As an online marketing company, we understandably spend most of our time thinking about the state of marketing on the Internet. But we sometimes wonder if marketers have shifted too far along the spectrum—after all, large parts of human lives take place away from screens, and that means there are marketing opportunities there.
So, as more companies double down on online marketing, it may be the few rogues who invest in offline channels that actually stand out. Of course, what marketing mix of online and offline works best is an answer that’s unique to each company.
Here are some ideas of things you can try in the upcoming year to increase your offline presence:
Targeted direct mail pieces — notice we said targeted. All of us get so much irrelevant spam mail on a daily basis that an ineffective piece can actually work against you and create a bad impression of your company. So, keep the list of recipients small, and ensure your mailing offers something of special value—a coupon that isn’t available online, an interesting print piece, or something similar.
Promotional items — an online ad is fleeting; a clever promo item, whether it be a T-shirt, pen, notebook, stress ball, universal charger, etc., can stick around with people for years and, in a small way, incorporate your brand into their lives. But if you’re going to spend the money to make branded merchandise, don’t go for something expected—try to come up with something that’s both clever and useful. For example, if you have a boating business, you may want to make floating keychains that your customers can add to their key ring.
Conferences & speaking events — this category could include anything from a large industry conference to speaking to other business owners at your local chamber of commerce. Putting yourself out there encourages people to interact with you, ask questions about your company, and view you as an industry expert.
Print advertising — print advertising can be expensive, so, as with direct mail, it’s important to find the right partner publication. When you do find the right outlet, a publication the reader strongly identifies with, you print ads can likely help you build strong brand recognition.
Finally, in case you’ve lived your marketing life exclusively in the online domain, here are a few pieces of advice on offline marketing in general:

  1. Maintain a unified brand — for maximum effectiveness, it’s important to present a unified brand online and offline, so make sure your offline pieces match the look and feel of your website and online assets.
  2. Keep an eye on ROI — the cost of offline marketing can add up fast, particularly when the channels you’ve chosen are not effective. Find a way to keep track of the return on your investment, and adjust your strategy as needed.
  3. Lead the customer back online — whether you do e-commerce online or you just want the customer to also become a loyal reader of your blog, find a way to link your offline materials to your online presence. QR codes or short URLs that take people to specially designed landing pages are a great gateway for taking offline customers online.

Do you have a story of successfully integrating online and offline marketing? We want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments below.
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