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The Perfect Double Act: Offline and Online Marketing Work Best Together

No-one would ever ask why Ant and Dec hadn’t branched out into solo projects, so why do we often separate another effective duo, online and offline marketing?

Whether you sell online or not, online marketing for your business can be just as effective as offline marketing – and customers expect to see both. They don’t view themselves as ‘online customers’ or ‘offline customers’; they move seamlessly from looking at a flyer to Googling the name of your business.

As an example, Deloitte’s research in 2015 asked customers which types of marketing had an influence on their buying decisions. The results show the similar influence that online and offline marketing can have on customers:

  • 43% were influenced by personal recommendations from friends
  • 39% were influenced by an online review from someone they didn’t know
  • 38% were influenced by magazine adverts
  • 35% were influenced by a business’ own website

With these and other statistics explaining why it’s important to link up your online and offline efforts, what are the best ways to do it?

Make the customer journey consistent

First, make sure your customer’s experience with your business on and offline is aligned. This is called the ‘customer journey’ where they interact with your business at a number of different points: in the phone book, on Facebook, in person, through adverts and much more. You need to make it equally easy for your customers to find you online and offline, and be able to move between the two without noticing any differences.

That means making everything consistent – from how your website looks to your store front, to how you answer the phone and sign off your emails. Make sure everything offline – like posters, adverts or the side of your van – clearly displays your website address. Similarly, your website should have your telephone number and physical address on each page. In this way, customers will be able to easily move between their offline and online experiences with you.

Be social on and offline

Although social media can be an excellent way to gain new customers and improve your online profile, offline networking is just as useful. You could attend local community events, conferences or trade fairs to find new customers and share advice, and promote this on social media.

Use your social media channels to regularly talk to your customers about things that they’re interested in, like industry news, new trends and helpful tips, and link up with other people attending networking events.

Think about what you could bring to that event which will make you stand out by helping your customers and linking your online and offline world. Add your social media channels to your business card or flyers, as well as your contact details, and direct people to interesting information.

Link email to your other marketing

Emailing is the online equivalent of flyering, so you could use this to encourage customers to visit you. If you’ve got a particular deal or discount you want to share, create a landing page for your website with all the details. Include a link to the landing page on your flyer and send out emails to your contact list with this link too. In this way, your deal will get much more coverage, and the experience will be completely consistent for customers.

Use reviews and recommendations

Most small businesses would agree that positive reviews and recommendations are one of the most useful things to have in your marketing ‘toolbox’, whether they are online or offline. The research from Deloitte mentioned above also found that nearly 70% of customers are influenced by online reviews (2014). This and the other findings suggest that it’s not actually where your customer leaves a review that’s most important, but just that they leave a positive one.

You can link your offline and online reviews together in a few different ways. Try these to give your customers a consistent, positive experience and spread the word about your business on lots of different channels:

  • Ask happy customers to recommend you to their friends to get a discount or reward
  • Give them an incentive to leave an online review, like being entered into a prize draw
  • Add word-of-mouth or offline reviews to your website, with the customer’s name if you can
  • Encourage customers to follow and review you on social media, then use these recommendations on your printed marketing materials

By linking your offline and online marketing, you’ve got an opportunity to reach more customers who may not otherwise find out about your business. Consider it from your customer’s point of view, and think about how you can make every step in their journey with you completely seamless.

If you’d like to learn more, try these articles:

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