Successful Marketing Media Integration: Online/Offline Collaboration
One of the most important aspects of marketing is the integration of online and offline marketing media and maintaining consistency between the two areas. Your online and offline marketing campaigns should always cross-reference each other for you to really take full advantage of reaching your entire audience. The following are just a few ways to make sure that you remain consistent with your marketing efforts no matter where they take place: on your website, through a flyer printing campaign, or through social media.
Your offline printed materials should always include a URL, Facebook page, or Twitter name in an obvious location for potential customers to check out. Another newly developed type of reference is called a QR code. This is specific to iPhone users but can be the fastest way for users to access your company’s website. In fact, a QR code is quickly becoming a dividing line between companies who are up-to-par in this digital age and those who are still lagging behind the times.
Online marketing should cross-reference other places within the online network (Twitter to Facebook to Company site). If you have both an online and print catalog, be sure that your online catalog includes a sign-up form for customers who want to receive the print version. If you send out monthly printed newsletters, be sure that your email newsletters include a link for recipients to sign up for the print version.
Customers ought to be able to recognize your company clearly and consistently, no matter where they come across you. Think about some of the top brands. When you see an apple with a bite out of it, you think Apple. All of their products, social media sites, advertisements, or any other public document includes this logo. It never deviates. Trust is built on consistency, so make sure that everytime you put a product, advertisement, or any other marketing piece in the public eye, customers will easily recognize it as belonging to your company.
Always include your logo when possible, both online and off. Create a consistent "voice" or tone in all of your written materials, one that stays true to your company but also appeals to your target audience. When possible, also use your brand colors, fonts, and any other identifying elements. Of course, not all marketing materials should look exactly the same; the idea is just to make it so that customers recognize you no matter where they see you, whether it's in a magazine ad or an online banner ad.
Targeting the right customers will help with integration of marketing as you are able to develop more focused campaigns. Don’t set your company up for failure by blindly mass marketing. With online marketing campaigns, and especially with offline marketing campaigns, target an audience. There are certain times when moving a little outside of the obvious group of relevance can pay off (such as a bridal company targeting older women as well as younger women) but other times it will only be a financial burden and a waste of time (such as sending farming catalogs to teenage girls).
Critical to effective marketing is understanding your customer base. Make your customers feel valued and appreciated by sending them information that is relevant to their lives. You are much more likely to have success with customers if you can offer them an aspect of your company that they are already looking for. For instance...
- Online - Direct mail marketing emails for specific products are a great way to engage your clientele. Give them the option of receiving specific products (such as catalogs) through the postal service. A great way to entice customers and make them feel special is to make a sort of “club” for your company which will allow them to receive special offers and coupons.
- Offline: Again, direct mail marketing (flyers, catalogs, postcards) is a top print marketing method. Be sure to offer or advertise only one or two related products or a specific product line. Include coupons and specials to be cut out or redirect customers to your online sites with the promise of coupons and specials (including your URL and a QR code, of course).
All in all, integrating online and offline marketing methods really is not that difficult. Just make it a part of your checklist before approving any document to go public or to be printed. And do be sure that if you haven't yet done so to create (or hire a corporate identity specialist to create) an official brand look and feel with specifics about colors, styles, tone, fonts, logo, and more. This way you can always use these brand guidelines to help your marketing always look like it is from your company, no matter if done on the web or on paper.
Tara Hornor spends her days writing about social media marketing, advertising, branding, and web and graphic design for PrintPlace.com. Most of all, she enjoys advising freelancers and SMBs on how best to design and use PrintPlace.com business cards and brochures for maximum marketing impact. Be sure to follow @TaraHornor for more marketing and design advice.
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