Perfecting the lost art of offline marketing

Perfecting the lost art of offline marketing

Most people assume that all modern marketing is digital. I don’t blame people that think this way, either.

There are at least 16 channels available to marketers today, and nine are exclusively online. Most of these have come about in the past 5 to 10 years. In other words, the world is apparently moving in a digital direction.

But offline marketing still has a place. In today’s age of digital overload, offline marketing may have even more impact than it did in the past. Remember when we used to dread going to the mailbox but used to get a thrill with every email? Those days have passed; most emails get deleted while an interesting letter in the mail gets our attention (except for the bills, of course.)

Perhaps you won’t ever perfect any element of marketing, but there are several ways you can improve your offline marketing for your business. Here are three things you should keep in mind when marketing your business offline.

Typing email on laptop
  1. Strategy before tactics

If you learn one thing from me, it is this: Everything you do to market your business must fit with an overarching strategy. Your strategy must define your tactics, not the other way around.

Offline marketing is no different. While social media participation seems free, even though it costs time and attention, effective offline campaigns often come with a real cost and must provide value.

Don’t decide to do a mailer just because your competitor is doing one, or buy a billboard because it is available. You must analyze the opportunity, compare it to your marketing plan, make sure it will target your desired audience, and take the time to execute it properly.

If you don’t pay attention to strategy, your marketing efforts will boil down to simply throwing money at a wall and seeing if it will stick. I can let you in on a little secret: It rarely will.

If your marketing plan is working, stay with it. Don’t throw a curve ball if the fastball is getting you outs. If you want to add offline marketing to the mix, research is always the first step.

Colleagues talking
  1. You’re always marketing.

It is important to keep in mind that everything you do is a form of offline marketing. You are constantly out there representing yourself, your business and your authority. Keep this in mind, and you’ll begin to find yourself marketing your business better in sometimes mundane situations.

For example, how would you answer the question, “What do you do for a living?” Most of you would say your title and company name and move on. If you do, you’re missing out on the perfect opportunity to promote your business.

If you think of the person you’re talking to less as a stranger and more as a potential friend, customer or business partner, you can turn this simple question into an opportunity. You can craft your answer into what I call your “Talking Logo.” Explain what your business does from the eyes of a potential customer. Think about what problems your business solves for them, and compel the person with whom you are meeting to ask you how.

Practice your new talking logo and use it every opportunity you get. You can use the talking logo anytime you would hand out a business card. You’ll never know who your next customer could be.

  1. Marry online and offline efforts.

I know this is a piece about offline marketing, but to get some of the best results from offline marketing, you must integrate it with your online efforts.

There’s no way around it: your customers are using the internet as their primary source of information.  Even if you wow them with a great offline ad, mailer or talking logo, the first thing they’re going to do is go to your website.

The offline campaigns that have the best results often tie directly into digital campaigns in some way. You may want to use a custom landing page address in your ad, give a custom e-commerce promo code, or share your social media handles or hashtags.

This serves two purposes. First, it gives your customers an opportunity to learn more on their own. If they take the time, they’ll be much more likely to purchase from you. Second, it gives you a better opportunity to track your results. You’ll never know exactly how many people have seen your outdoor sign, but you can determine exactly how many people acted upon it.

Even in today’s digital world, offline marketing can still have an impact. Does offline marketing hold an opportunity for your business? What offline channels are you using to market your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.