If you're a smaller brand or startup emerging in places like Facebook and Instagram it's easy to think that the only marketing you need to do is online.. right? For instance, Casper mattresses were the stuff of influencer posts and in-feed ads when the brand first launched. However, audiences have offline lives, too. That's why you need to think beyond the pixel. Offline strategies--especially those that sync with your online activities--are a critical channel in driving brand awareness. Hence Casper launched buzzy NYC subway campaigns to really expand their brand awareness. So how do you merge your online and offline campaigns to yield the best results?
As its name implies, online marketing is the use of the internet and its available tools, platforms, and applications to promote your brand and build your audience. Online marketing is dynamic and flexible, and there is no shortage of methods to target users. This includes social media, SEO and web presence, digital advertising, email marketing, webinars, blogging, influencer marketing, podcasts, CTV, and so much more.
Online marketing has its key advantages when it comes to reaching your target audience:
Measurability - Measuring your campaigns effectiveness and ROI has never been easier than in online marketing. Tracking and measuring likes, shares, impressions, views, and conversions can all be done in real time. Online marketing applications and tools make it convenient for marketers to quickly and easily understand how their efforts are performing.
Audience and Reach - Online marketing strategies allow marketers to reach audiences across all age groups, geographical locations, and behaviors. Marketers are no longer limited by geographical reach, making building a global brand presence and expanding into new markets possible.
Ease of Activation - In comparison to traditional marketing strategies, online marketing strategies are considerably low effort. As long as there is internet available, and access to a computer, marketers can launch campaigns and initiatives easily. In addition, online marketing strategies are deployed seamlessly and cater to all budget sizes.
Offline marketing refers to what we would consider much more traditional strategies to build brand awareness. Essentially this includes traditional ads such as television commercials, direct mail, print publications, as well as attending events and tradeshows. Although offline marketing may seem antiquated and lacks the flexibility of online marketing, it's often underestimated for the impact it has.
Credibility - Consider that your offline marketing strategies will heavily rely on a partner, such as a print publication. These partners will have spent years developing a loyal following and building their audience through their content. Having brand presence within a credible and reputable partner can resonate with certain audiences. The key is finding the right partner.
Creating lasting impressions / Longer shelf life - Traditional ads such as print flyers, and direct mail command more attention from readers. There are no popups or distractions. This focus and attention creates a more memorable experience for the target audience, and oftentimes leaves a lasting impression.
Targeting people offline - Now this may seem quite odd given that anyone with a smartphone essentially has access to the internet at all times. Keep in mind there is still the older generation, people that “switch off” online access for any reason. Targeting these people may prove difficult. However, people come across offline media multiple times a day whether they like it or not. Consider billboards and product packaging for example. These forms of media are unavoidable and an excellent way to capture someone's attention who is offline.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, how can marketers take an integrated approach, and combine the strengths of online and offline strategies to creative effective outcomes?
Offline Promotions with Online CTAs
When utilizing offline strategies, look for ways to further engage your audience and encourage online engagement. Examples include setting up a dedicated landing page to engage users, promoting a contest and encouraging users to enter online, freemiums such as an ebook or whitepaper, or even cross promoting discounts and incentives for users to utilize instore and online.
Boosting Your Reach
There are a number of ways to expand the reach of your offline marketing initiatives with online efforts. Don’t be afraid to experiment with sharing that commercial or print ad to your social channels. If you’re promoting an event or new incentive, combining both offline and online strategies is a great way to drive awareness and keep your brand top of mind.
All About the Data
One of the most powerful aspects of online marketing is data. Experiment with utilizing the data you have collected about your audience to reinforce your offline marketing strategies. Analyzing customers' web behavior can help you understand how to target them offline, or even arrange your stores to display the most prominent products. Take your online learnings and apply them offline!
Your customers are your biggest advocates. Encourage them to take part in your next campaign by submitting user generated content to use both online and offline. Who knows, you may just go viral!
Digital Contact Info
Ensure that you are providing convenient ways for your audience to connect with you. Your offline strategies are a great way to promote your web, social, and other digital footprints. This will help grow your following, and expand the ways you reach your target audience.
Rather than considering online and offline marketing as competing strategies, smart marketers use them in tandem to raise brand awareness. Intertwining your offline and online strategy may seem cumbersome and will require adapting a few of your skills, however part of being a successful marketer is being able to wear many different hats!