When I put my blog post content to the polls to find out what people want me to write about, offline marketing won. I announced this on my Facebook page and had a couple of people saying they weren’t actually sure what offline marketing is.
Offline marketing is literally marketing that takes place outside of the internet and online space.
It can be easy to forget that not all business marketing is done on social media. In-fact, I advise you to think very carefully about where you are pouring your energies and budgets. Is the place you’re spending all your time marketing in the place that your customers are? For some businesses social media shouldn’t even equate to half of their marketing activity.
So what does offline marketing entail?
To address this we need to first talk about what marketing is.
Marketing is every place that your customer comes into contact with your business. Marketing is not sales but it is how you create a positive relationship with your target audience and create the perfect environment for them to want to buy from you.
This means that offline marketing is how we answer the phone to our customers and how our customers physically experience our service – what does your shop space look and feel like? Is your packaging working to help strengthen a relationship or tell your story? Do you thank clients for their business in person or with a card or SMS? How does the community you exist within (or your target audience’s community) view your business? Do they even know you exist?
Worry not, as there are plenty of opportunities to maximise your offline presence. If you have a high street presence you can lend others your space, collaborate with other small businesses and brands or open up your office to the public and invite them to an evening of nibbles, talks or to meet your team and see what you do. Are you giving back to the community, with your time, expertise or other resources? Plus remember to be asking for feedback from current and previous customers and then taking action based on this. It shows you value what they think and that you will take constructive comments on board.
Assuming you have got all of these fundamentals nailed, let’s move on to other offline marketing streams:
- Point of sale marketing – you know, where supermarkets put smaller items (chocolate bars and gum!) next to the checkout. This is an opportunity to up-sell smaller or easily forgotten items.
- Retail marketing – think along the lines of handing out samples, in-store events and demos to drive footfall i.e. clothes customisation at Topshop or brush lettering workshop at Anthropologie
- Special in-store offers, buy two and get one half price, only available in store. You may wonder why you want people in store rather than online and the simple answer is though 95% of people shop online more people spend the bulk of their money in bricks and mortar stores. They are more likely to buy more products or higher value products at a physical place rather than online.
- Brand to hand with data collection, an example of this is giving out pens and other branded goods in exchange for email addresses and other data (killing two birds with one stone). You are raising awareness of your brand and people can see physical reminders of it.
- Leaflets – see my blog post all about this here
- In person – by this I mean face-to-face marketing such as networking! This means raising visibility of your brand and promoting the unique aspects of it to your target audience. It isn’t always done in your 30 second elevator pitch but it is done when you have face time with your target customer, sometimes that is someone in the room and sometimes it’s a person they refer you to.
- Offline cues to drive people online and create user generated content (hashtags on cups, Instagram frames on mirrors or on packing slips with encouragement to take a picture of you with your product and share on your social channels). This is simply a way to amplify your offline products and presence by populating another online channel with content.
This is just scratching the surface and the best strategies are a combination of online and offline marketing, joined-up and perfectly complementing one another.
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