7 Ways to Complement Your Digital Marketing Strategy With Print Advertising

Written by
Feb 10,2020

Over the last decade, digital marketing has become significantly more popular than print marketing. But, listening to pundits who claim that print has become obsolete may actually be a step backward.

Instead of focusing entirely on digital channels and disregarding print media, the key is to find the right balance between the two. Print advertising, when done right, can boost your digital marketing efforts and increase sales.

Offer Direct Mail Opt-ins

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an average response rate of 0.12%, while direct mail has a 4.4% average response rate. It’s easy to ignore an email and it often ends up in the spam folder. You may have a great newsletter with a lot of subscribers, but how many of your customers actually read it?

Well-crafted direct mail with a personal touch can leave a better impression on your customers than an email. Email advertising is often cold and impersonal.

Direct mail allows you to get creative with catalogs and exclusive offers. Moreover, seeing your own name printed in full-color can be quite flattering. Direct mail is a great way of developing a personal bond with your customers.

Make Your Print Interactive

Making your prints interactive is an effective way of boosting your site’s traffic and driving online business. QR codes and augmented reality allow you to bring your print to life.

The popularity of face swap apps and smartphone games like Pokemon Go tells us that smartphone users are ecstatic to use their devices to engage with the real world. And, considering the fact that big names like Spotify, Snapchat, and Pepsi still use QR codes, it’s safe to say they are far from dead.

QR Code

QR codes allow you to measure the impact of your offline campaign. You can create specific landing pages and PURLs (Personalized URLs) for specific targets. Naturally, your QR codes would lead to those pages.

For instance, if you include QR codes in your banner design and place a few vinyl banners around town, you will have a better idea of which one of them performs best.

Include CTAs in Print

Your print ads shouldn’t solely focus on informing the consumer. Just as you use CTAs online, you can create a call-to-action for one of your print campaigns.

For instance, Netflix used a CTA in one of their print campaigns to prompt the audience to “face swap” with popular characters from their shows. By thinking outside of the box, you can use CTAs to reap both offline and online benefits.

Use Resources That Work Both Online and Offline

The best ads have a practical purpose. They educate and entertain the consumer. Content is king in both online and offline marketing. Creating useful content requires effort, but you can make it easier on yourself by creating content that works in both environments.

You don’t always have to divide resources between the two. For instance, mini-calendars are an age-old print marketing tool. Many businesses still hand them out. But, you could go one step further and let your customers customize their own calendars on your website.

You can optimize the calendar for both online and offline use by making it downloadable and printable. You can let them add notes, reminders, photos, etc. A tailored calendar with pre-filled information added by the customer sure makes for a better gift than a generic promotional calendar.

Include Hashtags

Why stop at CTAs? To make a specific campaign more successful, you can print specific hashtags along with a CTA. It’s a great way of starting a conversation about your brand and spreading awareness.

Back in 2013, Indiana University started printing #IUSaidYes on crimson envelopes and used them to send acceptance letters to their newly-admitted college students. Many of those students excitedly shared photos of themselves holding their acceptance letter. Naturally, they included the hashtag.

Since their brilliant admission promotion was so successful, they made it permanent! To date, there are over 4,100 Instagram captions include the #IUSaidYes hashtag.

Print Social Media Reviews and Testimonials

When it comes to marketing, user-generated content is invaluable. Before we buy a product, we like to see what others have to say about it. Reviews build trust and trust leads to an increase in sales.


Give your offline audience a reason to trust you as well. Make sure to include elements of social proof in your print advertisements. Your offline target audience is more likely to use your products or services when they see that there’s a whole online community that supports your brand.

Minimize the Copy

Sometimes, more is less. Print ads can indeed complement your digital marketing strategy, but only if you use them strategically. You’d want to use your print ads to direct your audience to your online presence, not to distract them from it.

Avoid writing entire paragraphs in your print. Don’t tell the whole story in your ads. Instead, make it a tease. Leave the ending of the story for your website. For instance, you can write, “Do this to win,” and then direct the reader to your website or Facebook page.


Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.