Trying to crack the balance between online and offline marketing efforts can feel overwhelming. Ideally, they both need to work together, but trying to converge them can feel like an impossible task in any size organisation. Then there’s the confusion of how to do it.
A happy marriage between technology and marketing can coordinate a seamless customer experience to give your campaign a competitive advantage.
Here’s our guide to the top 6 proven tactics used by leading marketers to converge online and offline marketing efforts. These practices help ensure that your marketing focuses on the customer and provide more measurable metrics for your campaign.
Online marketing: any form of promotional activity leveraging the internet. E.g. display ads, email campaigns, mobile marketing and social media.
Offline marketing: promotional and marketing activities that do not involve the internet. E.g. directmail, coupons, loyalty programs, TV, radio and print ads, billboards, fliers, posters, stickers, postcards.
1. Use email to determine direct mail spend
We all know direct mail is highly effective but can be viewed as an expensive tactic if sent blindly. We also know that today’s consumers use online and offline channels seamlessly to make buying decisions.
Email is the digital stitching to hold these pieces together. A highly cost effective marketing channel, email can function as a data collection or engagement tool for offline and digital campaigns, and trigger further actions that might cost more.
For instance, a direct mail follow up to an email response would get more bang for buck in conversions than sending unsolicited print materials.
How might this look? Say you’re a gym that has an important window of opportunity around the end of Winter to entice people to get back into shape for Spring. A look into the database would show the ex-members who have most recently engaged with newsletter content. Rather than sending everyone a “Spring into action with these early bird prices” printed gift certificate, you could use the data as part a reactivation campaign for a newly segmented list.
This requires a simple workflow sequence that triggers a gift certificate to ex-members who haven’t opened any emails in Winter.
2. Send geo-location push notification offers
Technology such as beacons gives businesses ranging from retailers to sports clubs with the ability to make highly targeted offers.
This could begin with something as simple as adding SMS opt-ins to your online forms so you can send timely information when customers are nearby.
For instance, a sports team with an app could do a survey about match attendance and collect data points that include whether members typically attend games with children. A beacon located in the stands could detect when a member is close by and push an in-app notification to their mobile device that “scarves and beanies are 30% off with a free beer holder if purchased before the end of the first half.”
The offer would enhance the fan experience and give a greater incentive for an unplanned purchase.
3. Drive offline traffic online with vanity URLs
Shortened URLs are easy to remember and perfectly suited to specific campaigns. You could put an ad in a print publication with a short URL for a landing page that has an opt-in box for more information.
If they visited the page but didn’t fill out the opt-in box, you could use Facebook ads to re-target them.
For example, a resort in Queensland could run ads on billboards in Tasmania with a unique shortened URL and then retarget those visitors on Facebook to “beat the cold Winter and head north”.
4. Use an Event app to attract, capture and manage new customers
Events create an opportunity to expose your brand to new audiences by using themed-based occasions. Once these new customers are exposed and their data captured using registrations and opt-ins, you get a new base of customers to continue providing value. The promotion of events can involve influencers, social and email campaigns, or any number of traditional offline tactics.
Once you decide on the best kind of event to promote your business, you can use an event app to organise and communicate with attendees.
Better yet, you can follow up with relevant and personalised content based on the information you gather in the registration process or even use it for research purposes with surveys.
There are many standalone event apps, both paid and free with a wide range of features and capabilities depending on the scale of your plans. These should feed into your existing martech platform if the capability isn’t already available.
The key is to use an event app that serves your strategic purpose to attract, capture and manage new customers for follow-up offers and communication.
5. Using online marketing to track in-store promotions
Retailers offering loyalty promotions provide invaluable opportunities for further customer spending. The most successful loyalty programs offer tangible incentives rather than a vague accumulation of points towards a distant discount that is often small and barely achievable.
A loyalty program connected to a CRM that tracks and logs all purchases gives you the ability to segment repeat customers. These customers can be offered uniquely coded coupons for use in-store. You can now attribute coupon-driven offline purchases to your online marketing efforts and give your business further customer insights for future campaigns.
6. Promote online channels with your offline presence
Your brand presence in any printed or offline media involves more than just a logo.
All creative art around your brand will help serve customers by including social handles, vanity URLs, and coupon codes on your offline presence to give your customers deeper engagement and your online channels.
The integration of your online and offline marketing activities can add tremendous value to the revenue and strategic goals of your business.
With so many existing and emerging digital channels it can seem overwhelming. But you don’t have to do it all at once.
Start with just two channels, say email and direct mail, and start practising a coordinated response to customer actions. Once the ball is rolling you can start to expand from there to include in-store coupons, events, and so on.
Over time you will experience some valuable insights into coordinating campaigns and be on a path towards a strong cross-channel integration of marketing campaigns. This will help drive new customers, retain existing customers who are enticed to spend more, and a provide solid justification for the returns your team has contributed towards overall revenue growth.