Marketing is all about conveying a clear message about your product and the message should precede the media it is used to communicate it. Despite this obvious idea, many marketers focus on digital marketing alone because it’s easier to do, is comparatively less expensive, and it has the potential to reach a larger audience. They are putting the medium before the message.
Don't look at marketing from an online vs offline perspective. Instead, start defining your marketing message and how to use the best medium to improve reach, to improve relevancy, and to improve results. Then, once a particular form of communication works well, scale it up. Here's my 5 steps to offline and online marketing synergy...
The 5 Steps to Creating the Synergy
1. Email MarketingThis is still one of the most powerful forms of direct digital marketing. Your messages are going straight to the customers’ inboxes, so it is up to you to create something so good they can’t ignore you.
When you offer people good content on your blog or website, they are more likely to sign up for your newsletter. They will be expecting that same high quality content in their newsletters as well. Once your customers enter your site, they need an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter so you can continue the conversation with them.
Your tone and vocabulary that you use in email marketing should be completely consistent with your brand image that you communicate through your offline marketing strategy. You should employ the same design and style of talking to the customer that you use in your store or office.
In order to connect offline customers to your email strategy, make it easy for them to sign up through your storefront or services and give them incentives to sign up. Offer in-store discounts to those who receive your newsletters, and likewise give in-store customers discounts for signing up to the email list at the register, if you own a shop.
2. Social Media MarketingSocial media is a phenomenon too big to ignore, but many small businesses aren’t sure how to effectively approach social media from a business perspective.
Here are some reasons why it is a valuable tool for marketing:
- Increases customer engagement with your brand
- A medium for knowledge sharing
- An excellent way of getting feedback on a marketing campaign
- A way to build community.
Our company, Coastal Creative, is a custom large format printer, so a customer could have a full vehicle wrap designed with the company standard logos and designs, but along with the contact information include the social media addresses. Taking that one step further, if you have a really cool vehicle wrap design, you can create your own hash tag such as #rollingrolls if you’re a baking company, or #thevanforyourcan if you’re plumbing company uses vans. Get creative and blend social media and offline ads seamlessly.
3. Event MarketingAny organized event is an opportunity for a company to meet its target audience face to face and have ground-level conversations. An event can be a trade show, a fair, a conference, a workshop, a factory visit, and anything where multiple customers of yours are gathered at once.
Announce your event online through social media to get the word out, drop a mention of it in your newsletter a few weeks before, and write a blog post describing the benefits of your customers attending. At the event it’s a good idea to have customer banners, branded foam board prints and tradeshow displays integrating social media addresses and custom hashtags if your presence is large enough.
Encourage email newsletter signups with giveaways if they sign up, this works like a charm.
4. NetworkingWhile networking might feel like a slow process, and not a very scalable, a few good contacts can do wonders for your future marketing. Networking does much more than attract attention - it builds rapport and friendship, which can lead to unimaginable new possibilities, such as favorable marketing partnerships an affiliate relationships.
Clearly, social networking is a blessing and a curse, it connects us to more people than ever, but these are generally more loose relationships and the time spent social networking may distract you from in-person networking. Arrange meetings with connections you meet online to solidify that business relationship.
5. Use QR CodesWhen you meet people at events or through networking, how do you get them to follow you online? One option is to use QR codes. A QR code is a two dimensional barcode. When someone scans it with their smartphone, it will open up your blog, your website, or even your social media fan page on a browser window. You can add QR codes to things like business cards, brochures, print ads, and so on. QR codes have not caught on like wildfire, but it’s an additional tool you can use to move offline connections online.
In conclusion, the key takeaway here is to always be thinking online and offline at the same time. It should no longer be called digital, online, or offline marketing. They should all be fused together in one solidified marketing campaign. One campaign, one message.