Modern consumers learn about products and services by exploring the internet, but they also receive information about your brand while living their day-to-day life. They read the newspaper, watch television, listen to the radio and – most importantly – they talk to one another.
In a perfect marketing world, online and offline marketing should work hand in hand, each driving traffic to the other symbiotically. While guest posting, social media, and targeted advertisements may yield desirable results, even brands that don’t have brick-and-mortar locations can benefit from finding a balance between online and offline marketing of their content.
These five businesses, both small and large, have found a perfect balance between online and offline marketing. Does your company measure up, or could you be doing more to increase your brand’s visibility?
Giving to local charities, volunteering manpower to neighborhood projects and creating branded scholarships are all amazing ways to show potential customers that you are not simply focused on your own profit, but care about the good of your customers and community.
Frontier Communications, a leading telecommunications company, utilizes online and offline gestures to give back not only to its direct customers but also the cities that it services. They fund the America’s Best Communities Competition, which awards $6 million in community improvement funds to rural communities who present the most innovative revitalization plans. This is a smart marketing move on their part, as the majority of their customers reside in these areas. They then use the press from such charity events to fuel online buzz and populate their website with positive images and news stories.
If your business is on a tight budget, try creating a small scholarship for a local college or donating your services or merchandise as a raffle prize for a charity event. Even a small business can give back to their community, and you don’t have to donate millions to show you care about your customers.
Direct mail, once a marketing powerhouse, is now often ignored entirely, especially by web-based brands. This is unfortunate because using the mail system to distribute targeted messages is often more effective and genuine than an email.
For example, consider sending hand-written Thank You cards for repeat business, or mailing branded swag goody bags to new customers or clients. Receiving a personalized, physical object or letter is rare these days, and can drastically increase word-of-mouth referrals and encourage brand loyalty.
SafeWise, a web-based company that specializes in home safety and security, does a great job of personalizing its offline marketing while offering genuinely useful promotional items that keep their brand fresh in the customer’s mind. They send Thank You cards to new customers, accompanied by a branded kitchen magnet with blank spaces to write local emergency numbers for quick reference.
To bring together their online and offline marketing strategies, SafeWise includes a CTA on their Thank You card that encourages customers to add a product review to their site. They also post this content piece periodically on the SafeWise Blog and social media outlets that gives advice on which emergency contact numbers customers should add to their new safety fridge magnet. With a little extra effort and an inexpensive magnet, SafeWise has ensured that their logo remains plastered on fridges across the country for years.
A great way to increase brand authority is to make your company spokesperson available as an industry expert for conferences, conventions, and webinars. These types of events allow your business to speak intimately to colleagues and members of your target audience, and promote your online resources. At the very least, guest speaking guarantees plenty of press exposure and gives your brand great video and audio content to upload to your online outlets later.
SoulSalt, a Salt Lake City company that offers business and career coaching, uses a killer combination of offline speaking opportunities and online social media outreach to drive customer engagement and business partnerships. Charismatic CEO Lyn Christian makes regular public appearances, injecting her personality into the brand and giving it real-world context. She follows up on her offline speaking engagements by posting shout outs on social media that promote her business partners and, in turn, make them more likely to repost her content or recommend her services.
Television and radio reach an impressively sized audience and can be very affordable, even for smaller businesses. If you are on a limited budget, try approaching local or student-run stations. Even if your brand is strictly an online retailer or service, investing in television and radio advertisements can lend real-world credibility and greatly increase web traffic.
Esurance, an online auto insurance service, effectively uses television to drive traffic to their website. Their more recent advertisements use humorous interpretations of Facebook and Twitter to help prospective customers remember their brand when offline, and include a very obvious CTA that invites customers to “Call or Click” to learn more.
To move online traffic to a brick-and-mortar retail location, try offering exclusive freebies or discounts on your social media channels that must be redeemed in person. Rewarding your online followers with weekly offline perks encourages repeat business, makes customers feel appreciated and keeps traffic coming to your social media profiles and website each week for new “insider” deals. This tactic is scalable for small or large businesses, and you don’t have to offer anything too drastic to get a noticeable response.
Longworths Bar and Grill in Cincinnati, Ohio uses Facebook and Twitter to advertise their weekly Taco Tuesday deal. Loyal customers who pay attention to their social media posts occasionally receive a free taco if they mention their Twitter offer. This costs Longworths practically nothing but keeps their social media followers engaged and moves online traffic to their physical location, where they make the most profit.
The role of offline marketing has changed, but it is still of utmost importance to maintaining a reputable brand identity. If you are only online, you could be missing huge opportunities to connect with, engage with and make a lasting impression on your target audience.