As I have been out visiting with clients and prospects, a common theme continues to emerge - how to connect an offline marketing strategy with an online one. This is a very popular theme, as the marketing industry has morphed into something new, yet again. It’s no longer acceptable to be a print-only marketing shop, just like it’s not acceptable to be an email-only marketing shop. Successful marketing teams are able to create seamless experiences and engage customers across all available channels – offline, online and mobile.
There have been numerous studies conducted that show customers are influenced either offline or online before making a purchase. For instance, a recent survey performed by Retail Dive showed that 65% of consumers conduct online research before stepping into a store to make a purchase. If you’re not advertising online, you may be missing out on in-store action!
Here are four tips to get you started thinking about how to create a successful offline and online marketing strategy for your business.
It should be no surprise that the first step is to make sure you have a plan. Introducing an omnichannel marketing strategy is going to take some thoughtful calculation. What channels will you present messaging in? Which channels will drive action for your target market? Which channels can you afford?
A good place to start would be to ensure you understand your target audiences. Do some research on what social media platforms your audiences frequent and which traditional marketing formats have provided you the best results. Draw up your thoughts and be sure to include a test plan with insights you hope to gain (more on this later).
2. Be consistent
If your goal is to build brand awareness in a new channel, it is important that your brand stay consistent to the brand you’ve already presented in other channels. If you don’t stay consistent, how will your customers recognize you?
It’s so easy to think that social channel marketing needs to be fun and crazy to get attention, but if that is not your brand, then it’s really not going to work the way you think. You may actually end up attracting audiences who are not in your target market and will not buy your products, simply because your content is entertaining. when that happens, your marketing dollars will not be well spent. Keep your offline and online marketing messages in alignment and stay true to who you are. It’s ok to have fun once in a while – but be fun across all channels!
3. Integrate online and offline
It is important to let people know where to find you. Begin integration of your online and offline channels by adding URLs, hashtags, Twitter handles, etc. on your traditional media. For the reverse, make sure you have a “Find a store” locator on your website if you have a brick-and-mortar option.
If you are new to online marketing, use your in-store and traditional marketing channels to drive interaction online and help grow your presence. A great way to do this is by having a contest or game that drives people online to like your Facebook page or ask them to submit a great customer service testimonial via Twitter. The quicker you can gain attention to your online marketing channels, the quicker they can become a meaningful part of your marketing strategy.
4. Test and Track
As I alluded to in an earlier tip, a test should be part of your plan. If you are new to omnichannel marketing, the quickest way to understand the benefits of each channel will be to test and learn. Create a list of insights you’d like to gain or that you feel would be valuable to your future decision making, then design a testing strategy that will help you get to those insights.
Keep detailed track of all tests and responses, these will also be useful to you in future analysis and decision making.
Are you currently using online and offline marketing strategies together? What are some of the experiences you’ve had? We’d love to hear them – comment below!
If you need help outlining your omnichannel testing plan, let us know – we’d be happy to help. Contact us today!