Integrating Online & Offline Marketing
Today no one channel is all powerful. We have choice and depending on lifestyle, device types and more, we will have multiple ways of receiving information, from radio, TV, email, social media, internet, post etc.
This means getting to know your audience, to understand the different channels they use. Marketing has become more challenging, but at the same time there are more numbers and data than has ever existed previously.
Marketing Data Overload
The challenge with all the data available is selecting the key data that you can use to improve your results. Computers using machine learning and artificial intelligence are playing ever larger rolls in helping us determine what is or isn’t working.
The one thing that’s very clear from all this data is that using a multi-channel approach has now become the normal approach and the better this is carried out, the better the results.
What Marketing Data is Available to Your Company?
The simple answer is, it depends on the size of your pockets. Data costs money to acquire, whether you’ve acquired it internally or bought in the data. Geo locational data, demographical data, engagement data or personal data all have a part to play in improving your marketing ROI.
You can acquire:
- Data about movement of people in a high street, store or exhibition
- If you have customer addresses – evaluate the demographic of the area they live in and send mail to more of the same, as opposed to the scatter gun approach. Critical if targeting a narrow demographic that are actually located in pocketed areas around a store.
- Targeted lists based on specific requirements – emails, addresses, telephone numbers, job roles and more.
One of the first questions you need to ask is are you optimising or collecting all the data you can from your current potential and existing customers? It’s not just their name and email or address, what about their interaction with your company online, what content do they engage with and what content leads to a sale. Knowing this can help design better marketing campaigns across multiple channels, by knowing what content will trigger engagement and where you need to send them, to drive them further down your sales funnel.
Facebook and Google analytics alone can generate a staggering amount of data which can be used to improve your marketing ROI. Of course, all the social media channels offer analytics as do CRM’s, email marketing platforms and the many paid for analytics tools available today.
Marketing Analytics – Should You be Using Them?
The fact is that not using them means you are burning money. You must use the data to remove as much guess work as possible. This reduces spend and improves ROI – the tricky part is working out how much time you put into the analysis, before it eats more than it returns.
Offline to Online Marketing
Starting with what data you have you can start to build more effective marketing campaigns and in todays world, the longer someone engages with your brand the better off you will be.
Below these 8 offline activities that can be used and below these, some more technical ways you can use printed matter to cross people to your online world.
- Networking – seeing the whites of someone’s eyes can build confidence very quickly. Let’s face it, when we meet for the first time we quickly determine if we trust someone. Make sure you exchange business cards.
- Speaking events – This builds trust and is good for PR and brand building. It’s surprising how long some will keep literature and then contact you after an informative talk. Business cards, literature, banners can all be used.
- Brochures – Ideal for targeted audiences such as at shows or when in a sales meeting. You can have multiple inserts and only add the relevant ones for a given clients. They can include all relevant content in a condensed space and are easily passed on for others to view. You can include a story, a case study as well as identify any USP’s.
- Catalogues – Whether large or small, many companies still give away catalogues. A catalogue will sit on a desk or table top in full view and if someone is close to purchase the catalogue is a powerful marketing tool.
- Workshops – if you run a workshop remember to give people printed material to take away. This should include your business card and some marketing material.
- Newsletters – With email open rates falling a return to a physical newsletter can result in an improved impact. We receive so few printed newsletters today that sending a printed version in the post can result in improved engagement with your company and can become a talking point.
- Exhibitions / Trade Shows – people who come to these shows are looking, otherwise they wouldn’t be there. Not having something physical for them take away will make you appear less real or trustworthy. All the above can be used – brochures, newsletters, business cards, catalogues and special printed matter to help you get noticed.
- Print advertising – banners, posters, catalogues and leaflets are all marketing tools that have their place in marketing today. When using any from of printed advertising it should be remembered that one of these on their own will have limited power, it’s the continuous message drip fed across the same channels that helps keep your company name top of mind and one day, arrives on the actual day someone needs your product or service.
The fact is that as soon as you stop promoting your business people will start to forget you as another company will soon take your place.
Ideas on How to Use Print to Drive People Online
One thing should be remembered, count and analyse the results, never just “Hope it works”. In todays world everything can be tracked, even if offline.
Send a Letter Asking for Reviews
Send a letter or postcard to existing customers asking for reviews to be left online. Provide simple instructions on what to do and consider using images as well as a QR code or shortened URL (use a free service such as Bit.ly to shorten the URL and customise the description) link which takes them to the exact start point.
Printed Newsletter to Online
Use reviews, case studies in your newsletter with links to offers of related products or services. Provide a snippet of a great story and tell them you ran out of room for the complete story and ask them to go online for the remainder of the story.
Inform Your Customers About a New release
Send a postcard or letter telling existing or potential customers of a new release or offer that’s coming. Tell them where to go online to sign up or what page to find more info on the website.
Competition Postcard or Letter
Create a competition where only those that receive a post card with an entry code can enter. The idea is to incentivise them to engage online. This is ideal if you have a known audience sector that don’t engage well online.
Another competition idea – ask them to like your Facebook page to enter to win something. This helps to boost your Facebook organic reach. You may want to ask them to leave a comment to enter (tell them what to say in the comment and keep it short and simple). This has more power than a simple Facebook like.
Facts Tell Stories Sell
A well know phrase that still works today, so including stories in your printed materials, whether told in words, pictures or by sending someone to an online point to watch a video, still work. Story telling is an art and done well it can be used to motivate people to take actions they would otherwise not take.
Not Quite Online but Still Relevant to Tracking Your Marketing Results
Telephone number – rent a number unique to the printed matter, whether leaflet or magazine to measure the results. You’ll need to give them a good reason to call – people won’t just call because you provide a number.
New Advertising Channels
Companies are now using YouTuber’s to promote their products as it then becomes someone else talking about their products and having someone else talk about your products helps build trust, but not everyone watches these videos. Sending people from a postcard to an area on your website showing multiple people talking about your products or encouraging them to engage with these people or sending out samples and asking them to create videos about their experience and upload to YouTube and offering something to the most viewed video or best video or blog, are all ways of generating engagement.
Outside the Box Printing
Today’s world is changing fast and its important to keep an eye on how those changes are influencing your buyers and how you can use these changes to help pull people into your sales funnel and generate more sales.
Sending something in the post is more personal and done well, can generate a different level of engagement with your business. It’s not just about technology it’s about understanding your audience and how they engage with the world around them. This knowledge can help you develop your ideal marketing plan across multiple channels. An excited audience, spreads like fire as they tell friends and family.