It wasn’t very long ago that online marketing was the aberration. But these days, businesses can spend a lot more time and money focusing on their online campaigns than they do on traditional, real-world means of reaching the consumer public. It’s not really surprising when you consider the reach of online marketing efforts. But if you’re running a local business, your bread and butter probably resides in your geographic region. In this case, an integration of both online and offline marketing is likely your best bet for maximizing results. You just might not know how to improve your offline efforts in keeping with your online marketing campaigns. Here are a few options to consider.
- Add your URL to real-world ads. You probably have your real-world address and phone number listed on your website, your blog, your social media profiles, and any online advertising you post. And the door swings both ways. You also need to include your website URL and other relevant online data in your offline marketing efforts for your local business. Encouraging real-world patrons to follow you in the online arena can increase sharing and promotions that transfer back offline in visits and sales.
- Use QR codes. It’s hard to find anyone with a mobile phone these days that can’t read QR codes, so use them in your print advertising to funnel people to targeted landing pages online. If they’re looking for general data pertaining to your business, you could send them to your home page. But if you’re advertising for specific products, services, or promotions, make sure to route QR codes to appropriate landing pages so customers don’t have to wade through your website to find what they’re looking for (i.e. what you’ve advertised).
- Brand all marketing materials. Creating a known brand requires recognition. This means making sure that all of your marketing efforts adhere to set standards for logos, color and font, messaging, and any other graphic or linguistic hallmarks that characterize your brand. In short, the materials consumers find online should match your offline ads, promotions, product packaging, and so on.
- Engage in community events. Advertising locally can mean getting out into the community, and a good way to do this is to sign up for booths at local street fairs, sponsor and participate in river runs, or volunteer for charitable events, just for example. When you get out into the community you have the opportunity to raise awareness of your brand, promote your business, and most importantly, meet prospective patrons face to face in order to make a good impression.
- Create brand ambassadors. Word-of-mouth advertising is not easy to accomplish, but it can deliver significant returns. And you can achieve it both online and offline. In terms of real-world efforts, you can start simply enough by wowing anyone who walks through your door. From there you may be able to convince customers to place bumper stickers on their cars, wear your branded merchandise (tees, hats, etc.), and recommend you as a trusted source. Thinking outside the box could lead you to hire AirSign skywriters or host flash mobs, just for example. But sometimes it’s best to go old-school with your advertising efforts.