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Print is not cheap but it is becoming evermore powerful

How’s your email inbox looking? Kind of full?

There are those messages that sit down at the bottom, gathering dust and praying on your conscience until they get so old that you can delete them – or you finally get round to them and discover that they only take a moment to sort out.

The important but not urgent emails will be lurking mid-table, being constantly subsumed by the urgent emails that flow ceaselessly from your boss.

Add all the corporate chatter, the needless CCs and the ‘Don’t forget it’s your mother’s birthday/our wedding anniversary/sports day’ reminders and things are looking crowded.

It is into this environment that the content marketing email must make itself not just seen, but also read. It’s a big ask. If you’re lucky the email will be opened and skim-read. Further engagement is a plus and clicks and subsequent actions are a real achievement.

Of course the large scale and low cost of such email marketing makes it an effective form of marketing, and if your content is of a high quality then the ROI increases significantly.

But there is another way which today’s marketers sometimes overlook…

A physical presence

Imagine receiving a personally addressed envelope at your desk. You’re sitting there, tapping away when it arrives. What do you do? Carry on typing or open it, intrigued. My bet is that you do the latter. Open rates are a key metric for marketers and those for old-fashioned envelopes will be close to 100%.

Next comes the tricky part: engagement. This is where the marketer has to have access to the editorial and design skills to create a publication that demands to be read.

It may be a white paper, a learned journal, a glossy magazine or an at-a-glance guide. It could be something more imaginative, from a fully-blown book to a clever take on business stationery.

If your marketing aims are to increase brand awareness, reputation, perception of excellence and expertise, then print is a powerful tool.

Economia, the monthly magazine of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), is the most read business monthly title in the UK. (Full disclosure: it is produced by Content Cloud’s parent company, Progressive Content.) It is successful because of its high editorial standards: it aims to be genuinely useful to its audience of accountants and business leaders, rather than be a promotional mouthpiece for the ICAEW.

Such magazines are costly to produce and only viable for larger organisations, but developments in digital printing have made print available to all. Massive print runs are no longer necessary to create economies of scale. A four-page briefing guide may be perfect to get your message across.

Print and postage is not cheap but it is incredibly powerful. And, as our inboxes continue to fill, its power will only grow. It is also a way to set your business apart from the competition.

Digital content marketing, with its ability to create bespoke campaigns for individuals, is here to stay and deservedly so. But, next time you are looking for a bold way to make a real impact, don’t forget your old friend print.

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