This article was originally published in Greetings Today Magazine by Chris fox from the retailer Wishes of Cudworth, therefore the intro won’t make a whole lot of sense if you’re reading this on Gift Shop Hub and not in the magazine (we did consider editing the offending introduction but decided to leave it be, as we feel it gives some nice background detail to the article).
Is print dead?
A simple question searching for a simple answer. Just this year we’ve seen the “Independent” newspaper close down with many saying it was “killed by the Internet” and the “New Day” paper lasted just two months after sales dropped to 30,000 copies. Still how are you reading this very article now?
More than likely your holding the wonderful paper version of ‘Greetings Today Magazine’ in your grubby mitts (Maybe I’ve judged you wrong and your browsing the digital edition online on the equally great Greetings Today website). Last month I asked Julia our shop’s owner if she’d read the latest issue online and her quick response was “no, I like to read the actual magazine when it comes to the shop”. Some people just have hard time letting print go. They like to sit and relax, away from the glare of a computer screen.
The Internet plays a big role in how we promote ourselves at Wishes. Just last month alone we gain over 400 plus new followers on our Facebook page. Not all will be become regular customers but even if we get just a fraction of them into our shop then it’s a victory for digitally marketing. We’ve also just relaunched our website, adding more information and features than ever before. However, here’s the twist: there’s still a place for more traditional, old school printed promotions.
We’ve tried our fair share of printed marketing starting with a leaflet run last Christmas around our village. Delivered by Postman Chris and I nearly lost a finger or two to snappy dogs in the process. Did they work? It’s honestly difficult to tell. In hindsight we should have included a voucher so we could have analysed the response. We continue to produce low print runs of promotional leaflets, often produced at home on our laser printer. We have a Christmas preview coming up and we’ve not only created a Facebook event but have printed leaflets in store too. The two working together, hand in hand.
My own personal pet hate is the slightly sly extraction of your email address after making a purchase. Recently I visited a large department store and upon paying was asked “Can I have your email so we can send you a receipt?” I laughed it off but some people would find this incredibly off putting. It might even stop them visiting the shop in the future with concerns about privacy. A better solution I would suggest would be to produce a “Thank You Card” that you slip in with their gift. We have two variations at Wishes, the first is a simple card that says “Thank You” and suggests that if they were happy with the service to leave a review on our Facebook page or post a picture. The second is a loyalty card for our Village Candle range. Customers are reward with a stamp for every medium or large candle and upon filling their card get a free candle. This not only encourages them to return time and time again but also is kept in their purse/wallet as a little reminder of us. It’s also important to feed back all your printed literature into your online platforms ensuring your website and social media takes pride of place. The advantage of the loyalty card is that it’s the customer’s decision to visit you online. It’s a natural and friendly way of keeping in touch after they have left your shop. Your not breaking the bond and trust you’ve created. We don’t do mail shots at Wishes, no spam, just a gentle reminder that you can visit us online later (Not that I’m saying email campaigns have no place in the industry, for trade suppliers they certainly do, it’s all about being aware of your target audience).
We’ve always tired to be creative with our branding at Wishes. It may seem overly ambitious to think of your shop as having a corporate brand but it really helps to promote yourself consistently. We buy blank brown bags that we hand screen-print ourselves with our logo and website. It works as a nice price of advertising especially in this age of 5p bags. We have our own gift tags on our bath marbles and wax melts, all of course with our Facebook page running neatly around the bottom. Next up, our mini stickers, produced to tie in with various seasons and promotions. We’ve done Minions, Star Wars and Molly the Bunny stickers. A bit like you used to get at the dentist, we offer them to the kids (with their parents consent). Customers love these little touches and it’s something that sticks in their mind after they’ve left. Plus of course they have their card, bag and tags for reference later. All this may seem expensive and if you print 10,000 leaflets in may be. There are lots of cheap options online which are easy to use or why not strike a deal with a local printer?
Back to the question I originally proposed; Is Print Dead? Well no, it’s just not the only way you should promote your business. Every print campaign should lead back to your online platforms. From the simple use of your website address or “like us on Facebook” to the more involved sales funnel techniques of special offer codes to use on your online store. It’s not just leaflets and posters; it’s using your logo and social media on all your promotional material/packaging. In the end it really seems like Print and the Internet aren’t emeries after all. They’re the best of pals. They’ve got each other’s back and their ready to team up to super power your business to success.