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The Surprising Power of Print Marketing to Leverage Your Ecommerce Site Print has an enduring appeal that complements digital. Imaginative marketers use both for the best results.

By Katherine Halek Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Imagine conducting your business entirely with handwritten communication. (Now shudder.) Digital is much more convenient, but print media can be essential in running a company that solely exists online.

Wait, isn't print marketing largely on its deathbed? Wouldn't the likely clientele of a digital company be most responsive to digital advertising channels?

Though many people believe that print is on the way out, it's still more effective than we realize.

Why print is still relevant.

Think about how brick-and-mortar businesses use print. They mail out postcards; they install window decals with their hours and contact info; they hang banners or place sidewalk signs during a big sale. Though you may not have a physical storefront, print media can still be equally helpful to you:

Because you do so much online, you don't interact with the local business sphere as much as you would. Still, you shouldn't overlook the power of a loyal local fan base. You need a strong foundation of retained customers to drive profit, since loyal shoppers tend to spend more than new customers. Take advantage local connections through print.

Related: To Nurture Business Customer Loyalty, Foster Community

How print boosts ecommerce.

More Internet-based companies are employing print media than you may realize. If you've ever ordered from a larger online company, you may have discovered in your mailbox an enduring symbol of the power of print: catalogs. They drive impressive online profits because of the convenient browsing experience they provide. Shoppers can note the items they want, then go online and order when they're ready. With apps like Pounce, they can even interact digitally with their catalogs through their smartphones.

If you think a small catalog would help increase your traffic, start with a limited print run to test the waters, and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Remember, a catalog doesn't have to be forty pages to be worthwhile. A five-page overview of your product categories and popular items would easily pique interest.

Circulars are also crucial in creating buyer awareness. Just seeing your favorite brands is enough to remind them of your products and service. Testing this out on your local area is easy, as appealing photo postcards are even simpler to produce and mail than catalogs.

Related: J.C. Penney Resurrects the Catalog, But Don't Expect the 'Big Book'

What print can do for your social media.

What does print have to do with social media? Believe it or not, they connect well, particularly in brand voice. An engaging and consistent voice leads fans of your print campaigns to check you out on social media, and makes your social fans pay attention to your print ads.

In addition to using a consistent, shareable tone, you can help your print and social marketing work together in these ways:

  • Engage multiple generations of consumers. While elders tend to prefer print and younger shoppers search primarily online, neither group sticks exclusively to one format.
  • Drive social traffic with printed calls-to-action. Mention hashtags that fans can use to join the latest conversation on Twitter, or encourage them to like you on Facebook for special promotions.
  • Share your online reviews offline. This makes your reputation more accessible to those who may not immediately hop online looking for reviews.

Print and social media are not mutually exclusive. Fans will appreciate the effort you put into both, and the traffic your store receives will be proof!

Related: The Inside Story of Flipboard, the App That Makes Digital Content Look Magazine Glossy

Katherine Halek

Content Strategist

 Katherine Halek is the Content Strategist at Signazon.com, a leading online printer that works with thousands of small businesses around the country. Katherine enjoys writing about retail, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Connect with her on Google+.

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