When most companies think about marketing in 2019, they consider their website, social media channels, email, or search engine advertising. These are all very effective options for marketing your business as they provide easy ways to reach your customers and also track the success of your campaigns.

However, due to the massive popularity of digital marketing, print marketing is often overlooked. One reason is the discrepancy in cost. While digital marketing can be very cost effective, print marketing comes with the extra costs from the print vendor as well as shipping.

Print marketing also comes with its advantages. While there is greater competition for attention in the digital marketing space, since few businesses are using print, it is more likely that if done well your campaign has a great opportunity to stand out. Tangible items can also elicit a more emotional response than an email or social media post as they appear more important and valuable and therefore can be more memorable.

Tying your print marketing pieces to your social media channels, website and landing pages provides not only makes a powerful impact that engages your potential customers, but also provides the opportunity to use analytics just as you can with your online ad campaigns. Some options for this are:

Create a Specific Landing Page

An easy way to track the success and ROI of print marketing is to add a call to action that leads to a dedicated landing page on your website. Whenever your custom page receives traffic, you’ll know it’s coming from print efforts. Make sure you give your audience a good reason to check out your URL by providing a compelling offer or call to action.

Use QR Codes

Not only do QR codes drive traffic to your landing page, they can store data, location, and text. This means, by including QR codes in your flyers, business cards, postcards, brochures, event tickets or even custom t-shirts; you will be able to track relevant data in real-time. QR codes bridge the gap from tangible advertising like posters to digital content like a landing page or a video.


A hashtag campaign is a marketing initiative usually meant to gain social media attention, to create engagement, or drive traffic for a specific topic, product or idea. Using hastags on print pieces is a great way to not only gain more social media followers, but also track the effectiveness of your campaigns through viewing the frequency of its use in social media posts.

Indiana University used this approach with newly-admitted college students by including the hashtag #IUSaidYes on their acceptance letter packages. In turn, excited students shared images of their acceptance letters and attached the hashtag to their posts. To date, there are more than 3,900 posts on Instagram with the hashtag.

Examples of integrated print and digital marketing campaigns

With all types of marketing campaigns, the same rules apply. In order to be effective, it must be targeted to your specific customer, match your brand, easy to comprehend, and compelling enough to elicit attention. That said, here are a few examples of print marketing that each possess their own unique benefits and when combined with your digital marketing channels can make a powerful impact on your potential customers.

Marketing Collateral

Every business should have a set of branded marketing collateral that consists of business card and a flyer, brochure or some other type of collateral that describes your services and directs customers to your website. Bring these to networking events, tradeshows, display in your office or in other locations that your potential customers may frequent. To increase the impact of these pieces, add a QR code or url that goes to a landing page with a special offer. This page can also be used to encourage potential customers to sign up to your mailing list or sign up for a special promotion.

Direct mail

direct mail example

Direct mail has shown in numerous studies to have a better response rate and higher ROI compared to online advertisement or paid search. There’s also an opportunity to be creative when packaging several pieces together, or with the design of the direct mail piece. Your businesses’s message can be made even more powerful when combined with a call to action to visit a dedicated landing page or watch a video on your website.

In the example shown above, one company sent out a direct mailer to all of their clients with a holiday poem with a scannable code next to it to linking to a video on Youtube encouraging the recipient to donate twenty dollars to someone less fortunate during the holiday season. The direct mail piece and video also promoted the hastag #20HELPS so that people who donated could help spread their message on social media.

Posters, Signs, Billboards

billboard hashtag example

With posters, you have the opportunity to place your business’s messaging in high-traffic areas for long periods of time. While newspaper or magazine ads are likely to be viewed only 1-2 times, posters, signs and billboards are likely to be seen multiple times by a large number of people. One caveat, while some print marketing pieces allow for the use of more detailed information, posters, billboards and signs must be very simple as the amount of time available for a passerby to understand your message is very limited. Since there is a very limited amount of time to engage viewers using this format, consider using this space to present a memorable URL, hashtag, or some other technique to engage your potential customers on your digital marketing platforms.


tshirt example

People like to do business with other people. That is why, when you wear a t-shirt promoting your business, people will often interact with you to learn more. Paired with a powerful message, this can lead to a simple and very effective strategy for marketing your business, one customer at a time. However, don’t just rely on personally delivering your sales pitch, include information such as your website, social media channel, or a hashtag to encourage passersby to investigate your business further.

Pens, Mugs, Keychains and other Collectibles

Promotional advertising pieces such as pens or mugs that display a business’s logo, tagline or website address have the added benefit of usefulness and are therefore likely to have a long lifespan with your customers. This means that your customers, after acquiring these types of items are likely to be viewing your company’s logo and website address and staying top of mind for years. Take advantage of the exposure these pieces will have by using them to display your company’s website or social media channels.

Using data collected through digital marketing to influence print marketing campaigns

One of the great benefits of digital marketing is that it allows marketers to collect valuable information about their customers. You can make use of this data to create a more targeted approach with your print marketing as well. One of the drawbacks of print is the added cost from print vendors and shipping. In order to more likely guarantee a return on your investment is to target who you deliver your direct mail pieces to and the messaging you deliver to them by using the data collected from your digital marketing efforts. You can also utilize this data with variable printing, a form of digital printing which allows you to personalize print materials in a variety of ways. Elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process and using information from a database or external file. This can have a powerful impact on your customers, as cited in one study where just including a person’s full name in color on direct mail increased response rate by 135%.