Just about everybody these days uses some form of digital marketing. Whether it's email marketing, Google AdWords, social media marketing, your company website, SEO, native mobile apps, or any of the countless other ways to market yourself digitally, it's being done. But how many of you are still using print as a way to really connect with your audience?

I recently read Joe Pulizzi's 2013 book Epic Content Marketing in which he tells the story of a client that came to him wanting to utilize print media because he was looking for "non-traditional media" opportunities. Yes, that's right, he wanted to utilize print as non-traditional media. Pulizzi even adds, "I’m here to tell you that there has never been a bigger opportunity for brands in the printed channel than right now." (You can read an article written by Joe discussing the opportunity print represents here. Please do, it's worth the read.)

When you think about it, it makes sense. The digital shift has happened. Brands and businesses are no longer worried about the value or ROI of digital media as a whole; it's now a given that you can't not have a high-level of digital brand visibility. And rightly so, digital media and digital marketing are extremely valuable tools. I myself am a software engineer and a marketer that convinces clients to utilize the right digital tools every day; but I'm also a printer at heart with a strong belief in the value of printed media.

Our core business philosophy has always been to stay ahead of the technology curve to provide the most amount of value to our customers that we possibly can. Recently, that has meant shifting a lot of our energy and resources into digital mediums and offering services like web design, digital marketing, content marketing, social media management, email marketing, and more. But we still have our roots firmly planted in print because it works. And we're staying put because it works, not just because we're clinging to an idea of the past and are too afraid to move forward.

Just last week we undertook a direct mail campaign for one of our products that produced better results in a shorter period of time than any of our digital efforts in that area. We're also undertaking a large investment and expansion in our own print marketing efforts that will be coming in January of 2016 as a way to capitalize on the lack of print material being produced these days.

The best business owners are contrarians. Nobody ever changed an industry or experienced record growth by doing what everybody else was doing. So the fact that everybody has now gone digital should raise an eyebrow about the opportunity that print represents.

To be clear, I'm not advocating you return to the same things you were doing in print 20 years ago, and I'm certainly not telling you to halt your digital marketing efforts. Rather, it's time to take your digital efforts and use them to help improve your print. Build better mailing lists, get better data about your customers, and customize your print to perform at a level that wasn't possible 20 years ago.

I'll be following this up with more specific recommendations about how you can use print to stand out from the competition so be sure to subscribe for updates!

Chris Searles is President of Searles Media and specializes in helping small businesses maximize their available resources to market themselves effectively using a wide variety of media. Visit Website

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