The divide between online and offline marketing is shrinking every year. Experts now regard the former practice of creating two different strategies for the online and offline world as the old way. The new way to plan your online and offline campaigns is to create a single congruent campaign centered on a central message.
Marketing leaders are proclaiming, “Digital marketing is dead” more and more, which only means that the term “digital marketing” as a separate and distinct marketing activity should no longer exist. Digital marketing is a part of the entire campaign just as much as traditional marketing is. The banner ad is a different monster from a banner handing off the side of a skyscraper, but the message and spirit of the campaign should remain the same.
In order to deliver a clear and consistent message to customers, it’s absolutely necessary to operate in the mindset of campaign first, medium second. It’s less important about how the campaign is delivered and more important about what the call to action for the audience is.
Here are five innovative ways to integrate your online and offline marketing in to one cohesive campaign:
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1.) Mobile Check-In at Physical Locations
Pioneered by Foursquare and most prominently copied by Facebook and Yelp, mobile check-in is a no brainer for your customers to broadcast online their physical interaction with your business. The SoLoMo marketing trend has been on the rise for years, and as much as many of us dislike the name, we can’t ignore the powerful trends towards local, social, and mobile activity.
As we move towards and internet of things, where more and more physical objects will integrate with social media, smart business owners look for ways to encourage customers to talk about their brand online. In the sincerest form, your customers who are already fans of your brand will be encouraged by an extra little nudge from you to take your natural conversations online for more to see. One of the ways of doing that is by encouraging customers to check-in on mobile apps when they visit physical stores. By making the effort required to talk about your brand as easy as pressing a button, savvy business owners hope engagement will increase.
Another important aspect of this interaction is the customer reward for checking in. Give your customers a little extra nudge by offering discounted or free items for every check-in. Influence customer behavior by offering check-in specials during the dead hours of your business, and redirect traffic away from heavily trafficked times. A local salad shop near me offered 15% off for every Foursquare check-in after 4 PM – and you’re damn right I checked in every time.
2.) Hashtag Your Event Wisely
QR codes might be a contentious topic with its lovers and haters, but #hashtags seem to be a weird concept upon launch that actually is taking off. Originally pioneered by Twitter, they have also been adapted to Facebook, Instgram, Vine and a few others. Many of our older friends and relatives roll their eyes at their surface level stupidity, but creative marketers disagree. Hashtags are topical tags that anyone can use in their digital conversations. Brands like to encourage their own hashtags so they can find out who’s talking about their brand online.
How do you integrate this concept offline? One method is to include your hashtag wherever you mention your social media accounts on banners, flyers, bus stop advertising, or other traditional advertising locations.
Another, and more powerful way is to encourage adoption by offering rewards for use of the hashtags at events that your business hosts or is a part of. The best examples of uses where this works are one-time events that offer really good prizes to the best photos tagged on Instagram or Twitter. Announce a contest for the best picture, but make the prize incentivizing. At an event, I’m not going to go out of my way to risk social embarrassment to win a t-shirt, but I will to win a deluxe cocktail set.
3.) Custom URLs Make Everything Trackable
50% of your marketing can’t be tracked, unless you’re using custom URLs on your offline advertising. To track offline campaigns just like online marketing, you can create custom web pages, or even full websites, dedicated to your campaign. Depending on the creativity of the campaign, you’ll get a certain percentage of people that see your offline ad and go to your URL customized for that page. Run different campaigns with different custom URLs and you’ve got real life split testing.
Pro tip: Register the URL for a shortened version of your website address. Sign up for Bitly and you can use your custom short URL for all of your offline advertising. If your domain is billsdeliciouschocolates.com (fictional), register billchoc.co. If you’re a private therapy practice called Live Graciously (fictional), register lvgr.ly. You can now use your own private custom short URL, set it up with Bitly, and have easy to use tracking tools at your fingertips
4.) Digital Rewards Like Mogl and Foursquare
Digital rewards apps such as Mogl, Foursquare, and Yelp are becoming more prevalent and perfectly marry offline and online marketing. These apps focus heavily on restaurants and bars, but can work for other businesses. In the example of Mogl, every time you spend money at a restaurant, you get 10% cash back, and the person with the most cash back at that location wins a monetary jackpot, which encourages repeat business to each restaurant. In the case of Foursquare, you can become mayor of a business and get special treatment in some cases. Yelp also offer check-in discounts and even free food.
A restaurant near me makes sure that customers know about Mogl and they advertise the app on their signs and TV displays inside their store. Mogl will also send status emails regarding the restaurant to the customers. Users are reminded about the restaurant and app both in store and via email. This same concept of congruent multi-medium messaging can be applied to all customer-facing small business no matter what platform is used. The key is to promote the same marketing message across in-store and online communications.
5.) Teaser Advertising
This is a popular method used commonly by bigger name brands to get you to view their video ad or dedicated site online. The film industry does this often when they are promoting the next big blockbuster. They will plaster the city with billboards and bus stop ads, capture your interest with their ad and then tell you to go to special website address to see more.
GoDaddy has been known to do this on their Super Bowl commercials, they’ll show you the semi-family friendly version on national television and then tell you to go to their website for the full length version or unrated version. They are moving you throughout different mediums with the same campaign. It teases, but it works.
At the end of the day, you’re looking for cohesive marketing strategy across all channels, whether digital or traditional. You want to speak with one voice that identifies with your brand and creates familiarity and respect with your customers. Medium, timing, and location are all important factors for a successful campaign, but the most important is one clear, targeted message.