With the emersion of online marketing forms of communication with customers, one question must be asked – is offline marketing dead? Are pay-per-click (PPC), online display advertising and social media advertising the new broadcast and newspaper ads, collateral, direct mail and coupon programs of tomorrow (that is, today)? Can we relocate all of the efforts to get close to the customer to the World Wide Web and will it do more harm than good to our business? Let’s see!
Infosys research states that 40% of people searching online will buy after being influenced by offline marketing. More than that, 60% claimed they were highly likely to buy based on word-of-mouth. Despite the increase in online activity, we still live in an offline world. As this is how your customers interact with the world, it is how you should be reaching them – both online and offline.
Depending on your objectives (both general and specific) and your target audience, your strategy should include some kind of use of both online and offline marketing methods. It only stands to reason that a strong marketing plan is an integrated marketing plan – one that is comprised of parts of several differing tactics.
Therefore, instead of thinking of these channels as competitors for your marketing dollars, consider online and offline resources as powerful tools – each in their own right – which, when used together, can boost your brand, your leads and your bottom line.
Most brands are already using online channels such as Social Media platforms to promote offline happenings such as print campaigns and events – and vice versa – but here are 7 more ways to combine offline and online tactics for effective marketing:
1) Use online CTAs in your offline promotions
On your printed collateral and print ads, create reasons for your audience to visit a dedicated landing page to capture contact information for subsequent follow-up. Entering a contest or offering free value-added content such as an e-book or white paper are good tools to gain e-mail addresses.
2) Start a “To Be Continued” campaign
Why not begin a story offline and then continue it online? By doing so, you can send the viewer to a landing page or your Social Media platforms where they will find additional content (and a specific CTA). For example, write a print article and include a call-to-action along the lines of “to comment on this, use #articletitleon social media,” or “find out more at www.website.com/landingpage.”
3) Get your Social Media followers to give their opinion on your next offline creation
If you’re not sure which artwork or graphic to use in your next print campaign, contest or event, post the options to Social Media and ask your followers. This is a great way to engage with your audience and make them feel a part of your brand. Meanwhile, you can be secure in the knowledge that you’re using the best possible artwork to get your audience’s attention in print at a later time.
4) Use online engagement results to drive offline campaigns
Use your most popular image on Social Media – something you know your target audience obviously likes – and use it as the main image for your next print campaign. This will create a cohesive brand experience and really connect the dots for your audience between their online and offline interactions with your brand.
5) Encourage selfies and get user-generated content and brand endorsement
Consider engaging your audience on Social Media through a direct mail campaign; invite your audience to take “selfies” and share on Social Media using specific hashtags in order to track the campaign. Indiana University did this successfully when they used a hashtag to promote admission. They included #IUsaidYes on acceptance letter envelopes, which led students considering the university to actively post selfies with their letters using the hashtag. The campaign went viral. Try this on posters, event graphics, and other print media to do the same.
6) Use trackable phone numbers and URLs
URLs and/or phone numbers can be set up and associated with a particular print piece. By tracking the number of times the telephone number is called or the URL is visited, you can track the success of the campaign. Remember, always use CTAs and lead capture forms when using URLs and landing pages.
7) Place digital contact info on business cards
Make sure your business cards have digital contact information, such as email addresses, Twitter handles, etc. on them. Doing so will help expand the relationship from offline to online and increase marketing opportunities.
Once you start implementing these points, there are also things to take into consideration when it comes to making sure all your marketing efforts are consistent.
- Do your offline ads have the same look and feel as your website?
- Do they have the same message?
- Do you have a specific landing page on your website that customers are directed to from offline marketing?
- Is your marketing mix tailored to your customer base?
There is a variety of ways that online and offline tactics can work together to boost overall marketing effectiveness. Instead of treating these approaches as an “either/or,” today it’s really more of a “both/and.” The time for putting all your eggs in one basket has passed. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Contact us if you need help.