[ 67 / 250 ] Print is not dead

Long Live Print!

Greetings, gorgeous!

I have to tell you: I couldn't count the number of times I've stood witness to a small business owner opining from his or her little mountain that print is dead.

It's kind of like that scene in The Life of Brian:

'You hear that? Blessed are the Greek.'

'The Greek?'

'Mmmm. Apparently he's going to inherit the Earth.'

'Did anyone catch his name?'

Mrs Big Nose: 'Ohhh,' slapping her husband. 'It's blessed are the meek. Oh that's nice, isn't it? I'm glad they're getting something. They have a hell of a time.'

Later, Francis states baldly:

'Well, blessed is just about everyone with a vested interest in the status quo, as far as I can tell, Reg.'

Except, anyone with a vested interest in the status quo isn't likely to do anything remarkable.

When it's handled correctly, print is far more powerful than digital, especially for serving your existing clientele. Of course, you have to be willing to spend money on your existing clients, which most people are not, even though those folk are far more profitable.

You might think I’m talking out of my proverbial butt-hole, but this seventh year of business I’ve (partially) gone back to print.

The latest issue of The Visible Leader is hitting mailboxes this week; I can tell, because people phone me, text me, and email me their surprise and love.

For example, this comment that I got today from one person on my list:

‘LOVE getting a real printed newsletter - the real deal!’

It’s a long way from being the only comment of its kind. One of the very first comments I received was something along the lines of:

‘It is so nice to read something on paper for a change.’

The key thing about print that I appreciate is the totally different etiquette that applies. Think about it: If you were to email all of your past clients—especially if you provide a service that’s a bit of a one-off type of service—they would rapidly unsubscribe unless what you delivered was consistently valuable to them. You find annoyance at emails, and surprise and love from print.

In fact, I have found that online engagement among my network has increased since sending print to people!

How’s them controversial apples for ya.

Lest you think, darling reader, that I’m advocating one medium over another, I hasten to say that I am not doing that. But putting money in front of your existing and past clients in the form of something that you went out of your way to produce is a valuable exercise.

I even sat down this morning and thought about why print isn’t a dead medium.

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Here are 24 reasons why it is still a great thing:

  1. You control the mode of delivery.

  2. You can make it as beautiful or surprising as you wish.

  3. Very few people leverage it.

  4. You are not restricted to a size, shape, or form.

  5. Loads of people prefer to read a piece of paper.

  6. Even those who prefer digital find reading off paper more relaxing.

  7. It makes the recipient feel special, just because it's not a bill or a piece of junk mail.

  8. It feels exclusive in a way that digital does not.

  9. It's cheap as hell. You can print (and have delivered) up to 15,000 pieces for as low as $450 in Australia

  10. It feels deeply personal, when you do it right.

  11. You can never be deplatformed from print.

  12. When you don't tell people ahead of time, it's the most beautiful surprise.

  13. It allows you to present new and surprising things about your business in a conversational, rather than salesy, way.

  14. It makes being a "guest" writer much more exciting.

  15. Print hangs around. If people don't read it immediately it sits on a desk, or table, or other space where other people might see it.

  16. Adding valuable educational material turns a print newsletter into a keepsake.

  17. Posting a newsletter to someone you are not actively working with right now has different etiquette: Email is annoying, print is often welcome!

  18. You can get crafty about how you include sales offers.

  19. There is no size restriction, so you can go hard on images and photographs.

  20. You can choose to get delivery reports for every single item, which is more reliable data than you'll get out of any email system currently in existence.

  21. Its open form allows you to turn your print artefacts into anything you want: Mini-magazines, newsletters, books...

  22. You can include gifts and surprises in a way that you just can't with digital.

  23. It allows you to stay in closer contact with your clients: Competitions mean text messages and phone calls, not forms and funnels!

  24. Anything goes. Seriously, anything.

While I'm totally biased and love digital—as you can probably tell—I must also point out that when I added print back into the mix I experienced immediate client reactivations.

Are you getting that from your branded EDMs? Probably not.

Marketers have killed the branded newsletter. It’s a tired, worn-out trope. If you’re ahead of the curve you’ll do something new, something that your competition isn’t doing.

That thing might not be print.

The sky is the limit, truly.

Whatever it is, make sure it forges stronger, more immediate connections with people. That’s why publications exist, right? It’s odd, don’t you think, that in something potentially so intimate that people want to be as hands-off and distant as possible?

~ Leticia

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