offline & online marketing

Why merging offline & online marketing is a must for local businesses

Is the future solely digital? In answer, you can be forgiven for affirming the notion that the only way forward for any business, big or small, established or newly established, is digital.

In other words, every marketing activity you undertake is online, and online only; from sending out countless tweets to updating your status on Facebook every hour, the only marketing you will need to do will be over the web.

But, if you opt for this online-only path, you could be excluding a whole array of offline marketing opportunities to create a buzz around your brand. From posters to flyers, there are a range of opportunities that Colour Graphics can create to merge your online and offline marketing activities.

The majority of your customers may be online but, any business in order to survive in a crowded and thriving market place need three key factors in their marketing plan – visibility, credibility and leads.

Visibility

In a nutshell, if people don’t know your business exists, how do you expect them to find you? You may have a super shop, you may have a great website, a fabulous e-newsletter and great products, at great prices and customer service that puts others to shame BUT, if people are oblivious to your presence, then they are missing out on all these great things.

Creating proper signage, having well-designed, colourful posters along with targeted mailshots of your matching leaflets and flyers will start off the process of visibility… and you can also use these offline activities to maintain this visibility too.

Merge your offline and online activities by including all your online ‘handles’ on your leaflets, posters etc. Include your website, email, Facebook identify, Twitter username and any other call signs for social media platforms that you partake in.

Credibility

Online, businesses are told that the best way to establish credibility with customers is to blog; producing content that is authoritative, well thought out and fun can go a long way online to distinguish your business from your competitors and rivals.

Offline credibility comes from getting your name ‘out there’, so that your brand, logo and business is recognisable as a business local to the area.

There are numerous steps you can take to start building your credibility offline – why not sponsor a local sports’ team or another event that immediately places your brand in the public eye? Associating your business with charity is always a great way of gaining credibility.

When merging offline & online marketing, credibility is important too, so when you are involved in a community event or charity activity, why not let your customers know you support these initiatives? Rather than seeing this as blowing your own trumpet, understand that these activities can help in making your brand more recognisable to the local customer base – charities and events need your financial backing, just as much as they need visibility being liked to a business like yours.

Leads

The whole purpose behind both online and offline marketing activities is to generate leads and custom; if you are not getting these, then your business will be struggling.

When your local customers look for a specific product or service, they will often type in to search engines what they want, followed by their location.

If your online presence is not geared for the local nature of your business, then you could be far lower down the page of results that you want. This is why optimising your site with as many location tags as you need is important. Just like your customers, if the search engines don’t know the location to which you are linked, then they won’t find you.

Offline marketing activities also need to be producing leads; in other words, you will have customers enquiring about your products or service and then, it is up to you to make them in to buying customers. This doesn’t have to be from unknown to customers in one step. Collect their email address and use one of the many marketing automation tools to plan follow ups via email or other channels.

Marketing IS changing so don’t get left behind

In some cases, people think that it is one or the other when it comes to offline and online marketing. Clearly, the online world is a big source of custom for many local businesses – they can now sell to people from all four corners of the globe – but, in recent years, some of these online activities have been done at the expense of offline activities.

Offline activities don’t need to be traditional; you can ring the changes by advertising your online presence through the use of all kinds of mediums, from flyers to posters, to banners.

Don’t ditch offline marketing just yet; create a offline & online marketing strategy that will epand your reach and grow your business.

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