Marketing your business is about identifying, appealing to, and utilizing the behaviors of your target audience. Every target audience is different, and the most effective marketing activities will vary from business to business. However, across audiences and industries today, people all share one behavior in common: That of bringing their online devices with them to all of the offline places they go, and sharing all of their offline experiences online. Therefore, if you want to effectively market your business in relation to the behaviors of your target audience, you need to integrate your online and offline strategies. This post will go over steps you can take for effectively combining your online and offline marketing activities.
Events constitute an offline marketing strategy that can take many forms. These include open houses, parties, fundraisers, contests, seminars, workshops, and more. They may center around networking, launching a new product, celebrating an anniversary, or building the community.
If you are hosting an offline event, bring it online by announcing and promoting it via email and social media. Even if you send out email or direct mail invitations, you might still want to create an invitation online, such as through Facebook or Eventbrite. These platforms can help you keep track of how many people are attending. In addition, they typically let you show invitees how many people are registered, and even a list of names. Knowing who and how many people are going can help encourage more people to attend.
During the event, utilize real time marketing and post live picture and video to social media channels. Once the event is over, create an email, Facebook post, or graphic on your homepage thanking everyone for coming out. If your event is educational, consider hosting a second webinar version so that people can learn remotely. Or, live stream it (to reap the benefits of real time marketing) or record it and make it available online later.
In-store promotions are a great way to get people coming into your store, and for you to enhance your personal interactions. But why limit those promotions to only people who know about you or are walking by? Expand the reach of your in-store promotions by sharing them online. One way to do this is to come up with a catchy name for your promotion and create a hashtag out of it for Twitter or Instagram. Or, come up with an eye-catching image for the promotion and turn it into a visual post.
Another way to bring offline sales online is to create in-store only discounts that are retrieved online only. For example, only those subscribed to your email list get the coupon or learn the promotional code. Or, the discount goes to the first 10 people to like a photo you post on Instagram.
On the flip side, you could create discounts that are only redeemable with an online activity. For example, customers get a discount if they take a picture of themselves in your store and promote it on their social media channels, or use a custom hashtag.
One way to boost exposure of your business is through branded swag, such as T-shirts, hats, or bags. People walking around wearing these items are like mobile advertisements for your business. Take this offline marketing method online by posting pictures of people using your branded gear, or encouraging people to post themselves. If you have an influencer you are collaborating with, you might be able to get them to share pictures wearing the gear on their social media channels.
Some other offline to online marketing ideas include:
Incorporating your online and offline strategy isn’t just about bringing offline marketing online. You should also bring your online marketing offline! Social media is one such online marketing activity that can reach people offline too.
The most simple way to market your social media offline is to include reminders for people to follow your accounts on your printed material, such as brochures, flyers, business cards, signs, and banners. You could simply list your handles, or add an additional comment like “Like us? Follow us!” or “Get the latest on what we’re up to”.
Another way to bring social media offline is to announce social media contests and giveaways through printed material. You could use postcards or just a poster in your store to inform people about the contest, announce winners, and even provide updates.
Consumer generated content makes for great online material to share offline. You could have a wall in your store where you hang up fan posts and pictures. Or, you could have a post of the week, where you choose one favorite customer post each week, print it out and hang it up in your store. This is a great way to promote your happy customers and show your connection to them.
People like having a “celebrity status”, and their efforts to be the customer you showcase will increase your social media engagement. You could even turn it into a contest, where the winner each week gets a discount or small prize. Just be sure to get permission from people before printing out pictures of them. Not everyone likes celebrity status!
Your blog posts also provide opportunities to bring your online efforts offline. Reach out to local newspapers or magazines to see if they’d be interested in publishing one of your blog posts. Or, use your blog posts as an example of your writing style and expertise, and offer to write on something of their choosing. Physical magazine and newspaper readers are different than digital readers, and could end up being an untapped market for you!
Another way to get your online content offline is to print it out yourself. This idea is good for business owners like dentists and chiropractors who get asked many of the same questions frequently. Blog posts, eBooks, checklists, and infographics with helpful information can all be printed out and turned into brochures, magnets, or small pamphlets for quick reference.
Integrating your different marketing strategies can serve to strengthen them and boost your overall messaging. Just as we are blending our offline and online activities, so too should your business be blending its offline and online marketing.