Print isn’t dead: How to grow your community with physical media

Posted on Tue, 03/02/2021 - 4:04pm

"There are currently three zettabytes of digital content in the world.” That’s one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) gigabytes of data! While we've become inundated with digital media, printed materials have greatly evolved. Gone are the days of boring rectangular business cards and basic notepads - we’re heralding a new era of evolved, personal printed materials.

Whether you’re a tax preparer, restaurant owner, photographer, real estate agent, web designer, religious leader, or medical practice, your business can thrive from thoughtful printed materials.

Here’s how to grow your community and customers with creative print materials: 

First, make your printed materials

Approach 2-dimensional printing with 3-dimensional thinking

beer caps

The best way to plan out your print materials is to think outside the box. Don’t think about how to print on paper. Instead, think about objects people use frequently: phone cases, computers, mugs, forks, cups, jackets, laptop sleeves, napkins, toasters - you name it. What would be the best objects for your printed materials?

You can print on nearly everything these days - look at the 3-D world around you to get inspired.

Mousepads, pens, mugs, USB drives, CDs and phone cases, pillows

Most office workers use a mousepad, pen, usb drive, and cds every day, and many smart phone users protect their phones with cases. You can print on all of these everyday items. 

Keep these products appealing to your community - don’t make your logo the main focus. It should be more like an artist's signature - small and in the corner.

What is your business? Images you could print:
Selling boats Landscapes, water, boating, people rowing on a lovely day somewhere remote, aquatic animals
Baking doughnuts That’s easy, most people love looking at desserts!
Repairing Computers Craft some fun graphics/icons of computer parts 
Selling cameras Atmospheric shots of your cameras in crazy locations, like a slow shutter image at night of the stars. Or, images of a camera’s inner workings and parts

Feel like your business is too formal to do this? Think again. Even if you’re a financial advisor and you can’t think of interesting images to use, commission a photographer to take some high quality images of the city in which you work.

Die-Cut and Creative Business Cards 

First, the most simple and yet most important impression is your business card. If you have a unique logo, look into getting custom die-cut business cards - it leaves a much better impression than a generic rectangle and really drives home your branding. 

If you own a store that sells soap, perfume, leather products, candles, or baked goods, seek out scratch and sniff cards. It’s a little more affordable and laid-back than giving away products. For landscapers, some printing companies even offer “mowed grass” scents - the opportunities are endless. 

You can also look into transparent, gold-foiled, and textured cards, or to really increase appeal, edible business cards (pictured above).


Custom Printed Stickers

Stickers are a surreptitious way to grow your community and brand awareness without explicitly pushing your branding on anyone. If your company has a dog mascot, get die-cut stickers of the dog made in varying sizes and give them away for free. If your logo isn’t very fun but you sell kayaks and rowing equipment, your customers would probably enjoy showing off their hobby with kayak or water stickers. 

Share custom printed CDs full of freebies

A great way to get your work out there more quickly is to give away free resources to your clients. Prepare a CD full of resources you’ve made that clients might enjoy - if you’re a designer or photographer that might mean textures, stock photographs, icons, and actions or presets.

Job What to put on CD
Graphic Designer,
Textures, stock photographs, icons, and actions or presets.
Religious Leader Sermons, inspirational songs and images
Tax preparer Helpful advice in easy to digest forms - think of all the questions you’re frequently asked, and answer them on that disc. You could also provide a free trial of any financial tools you think a client might benefit from
Restaurant Owner Free recipes!
Medical Practice Medical Imaging including:
  • sonograms
  • ultrasounds
  • MRI images etc.

as well as exercise ideas, recipes, common seasonal allergies and their symptoms, information on what types of remedies to use for common aches, burns, scrapes
Musicians/Filmmakers Samples of your work, recommended viewing or listening (if you like my music, you may also like these bands)

If your clients or potential clients do not need extra materials like this, you can instead offer it as a give away in a social media contest. The advantage of a social giveaway is that the audience who might want these tools come forward, and you aren’t pushing your freebie on the uninterested. 

Remember, your disc is also a business card and should be branded. Get your CDs custom printed, and include information on how to find more of your work or get connected.

Letterheads, notepads, and sticky notes

Whatever items you choose to print on, just make sure that it appeals to others. Keep creating other custom materials - having a little extra is a great idea, because the plan is to share…

Share those materials far and wide

Here's how you can grow your community with those awesome print materials:

Social Media Giveaway

Launch a social media giveaway. The best way to ensure this helps grow your community is to be generous and pick many winners - people online are wary of giveaways when they know they can’t win. You can try using to easily handle the hard parts of the contest for you. 

Expos & Events

Head to expos and networking events and share your materials with anyone who is interested or might benefit from your products. If you’re able to have a merchandise table, leave out your CDs of free resources or your custom USB business card

If your local chamber of commerce holds monthly events and raffle prizes, offer your discount chips or custom mousepads and phone cases.

Give away your products to existing followers 

If you have an email marketing list, send out an email to your recipients saying they can get a free phone case or other goodies (you would just need a mailing address). Whatever you do, don’t make these recipients go through the trouble of participating in a giveaway - you’re trying to grow a community, not put existing members of your community to work!

Sell them online

If you've done all the networking you can handle, sell your more appealing products online (custom phone cases, mousepads, mugs). You can sell through printers such as Zazzle or Society6 that way you have an opportunity to reach new customers (rather than just on your own website).


The more creative materials you have for your company, the more ways you can reach out to new customers and communities. After all, it’s much more enjoyable to receive a free notepad (even if it has a logo somewhere on it) than to be cold-called in the middle of a workday!

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Charitable Contributions

Give Kids The World

Blank Media Printing™ is proud to be the official donor of Give Kids The World for all their custom-printed CDs, DVDs, and packaging.  With over 176,500 discs donated since December 2014 - it gives you an idea of how many kids and families they help, and we are proud to have helped preserve their memories! Read More....

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