7897886902_98e4d97eac_mPrint ads are sometimes scoffed at as “traditional media” that belongs in the dark ages. With social media platforms that make two-way communication easier than ever, the seemingly one-way communication channel tied to print advertising seems less interactive, less interesting, and less innovative. Factually, we think people just aren’t thinking outside the box when it comes print advertising. If you are still creating print advertisements the way you did in 1984, you may deserve some of the criticism hurled your way. But there are many great ways to bring print ads into the 21st century. Today, we’re going to talk about five ways to enhance your print ads and make them more interactive.

1. The QR Code: We know that QR codes have gotten a bad rap. To us, it’s primarily because so many companies used them poorly. For example, how often have you seen a QR code all by itself with no explanation as to why you should scan it? If used correctly, however, QR codes can accomplish a lot if a person is willing to take the time to scan them. If your ad is promoting a new product, a QR code leading to a product demo video can add a whole new dimension of information without making the ad feel too copy heavy. A testimonial ad could feature QR codes linking to actual video testimonials. As long as you preview why a person should bother scanning the QR code, and as long as that reason makes sense, it’s not a bad path to travel.

2. Link to your blog: Want to tie your print advertising campaign to some new marketing tactics? Why not create a campaign where your print ads run parallel with your blog posts? For example, if you know you are going to be using a certain print ad over three months, your blog posts over that time period could relate to information that ad covers. You’re offering readers a new way to get to learn about you, you’re tracking how many people are paying enough attention to your ads to actually visit your blog, and you can begin to interact with publication readers if they comment on your blog posts.

3. Link to your Facebook page: Another way to get to know your ad readers better is to drive them to your Facebook page. Since you can see when new people “like” your page, you can welcome them and ask how they found you. Not everyone will answer, but if someone says, “I came here because I saw your ad in XYZ publication,” that’s a big win. You now have a face, a name, and a way to interact with a qualified lead from your print advertising campaign.

4. Invite feedback: If you want to make your print advertisements interactive, ask for it! Create a special landing page on your website that your ad can point to and ask people to comment on the ad, on your product, or whatever else you might want to get feedback on. This can be a scary proposition – you might not like what you hear – but it also can provide a treasure trove of information you previously had to pay a lot of money for.

5. Replace promotion with emotion: People no longer want to look at ads that simply ask them to buy. If a person wants to buy they are likely to get the basic information from your website these days. Print advertisements can now be used as the hook to get people in your industry interested. How can your product solve a problem? Why can people rely on your company? Talk about your customers and their needs instead of you and your product. Make it about them. The icing on the cake is that this approach almost ensures your ad will be unique. Nobody can tell your story like you can, after all.

Those are just five simple ways to enhance your print advertisements. We hope this gets the ball rolling as you begin your 2013 marketing campaign. If you want to talk about more ideas, or if you want any help from us, just let us know!

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zamburak/7897886902/ via Creative Commons