What Happened to Print?

Really, is print dead?  There are experts who have published articles and blogs that would lead you to believe it is.  And in some aspects, they are right.  I know this may be strange to hear from someone who earns a living with the help of Print Donkey, but I’ll be the first to tell you that the printing industry is not what it use to be.

Print was golden.  If you wanted to get your information to your audience, you printed some postcards, some brochures, and maybe even sent them a letter on that stylish letterhead and matching envelope you had printed.  Your audience would get these pieces, often in the mail and be like “wholee-shit, I need to call them!”  But times have changed.  And you would be a fool to not recognize this change.

In addition to running Print Donkey, I am also an advisor and contractor for small-medium sized businesses at Owl5 Creative helping them leverage their marketing and design.   I have to stay on top of what works and what does not work, what the trends are and what they are expected to be in the future.  I come across plenty of outdated information.  Even when I was obtaining my MBA, I was witnessing information that was being instructed to class that was not relevant to today’s business trends.  With how fast and convenient information is being delivered by the truckloads on the information highway, you can almost drown in all this information.  And most of it is found on social media.

If you are not on social media, then well, you might as well go back to your La-Z-Boy and watch those reruns of M*A*S*H.  Social media is a powerful tool that every business should be taking advantage of.  Let me repeat.  Every Business Should Be Taking Advantage of the Powerful Leverage of Social Media, and for one reason—it’s free.  Who doesn’t like free?  I sure as hell do.  In addition to the hundreds of other reasons social media experts want you to know so you can hire them for help, social media is accessible by almost anyone these days with the use of a smart phone.  You’re able to grab their attention wherever they go.

So let’s circle back to what happened to print.  Slowly over the years, print has been pushed aside for the more favorable, and albeit cheaper alternative means of promoting with a free social media account.  And this is where the quality started to diminish.  Imagine if all you needed to do in order to obtain a degree was to sign up on some random website and boom!, instantly you were granted a diploma.  The value of that degree would slowly but surely diminish as soon as it was clear that your cousin Cleatus, who doesn’t know the difference between their and there, does not deserve that Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science.  This is is what is happening right now with marketing and advertising on social media.

The fact that everyone has access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat almost grants Cleatus’ Bachelor’s Degree for businesses who are marketing themselves on social media.  We’ve all seen that crap out there.  No, I do not care if you created My Pillow just for me…and you should shave that pornstache my friend.  Some businesses may have heart, but the value is not what it use to be.

This is where you can differentiate yourself from your competition.  Yes, still take advantage of social media for promotional purposes because it’s definitely not going anywhere and it’s free.  But you should really consider the possibility of what print can do for you.  Think about it.  If your main competitor is out there crushing it on social media with their real estate listings, with their recently sold, recently listed, and tips and suggestions on how to provide that curb appeal, then you need to be doing the same if not more.  This more is why I do what I do for my clients.

So here you are matching and hopefully surpassing what that competitor is doing out there on social media.  Imagine if you recycle those tips and suggestions you posted on that blog and put them on a 4×6 postcard?  Postcards are really inexpensive—you can get 100 for about $30 and would qualify for reduced pricing at postcard rates.  So for a budget of just a little over $60, you can not only be hitting potential customers/clients online with emails, social media posts, and blog articles, but you can also be hitting them in their mailbox—consistently.

The fact that you are going over and beyond what was typical in yesterday’s era of advertising with mailing a physical piece of advertising will not only build credibility in their mind, but also will start the seed of establishing trust.  According to a Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now survey, when customers trust a brand, 83 percent will recommend a trusted company to others and 82 percent will continue to use that brand frequently.  Trust is they key to now only keeping these customers and clients, but trust also lends a favorable hand when it comes to referrals.

So is print dead?  For the majority, yes they absolutely think so.  But this is where you can take advantage of your competition who believes that print is dead.  For those of you who are seeing this opportunity right now, take full throttle of that vision and start that print project!

Levi Leyba is an entrepreneur in Mesa, Arizona.  When he’s not helping people start their biz at StartABiz.org, he’s consulting and building websites at Owl5.com and PrintDonkey.com.

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