7 Ways To Use Print Ads To Increase Online Activity

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Let’s imagine the following scenario. A local cause has, for years, run a quarter page black-and-white ad in a bunch of local publications. It’s been a fixture of the organization’s marketing, and everyone feels like it has probably done okay performance-wise. It’s in the right context at least, and the organization still gets local support.

But lately there’s been all of this pressure to do more and more online. First websites came along, then all of the social media platforms. Now people are saying an organization is behind the 8-ball if they’re not using social media. But this particular organization still feels like the print ads have been good soldiers. How can they make a connection between those old workhorses and everything that’s new?

I thought I’d give you 7 ideas on how you can use a print ad (no matter the size) to increase online activity, whether that activity is directed to your website, to your blog, or to one of your social media platforms. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but I think it will be enough to get your brainstorming going in the right direction. So here we go!

1. Drive Readers to a General Video on Your Website

In your print ad, include a URL that will lead to a video of people you have helped over the years (this could also be done using a QR code). People know you want them to donate–showing them what good you’ve done is something they might be curious about, and they’re likely to visit that page and see what you’ve been up to.

2. Promote Your New Blog

A little blurb along the lines of, “Did you know we’re blogging now? Come check it out!” could be enough. If your audience truly is reading the publication you’re advertising in, they will be interested to learn more about you and what you do, and they might even be excited about the opportunity to interact with you.

3. Promote a Drawing

Let’s say you really want people to sign up for your e-newsletter. Promote a contest in your ad that says that everyone who registers over a certain period of time will be entered into a drawing for a prize. This is a win-win-win. Your readers could get a prize, you get their contact information, and you get more eyeballs on your site.

4. Include Your Twitter Account

This is super easy but often overlooked. Companies still include the basic contact information like phone number, address, and fax. If you want people to connect with you on Twitter, let them know where you are.

5. Include Your Facebook Page Address

This is not only a good way to entice people to “like” your page, but this can also be a good way to “meet” people who perhaps have looked at your ad for years wondering how they could help. Names and faces are powerful resources in the not-for-profit world.

6. Use QR Codes to Link to Videos

QR codes (small tags that you can scan with a smart phone) have gotten a bad name because so many marketers have used them poorly. For example, you shouldn’t use them on a website (because QR codes are supposed to take you to a website) or slap them on a print piece without explaining what people will find there or why they should scan. However, imagine a series of print ads focusing on different individuals you’ve helped, and each ad features a specific QR code that people can scan to watch a video of that person talking about his or her experience. It makes the ad–and your cause–come to life.

7. Invite People to Post Pictures to Your Website, Public Flickr Stream, or Facebook Page

This could work particularly if your cause is greatly involved in as-needed local support. The call-to-action could be something like, “If you see a problem area, post a picture and let us know.” Again, this also increases your ability to get to know your community and make them feel like they are contributing an important service to the cause.

Have you used print ads to try to drive traffic to your website or to some other online platform? What has worked for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “7 Ways To Use Print Ads To Increase Online Activity”

  1. There are many things that we can do in order to drive traffic to our website and our business. Knowing the most appropriate approach to reach our target audience is important so as not to waste time and energy. Your tips regarding print ads are well appreciated, thanks!

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