When you have your own business, marketing can be one of the hardest things to get right – but also one of the most important. You could have the most perfect product in the world with a really great USP, although if you don’t have the right marketing scheme, you may not get as much attention or conversions as you were hoping to.
But don’t panic. If you’re not sure where to even start, here’s the low-down on online and offline marketing, and how to make the best of both in a digital world.
Image by Shane Pope
Is Offline Marketing Pointless?
Offline marketing is essentially what it says on the tin: any type of marketing which isn’t on the internet. “But that’s pointless!” I hear you cry, because of course, everyone’s on the internet these days. However, this isn’t necessarily true.
Whichever form of marketing you decide to give most emphasis to all depends on what audience you’re aiming for. For example, if you’re targeting for an older audience, such as those at retiring age, your product is likely to better reach them if you market it offline instead of online.
It is also important to consider the timing of your offline advertising campaigns, as although digital content is accessible 24/7, mediums like television or radio adverts are not. Older citizens are likely to watch a fair amount of daytime television, or listen to local radio in the day, for example. The working and professional population are more likely to watch television in the evening or listen to the radio at lunchtime.
If your budget is too small to afford broadcasting advertising, you can create quite a buzz from word-of-mouth. A simple poster, carrier bag or notice on the side of your work vehicle can be enough to deliver the message – and of course, through providing fantastic service!
The Rise Of a Digital World
In this age of rising ecommerce though, some kind of online presence is certainly required, however big or small your marketing budget may be. Even if your internet and website knowledge is basic, you often only need a clear, simple website outlining your marketing mix – product, price, place and promotion – and of course, contact details.
The additional use of search engine optimisation (SEO) tries to push your website to the top of a Google search, and will help you control your online presence, too (we’ve all heard of those nasty competitors who leave deliberately negative reviews on TripAdvisor).
If you have a larger budget to work with, then hiring a web designer to create your website is a good idea, as it will give your business a more professional presence, and the designer might suggest new ideas that you haven’t thought of.
ecommerce for deliverable products or services, can drastically cut overheads if you can operate entirely on the internet and deliver from home without needing an external office.
It is important to make use of social media, particularly if you have targeted a young or teenage audience with your product – Facebook adverts or the new ‘promotion’ technique on both Twitter and Facebook are certainly effective ways to target those whose interests match your product.
The Best of Both Worlds
Working out the balance between traditional and modern marketing can be tough, especially if you have more experience with one than the other. One tip of how to make the two methods work together is by directing one to the other.
For example, saying “look for us in the Yellow Pages” on your website, or directing a poster to the website. But underlying all of this, whether online or offline, is the important of a flexible marketing strategy, incorporating your business strategy and designed to help your business move with the times.
Online and offline marketing both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, if you use a mixture of the two, seek help from those in the know, trust your own expertise and always think of your target audience, you can’t really go wrong.
Do you think offline marketing is dead? How is your business coping with the new challenges of a digital world?
Article Contribution: Sian is an aspiring journalist and proactive blogger. She is interested in business, politics, marketing and sales. She recommends Strategy Consulting Limited.