There can be no business who is not online, not if they consider themselves to be serious contenders in the industry that they are in.

And yet, even if you are an online business, gaining the majority of your customers through the buying power of the online shopper, you still need some level of offline marketing plan, activities and tools to get your brand noticed.

From banners to posters, A-frames to exhibition stands, there are many tools perfect for branding your business offline to your customers. If you think that offline marketing is old hat, slightly passé and something not worth investing in, then you are going against the tide of popular opinion.

What the marketing experts say… 

Offline marketing, leaflets, adverts, banners and posters etc. are still very much part of any businesses marketing plan. In fact, many consumers will advocate that they made a purchase online after being made aware of a company, business or brand through some form of offline media. Think of the commuter waiting for the next tube, tram or bus? What do they look at…?

Take a look at the posters in bus shelters and across other transport networks and you will see that big business and bigger brands are still using printed media as a tool in their overall marketing plan.

Tweak it a little…

However, there are changes afoot in the offline marketing world when it comes to promoting your online business and these are a roundup of some ideas:

·        Co-branding

We live and work in a competitive world. It does make the wheels of commerce turn BUT, there is a new relationship on the horizon – and that is one of mutuality.

Think of your offline marketing as a constant struggle for eyeball time, recognition and a decent share of the market. And your immediate competitors are also in this struggle too.

There may be away, however, that you can buck this trend and get ahead – for the time being anyway! And that is to form a partnership with a non-competing brand. And this could be anybody.

For example, some larger brands have already tapped into this and you may, as a consumer, have already come across it… you have made a purchase in a well-known store, and as part of your purchase you receive a gift card for another brand (not in direct competition with the brand) and in exchange for spending a minimum amount, you can claim X amount off the overall price of your purchase with this other brand.

For many smaller brands, this is a great way of piggybacking on the back of a larger company and, providing there is no direct competition, it is a winner all around. Is there another online company you could co-brand with our offline marketing material?

·        Gain authority

It seems that this has become a little lost in recent years but marketing experts suggest that this could be a great way of brands harnessing the buying power of consumers, and could be a great move for your offline marketing material for your online business.

Organisation and trade associations are everywhere and they are a great vehicle for tapping in to. There is virtually no industry or trade that does not have a trade association…but also getting another large brand to give the nod to your brand is also a great way of harnessing coveted authority.

·        Offline is smart PR

Self-promotion never stops and offline marketing material is a great way of keeping this ‘word-of-mouth’ going but, why not be brave and do something different that gets people talking?

You either need a groundbreaking product or service, OR you need to do something outlandish to get people talking – and when you do, you need to use your offline media to tell people about it, as well as where to find you.

Adverts are a great way of getting this across to potential buyers; take a leaf out of big brands and see how they harness this idea. For example, some of the larger brands harness timed adverts and banners, as well as poster campaigns, along the lines of ‘coming soon…’, ‘something big is happening…’

·        Showcase your product, service and brand

Regardless of how successful you are online, showcasing your product and brand to a fascinated audience is a great way of making sure that in terms of offline marketing, you are really harnessing the power of marketing.

Events can be expensive to host but with some great co-brand partners on board and the costs shared, they can be a complete success.