Marketing for a business used to be a complicated task before the advent of the internet. Now with online marketing and the ability to pinpoint the ideal customers for a product, marketing has gotten a lot easier. Or has it? Many companies have taken the initiative to develop both online, and offline marketing techniques, and sometimes those techniques play against each other. Because of the depth of feedback that online marketing strategies generate, Inc. mentions that companies are shedding their offline marketing techniques and changing to a digital-only model.
There is a profound misunderstanding of how online and offline marketing works and how they can complement each other. Adobe states that offline marketing is far more potent than most businesses realize. With the ever-reaching tendrils of technology infiltrating almost every aspect of life, a lot of users try to switch off their electronic devices and get back to the real world more often. For a business, this means that the customer that suits their ideal customer model isn’t getting their ads because they have completely disconnected from the online world.
Blending Online and Offline Marketing
There is a happy balance that a business can strike between their online and offline advertising efforts. An Infosys report mentions that 40% of buyers only make a purchase after they’ve seen an offline advertising channel. To experience the full potential of online marketing a business needs to realize that offline and online marketing aren’t different entities, but a single entity that should coexist together, aiming for the success of the business holistically.
For advertisers that have been around since before the digital revolution, this can be a strange idea to grasp. Offline advertising methods have completely different techniques and ideas behind their campaigns. Similarly, advertisers that have grown up surrounded by and molded into the digital world find it difficult to grasp the idea of offline advertising.
They consider it as archaic and out of place in a world where most things happen online and in a much faster fashion than the old days. For an entrepreneur, though, the aim should be to blend both advertising methods and find balance in them. To this end, here are nine tips that can help a business capitalize on both offline and online advertising.
1. Mix Online Activities with Offline Fulfillment
Econsultancy offers the fact that as much as 76% of customers are likely to be using click-to-collect in 2017. Blending online ordering with offline fulfillment is a brilliant method for mixing online and offline channels. It plays towards a buyer’s feelings for instant gratification and will likely result in return business. The fact that the buyer can get their product without waiting is a plus, making the model far more gratifying than Amazon’s two-day delivery service.
2. Use Online Data to Inform Offline Advertising
Businesses that cater to their customers are more likely to see them return. Epsilon noted in 2018 that as much as 80% of consumers prefer personalized interactions with businesses they buy from. In a world where a nameless, faceless corporation is the norm, returning to relationships is where a business wants to be with its advertising.
To do this, a company can use its data points collected through its online advertising methods to inform their offline advertising efforts better. The result is the best of both worlds, with the online world helping the business connect to its offline clients in a more meaningful way.
3. Use Offline Means to Drive Online Sales
Offline advertising tends to take a lot more time and funding for planning and implementation than offline marketing. However, offline marketing can be used to drum up interest in online sites. Local advertising within a paper that directs users to a site can be great for informing buyers.
Using a typed URL is a bit old-school, but for some users, it might be useful, once the company uses a URL shortener to make it more palatable. Alternatively, with the number of users that have smartphones, a company might consider using a QR code to direct users to their chosen site. Embedding this in a print image is a simple method of using offline ads to generate online actions.
4. Emphasize the Experience on Social Media
Most businesses that do online marketing try to do flashy ads that capture the audience’s attention. However, according to Ad Age, users don’t just want a company to sell to them; they want a full experience. For many offline businesses, flyers and other ads don’t generate interest the same way that a social media picture does.
To increase their offline engagement, businesses can utilize their social media pages to highlight their offers and sales, and through this get buyers through the door to check out the deals. It’s a tried and tested formula that can work with enough social media followers to the company’s name.
5. Put Mobile First
Mobile applications are a channel that businesses shouldn’t overlook when trying to blend their online and offline advertising methods. A mobile phone is in itself a tool to send online ads to an offline space that people visit often. Ad Week mentions that Americans spend upwards of 4.5 hours on their smartphones every week.
By using beacon transmission, stores can even capitalize on users being nearby. beacon transmissions allow stores to send messages to users’ phones in the vicinity, without needing an internet connection. A mobile phone is the meeting of offline and online advertising in a single device, one that businesses should use to the best of their ability to drive their message.
6. Combine Online and Offline Advertising Metrics
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for online advertising channels shouldn’t only be confined to the online realm. Applying those same KPIs to offline advertising methods can align both online and offline strategies to the same goal.
However, according to Marketing Charts, companies that attempted to align both marketing types tended to hit the snag of limited measurement techniques for offline marketing methods. Despite this issue, setting up online and offline methods to work in tandem with each other will produce better results for the business.
7. Develop Methods of Combining Online and Offline Tactics
Businesses that attend trade shows can use their social media accounts to let consumers know where they will be and when they’ll be there. For smaller brands, this gives them a way to reach out to their followers and potentially drive visits to their booth.
Trade shows are excellent lead generators. Even if a visit by a consumer doesn’t result in a sale, it will lead to the potential buyer remembering what he or she has seen. Offering printed business cards that show off the company’s social accounts feeds that interest back into the marketing machine. The cyclical effect means that offline drives online marketing and vice versa.
8. Use Offline Branding to Drive Interest
Entrepreneur suggests that a company should remember that each print interaction that a company has can be used to drive its brand image. Even a nondescript neon sign has its use in offline branding. Keeping this in mind, a company can leverage objects they might have overlooked, such as their shipping receipts or their packaging to help drive online integration with their social media. All it takes is a QR code or a shortened web URL to start generating interest. Once the user enters the link or scans it into their phone, the business can direct them to follow their social media pages to get updates.
9. Develop Offline Customer Service to Match Online SEO
A simple comparison of SEO and customer service reveals a common thread in both of them: both work best when they are customer-centric. When a customer locates a brick-and-mortar business through an organic search, it’s clear that the SEO system is working well as it drives the traffic to the store.
However, offline organic marketing comes from people telling other people about their experiences. For this to function the same way that online SEO does, the interaction must be a good one. Businesses should take extra time to inform their employees and develop their customer interaction skills do help drive their “offline SEO.”
Don’t Discount Either Channel
It might be easy for a business to say that it’ll focus solely on online marketing since it’s cheaper and results can be easily tracked. But removing offline marketing from the equation leads to a brand that is weaker than its competitors. For each person that could have seen an offline and ad and doesn’t, the business loses a potential sale.
Offline marketing might be more costly than online marketing, but for a business that is trying to grow, it’s a more proven method for getting in contact with customers. By bolstering it with online methods, a company can experience the best of both worlds, where each advertising system fuels the other. It might not work all the time, but that’s the beauty of advertising. It can be tuned with each iteration to be significantly better until the company realizes the final balance.
Lara Douglas is a young woman who loves interior designing and home decor. She is passionate about new trends and fashion-forward home décor ideas. She regularly posts at Neon Signs Depot.