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A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Print Marketing Materials

As of April 2023, nearly 65% of the world’s population, or 5.18 billion people, used the Internet. These folks now also spend over 6 hours daily online. Moreover, 55% said they bought a product or paid for a service via the World Wide Web.

Those stats show how a digital marketing campaign is vital to reach today’s consumers. However, this alone isn’t enough; it’s best used with print marketing materials.

For one, 82% of polled consumers said they trust print ads the most when deciding on a purchase. Print and digital ads can also make online marketing campaigns 400% more effective.

To that end, we created this guide on the top print materials your small business needs. Read on to discover what they are and what makes them essential.

Business Cards

As per online estimates, 27 million business cards get printed daily. 

One reason is that these cards are the epitome of direct marketing, placed directly in a target’s hand. And since it’s human nature to look at what one receives, the folks you give your cards to will likely look at them. Plus, considering their small size, the recipients may even read all the deets printed on them.

Business cards also serve as your physical and personal identification. With your name and contact details on them, they can give your brand a more human-like feel. They can also help add a personal touch to your professional persona.

All that can make the card recipients perceive you as more credible and trustworthy.

Business cards can pack a punch, provided you design them correctly by:

  • Making your business name and logo stand out
  • Providing your name, position, and contact information
  • Inserting your company’s tagline
  • Printing them in high-resolution
  • Using high-quality business card paper

Business cards can also be more effective than snail mail or email for direct marketing.

Even if recipients receive the last two, that doesn’t mean they’ll look at them. Instead, they can intentionally ignore it (since you’re not in front of them). Or, they may decide to look at it later because they’re busy now, but they might forget all about it.

Posters

Well-designed creative posters are highly versatile visual advertisements. You can have them designed with your brand’s logo, colors, typography, and imagery. You can also make them as small as 11 inches x 17 inches or as large as 27 inches x 39 inches.

Posters are ideal print marketing materials for product launches and promotions. You can use them both indoors and outdoors or even take them with you to trade shows. You can also post them on walls or adjustable floor stands. 

Banners

Banners are similar to posters in that they combine both typography and imagery. However, they are best for wide-format or large-format printing.

With their larger size, banners are practical for outdoor or trade show advertising. For example, you can use them as ads on stages, buildings, construction sites, and stadiums.

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Roller banners are the most popular type, and they often come preassembled. They feature the banner itself, encased in a structure with a stand. They’re retractable and compact, making them excellent portable ads. 

Brochures

Brochures are marketing materials generally printed on a single sheet of paper. Both sides usually have information on them. However, they come in folded sections, making them easier to distribute and read. 

Single Fold Brochures

As the name implies, single-fold brochures have one fold, usually in the middle. This creates four sections, two on the outside (front and back) and two on the inside.

Single-fold brochures are best for simple product presentations. For example, you can use them to discuss one or two products and their key features.

Print Roll Fold Brochures

Print roll fold brochures are leaflets often featuring three panels. The panels fold in on each other, resulting in neatly compressed documents.

Each panel can provide information about a specific product or service. That makes these print marketing materials ideal for product or service comparisons. You can also use them to create manuals or step-by-step guides. 

Accordion-Fold Brochures

Accordion-fold brochures have three folds, creating four equal-sized panels. If you’re printing on both sides, this type of fold provides eight sections. 

Accordion-fold brochures, providing a lot of space, are ideal for detailed product explanations. Readers can lay them out flat and read the information in chronological order. This is also why maps (such as those provided in malls and parks) often use this type of brochure. 

Flyers

Flyers are single-page print ad tools often distributed seasonally or for special occasions. For example, you can hand them out to spread awareness about your business’s grand opening. You can also use them to announce a promotion, a sale, a new product, or a special event.

One of the primary advantages of flyers over brochures is that they cost much less. You can print them on smaller-sized sheets and in larger quantities. However, because they can be smaller, they are best used for messages that don’t need to pack a lot of information. 

Catalogs

Print catalogs are like mini books; they have multiple pages bound by a cover. Businesses that offer numerous products and services usually use them.

Each page in a catalog often describes one product or service.

For example, suppose you sell different types of food containers and shopping bags. You can discuss each one of them on a single page. List their most vital details, like intended use, features, weight, size, color, and price.

Don’t forget to include high-resolution photos of the products on each page. This can make them more appealing in the eyes of readers.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

In 2021 alone, the world generated 139 million metric tons of single-use plastic waste. Many ended up in landfills or as air, land, or water pollutants. 

A considerable chunk of that plastic waste consists of product packaging materials. Avoid these to prevent your business from contributing to more pollution. 

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Instead, print your brand info on sustainable packaging materials using eco-friendly ink. You can choose algae, soy, vegetable, UV, or water-based ink.

For the primary packaging materials, opt for recycled cardboard and paper. These are often recyclable after use, while some are compostable.

Another excellent option is to use reusable packaging containers. Most are biodegradable or compostable by the end of their service life.

Their reusability also makes them great marketing tools for brand awareness and recall. The more their users reuse them, the more they and others get exposed to your brand. That can then help instill and reinforce your company’s name in their minds. 

Discount Coupons

Coupons are tickets or documents that consumers can redeem to get a discount. According to estimates, 94% of people use them. A third of shoppers even buy more than they initially intended because of a coupon.

As a business owner, take advantage of that by regularly handing out coupons in-store. You can have these printed out and distributed to the first few customers of the day. You can also give them to shoppers whose purchase amount reached a certain threshold (e.g., $100).

Discount coupons can also help reduce or even eliminate overstock. You may not make a lot of profits on discounted items, but at least you won’t waste them.

You can also use printed discount coupons to drive website traffic and online sales. For example, you can put instructions on them, telling users to redeem them online.

Gift Cards

A business gift card is a prepaid card with a corresponding amount. Depending on a company’s typical product pricing range, they can be worth $10, $20, or even $100 or more.

Your business can give printed gift cards to customers, business partners, and employees. It’s a great way to thank them and show appreciation for their patronage or hard work.

You can also sell gift cards to shoppers who may wish to give them away as a gift. The recipients can then use them for purchases or to offset part of their total bill.

Some printed gift cards are only for one-time use, while others are reloadable. Consider the former if you have never used these as a marketing tool. You can then decide to go with reloadable physical cards if they click. 

Customized Letterhead and Envelopes

Customized letterhead and envelopes promote your brand in all your written correspondences. They usually feature your brand logo and name in full color. Your name, position, and contact details then appear below.

These custom print materials can raise your credibility and professionalism. They can also help make you stand out more with their effective placement of your brand name and logo.

Promotional Items

These marketing materials are giveaways with your brand’s basic information printed on them. At the very least, they should have your brand logo, name, physical address, and website.

Promotional items can go a long way to promoting your brand, provided they offer utility. That’s why the best giveaways are pens, tote bags, water bottles, T-shirts, and mugs. Not only are they used in everyday tasks, but they’re also reusable.

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You can give promotional items away during your grand opening or anniversary. They’re also ideal thank-you gifts to business partners, employees, and loyal customers. You can even donate some to communities or lower-income neighborhoods. 

Thank You Cards

In the workplace, appreciation is one of the primary drivers of employee retention. By contrast, a lack of it usually causes workers to quit. Indeed, a 2022 survey found that almost half of U.S. workers did so because they didn’t feel appreciated.

The same can happen to your business’s customers if you don’t make them feel valued. While gift cards are a great way to show them your appreciation, they can be expensive if you always give them away.

A thank you card with a heartfelt message can be an effective alternative. You can have the card design and layout pre-printed, but ensure you handwrite each note. That can help make it feel more personalized and genuine to the recipient.

For special occasions, consider including a gift card with the note. But if you’re on a tighter budget, insert a discount coupon instead.

Billboards

Billboards are among the largest-sized and most expensive print marketing materials. However, they can be effective if placed in the right location, such as roads with lots of traffic.

Unlike many of the print materials mentioned above, billboards provide more permanence. Once you’ve set one up, you don’t have to do anything else for a month or so or until your lease expires. Whereas with flyers or gift cards, you have to keep giving them out.

Billboard advertising usually comes with a per-month charge. Depending on their size and location, they can cost anywhere from $250 to over $50,000.

Vehicle Wraps

Vehicle wraps are vinyl decals or laminates applied directly on vehicle exteriors. Think of it as a giant sticker where you can print your brand name, logo, and tagline. The canvas is also big enough to feature photos of your products or services.

Vehicle wraps act much like a billboard, except for their smaller size and mobility. For your business, this means having a print ad on the go, or should we say, “on wheels.” After all, every time you drive your wrapped vehicle, it can spread awareness about your brand.

Because you’ll be on the road, your wrapped vehicle can expose your brand to fellow road users. These include other motorists, their passengers, and commuters. Then, once you park your car, even people on foot can read the information on your print ad.

To top it off, there are no ongoing costs associated with vehicle wraps, unlike billboards. So once you’ve had your company car, truck, or van wrapped, there’s no monthly cost you have to think of. You only need to maintain your vehicle as you’ve always done to keep it (and the wrap) in top condition.

Invest in These Print Marketing Materials

Digital ads are beneficial, but it doesn’t mean your business should rely on them alone. Instead, combine them with print marketing materials to maximize your reach.

So, invest in as many print ads and marketing materials discussed in this guide as possible. From business cards to catalogs, and car wraps, they can all help spread the good news about your brand.

Ready for more business marketing ideas and hacks? Then check out our recent guide on creating a winning brand and attracting customers!

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