Posted by .

5 Print Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Print marketing, specifically direct mail, has seen somewhat of a resurgence in the last year or two. This can be attributed to overflooded email inboxes or an increase in marketing budgets with a recovering economy, or a combination of both.

With print marketing and direct mail making a comeback, some marketers may find it hard to shake the “print doesn’t work” mindset in a digitally saturated landscape. Print does work, but much like our other marketing efforts, it needs attention and should be looked at closely. You are investing your time and money into it after all. Unlike email advertising, digital ads, or paid social media, the cost to do print can be higher; however, according to the Direct Marketing Association, the rate of return can be 10 to 30 times more effective.

Here’s a list of five common mistakes in print marketing and how to avoid them to ensure that you get the return on your investment.


Wide-blanket, generic marketing approaches are losing effectiveness in this era of marketing. This is probably due to the recent emergence and implementation of data–vast amounts of it–in our marketing efforts. 90% of the data we now have access to was only constructed in the past two years, yet marketers have already found substantial success in spearheading their campaigns with it.

At printCPG, we’re focused on showing our customers how to improve their ROI from their mailing lists. You can certainly send out 10,000 postcards with generic messaging on them, but expect a lower return rate than if you spent an additional quarter per piece on personalizing that message. According to a DMA statistic shared by, a personalized mail piece’s response rate can reach 6% versus the typical response rate of 2% with generic messaging–a 300% increase in lead response!

Avoiding a generic message and instead taking advantage of the abundant amount of data easily accessible to marketers everywhere gives you a better chance of hearing back from your potential customers. Think about it: wouldn’t you want to receive a letter that addressed you by your name rather than “valued customer?”


The data pools may be overflowing, but that doesn’t mean all of it is useful–or even good. Paying extra attention to the kind of data you have and how you’re utilizing it is important for reducing and eliminating waste as well as extra money down the road.

Segmenting your lists, shaving off bad addresses, and updating your data are all crucial tasks that need to be tended to consistently. Otherwise, you wind up losing time and money chasing bad leads and failing to nurture the ones that show the highest potential for a conversion. It’d be a much better outcome to send a premium mail piece to someone who will actually receive it rather than to a faulty address on your list.

…you could be losing up to 550 hours and as much as $32,000 per sales rep just from using bad data

Tend to your data, keep it organized and clean, and continue to mod and segment it so you’re focused on targeting the right customers for your business. Otherwise, as a study from DiscoverOrg has shown, you could be losing up to 550 hours and as much as $32,000 per sales rep just from using bad data.


You’ve spent the time making sure you’ve got the right data and you’re very confident in the targets you’ve identified as prospects. However, now you’ve got to ‘wow’ them with a wonderfully designed mail piece and copy that (almost literally) says “I can solve your problems.”

Of course you’re not going ‘wow’ everybody, and that’s fine. But that doesn’t excuse you from slacking on a creatively designed and well-written print piece. The entire point of marketing is to secure the best possible chance at making a conversion. To do all the work of getting your data sorted out and getting your collateral in front of the right people, only to have them trash your piece due to an uninteresting design or lackadaisical copy (59% of reported consumers avoid businesses who make obvious spelling/grammar mistakes) is probably not a great feeling.

…59% of consumers avoid businesses who make obvious spelling/grammar mistakes…

This is where creativity becomes vital. Conjuring up an intriguing design and writing an interesting message can be fun, but also just as stressful–if not more–as keeping your data up to date. You have to keep the end-user in mind, balancing your vision with their expectations. How do you express your brand? How would they receive it? How do you get them to invest time in interacting with your mail piece? Going through this process can take a few tries, but nailing a final result can be the cherry on top in obtaining a response.


So you’ve piqued their interest with a stunning design and great copy. Excellent job. But then they realize that that’s it. There isn’t an incentive to check out your products and services, or there is, but it’s a coupon for pet care items and your recipients don’t own a pet.

This isn’t exactly a great first impression to make on prospects. Failing to leave a call-to-action is failing to ask consumers to give you a chance. You need to have a means for them to make first contact with your business and perhaps give them a small taste of what you have to offer. Providing an irrelevant offer is just as bad, too, as it shows you aren’t staying on top of your data or aren’t investing enough effort into sending the right incentives to the right people.

As MarketingLand states, there is no such thing a successful marketing campaign unless there is a successful call to action. The point is to get them to walk in the door, or browse your online shop, and try your products and services out without making a huge commitment. Sending out a bad offer or failing to leave a call to action discredits all of the work you’ve done up to this point. Make sure you’re going after the right people and asking them to try you out, or your mail piece will be sitting at the bottom of their trash can.


The first four points are what puts a potential customer right where you want them. The follow-up plan is perhaps the most important part of the process — one that gets forgotten about. Simply sending a mail piece and expecting results won’t yield anything anymore. Much like your digital marketing strategy, there has to be a follow-up plan.

…Not having a solid system in place for nurturing leads is why 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales…

Not having a solid system in place for nurturing leads is why 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales, according to a stat shared by Hubspot. They can get the foot in the door, but they fail to entice a customer to actually browse around and make a purchase. Keeping their foot in the door is also just as difficult: according to Marketing Donut, it takes an average of at least five continuous follow up efforts before a customer says yes.

Five attempts is a lot, but it’s also the reason why some marketers and salespeople lose leads. Those five attempts can be a mixture of more incentives, customer reviews, and perhaps a sampling of your product or service to exhibit a taste of what you are able to offer to them. It can also be complemented with other follow-up methods such as targeted social ads, emails, a phone call, etc. Print doesn’t have to be your only method, but it can be very useful in increasing your chances of conversion.

A marketer’s job doesn’t stop when the conversion is made, however. Once you’ve acquired a committed customer, you have to continue to nurture them and keep them engaged. This simply means providing your current customers with more reasons to come back to you. In regards to digital marketing, this commonly comes in the form of blog articles, video content, and email newsletters. For those with a print campaign, direct mail becomes a key component. Coupons, QR codes, personalized URLs, even AR integrated pieces (yes, they do exist) are just a few ideas for how to inject content into your print collateral.

Print marketing isn’t an easy process. It requires investing a bit more time and money than a digital campaign, but your ROI potential is greater. With an entire marketing landscape heavily focused on digital content, mailboxes are becoming prime real estate for marketers. We’re not saying to ditch digital altogether (in fact, that’d likely be pretty unwise), but integrating print collateral into your mix and avoiding these five steps along the way can make a big difference in acquiring new business.

Contact us today to find out how printCPG can help you avoid these common mistakes.

Comments are closed.