We live in a digital age, where everything is now a “soft copy” or a digital download or an electronic payment rather than a hard copy. Yet, the title of this post is related to taking your digital B2B marketing strategy to print. Doesn’t that seem counterintuitive? It’s not, stay with me as I explain.
To execute a successful B2B marketing strategy, you absolutely must have a well-defined digital presence that includes:
- a polished B2B web design
- closely monitored social media profiles
- policed third-party review profiles
- thought leadership content published in online industry publications
- carefully crafted search ad campaigns
- strong remarketing ads
- listings in reputable online directories
- and more.
However, we aren’t machines who function solely in a digital world (yet). As humans, we still prefer to have physical items that we can touch and feel, like books, magazines, brochures, maps, mailers, etc. Yes, things like digital readers, smartphones, and online bill payments are helping to reduce unnecessary paper waste, however, they have not made all of these physical things extinct just yet.
While it’s imperative to have a strong digital B2B marketing strategy, it’s also a competitive advantage to include print materials when possible and where they make sense. By having an “analog” presence as well as a digital presence, you can make sure your B2B brand is providing valuable resources to your prospects and clients, even when they “unplug” from tech for periods of time.
Below are 4 ways we recommend taking your digital marketing strategy back to the old school, aka, print.
Repurpose downloadable offers into print pieces
Although a lot of day-to-day interaction in the B2B world is handled over email, screenshare meetings, conference calls, and phone calls, there is still room for adding value with print materials. One way to do this is by taking your star piece of downloadable content, like an FAQ or a buyer’s guide, and redesigning it into a print piece or a leave-behind piece. The advantage here is that you give a prospect something to look over after you’ve met with them in person or after you’ve had an introductory call with them.
Email follow-ups can be easily filed away and forgotten, but a print piece that is well-designed often gets face time as it sits on a desk waiting to be reviewed, reminding the prospect about your B2B products or services.
Send direct mail that sends people to the website
If you do a quick search for direct mail statistics, you’ll find statistics that are a bit shocking. According to a study by the good old USPS, more than 60% of direct mail recipients were influenced to visit a promoted website (Source).
We do not advise sending direct mail to an unvetted list of addresses or even your entire prospect list. That type of approach will fail every time and produce lackluster results. Rather, the approach we suggest is to create a carefully vetted list of prospects or past clients to send snail mail to with specific messaging or a tailored promotion. The smaller the target list, often the better results for a B2B marketing direct mail campaign.
The most important point here is to make sure that it hits on a need and doesn’t just push a product or service offering. Ask yourself, “Why would a prospect care about this?” instead of “What do we want the prospect to know about us?”
Pitch out articles to print publications
A component of a well-engineered B2B marketing plan includes elements of content marketing, or creating content for an ideal audience. From the digital marketing side, these thought leadership articles should be pitched out to the appropriate online industry publications. However, it’s also effective to pitch out unique, quality articles to industry publications that still have print circulation.
These spots are often harder to secure (there are only so many pages and the issues are typically themed), but they are like gold for an industry niche. These work well for not only establishing your firm’s authority in your industry with third-party validation, but they also get your brand in front of prospects who may not even know they need your products or services. Think of it – getting to be the first company that lets them know you have a solution to solve a problem they didn’t know could be solved? Gold, I tell you.
Create a print brochure from your best digital content
Talk about old school – a print brochure? Trust us, it can still be a useful component in a comprehensive marketing strategy for B2B firms. This is different from a content piece that educates. This is a brochure about your firm and your products or services. These days it can be tough to break through to the decision maker, even if you have their email address and connected with them on LinkedIn. They get hundreds of emails a day and will take 1.3 seconds (or thereabouts) to glance at your prospecting email before they delete it.
However, what they don’t get a lot of is snail mail. If you’ve reached out to a prospect over email and aren’t able to get a response or a meeting, why not send a beautifully designed brochure via mail? You’ll often get more of their time if you send something via snail mail than email. Also, if you are able to secure a meeting, it’s great to leave along a capabilities or features brochure along with your content piece so they can remember exactly what your firm has to offer.
Warning: Don’t Print Everything
The cost of print hasn’t gotten cheaper over the past few years. The cost of good quality printed materials has been pretty consistent, meaning that it does require a good chunk of your marketing budget. This means you can’t print everything you want to print, but if you strategically plan and budget for a few print pieces to accompany your comprehensive B2B digital marketing plan, you can get a strong ROI.
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