Most marketers understand both digital and traditional marketing methods work, which means they each have a place in the marketing mix. But the problem is many brands opt to keep them separate, even assigning different teams to implement online and offline marketing methods. Integrating the two is essential if you want to be consistent in your messaging and successful overall at generating leads for business. Here’s a look at why it matters and how you can get started for success.
Why You Need to Integrate Online and Offline Marketing
If you use both online and offline marketing methods—and you should be—it’s important they don’t exist in a vacuum. After all, they both represent your brand, so the goal should be to make sure consumers associate all your marketing efforts with your company. For example, if they see your brand on a billboard and they’re interested in learning more, they’ll look for your website and social media pages online. And when they find them, they’ll be confused if the tone, voice, and overall message are drastically different from what attracted them to you on the billboard.
You can avoid this issue–and improve lead gen–by ensuring all teams work together to create online and offline marketing materials. Integrating the two means not only keeping the same brand voice, logo, message, etc. both online and offline, but also allowing them to complement each other. Your online marketing methods should support the offline methods, and vice versa. Fortunately, there are a few effective ways to get started with integrating online and offline marketing or omni-channel marketing.
Integrating Offline Marketing with Email
Email marketing has been an effective method for years, and that’s still true today. In fact, some studies show it’s doing better than ever, considering open and click rates are up and bounce rates are down. Clearly, you should continue using email marketing as a digital marketing method. But how can you integrate it with your offline marketing strategy?
You can start by emailing customers about in-person events, such as sales or activities going on at your brick-and-mortar locations. This is the simplest way to bring online marketing offline to improve lead generation and sales. You can also email customers about your hours, holiday closures, and any news about your location they’ll need to know before stopping by your business. And of course, customers always appreciate coupons, so consider emailing some they can use in person.
Conversely, you can use offline marketing tactics to drive more people to your email list. The easiest way to begin is to ask for email addresses at checkout, explaining to customers you’ll send them coupons via email. You can also distribute flyers that have a coupon code to use on your website. Make sure your site has a section for visitors to add their email addresses for lead capture.
Using Technology in Brick-and-Mortar Locations
Just because your business doesn’t exist entirely online doesn’t mean you can’t get leads using digital marketing. You just have to learn to take advantage of technology, and these days, that means using your audience’s reliance on their smartphones to generate leads. After all, one study showed that 83 percent of people use their phone while shopping, whether to compare prices, check email for store promotions, use store-specific apps, or simply talk to friends. So, it makes sense to start using mobile technology as a way to get leads and increase sales.
One store excelling at this is Walgreens. As more people take pictures on their phone now and rarely print them out, opting instead to create digital photo albums, Walgreens could have given up on the photo printing game. But the digital marketing-savvy drugstore only rose to the occasion, using smartphones to its advantage by letting customers print pictures from their phones. Now customers can use the Walgreens app or website to order prints of the pictures they took on their phone, which they can then pick up in the store or have shipped to their home.
Walgreens didn’t stop there with its omnichannel marketing efforts. This store also revamped its prescription refill process. Now refills can be automated, and customers can order new prescriptions, refills, or transfers online. Of course, all of this requires contact information from the customer, including an email address, which means Walgreens now has an easy way to add customers to its email subscriber list! Not to mention, the store’s loyalty rewards program is pretty advanced in that it uses geofencing technology to send relevant notifications to customers when they get close to a Walgreens location.
We find another example of offline and online marketing integration done right with The Container Store, which also uses a loyalty program that generates leads. It requires shoppers to sign up on a tablet in the store, allowing the company to gather customer contact information before they leave. Then the program occasionally sends free gift offers to certain customers, ensuring they have to come back to the store and interact with employees in order to pick up their gift. That’s just one example of an easy and effective way to unite online and offline marketing.
Getting Started Integrating Online and Offline Marketing
Email and smartphone technology are just a few of the ways you can delve into omnichannel marketing to get leads. Once you implement these tactics, you can try out a few more. For example, create a hashtag for an in-person event, and then any time you post about the event on social media, use that hashtag and encourage your audience to use it, too. Similarly, you can print out flyers or postcards with QR codes on them when you’re at events, which will drive people to pull out their smartphone to find out what the codes say.
Now that you have some hints on how to integrate online and offline marketing tactics, it’s time to get started! Remember, integrated marketing is all about leveraging other channels for maximum effectiveness. Running the same message or campaign on multiple marketing channels is multi-channel marketing, not integrated marketing. The keyword is leverage.
If you’re already a pro at this and have discovered any other marketing integration techniques I failed to mention, I’m interested in hearing about them, so feel free to leave a comment below.
Photo Credit: jasonleehq Flickr via Compfight cc
This article was first published on Integrated Marketing Association.
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