Whether through branded content on social media or print ads for specific products, consumers often first encounter a company through its marketing efforts, and reaching target customers both online and offline is integral to a brand’s success today.
However, if these strategies aren’t aligned, the messaging at different touch points can be diluted and inconsistent, which could end up confusing consumers rather than tempting them to learn more about the company’s offerings or make a purchase.
Below, nine leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council discuss ways to seamlessly unify online and offline marketing strategies and explain why connecting the two is critical to a business’s success.
1. Create A Singular Focus For Both
It is exceedingly difficult to track ROI with offline marketing efforts. Additionally, apart from basic branding continuity, it is very difficult to unify online and offline efforts. The easiest way to do so is to create a singular focus for both sources of media, and then maintain a unified point of contact for both. This means that any time a significant investment is made in offline marketing such as billboards, direct mail or even TV and radio, your digital advertising should be marketing the same product or service. Additionally, all of the offline outlets should point to one landing page, keyword or even good old-fashioned QR code so that you can verify that the continuity exists. This will not provide statistically relevant tracking information, but it will ensure focus. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP / White River Consulting, LLC
2. Narrow Down The Search Intent
Create content that is helpful both online and offline with search intent. First of all, you have to create relevant content that isn’t “salesy” so that it will naturally resonate with people who need the information. Most audiences are on their mobile phones looking for information about the world around them, and you have to narrow down the search intent to make sure that they get the information from your website. Second, you need to narrow down the right search intent to make it visible to the right audiences. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
3. Devise A Cross-Promotion Strategy
Offline and online marketing can be used simultaneously to promote your business. You can promote offline marketing products through online methods. For instance, if you’re planning a big TV ad for a specific season or event, then you can use social media to boost your offline reach. You can put a countdown, preview or banner ads on your website and social channels to generate some excitement. Similarly, on your offline channels, such as print ads and collateral, you can use creatives or visuals to encourage your audience to visit a specific landing page to capture their contact information for subsequent follow-ups. To increase your results, offer some value, such as a download of an e-book, white paper or guide. Both online and offline marketing can be integrated to get more attention, thereby increasing your results. – Kelly Richardson, Infobrandz
4. Collect Email Addresses Offline
To connect your offline marketing to your online marketing, collect email address information in-store. Use your offline marketing campaigns to build excitement around your brand, and then encourage customers to go online and take action. Whether that action is making a purchase or reading your content, you can use your in-person efforts to lead people to the online content you want them to see. It’s important that your customers support your online brand just as much as the physical one they experience in-store. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
5. Set Up Relevant Types Of Dedicated Tracking
In the nondigital world of advertising, tracking your ROI can be difficult. One method of tying offline marketing, such as a billboard, TV commercial or magazine ad, back to your online metrics is to set up dedicated tracking in the form of either a phone number or dedicated URL. This means purchasing a phone number that forwards to your main phone number, or acquiring a specific domain that forwards to your main domain. Once this is set up, the effectiveness of the offline campaign is much easier to track. – Chase Williams, Market My Market
6. Send Offline Consumers To Online Channels
One simple way to make sure that your offline marketing syncs with your online efforts is to add information that sends people to your online channels. Make sure that you add a QR code to your print material so that users can scan it with their cameras and visit your landing page. You can also add links to your social media profiles and encourage people to follow you on social media. Taking steps such as these gives you the best chance of digitizing your “real-life” leads so that you can manage them using your online tools, such as customer relationship management platforms. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Connect Both Campaigns With Custom Tracking URLs
Connecting your offline promotions to your online marketing is very beneficial. Some of your audience will see you online, and some will see you offline, but rarely will everyone see both. Creating a cohesive marketing campaign that allows your audience to flow between the two worlds is crucial. An easy way to connect these two campaigns is through custom tracking URLs. Use special URLs in all of your offline marketing efforts. When customers visit these pages, you’ll know they came from offline marketing. To dig even deeper, you should set different URLs for different ad types. For instance, use different URLs for print, outdoor and TV ads. This way, you will be able to track and analyze which marketing strategy directs the most users to your website and which converts the most customers. – Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench
8. Use A Consistent Design Across Both Platforms
You can merge your online and offline marketing campaigns in several ways. I’ve found that using a consistent design across both platforms is the best way to see better results. Both types of marketing rely on brand recognition. Include your brand name in a highly visible location, such as a paper ad or billboard. Also, use the same colors and font in your offline marketing if possible. If people see one of your promotions in a magazine, they are more likely to remember your company when they see you again on social media. The secret is to align the look and feel of your promotions. – John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC
9. Leverage Incentives To Entice Specific Audiences
You can use your online marketing, such as your website and email campaigns, to drive your offline marketing efforts in-store. Fewer people have access to your brick-and-mortar store, whereas everyone around the world can access your site. You can use this to your advantage by creating in-store-specific discounts and offers that entice locals to walk into your store. This is important to ensure that your physical store stays open and as healthy as your e-commerce store so that your brand continues to excel and increase revenue. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
Article originally appeared on Forbes.
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