targeting buyers with digital marketing

Part 2 of a 2-part series 

How can your print business reach print buyers by using digital advertising? There’s no shortage of opportunities to spend your money on advertising, but which options are best for your business? In part 1 of this series, we presented the advantages and disadvantages of pay-per-click (PPC) digital advertising. Now let’s talk about which ones your printing company should prioritize and what to expect from each.

On the internet, there are five primary types of paid advertising:

  • Search advertising
  • Google digital display advertising
  • Social media digital display advertising
  • Direct placement digital display advertising
  • Paid directory listings

Search advertising is primarily about immediate demand generation for your company. It involves paying search engines (Google, Bing, or Yahoo) to highlight your specific web page when someone searches for a particular keyword phrase. Say you want to attract new customers for your direct mail printing solution. Since Google owns 92% of the US search engine market, you may want to buy the keyword phrase “direct mail printing and mailing services” from Google.

Google search works on an auction basis and the current bid price for this specific phrase is $36.48. In this pay-per-click (PPC) ad buy you will pay $36.48 each time someone clicks on your linked ad. When they click on it, they will be directed to your selected page on your website where they can take the action you encourage. The primary advantage of paid search advertising is “buying intent.” People searching for “direct mail printing and mailing services” are likely seeking a provider.

Google digital display advertising is less about immediate demand generation and more about brand awareness. It allows you to show your ad only to those people you want to target. More than two million websites belong to the Google Display Network and these sites represent more than 90 percent of all web traffic. So if you want your ad served to people in, say, Miami (age 25-64) who like, have searched for, or have visited direct mail websites, your ad will be shown only to them and you will pay only for the ads that get clicked.

The primary advantage of advertising on the Google Display Network is that you can reach a wider audience than with paid search alone. This type of advertising is also an opportunity for what’s called remarketing. Remarketing is the practice of serving an ad to a person multiple times (immediately and several days) after they have visited a particular website.

In addition to all the non-Google sites on the Google Display Network, you can also serve your ads on Google properties like Gmail, YouTube, and others.

Social media digital display advertising is similar to Google advertising, but your ads are only shown on the platform you pay for (Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tiktok, Pinterest, etc). As with Google ads, you can specifically target users with certain demographic, psychographic, and behavioral profiles.

Also, like Google, most social platforms let you target your ads to your core audiences. For demographics, you can select age, gender, location, education, job, and income level. For interests and behavior, you can select hobbies, prior purchases, and competitive pages and ads they have liked or visited.

You can also customize your audiences with an exact match and look-alike profile from your CRM database. Here, you could upload a database of, say, your ideal 100 customers and your ads would be served to thousands of others who have similar traits. Again, social media digital display advertising is suitable for both awareness building and immediate demand generation campaigns.

Direct placement digital display advertising is typically simpler, less sophisticated, and less measurable than the digital platforms described above. In this strategy, you may have a trade publication, local association website, or another specific and relevant website that will send you a digital display ad for their audiences. Generally speaking, you cannot do any microtargeting of custom audiences, but rather your ad is shown to everyone who visits the website. Also, this payment is often at a flat cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate, not on a pay-per-click (CPC) basis. When compared to the big social media platforms, ad rates on these direct sites can be considerably lower.

Paid directory listings are sites that charge you to have a listing, whether for standard or premium positioning. Examples of such directories might include Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and other association or trade organizations’ sites. Again, ads are typically lower-priced, less measurable, and less targetable, but may have more value because of visitors’ active purchase intent.

In summary, you’ve got options and you should choose the platform that matches the objective you want to achieve. You can research, plan, and execute campaigns on any of these platforms on your own, or you can hire the services of a digital marketing consultant to guide and manage the strategy for you.


Read David’s post from last month:

Read all of David’s posts here.

David Murphy Nvent Marketing author at Print Media CentrDavid Murphy is the founder and CEO of Nvent Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in digital marketing for the print industry. David has 30+ years of experience in the graphics and document print production industry. He has served as a board member and advisor to print organizations and associations including Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), Print Industries of America (PIA), Association for Print Technologies (APTECH), and Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation (EDSF). David was also awarded the Idealliance Soderstrom Society Award for Print Industry Leadership. David can be reached at ​




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