The Trust-Factor of Print-Based Marketing
It’s sort of weird how the Internet can be a place to spread rumors in videos and shared posts. Whether it’s health tips, free trips, financial deals, heartstring appeals, Hollywood news or political views – things can go a little haywire out there.
Why, it’s almost like what you read and see can’t always be trusted. That’s why it’s good to take the advice shared in a popular quote from a revered figure: “Don’t believe everything you read online – Abraham Lincoln.”
So here’s the truth. If you want to be successful as a marketer who is building an image of credibility, you’ve got to be a source of trusted content. Alternatively, you can’t be the one people have to check out for truth or fiction on myth-buster sites like Snopes.com. The ring of truth chiming from blogs, reports and videos should be so strong that prospects know they’re reading content that’s helpful, insightful, genuine, actionable – or all of the above. Now, which content is most likely to be your most trusted source? Well, let’s just say, it’s something Abraham Lincoln enjoyed reading by candlelight: print.
A June 2014 survey of U.S. Web users (conducted by The Content Strategist) listed popular sources of information and asked, “What do you think is generally higher quality?”
The ranking from top to bottom (top being viewed as highest quality) was as follows: articles in a print newspaper; articles in a print magazine; articles on a news website; advertorials in a printed magazine; sponsored articles in a news website; articles on a brand’s website; and articles by mommy bloggers.
Did you notice that print is in the top two? The editor of Contently (which published the survey) said, “It shows that people have a clear bias toward print still – which I suppose might be under the assumption that if you go through the trouble to print something, it’s hopefully pretty good.”
The same could be said about print versions of customer newsletters, for example. When they appear in homes, they look like you’ve gone to a lot of trouble to compile the articles and get the piece printed and mailed. (Obviously, it’s much easier than it appears because we’ve got it ready for you from the get-go. Speaking of, get a current newsletter sample at www.hudsonink.com or call 1-800-489-9099.)
A Few More Take-Aways
You can use print to build credibility for your online content. For example, point to your website with QR codes, as well as easy-to-find URLs, which can often be included in your call-to-action: “Learn more at ourwebsite.com.” Or “Get the free report at www.ourwebsite.com.”
Also, just because “articles on a brand’s website” ranked lower than, say, a print newspaper with a 150-year history, there’s an important caveat. Customers are able overlook any conflict of interest because they expect you to promote services that you provide. It would be weird if you didn’t. But they also expect that, because you are in the contracting industry and have an established track record, you must know what you’re talking about.
Furthermore, they are looking to you for what you know about what they need. They expect you to have resources and knowledge that is helpful to them. So keep your focus on your expertise and use it to help your customers overcome their problems.
But remember, you can always turn these into print versions too. Sending out a print version of an advertorial will likely increase its reception. Also, as print publication becomes rarer, your mailed messages stand out. Talk to your coach about the who, what, where, when and how of your next direct-mail campaign.