As all types of directories, from job ads to used car listings, classifieds and more move increasingly online, small business owners would be forgiven for thinking that promoting via the internet is the only way.
According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, however, a significant 17% of households in Australia didn't have access to the internet at home in 2012–13, and only 46% of people aged 65 or over classified themselves as “internet users”.
Going by these numbers, in the “65 or over” demographic alone, more than 1.8 million Australians use traditional media exclusively, especially print, to find products and services they need or have an interest in acquiring.
Added to this, as web content specialist Mary Hiers illustrates, while the conventional wisdom is that everything print is dead, “plenty of people didn’t get the memo” and “people are starting to see the value of unplugging occasionally”.
“Most people won’t unplug for that long,” she writes in an article on the Recruitment Advisor website. “But people are seeing the value in occasionally untethering themselves from their devices and the web, and print is there to engage people during these times.”
“Furthermore, with print, you can tailor the ad to your budget, with quarter-page, half-page, or full-page ads,” Hiers says. “And... you have a better chance of actually speaking with someone who divvies up the print real estate rather than leaving it up to an algorithm, so you can make your specific needs for ad placement known.”
That's in no way devaluing the strength of online listings, as Megan Totka, chief editor for the ChamberofCommerce.com website explains.
“It is no secret that when consumers want to find a specific good or service, they (generally) do an online search first,” she continues in an article on the Yext website.
“Most businesses think that in order to compete in the cyber marketplace, they need to have a website, blog and other supporting sites,” she says.
“Businesses in turn spend a lot of money on mobile marketing services and website design companies so they can compete with other businesses online. While all of these things certainly help page rank and online credibility, for basic search purposes, inclusion in online directories is the most vital step companies can take to get located.”
If this makes you confused as to which medium is best for your business, there's no need to be. The simple solution is: a balanced combination of both print and online is pretty ideal.
“When print and web advertising pull in the same direction, the results can be extremely effective,” says Mary Hiers.
“The use of QR codes, “text to like” codes, and other interactive features in print advertisements opens up new feedback channels and helps bridge the print-web divide. You can add shortened social media page URLs or offer free downloads in print ads to encourage online follow-up as well.”