Three Methods to Combine Print and Digital Advertising

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In marketing strategies, print and digital often live separate lives. While they can be successful on their own, print and digital together can reinforce each other’s strengths and make a greater impact.

This type of impact is critical in today’s environment as brands work to re-engage customers, communicate new messages, and stand out.

Fortunately, the possibilities for integrating print and digital marketing are constantly expanding. Here are three effective strategies you can use right now.

1. Create augmented reality experiences with print

In the United States, 96% of adults own a cell phone, 81% of them smartphones, according to the Pew Research Center. Companies can use this fact to their advantage when developing creative print marketing campaigns. With Augmented Reality (AR), smartphones allow readers to engage on a new level and bring print news to life by overlaying and enhancing a static image using computer-generated perceptual information.

IKEA, an early AR user, broke the news by combining physical print catalogs with AR technology so people could “try out” furniture in their home. Buyers simply point their smartphone at the catalog and then use the phone camera to position the furniture in their surroundings. As Wired pointed out, this has become one of the key use cases of AR as it allows customers to virtually interact with a product that is normally reserved for personal purchase only.

Especially now, when consumers shop less in person, innovation remains important for marketers who want to motivate and interest customers. Data from Vortex shows that AR engagement has increased 20% since early 2020, according to Retail Customer Experience, and conversion rates are 90% higher when people engage with AR.

Immersive interactions offer more than your average marketing experience and create unforgettable touchpoints that are only possible when print and digital work together.

2. Increase digital engagement with printing – and vice versa

Direct mail is known for high conversion rates. When direct mail is paired with digital ads, conversion rates are 28% higher, according to a 2018 report by the Data & Marketing Association. Adding digital endeavors to direct mail campaigns provides an opportunity to amplify messaging and drive recipients to more online messaging. Print marketing also offers creative ways to encourage audiences to connect with a brand online and interact directly.

For example, Indiana University used a combined print and digital approach to motivate prospective students by sending out letters of admission in branded envelopes with the hashtag #IUsaidYes. The school encouraged students to post a photo with the hashtag on their social accounts. There are now more than 4,300 Instagram posts that use the hashtag! The traditional print-only acceptance experience was digitized, adding to student excitement and highlighting Indiana University’s culture.

Combining print with digital engagement can help drive additional integrated campaign strategies. One of the benefits of social media marketing is the ability to quickly pan and test multiple ideas. Businesses should take note of their online analytics to see what audiences they are responding to, and then develop integrated campaigns based on the most successful news. A high-profile social media post or hashtag, for example, signals the potential for a successful campaign. Businesses can even incorporate content from social posts and digital pieces directly into print products.

For example, USAA Insurance used a direct mail that highlighted positive Twitter quotes from actual customers. USAA Insurance, like many brands, offered customer support on Twitter, and saw engagement spikes often through positive public customer exchanges. This also contributed to the goal of increasing customer care engagement on social media.

3. Integrate physical and virtual interactions into your brand

QR codes have become more and more common over the past decade. According to the Global Web Index, twice as many people scanned a QR code in North America in 2018 as in 2015. Statista estimates that 11 million US households will have scanned a QR code in 2020, and most Fortune 500 companies have their QR codes added marketing strategies according to Beaconstac. Printing is the most common method of submitting QR codes, as users can easily scan them with their smartphone and get to their online destination without entering a long URL.

Best Buy was ahead of the curve in integrating the in-store print and digital shopping experiences by adding QR codes to in-store product labels. When customers scan a printed QR code, they can research, review, and share product information on their phone as usual. With the increasing shift of the shopping experience into the digital and mobile area, attempts were made to maintain the stationary experience relevant to this new world.

Successful integrated marketing campaigns leverage the best qualities of each marketing channel to get the highest engagement rate and meet customers where they are.

However you choose to integrate your print and digital marketing, work with a trusted provider to ensure error-free execution. You can turn to a printing consultant, such as the FedEx Office nationwide commercial printing network, who not only knows your company but also acts as an extension of your team to deliver high quality experiences for you and your customers.

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