When it comes to marketing efforts, there are still many businesses that focus either on offline activities or online campaigns. You rely on them first if you’re targeting local markets and the second if you’re trying to reach a wider range of customers. This seems pretty logical, but the truth is that it’s not efficient enough. If you wish to create a truly remarkable impact – and you do – you need to use both in tandem.
Living in this digital and highly connected age it’s easy to develop a dangerous notion that online marketing is the only way to advertise. But the role of offline marketing is still crucial, especially if it’s executed together with the online campaign. In fact, only with this all-encompassing approach, you can make sure that your brand will survive in this age of irrepressible drive for instant gratifications and disturbingly short attention spans. So let’s see how online and offline marketing can work together.
Understanding the Connection
There’s no need to go looking for the connection between online and offline marketing – it’s already there. Just think about it – every time an inspiring outdoor, TV, or radio advertisement catches our attention, what do we do? We immediately rush towards our PCs, tablets, or phones to dig a bit deeper and find out more about it. That’s the beauty of being always connected – the point of sale (POS) can be practically everywhere. So someone saw your business offline and made the purchase online. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure that you’ll be there when people go looking for you online, but it’s also crucial to be present offline to increase the chances of making it happen.
You see, from the perspective of your customers, your business is not formed from two separate entities – one offline and the other online. To them, it’s all one entity, so it needs to function that way. This is why keeping your brand consistent is mandatory. Branding is nothing more than shaping people’s perception of the business you’re running. If a customer searches for your business after meeting you at a tradeshow, it needs to be obvious that they’ve come to the right place. In other words, perceptions need to match – the way you talk about your products and services, the design of your logo, the colors you use – everything should be the same both off and online. And don’t think that the first impression always happens offline – 82 percent of people perform a Google search before doing business with someone new. So you need to make sure your online marketing clearly reflects how you want to be seen by customers and that your business appearance is consistent in all places. Having this cleared up, let’s see some practical ways of how these marketing approaches work together.
Developing a Strong Community
If you wish to become a truly successful brand, you need to have a strong community of users. The internet has proven to be a pretty great medium for developing that community, but you don’t want your user base to stay virtual, do you? Social networks are full of like-minded people who easily connect with each other, and there lies the perfect opportunity to organize meetups of customers and fans. So the road to offline meetup starts online. Before you invite people to one of your local stores for an event, first you need to facilitate the growth of communities online. On the other hand, if you want people to truly appear at your event, you’ll need some eye-catching event promotion banners. This is not just to widen the range of potential visitors, but also to make sure people you’ve already invited will be there – just remember how many people who mark that they’re going on some Facebook event never show up. When you look at it, you’ll see that you’re growing a strong online user base and introducing your business’ offline establishment at the same time.
Trick ’r Tweet
When you’re looking to combine offline and online marketing activities, maybe one of the easiest approaches is to bring offline ones to online mediums. You can create a campaign with the purpose to boost the exposure level of your offline activities simply by asking participants to share on their social media profiles. If you’re running a coffee shop and want your walk-in customers to spread the word as a way of promotion, you can simply offer them a free cup of coffee with a small condition – they need to tweet their pictures in the store and include the location info or a hashtag. That’s truly a small condition for them, but it can lead to much bigger exposure for you. And we haven’t come up with this all of a sudden – Starbucks has done something similar already 6 years ago and many other retailers are doing it – with tweets, Instagram Stories, selfies – you name it. With this quite simple and easy to run campaign type you’re boosting your online presence through existing customers.
Offline Promotion of Online Pages
You can also combine your online marketing efforts with offline instruments with the promotion of your website and social media pages offline. All you have to do is to integrate these pages into your branding materials such as store decoration and packages. You can also gain more attraction by adding social media URLs to your offline promotional material such as flyers. If you want to go a bit further and add a twist to this campaign idea you should go for custom stickers. Just print them containing a branded QR code or your social media URLs and give them away on different occasions. You need to make sure customers will be willing to put them on their belongings, so make a design that will stand out. If you pair a branded QR sticker with the right call to action you’ll definitely direct a lot of traffic to your social media pages and main site. This approach will also function in increasing brand exposure in select areas and promoting your store location.
These are just a few examples of campaigns that are able to put your customers at the heart of both offline and online marketing efforts. Use them as the starting points for further integration and keep in mind that the online and offline approaches build one inseparable entity. As long as there’s brand consistency, the only limit is your imagination.