The digital age tempts marketers to focus all their time and money online. While it’s important to reach people on the internet, it’s crucial that you don’t forget the value of tried and tested offline marketing efforts. Channels such as direct mail marketing have been popular for decades. Although discussions of online marketing now dominate the popular imagination, the benefits of offline channels have never gone away. A channel like direct mail marketing allows you to know exactly who will see your marketing materials and to target highly specific audiences through a carefully crafted mailing list. With advantages to both offline and online marketing channels, the biggest gains can be made from using the two together. Valuing one does not have to mean ignoring the other. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways that offline marketing efforts can support and improve your online campaigns.
RUN A CAMPAIGN THAT MAKES SENSE
The first step in creating an offline campaign that will make a positive impact on your online efforts is to run a campaign that actually makes sense. A business won’t gain customers by sending them irrelevant marketing materials out of the blue. At the most basic level, it is important to run offline campaigns in areas where they will reach your target audience. This is easier if you have a physical business location in that area, but can also work if you target areas based on other factors, like age or income demographics. The targeting for your offline campaigns should be consistent with the targeting for your online campaigns. If your goal is to reach 40-60 year olds in the South East, that aim should be reflected in both the offline marketing materials that you send out and any localised online efforts. Consistency between your offline and online campaigns makes it much more likely that a member of your target audience will be exposed to your messages more than once and allows your business to be much more consistent in the messages you send out. If someone who receives a mail shot from you decides to explore your social media feeds or website, they will be much more likely to convert if they see more of the same messaging that encouraged them to find out more in the first place. The bottom line is that it pays to choose your target audience carefully. Consistency across all channels will make all your marketing campaigns stronger and allow you to focus on the same messaging (including making use of the same visual assets) throughout, which makes running the campaigns more efficient.
MAKE YOUR BRAND AS MEMORABLE AS POSSIBLE
Following on from the previous points regarding consistency, the best offline marketing materials are memorable. If you can get your brand into someone’s head from the first time they see your print materials, they will then be more likely to remember your brand in the future. The more a potential customer sees your brand, the more likely they are to convert. This is why you need to make sure that, when someone sees your online and offline marketing materials, they associate the two with the same company and the same brand identity. This can be easily achieved with consistency in the branding and design of the ads, but is also easy to miss if different people are responsible for each campaign. It also helps to be as clear as possible about what your business does. Then, if your name appears in relevant search results or in an online ad, potential customers will make the connection immediately and know that you’re a familiar name in that area. Much of this will be subconscious, but it’s the real value of getting your brand name out there and known, which is where offline marketing excels.
VISUALLY COMPELLING TO CREATE THE BEST SENSE OF BRAND/PRODUCTS
Of course, if you don’t make a good impression with your products or services there’s no chance that your brand will be remembered favourably when it crops up online in the future. Offline marketing materials should show off the best qualities of your products and services. It should be clear how they meet the needs of your target audience. Our blog post on demographics and psychographics goes into more detail on how to nail down what your audience wants, but it’s sufficient to say in this post that you need to demonstrate the value that your business can add to a potential customers life. If the first marketing materials they see fail to meet that objective, it’s unlikely they’ll find their way back to you in the future. On the other hand, successful marketing of your products and services can leave your audience hungry to find out more, which is likely to bring them into contact with your online presence.
USE CUSTOM LANDING PAGES TO CONVERT AND TRACK VISITORS
In order for your offline marketing efforts to truly support online channels, there needs to be a tangible connection between the two. The easiest way to make that connection is to use offline materials direct potential customers to a custom landing page with a unique URL for the campaign.
There are two distinct advantages to using this strategy:
- Using a specific landing page allows you to control the experience a potential customer has when they visit your site after seeing offline marketing materials.
- You can track visits to that landing page on your analytics software in order to measure the success of the campaign.
Direct mail marketing materials are easy to link to your online channels in this way, as are print ads in magazines and newspapers. There is no other way to connect your offline and online presence in such a direct, measurable manner. The requirements of a campaign-specific landing page are simple: a short URL, consistency with the offline marketing materials and a frictionless transition to conversion. The first two requirements are fairly self-explanatory. A short URL is essential for memory and we’ve already discussed consistency across offline and online materials. However, the third requirement is worth dwelling on a little longer. It is a well-known fact that making your customers’ lives as easy (i.e. frictionless – free from obstacles) as possible is essential for a high conversion rate online. This means that there should be as little as possible in between a customer landing on the site and making a purchase or enquiry. In the context of an offline campaign’s landing page, this means that everything a customer needs to act on the information they already have should be right there. If you’re promoting a discount code, display it and make it easy to copy, with some popular products shown underneath to make it easy to see what to buy. If you want people to get in touch, give them a contact form right there on the landing page. Do everything you can to minimise the clicks a visitor has to do before they’ve accomplished what they came to your site for. Use your offline marketing materials to set the expectations for the experience that potential customers will have when they visit your site. Remember, if you want offline and online channels to support each other effectively, focus on making all of your marketing materials memorable, consistent and clear.
For help or advice running direct mail marketing campaigns that work, get in touch with Metric Centrals experienced account managers today.