a longer video testimonial for your web site. Why video? Because it’s more believable than simply reading a short paragraph testimonial. Additionally, it puts a face to the words and helps your prospects identify with other satisfied customers. Finally, most purchase decisions are based on emotion, not logic, and video is a more emotional medium than reading a block of text.

The Right Mix for Your Success: No matter what product you’re marketing, if you’re not using some form of print advertising to reach customers, you’re missing a huge share of potential revenue and online traffic. Remember that it takes a combination of offline and online advertising to make a true impact on today’s consumers. So leverage your marketing dollars by using the synergy of print and online ads to maximize the impact of your campaign. When you do, you will see your company’s bottom line results improve.

Read other articles and learn more about Peter Koeppel.

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