combine print ads with direct response websites

Combine Print Ads with Your Website for Better Results

Is the print ad dead?

With all the talk about websites, Pay-Per-Click and social media marketing, it’s easy to think that the day of advertising in newspapers, magazines and the like has passed. Certainly, Online Marketing is a strong and worthy competitor for your advertising dollars and often squeezes out display advertising.

However, if print ads make sense for your business, then by combining your offline advertising with your online marketing, you can make your ads far more effective. Here’s how to use your website to turn regular display ads into powerful “direct response ads”.

Is Print Advertising Right For Your Business?

Bottom-line, if money spent on print ads makes you money, then it’s a no-brainer. However, most businesses can’t track revenue to advertising expense. At best, they may have a vague notion that some of their advertising is “working”.

Often, the main reason businesses spend money on advertising is out of a feeling of insecurity: “I need to do something to drum up business”. The good news is that it’s quite easy to convert your print ads into “direct response” ads and know for sure–one way or the other–if your ads are pulling their weight.

Take this simple test to know if paying for print ads is worth it:

  1. Will the ad reach a significant number of my Ideal Client?
  2. Are there other ads in the publication that are geared to my Ideal Client?
  3. If I get a modest (1%, 2%) response rate, will the ad more than pay for itself?
  4. Can I afford it? (Do I have advertising dollars left over after investing in higher performing channels?)

How To Use Your Website To Turn Your Print Ad Into A Direct Response Ad

If you’ve made the decision that print ads make sense, then here’s a really easy way to make them work harder for you…

One of the biggest challenges with display ads is that they’re a passive medium in a world crowded with advertising. Yes, you want to create an ad that stands out and gets noticed but you need to do more than that if you want to get action.

Wouldn’t it be great if people reading your ad could take an action quickly and easily? An action you could measure? One that would get them experiencing your brand and  gives you their name and Email address? You can by adding a call to action that takes them to your website.

Here are three easy Calls to Action that you can add to your display ad:

  1. Coupon. Create a coupon a page with a secret (easy to type) link that is only published in the display ad. People can go there and download and print or (maybe even better) show it to you on their smart phone when they come in to your store. (You can get fancier and have people put in their mobile number to opt-in to receiving coupons and specials by text or have them opt-in to get the coupon code by email).
  2. Opt-in to download a special report. If you’ve got the kind of product or service that people tend to do some online research on, then having an educational special report can be a highly effective tactic.  The nice thing about this tactic is that you are now building a mailing list of names and emails that you can continue to market to.
  3. Get More Information. Even without making people optin with their name and email address, you can send them to a specific page (maybe a hidden page?) where they can get more information…watch a video, get more details, etc.

With each of the three methods above, you can now track the number of people who took action:

  • Number of Coupons redeemed.
  • Number of people who added themselves to your email list.
  • Number of people who visited that special page.

Advanced Tip: Instead of using your website’s domain, get a domain specially for your promotion. This way, your domain matches your offer. Plus, we can add special tracking codes to it to really spice up your tracking abilities.

With these kinds of numbers, you can now make data driven decisions (instead of just relying on your “gut”). Better still, you can start to test different marketing ideas against each other and let the data tell you which ideas are best. And if you keep optimizing your advertising like this, you’ll soon have exponential improvements in your results.

By using your website to turn your display ad into a direct response ad, not only will your ad stand out more and be more likely to get a higher response, you’ll also be able to measure the results.

Over to you now…What’s been your experience with print ads?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published September 2015 and has been significantly updated for accuracy and clarity.

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