10 Ways to Increase E-commerce Sales with Print Marketing

October 12, 2016

Struggling to make sales? With all the new technology and platforms available to promote your e-commerce site, you would think it’s easier than ever. However, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the various social media platforms and content marketing often takes a while before it starts to pay off.

Many online businesses neglect print marketing, usually because they don’t think it will work, or because they think it will be too expensive. Here’s the thing, print ads work for a specific demographic, and if you can reach them, then you will most certainly increase sales and generate a nice ROI.

Print advertising is not a thing of the past, and now it’s cheaper than ever to get your ad featured in local magazines and newspapers. Everyone is going digital as there are cheaper and (seemingly) easier ways to reach your target audience online.

Because of this, prices for print ads have gotten significantly cheaper over the past five years. Not only are the ad placements cheaper, but the cost of printing your own flyers, brochures, and other marketing materials has also gotten cheaper thanks to online printing companies.

This article is assuming you have a strong online marketing strategy and an online newsletter. Every online store needs a newsletter so if you don’t have one, set one up now, because you’re going to use print ads to get subscribers.

So here are ten ways you can increase sales with print in 2016 – and hopefully many more years to come. Each method listed here can include a QR code to your newsletter opt-in page. It’s a good idea to give them some kind of incentive or subscribing – but hey, we’re not going to dive into all that new-school online marketing stuff, let’s keep it offline shall we?

  1. Advertise To Locals

Most people like to support local businesses, so even if you don’t have a physical location they are still more likely to respond to your ads than someone from across the country. Find out what local magazines and newspapers your target audience is reading. There are usually ad placements for both small and large budgets, so start small if you need to.

  1. Use Postcards

Oh yes, postcards. The most simple thing you can have made to promote your online business! Send these out to previous customers and potential customers on a local level. If you have a small budget and can’t afford to purchase a bunch of ad placements in local publications, then postcards are the way to go. They’re cheap to make and ship, so why not?

  1. Don’t Forget About Flyers and Brochures

Is there a brick-and-mortar shop selling similar products as you in your city? If so, go there, and keep an eye out for the nearby places that those same customers go to next. Do any of these nearby places have a rack of brochures? Hotels usually do, so hit up all the hotels in your area and ask about getting your brochure, flyer or other print material featured.

Hotel guests aren’t usually local, but that’s okay because they usually use the internet to book their rooms, so they probably use the internet to shop from time to time. Hit up local small businesses, especially restaurants!

The cost of printing flyers and brochures is often more expensive if you go to a local printing company, so make sure you shop around for the best deal. Luckily, there are online printing companies like VistaPrint, UPrinting and PrimoPrint. These companies have more reasonable rates, and they offer a larger selection of products than the average printing company. If your printing costs are low then you will have more money to allocate to shipping and advertising fees.

  1. Product Catalogs

Let’s not forget about product catalogs, these are an excellent way to let potential customers know what you have to offer. You can keep it short and only feature the best-selling products, or you can go all out and make more pages with all your products. It’s up to you and your budget. These are great to send to locals, and more effective than postcards.

  1. Everybody loves coupons!

This method to increase e-commerce sales is simple and can be integrated with all your print ads and marketing material. Include a “locals only” coupon code and make sure it’s in an obvious location so it captures their attention immediately. If you’re selling something people want to buy and you give them a promo code to get it at a really good price then they will buy.

The reason this works well is because it’s cheaper to ship to people in the same area code, so you can afford to give them a discount. Do your best to give them the best discount possible.

Make sure to include a different promo code for your different print advertisements if you’re featured in multiple publications. This will help you track and determine which publication is working best for you, so you can eventually go for a larger ad placement and ditch the ones that weren’t bringing in sales.

  1. Test, Test, Test.. Until You Find What Works Best

Just like online advertising, print advertising will require some testing. If you have a very small budget then print might not be an option for you, but you should at least gather prices from your local newspapers to see how much a small ad will cost before you decide to focus your efforts elsewhere. Each city will vary, but prices for print ads have gone down significantly in most locations.

But wait, how can you measure and test how effective your print ads are? If you keep reading you will find out that QR codes are very helpful. You can generate a unique QR code for the different type of ads and marketing material you send out. You will be able to track how many hits each QR code receives, and that is how you can measure how effective your print ads really are.

  1. Hire a Professional Graphic Designer

It is also very important that you hire a professional designer to create your designs, as a professional will know the right colors to use, and where to place the text to capture the viewer’s attention. There are sites like Guru and Upwork that allow you to hire professional graphic designers without spending a fortune. Make sure you see examples of their previous work before you hire them to design your print material.

  1. Send to Existing Customers

The only time you should send anything out of your city is when you’re reaching out to previous customers. Reach out to your customers and send them a special discount to let them know you appreciate their business.

  1. Include a Personalized Message

When you send previous and potential customers your print material, make sure to leave a personalized note from you, the shop owner. It gives your material a more pleasant appearance, nobody wants to feel like they’re the fish and you’re the fisherman trying to lure them in.

If you’re not sending out too much or you have the resources to handle it, consider writing an actual letter to ship alongside your material, basically asking them how they felt about their last order and then maybe include a friendly product recommendation based on what it is they purchased in the past.

  1. Use QR Codes

Yes, the QR code hype has calmed down quite a bit over the last few years, but they’re still very useful for getting people on your website. Obviously, you will need a responsive website or they will probably leave it as soon as it loads.

QR codes were mentioned at the beginning of this article so you kept it in mind as you read through the various ways to increase sales with print advertising.

In E-commerce, your mailing list is a vital component to your business. You can keep selling products to your existing customers and possibly new customers who signed up after receiving that awesome postcard you sent them earlier in the year. They might not make a purchase right away, but as long as they don’t unsubscribe it’s only a matter of time.

Are you already using print ads to increase your e-commerce site’s sales? Let us know what you’re doing in a comment below!

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Author: Zaid Ammari