Have you ever wondered if direct mail still works for companies today? Or why companies spend billions of dollars annually on direct mail? If you can send an online newsletter, why would anyone send a print one?
From everything we hear on the news, direct mail and newsletters — and all offline advertising, for that matter — are dead or dying. According to the media, we will soon all live in a digital-only world and order everything from Amazon, never having to leave our houses for purchases again.
Unfortunately, like with most things, the media has it all wrong. The idea that we’re going to buy everything online any day now is dead wrong. When you take some time to do your research, you’ll find that many marketing experts still understand the value of print media.
Is Analog Really Dead?
If like me, you’re somebody who’s interested in the latest tech and gadgets, you might end up thinking that our entire world is digital. I totally get why you’d have that opinion, but you might be surprised to learn that people of all ages still have an affinity for an old-school analog approach. In fact, many millennials cherish objects like paperback novels and vinyl records as an antidote to our overly digitized era.
The business world is no different. Did you know that all online purchases in 2016 only accounted for approximately 8 percent of all sales made in the U.S.? That’s not insignificant, but retail stores aren’t going the way of the dinosaur in the next 24 months, either.
In 1888, when Sears first started sending out catalogs, they thought they’d kill retail shopping, too. But as we know, that’s not how it went.
Let’s drill down a bit and look at one channel that I happen to be very familiar with: print newsletters. My company, The Newsletter Pro, sends out millions of print newsletters annually for businesses all over the country. And despite the shift toward digital, we made Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies list two years in a row.
Why Print Newsletters Work
One of the most important metrics all the big companies track is time on page or time in store. Long ago, companies realized that the more time you spend in their store, the more money you spend there. This correlation is one reason Costco sells hot dogs and a soda for $1.50. It increases the time in store, and in some cases actually gets you into the store in the first place.
The same is true for your marketing. The more time someone spends with your marketing or salesperson, the more likely they are to buy from you or refer business to you. When done correctly, a print newsletter gives you nonthreatening media that you own and control — media that allows both prospects and customers to spend an extended period of time with you, your brand, and your products or services. In today’s world, getting someone’s attention is the most valuable commodity there is.
On any given day, a person spends an average of 30 minutes reading their mail. Compare that to the average lifespan of an email, which is only 11.1 seconds. It’s so hard to get somebody to read an email, especially one from a business, that you’ll find countless online guides offering strategies to make sure your emails aren’t immediately ignored. You won’t find that problem in print.
Another plus for print newsletters is that they allow you to sell in a vacuum, one to one. Plus, with print, you have far fewer distractions when compared to reading content online.
Win Attention, Build Trust
When you have someone’s attention and can spend enough time with that person, you start to build a relationship with them. We all prefer to do business with people we know, like, and trust, but getting enough time with someone to build that relationship is very difficult with online media. When your newsletter shows up in someone’s home or office and they spend time reading about you and your company, you are laying that foundation of trust. When nurtured and properly promoted, that trust can and will lead to more referrals, decreased customer churn, and a higher customer lifetime value — benefits that make print newsletters superior to email newsletters.
An often-overlooked opportunity that print newsletters provide is their ability to build relationships with prospects. So few businesses even think about a prospect if they don’t buy in the first few hours, days, or weeks, and that is a massive mistake. In my company’s case, last year alone we added $1.2 million in new revenue from leads that originally found us more than 12 months prior. Ultimately, customers are ready to buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell to them.
One final thought: The media likes to pit print and digital against each other. Which one is going to win in a fight to the death? If you want to know the truth — if you really want to see your company grow — your marketing strategy should include a mix of both print and digital marketing. Add a print newsletter, do some direct mail, add a bit of Facebook advertising and AdWords Ads; drive online leads offline and offline leads online.
The truth is, smart marketers play in both online and offline worlds to grow their business and their bottom line.
To learn more about how to utilize a print newsletter to build trust and relationships with your customer base, request your free copy of my book “The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters” by clicking the button below.