Just like Bonnie and Clyde, Brad and Angelina, Shaq and Kobe, some couples are always better off together. Online and offline marketing can fall into this category too when planned and executed well.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and excitement of online marketing and forget that we still do live in the ‘real’ world. Offline marketing continues to have a profound influence over our decisions and remains a critical component of established marketing budgets.
The reach and return of both online and offline can be enhanced by integrating the two and cross promoting where appropriate. Let’s take a look at a few key ways we can use both to grow our overall marketing effectiveness.
If you have a shop front or even a waiting room, take advantage of customers on your premises by encouraging them to engage with you online. This can be done through signage on walls, counters or tables or even through the old fashion method of asking.
Online reviews and ratings provide opportunity for all businesses but are particularly important for businesses like restaurants, cafes, hotels and motels.
Encouraging reviews on key sites like Yelp, Google Places, Trip Advisor can increase the chances a potential customer (firstly) finding and (secondly) choosing you over your competition. Google has placed even greater emphasis on these with recent changes to Google+ Local/Google Places.
In similar fashion, encourage in-store or in-office customers to connect with you on social or join your email newsletter list. Particularly with the rise of the smart phone, getting impulse Likes, Followers, Connections or subscribers is easier than ever. Can you prompt visitors to check-in or scan a QR code to connect them with your social sites?
It’s important to keep your message simple, you’re success will be much higher if you push one or two social sites rather than promote everything. At events, meetings or conferences, simply promoting your Twitter handle or event hash tag can grow your following.
Make sure you get the basics right and ensure all offline campaigns reference your website or social presence. Not everyone is going to call you straight from an ad or piece of marketing material – but now more than ever, customers research before buying.
They’ll check you out online and make sure your message is consistent and see what others are saying about you. You can be proactive about this process and steer customers in the direction you want, or be a passenger.
The rise and rise of smartphones means consumers have the opportunity to engage with your business instantly on impulse. Utilising QR codes in your print advertising or on your product can make it that bit easier to steer customers online. More recently NFC tags and stickers are being used for similar purposes including with outdoor advertising.
Don’t forget if you’ve produced a great offline advertising campaign promote it online as well. Anything funny/impressive can do wonders for word of mouth, likes and followers.
Public relations was all about mass media mentions, but has now grown and evolved to incorporate the digital world. A mention by a niche blogger with a significant following can do as much for sales and recognition as a mainstream newspaper.
PR can drive your visibility across the web, to places you may have never considered. If you’re going to engage a PR firm, make sure they understand online and the related opportunities. Quality PR can drive your content, social interactions and SEO through link creation. As with all PR, quality, newsworthy content is the key.
Match branding – der man
This is ridiculously obvious, but unfortunately, still to this day we see small and medium businesses who run advertising campaigns across traditional channels like TV and print that don’t match their online presence.
For smaller companies, I believe this mismatch occurs when multiple contractors are engaged – a web developer, a TV station, a designer and so on. Unfortunately the left hand doesn’t talk to the right hand. Big business have consistent brands for a reason, the whole is greater than the some of the parts (or touch points).
Keep your branding consistent across all channels and this even includes things like tag lines. Are you using a catchy tag line or jingle on TV or radio? If a customer can’t remember your company name, but remembers our tag line, will they find you if they search it on Google?
Let me know your ideas on further ways to integrate online and offline below.