While digital marketing undoubtedly plays a huge and dominant role for so many modern businesses, there are still a huge number of benefits that can be gleaned from more traditional marketing methods. With the right kind of planning, online and offline strategies can come together to create a joined up approach that is actually greater than the sum of their parts.
In this guide I want to explore a few, often overlooked, offline marketing methods that every business should be using.
Print Still Matters
Whilst digital marketing is often cheaper to run than print, there are a lot of reasons not to cut back on your print marketing budget. Advertisements and articles are just two of the ways in which you can do marketing through print media. A well-placed advert can improve your brand visibility in trade or professional publications that still offer a certain amount of authoritative clout. You can also use print publications to cross-publish guest blogs or articles that appear on your website, further increasing your reach. Recent research by ABM found that of 6,700 B2B media end-users surveyed found that 96% of respondents used both print and digital to obtain business information. When asked about the importance of this information for learning about new products, services of suppliers print magazines came in at 69%, just 11% behind websites which topped the results.
Custom Banners and Billboards
Most people can recall at least a handful of times that a billboard or banner has caught their eye. A well-placed advert that taps into people’s interests can be a great way of getting people talking about your brand. Also consider sponsorships – for example, local sports teams. It’s a fantastic way to support local organisations in a mutually beneficial relationship that increases your visibility in the immediate area. Adverts that are strategically planned to coincide with special occasions also work well in catching the attention of the general public.
One of the most effective methods of print marketing is direct mail. While it is arguably more costly than online marketing, direct mail offers a personal approach that many people still appreciate. A 2014 research study from Nielson found mailed product information had a 56% engagement rate from shoppers. Emails and store websites scored just 37% and 27% respectively, falling way behind traditional print media as a means of communicating product information to consumers. 2013 research from the DMA has suggested that up to 79% of people will act on direct mail immediately, compared to 45% of email.
Meeting people face to face is still one of the best ways to make meaningful connections beyond the digital sphere and certainly has its place among modern-day marketing strategies. Human interaction is still an incredibly powerful facilitator of trust and a quick chat and a handshake can help to cement a personal bond between a company and a customer. This personal touch also helps put a human face to your company and can help create a sense of genuine brand loyalty among your buyers. You can start small by joining local groups or associations, which can then be built into trade show appearances and even becoming a speaker at conferences.
Having a stand at a trade show is a fantastic way to position your company that is involved and actively engaged in your industry sector. They offer the chance to bring print and network marketing together while increasing your visibility to an audience that has a vested interest in what you do. As with other offline methods, you can use trade shows to bring potential customers and contacts online with you, making the most of cross-media campaigning.
Mixing your Marketing
By bringing these offline marketing drives together to work in tandem with your digital strategy, you can construct a well-balanced marketing plan that makes the best of traditional and modern marketing methods. Tropes that usually apply to one method can often be translated well to the other. For example, a web advert’s call to action can be used in an advertisement placed in a local paper; utilising QR codes is a great way to do this to encourage people to engage with your brand both online and offline. QR codes can also be used to track aspects of print advertising (by how many people land on a specific page directed from the code), along with requesting feedback at various stages of the offline marketing journey.
Of course, there will be crossover when you run campaigns in tandem, but the takeaway should be that traditional marketing methods like print are far from dead. Not only this but, if used correctly, they can be the perfect tactic to enhance and strengthen an existing digital strategy.