There are so many ways to market your business today that it can be hard to know where to start.
Content marketing, direct mail marketing, email marketing, influencer marketing, experiential marketing, social media marketing… These are only the tip of the iceberg. The list goes on and on.
It’s not enough to market on different platforms. True success lies in integrating your marketing strategies across platforms.
As Sreerenjini Menon explains:
An integrated marketing strategy not only gives you more reach, it will help you to convey the message in a more effective way through multiple channels.
So how does one actually go about integrating marketing across platforms and channels?
Here are 7 strategies that will help you bridge the gap between your online and offline marketing efforts.
Keep your messaging consistent across all platforms
The first (and most important) rule for creating an integrated online and offline marketing strategy is consistency.
It’s vital that your brand represents itself consistently to build consumer recognition and trust. This is also vital to executing your brand strategy.
Consistent messaging allows customers to get to know your business and the message you’re sharing. As we wrote previously:
Customers can’t get to know (and trust) your business if they don’t have the opportunity to experience your brand in a consistent manner. Here are some compelling ways that consistent branding ban strengthen your business:
Easy brand recognition leads to positive associations.
Consistency provides an advantage over the competition.
Increased perceived value leads to higher sales.
Inconsistent messaging never gets the chance to build familiarity. And, it may create confusion about your brand’s identity.
Digital Republik (digital marketing experts) has strong feelings about this topic:
…don’t say one thing on a billboard and another on your Facebook page, it will only annoy a customer. If someone sees that your company is giving him a 15% discount on website purchases on a nearby billboard but a 10% discount on the Facebook page, he is likely going to be a bit turned off. Whether it’s pricing or brand messaging- consistency is key!
Customers want an experience that they can depend on.
This means offering the same promotions across multiple channels.
It also means using consistent branding, including your business name, company’s logo, colors, and language so that they can recognize your business regardless of the platform they happen to find you on.
You’d be surprised how many companies have a business name that differs from their website, or multiple variations of a logo that are inconsistent and unrecognizable across marketing channels.
The easiest way to blend your online and offline marketing is to be consistent across all of your platforms.
Engage in teaser advertising
Curiosity is a powerful emotion.
People enjoy the experience of being intrigued in entertaining ways. The movie industry has capitalized on this truth for years.
Is it possible to remain ignorant when a new teaser trailer drops for an anticipated film in the Avengers franchise? Not in my world.
People want to be in the know. And teaser campaigns take advantage of this.
Techywise’s Menon describes a teaser campaign as “…a series of small advertisements that invoke curiosity in the audience.”
The most obvious path for a teaser campaign is offline to online. You drop the teaser offline and then direct your audience to your website… Or better yet, a landing page specific to the campaign.
When you advertise on any form of offline media, the information that you can convey is limited by time and space. It will help you get consumer attention but you might fail to convey the overall picture of the campaign clearly to the customers.
It’s easier to share larger quantities of information online where a consumer can peruse it on their own time. In cases like that, it’s best to tease offline and direct consumers online.
But, it’s possible to tease an offline campaign online as well.
Are you planning an event? Tease your event online through your social media channels or an exclusive email campaign to motivate customers to attend.
Are you offering a special flash sale? Tease that online so that shoppers are primed to jump into action when the opportunity presents itself.
Be creative and you’ll find all sorts of ways to use curiosity to drive your consumers from one platform to the next.
Reincarnate your content marketing
Are you investing the time and effort to create valuable content for your consumers?
If so, don’t just pop it on your blog and forget about it.
You can amplify and integrate your online and offline efforts by recycling your content on multiple platforms. That’s how you can create content marketing unicorns.
Did you write a popular blog post that racked up clicks? Then help that content live on!
Create an infographic for Facebook. Or, post a short quote on Twitter with a link to the full article.
And, don’t stop with online platforms. Pitch your awesome content to print publications that your audience is likely to read. Or even plan a class that consumers can attend to study that content in more depth.
You’re already investing the time and effort to develop content. So, maximize your return on that investment.
Spread access to your valuable content online and off, and you’ll build trust and recognition as an expert in your field.
Get personal in your customers’ mailboxes
Everyone likes to feel special, right?
Personalized URLs can help you create trackable, customized interactions with your customers.
They can also help to integrate your online and offline marketing efforts.
If you’re not familiar with PURLs, Marty Thomas, founder of PURLEM, explains:
A personalized URL (PURL) is a unique and personalized Landing Page created especially for each recipient of your direct mail or email marketing campaign.
As you may imagine, a targeted and personalized landing page has a far greater chance of success than throwing one message out and hoping that it appeals to everyone.
So, how to integrate this strategy with your offline efforts? Share the links for those PURLs via direct mail.
I’ve heard the rumors and you probably have, too. Those rumors that claim direct mail marketing is dead.
But, direct mail marketing is still thriving. Steven Pulcinella, Director of Digital Marketing for ProspectsPLUS, writes:
However, it’s [direct mail marketing] not just alive and well, but in fact, direct mail could be considered superior to other marketing channels based on recent statistics and studies.
If you’re looking to integrate your online and offline marketing, reaching out via direct mail printed with PURLs for the recipients is a fantastic blend of old and new marketing techniques.
Just make sure to hire a printer with variable data printing capabilities. Without variable data printing, those PURLS become plain old URLs and the customization is lost.
Bring offline events online
Accessibility and authenticity are becoming more and more important as Millennials and Generation Z gain power in the marketplace.
These generations are seeking authentic interactions with the brands they patronize.
So, create offline marketing events that consumers will truly want to experience.
Are you holding a launch party for a new product? Maybe it’s time for your semi-annual sale. Perhaps you’re planning a series of seminars. Or, you’re holding a fundraising event for a local charity.
These offline events can reach a greater audience if you bring them online as well.
You can announce and advertise your event online to your local social media followers. You can send email invitations to local customers from your mailing list.
But, don’t stop there. Get creative.
Livestream your event and give people a reason to tune in. Offer rewards or discounts to customers who watch online and comment on social media.
Share real-time photos from the event on Instagram and Facebook. Live-tweet the action on Twitter with witty (and brief) commentary.
If your event features education content, you can charge for offsite viewers to tune in to the webinar. And, then market that webinar as a stand-alone product after the actual event.
There are so many creative ways to bring your offline event online. So, don’t miss out on this opportunity to exponentially grow your event’s impact.
Build a mobile app
If you’re really dedicated to creating a seamless online-offline experience for your customers, consider building a mobile app. ThriveHive’s Kristen McCormick explains:
…across audiences and industries today, people all share one behavior in common: That of bringing their online devices with them to all of the offline places they go, and sharing all of their offline experiences online.
The advent of the smartphone completely changed the world forever. This includes how your customers interact with your business.
- Customers can bring online coupons to the store on their phones – no need to print!
- Consumers can look your business up while they’re out running errands and Google maps will guide them to your door.
- Your guests can take pictures of their in-store experiences and share them on social media.
- Your customers can read online reviews and leave one of their own without breaking stride.
A smartphone is a powerful tool for marketing. And, if you want to make the most of that tool, you should build an app designed specifically for that medium.
While it’s true that customers can open up your coupon from their email or look up an offer on your website, those aren’t the most elegant solutions.
Consumers today value convenience and ease of use. And, it’s easier and more convenient if they can access everything they might need from your business in one well-designed mobile app.
A mobile app can…
- Provide exclusive offers for app users, as well as compiling all non-exclusive offers in one easy-to-find spot.
- Allow consumers to leave reviews for your product or service right through your app.
- Include a store locator with synced GPS directions so your customers can find you easily when they’re on the move.
- Invite users to engage with your social media platforms directly from your app.
- You can even gamify the app, providing rewards to customers for completing certain offline actions and tracking with hashtags or QR codes.
Use this fantastic mobile tool to bridge your online and offline marketing endeavors as consumers carry it with them wherever they go.
Looking for low-tech ways to promote your online marketing offline?
Keep it Simple Stupid.
Use your physical marketing collateral and store/office space to direct guests to your online efforts.
If you have a brick and mortar shop or office, use signage to refer your guests to your online platforms of choice (website, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn)
Have an undecided shopper? Give them a flyer to an online discount to take with them when they leave.
Include your website and Twitter handle on your business cards. Print your landing page URL on physical coupons.
Verbally ask satisfied clients or customers to leave a positive review for you on Google.
Integrating your online and offline marketing doesn’t have to be hard. But, it does need to be consistent. Make it easy for your consumers to find you online by sharing your website and social media prominently in-store and on all of your marketing collateral.
Before you click away
Integrating your marketing across multiple channels can seem very daunting when there are so many channels to cover.
But, don’t panic.
While there are seemingly a million different marketing platforms and strategies, you don’t have to cover them all.
The key is to strategize and prioritize the marketing channels that are most valuable to your business. And those are the channels where your actual customers are.
Everyone should aim to keep their marketing consistent across all channels. But, beyond that, it’s up to you to decide where your marketing efforts are best spent.
Just remember that an integrated marketing strategy that reinforces your messaging and drives consumers to engage and convert both online and off will serve your business best.
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