Is print marketing dead? At least in the real estate industry, a new survey indicates that the answer is no.
WebsiteBox, a company that builds sites and caters to real estate clients, recently carried out a 340-person survey of real estate professionals. When asked if print marketing was dead, “They told us they believe print is still very much alive,” WebsiteBox CEO Peyman Aleagha reported Jan. 29.
Of those surveyed, 26.7% spend less than $500 a year on print mailings, 30% spend between $500 and $1,000 a year, and 31.7% spend between $1,000 and $5,000 a year.
The survey highlighted just how difficult it is, however, to determine exactly what percentage of leads comes from print marketing strategies such as mailed postcards. Respondents said that print marketing brought in the smallest percentage of their leads (13.2%), coming in behind both personal referrals (60.8%) and online marketing (21.7%). However, 98.8% said that they included their website URLs on print marketing materials — and most had no way of distinguishing which website visits were prompted by print materials, as opposed to search engine optimization or pay-per-click advertising.
The takeaway, according to Aleagha, is that the return on investment for print marketing may be much higher than professionals realize.
Making Print Feel Relevant
The key strategy for making print marketing successful, experts say, is to integrate it with digital methods, seeing print and online campaigns as two sides of the same coin. “By learning how they work together, you can get much more mileage out of your advertising, and both you and your customers will profit,” Katherine Halek advised marketers in Entrepreneur magazine last month. She suggests that print marketing be used to drive online engagement.
Other companies are also doing the reverse, making online announcements to boost excitement for their print materials. Last year, Ikea released a humorous video promoting its latest catalog: “It’s not a digital book, or an e-book,” the ad explained. “It’s a ‘bookbook.’ The 2015 Ikea catalog comes fully charged, and the battery life is eternal.”
Ikea isn’t alone in celebrating the unique, if retro, quality of a printed catalog. J.C. Penny made a surprising announcement in January that as of March, it will once again produce a home goods catalog.
And after years of decline, catalog mailings are up, a New York Times article noted Jan. 25. In 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, more catalogs were mailed than in any year since a peak in 2007.