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How To Make Offline & Online Marketing Tactics Work In Synergy

Digital marketing is dying. Well, technically it’s not, but in the grander scheme of things, it is. Let me explain.

There is a very fine line between offline and online marketing. And this line keeps getting finer and finer. They’re continuously merging. “Digital” or “online” marketing should not be considered as a distinct and separate line of marketing. It should be done in congruence with your offline marketing. Both types should converge towards a central message.


All of this makes sense, right? But how do we put this information to practice? Here is how.

1. Take Advantage of Custom URLs

A problem that many marketers run into is that prospects aren’t willing to enter long URLs into their smart devices. With services like Bitly, you can track the effectiveness of your offline advertising efforts by using relevant, shortened URLs. With these services, you can create a short URL for each poster, brochure or other physical medium. Even better, these URLs track each and every visitor. If you don’t like Bitly, you can always use other 3rd party software or a self-hosted script that does the same task.

You can create entire websites dedicated to your campaign from which you can provide prospects with additional information. It’s a cinch to create special promotions for individuals who come to your offer through a physical advertisement. Simply create percent-off coupons for each type of advertisement you are running, and then assign them to their own websites. Bonus: create two URLs and assign each to a different type of advertisement and you’ve got easy split-testing.

2. Utilize Hashtags

There’s a reason that Facebook, Vine and Instagram have adopted the hashtag. Quick fact: Foursquare pioneered the hashtag, by the way! After all, hashtags provide consumers with an easy way to chat about a given topic. For marketers, this provides a means with which to gather fans around their brand. Place hashtags on your physical marketing materials anywhere that you mention your social networks. Savvy prospects know that your hashtag is an easy way to find out what people think of your business. Moreover, those prospects will use your hashtag when they discuss your product themselves, which increases your exposure tremendously.

You can encourage your fans and prospects to use your hashtags by offering a simple incentive. For instance, when you host an event, let your fans know that you’ll be offering a prize to one lucky winner. To qualify, they have to use your hashtag on Twitter or another network on the day of your event. Then, you select one winner at random. Instagram is a very good channel for this type of contest, but the prize must be something of value to generate buzz.

3. Offer Digital Rewards

In the same vein, you can use apps such as Yelp, Foursquare and Mogl to motivate both your online and offline audience. These apps create a sense of urgency with a prize pool that only one participant can win. For instance, an app might take a small percent of each brick and mortar sale and put it into a pool. At the end of the month, one participant is chosen at random to receive the entire prize pool. While the small chance to win a large prize pool might not motivate shoppers to visit your store more than they would otherwise, it may persuade them to ditch your competition.

The possibilities with this type of app are endless, and there’s no need to depend on big names like Yelp or Foursquare, either. You can have your own app created for a reasonable price, and you can make it available for free in the Android Marketplace or iPhone App Store. Having your own custom app made and making it available for free can be a great way to increase brand awareness in and of itself.

4. Teasers

A few companies have mastered this. GoDaddy, for instance, is well-known for showing a relatively clean version of an advertisement on TV, and then prompting viewers to visit a website to view the uncensored version. GoDaddy is then free to pitch their services to anyone who transitions from the small screen to the computer monitor. While this is a sound method for generating traffic, keep in mind that the traffic isn’t prequalified. In other words, your visitors may be much more interested in the bait than they are the switch. Nevertheless, teasers can prove a viable gateway to more effective advertising, especially if you’re capturing emails along the way.

5. Mobile Check-In

The mobile check-in is perhaps the most powerful tool for marrying your offline and online advertising methods. Apps like Foursquare and Yelp allow customers to check-in when they visit a physical store, which lets their followers know that they were there. Expect to provide your customers with a small discount in exchange for the check-in. The brand-ambassadorship is well worth it.

Going forward, mobile devices will be much better integrated into the physical world. Internet giant Google envisions a world in which brick and mortar businesses are enclosed in invisible—to the naked eye—”geo-fences.” When a prospect enters one of these areas, they will receive time-sensitive incentives via their smart devices to visit the stores within. Take advantage of this technique when it becomes available, but keep in mind that 80% of purchases are pre-planned. Cyclical advertising campaigns will always be part of the game.

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