Let Print Drive Traffic (Part 2)

Don Sadler The main benefit of using print and online channels together is the ability to let print drive traffic to your Web site.

There are lots of good reasons to do this. For one thing, it's a great way to collect email addresses. And because the online channel is far less expensive (no printing or postage costs), you can accomplish more frequent “touches” with your readers. Plus, you can let readers customize the information they want for higher value. And you can design it as an opt-in so the readers pre-qualify themselves.

But how do you do it effectively? After all, if you’re asking someone to flip channels (a formidable inconvenience), you must present some compelling reasons.

Your weapons

A promise of additional information is good, presuming the information you’re giving them in the first channel (print) is valuable enough to create a favorable expectation from the linked program.

Also, and this is subtler but critical, the information you deliver via print must be somewhat incomplete. It must leave the reader hungry for more. Consider promising an “enhancement” to the print content they just finished reading — for example, an additional five items to a “Top 10 Tips for Taking Your Company Global” article, or the balance of an interview with a lender on “What Your Banker Looks for in Financial Ratios.”

Bottom line: Make sure that you’re not just promising to serve them the same print content over again. “Read this article online” doesn’t cut it.

A model program

Media 3 Publications offers an integrated multichannel marketing program that uses print and email together in just this way. We call it PrinterNet — a combination print newsletter/online content program that uses both media together strategically. Here’s a brief explanation of how it works:

1. A print newsletter is sent to your current and prospective customers each quarter. Some articles are concluded with a promise of more up-to-date, personalized, higher-value information on your Web site (like the examples above).

2. Those Web site visitors receive the promised information and an invitation to join an e-notification list and/or members-only section of your site. Both options offer email notification whenever current and timely updates are available on topics chosen by your customers.

3. The notification emails are sent frequently, boosting your branding and enhancing your relationships.

The PrinterNet program is designed to use print and e-newsletters together to help you build a true interactive online relationship with your customers.

Let RMs opt-in your clients

Consider giving your bank’s relationship managers the capability to opt-in your clients to the program. A call-to-action on your print newsletter that says, “Go online or call your relationship manager for additional information via email” is a nice touch; this is a very subtle way to encourage opt-ins. Most people will go online, but some still like to pick up the phone. The offer of a personal touch shows that all channels endorse the online program, and it serves your RM up a live lead.

In most cases, it makes sense to give the same destination URL on your Web site in all of your print newsletter articles. Make that page a “landing page” from which the reader can click to an ultimate destination. On the business side, for example, this might be your Small Business Resource Center — just be sure you give clear directions how to get to the content the reader is searching for (preferably in just one click).

This gives visibility to your entire content program — not just one article — and creates a valuable slot for advertising to boot. This landing page should offer the Unique Value Proposition for the content program, sign-up information and descriptions of the current content that members have access to.

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