Given the Rise in Internet Marketing, Where Does Print Fit?

The Internet is now the first stop for consumers researching information about your product or service.

So do you still need to print sales sheets, catalogs and brochures?

Before you completely abandon traditional print for online publications, consider who you customer is and what age, and other demographics, influence the way they shop.

Seniors still prefer printed publications.

Baby boomers like print but for the most part are OK with online publications.

The younger generations do not want printed materials for the most part.

Donna L. Baker writes in Adobe Acrobat 8 How-Tos: 125 Essential Techniques Adobe 2007,
“The decision is not driven by cost alone; electronic publications are quicker and easier to produce, distribute, and update. They can also be easily customized to particular audiences or produced cost-effectively for small niche markets. However, there remains a human need to “touch and feel” printed material, so it is important to retain a balance.”

Regardless of where you publish your documents, print or online, the creation process is the same…research, writing, graphics and layout.
You can post documents on your Website as a printable document (Portable Document Format, PDF) or produce paper copies.

Baker says, “There is nothing to stop you operating a hybrid strategy, printing a number of paper copies for direct distribution to selected customers and placing the same publication on your Website.”

Reading a printed publication is different than reading online. Many older consumers choose to print out a document to read it if the content is really important to them. I know that I prefer to proof my documents in printed form versus online, but I did not grow up with computers!

Print On-Demand
Many companies are utilizing high quality in-house or desk-top printers to produce short-run paper copies. We call this print on demand. Gone are the days when a small business had to lock in document content for a year because they had to buy thousands of pieces to get an affordable printing price.

Adobe’s Baker notes that electronic documents (PDFs) offer many important benefits, including:
flexibility-once a document is in electronic form, it is easy to repurpose it for other formats such as Braille, print-on-demand, Web content;
archiving-legacy material such as out-of-print publications can be retained for archiving or cost-effective distribution to meet ad hoc requests;
updating-making small changes to content does not require an expensive reprint of an entire document;
enhancement-electronic documents have characteristics not available in print documents, such as animation and hyperlinking;
cost-full-color electronic documents cost less to produce than the equivalent print documents;
distribution-online electronic documents are downloaded on request, with no distribution costs.
increased readership-PDFs can be forwarded at no costs, suggesting the possibility of increased readership.
Trackability -Sending a PDF as a link in an e-mail enables you to measure how many different addresses view the document. Posting the PDF on a Web Site for downloading also enables you to measure acceptance.

When you post publications online, don’t forget to include a sentence or two describing the content of the document. The title alone may not help the reader find the right document.

If you need help integrating your print and online documents strategies, I can help.