Retooling Physical Collateral for Digital Platforms

March 1, 2021 CONRIC PR

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, live, and interact with each other. For marketers and businesses alike, the loss of traditional or in-person interaction has pushed efforts further towards the digital front. For some industries, this has proven especially difficult – hospitality, food service and others have had to change business practices (and in some circumstances, business models) to maintain the safety and patronage of their customer base. Social media and email marketing, already essential to modern businesses, have been elevated to even greater necessity. Physical collateral has largely dropped off as a result, but that doesn’t necessarily mean redesigning your marketing campaign from scratch. Here are a few ways to easily retool existing print content for use online and via social media.

Please note:
Many of these recommendations will require access to the collateral’s native or working design files.

Update layouts for screen viewing

Flyers, menus, brochures, and the like are often sized to fit standard paper specs – letter size, legal, etc. These standard sizes are great, cost-effective options for print, but don’t typically display well on a variety of screens. Imagine viewing a trifold brochure on a vertically-oriented iPhone and you’ll get the picture. Instead of simply posting your print collateral, think of how to rearrange the piece to accommodate smaller screens with the ability to scroll. The solution is often as simple as laying out sections and individual elements in a vertical stack. The height of the document can vary depending on how much information is present (though we recommend slimming down copy, something we’ll touch on in a moment) but the width is typically around 600px.

Make it click

Printed assets usually include a contact section to house important URLs, social media handles, and phone numbers. Streamlining accessibility for the audience is paramount when designing effective digital collateral. To do this, you should always lean on clickable, interactive elements like buttons and hyperlinks. This rule of thumb is especially important for URLs and social media links. Replace lengthy web addresses with cleanly-styled, on-brand “click here” buttons to enrich the audience’s reading experience, drive traffic to desired websites, and inspire consumer engagement. Hyperlinks should be used for links contained within body copy or blocks of text to maintain consistent typographic style. Don’t forget to set up analytics to track these clicks for measurable data! 

Leave phone numbers as standard, live text whenever possible. Most mobile devices can detect phone numbers within live text and automatically convert them to clickable links. This allows the reader to simply click the phone number to dial it with ease.

Write less, read more

Picture this – you open an email on your phone and are greeted by a 1,000-word news article. Your first instinct is to unsubscribe from whatever company or person packed this light novel into your inbox. Common sense tells you the “unsubscribe” button is at the bottom of the mail, so you scroll… and scroll… and keep scrolling another 5+ times to reach the link in the footer. If all of that scrolling sounds like a chore, you’re not alone in that sentiment. That’s a large reason why trimming down text in favor of a quick blurb and a button is standard practice for digital-focused design. Distill paragraphs or beefy blocks of text down to a title, one sentence (two at max), and a “Read More” button. As mentioned in the previous section, the goal is to make the reader’s interaction as enjoyable as possible while driving traffic to the business’ (or another desired) website. If a full article is needed, it should be housed on the website, accessible via the “Read More” button. Once more for good measure – track your clicks to measure web traffic and campaign efficacy!

Make bigger statements

Rather, make your statements themselves bigger. As you’re paring down text into bite-sized sections, increase your font size to ensure what you’re saying is large enough to be read. While printed pieces often default to a 12pt minimum size for body copy, we recommend upscaling to a 16pt minimum. Headlines can be increased accordingly as well, but be wary of going too large for type treatments. Remember the standard 600px width for mobile devices is relatively narrow, so dramatically oversized text will get broken up into multiple lines, with longer words getting hyphenated. It’s important to find your sweet spot; when in doubt, defer to the typography section of your business’ brand guidelines for how to best structure messaging and set type.

Keep it live

You can’t mail a postcard digitally, but you can craft a smartly-designed email campaign that captures the look and feel of a direct mail piece with greater customization and far better tracking. It’s also significantly more cost-effective the vast majority of the time. When you’re designing email campaigns in platforms like MailChimp or Constant Contact, don’t rely too heavily on imagery. It might be tempting to just upload an image file of a printed piece you’ve already designed and hit send, but consider this: the margin of error is considerably higher than utilizing live text. Image-heavy emails are more likely to get flagged as spam by email clients, and recipients can easily enable settings in their email accounts to disable images automatically to reduce load times or save space in their inbox. It’s always a good idea to keep your important information as live text, readable and translatable by whatever computer or device the recipient is using. Reserve images for decorative elements that enhance the reading experience, but don’t rely on them to serve function over form. When using images, it’s always a great idea to provide alt text, a brief description of either the image or its intended message that displays if the image itself does not populate upon receipt.

If your print campaign is in need of a digital-forward upgrade, contact CONRIC pr + marketing at 239-690-9840 ext. 1001, or email us at Schedule your free consultation today and learn how we can help your business adapt and grow in the current and post-pandemic market.


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