Improve the Success of Your Next Print Marketing Campaign

I spent about 14 years in the print industry and I’ve seen people waste more money than you can imagine. Before I launched OGAL Web Design, I worked as a designer with a franchise printing company. We worked with business of all sizes, from mom-and-pop startups to multi-million dollar, international companies. Our main are of ... Read more


Kyle Van Deusen

I spent about 14 years in the print industry and I’ve seen people waste more money than you can imagine.

Before I launched OGAL Web Design, I worked as a designer with a franchise printing company. We worked with business of all sizes, from mom-and-pop startups to multi-million dollar, international companies.

Our main are of business was large format signage, but we did a lot of small-format printing as well (things like business cards, flyers, rack cards, brochures, etc.).

I have seen people make two major mistakes time and time again. It costs them money, it doesn’t give them a clear assessment of their efforts, and it can be avoided so easily.

Admittedly, small business are much more guilty of this than large corporations are, but just the other day I got a direct mail piece from a large company that I could just tell completely wasted money on what they sent me.

Not only will these strategies help you increase the success of print marketing pieces like flyers and rack cards, you can apply the same set of principals to ads in newspapers, magazine- virtually any place you are advertising in print!

I want to help you avoid making these mistakes by delivering marketing campaigns that connect with your audience and being able to accurately measure the results of your print marketing efforts; here’s how.

You must include a call to action.

“Call to action” is a term you often hear me talk about in the context of website design, but it’s just as applicable in the print world as well.

Essentially people need to be told what to do next. A call to action is a direct request you make of your viewer as to what the next step they need to take should be. The more clear your call to action is, the more successful it will be.

The mistake I see way too many businesses make is printing something like a flyer, rack card, or handout and it being nothing more than a large business card.

It has the company name, phone number, list of services and logo. That’s what your business card is for. A marketing piece needs to connect with the reader and compel them to take the next step.

If you simply supply your contact information, you are not asking them to call you. You’re not solving a problem for them. It’s almost certainly going to end up in the trash.

Before you print think about what the desired outcome is. What pain point are you trying to address, and what should the reader to next to solve their issue?

It’s important to be specific. Don’t try to cover everything you do in once piece. You will never be everything to everyone, and you are wasting money advertising to people that don’t have a need for your product or service.

Instead of making 1 print ad with a list of ten services, try making 10 print ads that each focus on one particular aspect of your business. Speak directly to the problem that service (or product) solves and give your viewer a clear call to action on what to do next to alleviate that problem.


Lets say you get two flyers in the mail, which one are you more likely to call?

“We offer roof inspections, repair, replacement, gutters, downspouts, composite shingles, and much more!”

“Winter is coming, is your roof ready for the snow and ice? Call us today for a free inspection and peace of mind!”

The second example accomplishes several things:

  1. It presents a problem that the intended audience can identify with. IS their roof going to hold up this year?
  2. It gives them a direct call to action: “Call us Today for a Free Inspection”.
  3. It connects to their emotions (people make buying decisions on emotion) by stating that if they take action they will have “peace of mind”. Before they read this, they might not have even considered how their roof will handle winter, but they are certainly considering it now.

These small adjustments can have a major impact in the success of your campaign. A generic ad with a list of services doesn’t do anything to pull the reader in or capture their attention, and without a clear call to action they might not know what you are asking them to do.

Track your Return on Investment

Tracking your ROI is a crucial step in developing successful print marketing pieces. What I see too often is people printing an ad and not knowing if it worked or not.

There’s no sense in that! And the solution is really simple.

There are many ways you can track the ROI of a print marketing piece, but I want to focus on one that I have found the most success with.

Tie each printed piece to a dedicated landing page on your website.

Here’s how you do it:

First, you create a landing page on your website that is specific to that marketing piece. It has the same look and language as what is being given out.

You then print this landing page URL on your advertisement as your call to action (ie. “To claim this offer visit”)

When you do this, people need to visit this page in order to take the next step.

Make sure this landing page is not visible to search engines, and not linked within your website or navigation. Those mistakes will muddy up the waters and make it difficult to track your campaign’s success.

You can then use your Google Analytics to track the number of visitors to this page.

This will instantly provide a clear return on investment for your print advertisement.

Not only can you track how many people showed interest by visiting your page, can can also calculate how many took the action of calling you and how many of those prospects you converted into customers.

Bonus: If you install a Pixel on your website you can re-target those visitors with Facebook ads. What this does is capture each of those visitors information so that you can create a marketing group on Facebook to target those users with follow up ads. This strategy helps your ads more accurately target people who are interested in your product or service.

Calculating your return on investment

If you printed 1,000 copies (for $500), and each conversion (or paid job) is worth $100.  It will take you 5 conversions in order to cover your costs. If you get 10 conversions you now doubled your money turning a $500 investment into $1,000 ($500 profit).

You can use this data to measure your campaign with the goals you set. Anything above what you spent on the campaign is a return on that investment.

You can measure these results across several campaigns to easily (and accurately) determine what strategies are the most successful for you.

The Takeaway

If you are planning a print marketing campaign is important to take the time to plan out the strategy behind it. Connecting with your audience on a specific pain point paired with a direct call to action is the first step.

You’ll want to track the success of your campaign in a quantifiable way and set goals for the campaign.  This is the only way you will be able to know, with certainty, if your campaign was successful.

Armed with this knowledge, you can accurately determine the success of your print advertisement and make informed decisions that will help you plan your next campaign.

Without being able to track your return, you are only making assumptions based on your feeling about the success of a campaign. That can lead to a lot of false moves and wasted money.

About the Author

Kyle Van Deusen

Since 2003 I have helped businesses like yours increase their online presence through powerful websites that help you easily, effectively, and affordably grow your business.

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