… honestly, you do…
Every business is acutely aware of the fact that it needs to market itself.
Every business is also acutely aware that if they get it wrong, it is money wasted.
Every business knows the importance of getting it right. In fact, the biggest influencing factor in the failure of any start-up businesses is lack of marketing.
It is on ongoing, evolving process; just as you finish one campaign, another comes along. Just as Christmas will come and go, another season will be upon us meaning the goal posts move once again.
But, with the advent of the Internet, followed by the revolutionary effects of social media, businesses are plunged into a new era of marketing. The one size strategy that did everything now needs to be re-written.
And this is where some businesses found that they faced a new dilemma; online OR offline marketing.
Do you need both?
Or do you have a strategy for one, and hope the other tags along?
What is offline marketing anyway? Surely leaflets are dead and buried… aren’t they?
Definitions: online & offline
Before we hurtle headlong into a full and frank discussion, we need to make sure we are all singing form the same hymn sheet… otherwise, we will be at cross purposes.
- Online marketing – is anything that you do online, from tweeting to statuses, to pinning photos etc. You should have a strategy for what is posted, where and when.
- Offline marketing – is anything from adverts in local and national press publications, leaflets, postcards, business cards and anything you can possibly think of. Again, you should have a strategy for what will happen, when and why.
BUT, the problem has been that the online world has somewhat dwarfed offline marketing strategies for a variety of businesses. Many assumed, as you would with the power of the Internet, that offline marketing was somewhat dead.
Mmmm… it seems that this may not the case. In fact, a variety of experts have suggested that actually, the gap between online and offline marketing is actually shrinking. And so, as we near the end of 2014, look forward to 2015 perhaps now is the time to give some serious thought to both your business online and offline marketing for the coming year (we like some of these ideas – quick to implement and easy to do!)
Offline becomes interactive
The biggest change is that offline material is actually starting to morph in to online material. How many posters, banners, adverts, leaflets etc. have you seen that have a QR code printed on it? (We are going to look at QR – quick response – codes in an upcoming blog and how they can help grow your business).
In fact, it now seems that every piece of offline marketing tool you use, it should have some form of nod to your online presence. This can be as simple as ‘find us on Facebook’ or ‘follow us on Twitter’ etc.
And if we need to persuade you any further on the power of offline marketing, then we need to point you in the direction of some recent studies…
Role models – take a look at some HUGE global companies who rely more on offline, traditional marketing over and above online. For example, eharmony.com and Esurance.com use traditional offline marketing techniques to draw people to their businesses. These companies still invest a huge amount – if not all – of their marketing budgets in TV commercials.
The silver pound – don’t forget the spending power of the ‘older’ generation. A large proportion of the population are retired but with a pension, therefore they have the spending power. Even though the majority of the older population are becoming savvier when it comes to web, more of this age group can be reached via offline marketing. They are still responsive to TV commercial, direct mail, radio adverts and press ads too. If there was a group that would leap at the chance of a loyalty card or scheme, it is this age group.
You know your customers…
And so, keeping an eye on your customer demographics is important as this makes sure that your online and offline marketing are targeted in the right places at the right people, therefore you need to consider the tools that can bring these two forms of marketing together…
- Tracking URLs
Using URLs – i.e. website addresses – that are unique to certain offline marketing campaigns is a great way of seeing what is working, and when. Use a unique code for each separate campaign (this is why you see codes etc. on various campaigns so that the business can track where enquiries and customers are coming from).
- Social media traffic
A big factor in any company’s online marketing strategy is their social media presence and many companies have now realised the ability of social media to drive traffic to their company. And one way of doing this is to make sure that your social media platforms icons are on everything that you produce offline – and you could consider offering your customers who arrive at your destination via offline means a special offer.
- QR codes
Mobile technology is huge. We have mentioned QR codes at the start of the article and we are going to look at these in far more detail. But basically, unique information – such as a % off code – is included in this QR code which, when your potential consumer scans the code using their smart phone, they will be taken to an online destination. The beauty of these codes is that they can literally be included on anything from a banner to a newspaper advert.
- Your website address – everywhere
Just like you add the postcode to your address, your website address should, by now, be automatically featuring on every single piece of offline material, from your compliment slips to leaflets, adverts and the like. Many companies and businesses make the mistake of just adding the social media icons which gives the impression you are only online at these destinations. Whilst this is great for conversation, when consumers intend spending money, they need to have a feeling that they can trust you – and a website can do this.
Which marketing technique suits your company? Can you see it changing in 2015?