While there are separate teams assigned to tackle online and offline marketing strategies, there is no reason why there should be a great divide between the digital and the traditional. Marcel Deer, a digital marketing consultant, highlights the importance of convergence in closing the gap between online and offline. As a journalism graduate with experience in traditional PR and digital marketing, he points out how crucial it is for offline and online tools to "combine, complement, and ricochet content among different audiences."
Businesses will do best to take full advantage of integrating online and offline marketing, also known as non-linear marketing, and utilizing their channels to seamlessly paint the big picture that is the company. However, statistic projected for 2014 and 2015 says that 78% of companies have allotted manpower for social media marketing, but only 26% incorporate social media completely into the overall business scheme. This prompts an urgent need to use social media to integrate online and offline marketing. Propelrr's article, 4 Revenue-Driven Digital Marketing Tips for Local Stores, points out that businesses should use social media and other digital marketing channels to direct the audience to their other online channels, such as microsites, and to their physical stores.
Cross the boundaries of different marketing channels, communicate a solid brand image, and spread your calls to action across online and offline platforms. Here are seven ways to do these with social media.
Focus On Your Audience
This is one the most fundamental steps to effectively carry out your marketing. Know who your customers are, where they spend their time, what makes them tick, and how to motivate them through their aspirations so you can better aim your endeavors towards what will get you to them.
To know consumer trends better in this social media age, it is not enough to glean information based on likes, shares, followers, and so on. With the avalanche of digital marketing, it is imperative that you clean your data so you can avoid useless chunks of information and get straight to the figures that will work for your company's bottom line. This is especially useful for matching your social media data to your offline foot traffic.
Creatively Capture Offline Realities In Online Channels
Getting to your customers can simply mean relating to their normal, everyday lives. Social media, being a user-generated platform, reflects what people do, and so content that strikingly narrates their experiences spreads like wildfire the more people see themselves in it.
For instance, if a caffeine fix from Starbucks is part of your or your peers' routine, it is likely that you would have taken notice of this YouTube post that generated close to eight million views in the first two weeks of its release. Clearly, there is something in the explanation offered by the video Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong that appealed to people who encounter this common quirk, making the content viral.
Put The Online In Your Offline Materials
Maximize the reach of your social media by publicizing them in your traditional marketing channels like ads, brochures, and so on. Include your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Pinterest, and what have you. It will give customers the convenience to look you up online and the freedom to choose from your array of social media accounts. You can also utilize the power of QR codes in your business cards to make better connection with your contacts.
Put The Offline In Your Online Media
Social media users do not stay forever glued to their screens, confined to virtual reality. Once you have their attention on your social media, give them enough information that they need at their fingertips. More than churning out posts on your products and services let them in on the promos and events to drive them to your offline store where you can provide them with a more personalized approach than they will get on a Facebook page. With this, you will increase the chances of converting them from viewers to buyers.
Invite Offline Strangers And Customers To Your Social Media
Make the most out of the time that they spend inside your store. Set up screens showing your social media content to entertain them while they are in line or are looking around. For instance, easy DIY tutorials from your YouTube channel will greatly help them understand better your product. Make sure that you help them while they have you in person, but you can also suggest that they check your online posts should they encounter problems outside of your business hours or should they prefer resolving it on their own. This is where a fast and comprehensive FAQ section comes in.
Introducing your social media presence also helps in bazaars, trade fairs, exhibitions, and the like where you are away from your physical store. Telling strangers who chance upon your booth how to find you on social media will make it easier for them to associate your business with an address, even if online.
Connect With People Who Can Boost Your Online And Offline Reach
While you need to directly get in touch with your audience, it greatly helps to find leverage in journalists, bloggers, and especially influencers. Invite them through social media to come to your events. Give them the details that they need. Bloggers and online influencers will take their encounter with your products on their social media, which will go around in their circles of influence. And once your business is featured in traditional news, share that credible press coverage on your social media to further strengthen your company's image.
Mix Paid, Owned, And Earned Media
Deer advises going beyond your tried and tested ways and using all the available online and offline channels. This is the key to uncover tactics and to strike the perfect balance between different marketing strategies to suit your company and target market. This is the core of convergence.
Tap into and sponsor influencers so they will actively review and promote your products. Increase publicity by posting sponsored and paid content on your online platforms. Over time, you will know what works best for your business by analyzing which materials attract the most online traffic on your website and social media.
Instead of sticking to only one mode of marketing, businesses will see more profitable results by calibrating their online and offline strategies to work in a consistent and effective synergy. More so, varying messages across your channels will confuse consumers, make your company appear inconsistent, and eventually frustrate you in your marketing endeavors. Make your traditional and digital strategies sync together on your social media and make people see your brand in a clear and efficient way.