Article

Cynthia Madison
Cynthia Madison 25 January 2019
Categories Advertising

Blending online and offline advertising for an effective local marketing campaign

From restaurants to hair salons, local business can really thrive thanks to the versatile advertising opportunities of digital marketing.

Despite all the traction that online ads have gained, used alone they cannot build an all-rounded marketing campaign. In fact, according to the Gartner CMO Spend Survey, 95% of marketers recommend combining online and offline advertising to obtain maximum coverage.

The importance of omnichannel advertising has grown exponentially in the past years, in a context of increased market competition and high consumer expectations. Online ads cover just a percentage of the market and, if you want to capitalize on your local market, this may not be enough. Many people still rely on traditional media to get their information and interact with brands. For example, a study carried out by Swift Local Solutions in 2017 reveals that 41% of local businesses still use direct mail to reach out to their audience, and a 2016 analysis by The Drum shows that including newspapers in an ad campaign increases the effectiveness of finance marketing campaigns by 5.7 times.

Offline marketing may be getting less coverage, but it is certainly not obsolete, at least not when it’s used right. 88% of Gen Z consumers still tune in to the radio every week and billboard ads are a major influencing factor behind the success of shops and restaurants.

Combining the best of what online and offline marketing have to offer results in a robust strategy that covers all demographics and gives you higher success chances.

Signage – the strategy that keeps on giving

Signage.jpg

Unless you plan to fly under the radar, your business needs a sign to make its existence known. However, you shouldn’t look at signage as just a necessity and buy the most basic sign you can find just to cross that off your list, because your business sign can actually play a major role in your overall branding strategy. A well placed and well-chosen sign can make passerby’s curious and draw them inside even though they didn’t intend to stop. For instance, 17% of Best Buy’s customers were people who were just driving by, but saw the sign and decided to stop.  

There are two schools of thought when it comes to the best design for a business sign. On the one hand, millennial business owners value creative graphics, bold colors and striking patterns. On the other hand, business managers over 55 or over have a penchant for simple, elegant graphics and classic fonts. One trend they seem to love is digital printing on glass, which is particularly effective for office buildings because it inspires professionalism, experience and modernism.

There is no universal recommendation for sign design, because this greatly depends on your audience and the message you are trying to send as a brand, but one good general rule is to apply the “less is more” principle and avoid generic, forgettable graphics.

Promoting offline events online

No matter if you work in B2B or B2C, your presence at industry events is key in gaining leads, networking and maintaining a steady line of communication with customers. But simply being there doesn’t mean you’re making the most out of the event.

Online marketing can help you build hype before the event, boost attendance and therefore benefit from more networking opportunities. Announce on your business website and social media platforms that you will be there to also leverage SEO opportunities. Thus, people who look up the event are more likely to come across your website.

Also, make sure you use the power of social media during the event as well. Snapchat is the perfect platform for that, along with Instagram Stories, because you can broadcast raw, live footage. Snapchat is actually one of the best ways to use social media for offline event marketing and you shouldn’t let all those silly filters fool you. In 2016, Senator Rand Paul was the first presidential candidate to release an ad on Snapchat, proving that this platform hides serious opportunities for brands.  

Because these candid videos disappear after 24 hours, make sure you include some updates and post-event news as well, either in the form of a blog post or social media posts. You can shout out to the business partners or clients you met, add a few representative pictures and, last but not least, ask for the feedback of those who attended.

QR codes on printed promotional materials

QR.jpg

A striking billboard or printed ad is great for capturing the viewer’s attention, but what happens if the interaction ends there and the viewer forgets to look you up? To prevent this from happening, you can connect the offline with the online world and include a QR code on the printed ad. This way, you have a seamless interaction from one medium to another, ensuring consistency in your brand message.

Let’s take business cards for example. They are a crucial investment for any entrepreneur, but many people who receive business cards toss them away in a drawer and forget about them. However, if you include a QR code on the business card, your client can scan it to get to your website (or mobile app, if you have one).

Another way to incorporate QR codes is to make them link to a promotional offer. For example, those who scan the QR code to download your app can receive an exclusive discount or even a free product.

The bottom line?

The advent of digital marketing hasn’t created a steep divide between online and offline, nor has it rendered offline ads obsolete. Instead, it has created room for innovation and offered marketers more room for creativity and unique strategies.

Jeffrey Adams
Jeffrey Adams

For small businesses, mom and pop businesses, sole proprietors... mixing the old ways with todays ways makes sense. There are many little things you can do... business card contests, fliers door to door within a 2 mile radius of the business, targeted newspaper ads by zip code, faxing media announcements to all local media at once a month. Digital marketing, getting leads online, is a sure fire way to get immediate business, but when combined with other outreach methods, will work even better.

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