Tuesday, April 23

How Small Businesses Can Combine Online and Offline Marketing Effectively

Marketing is often divided into online and offline marketing, united in the goal of reaching your target market and bringing them to your store or website. Seeing them as separate projects can lead to divided efforts as you try to manage them separately, and it certainly leads to much more data to be analyzed. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few tips on how small businesses can combine online and offline marketing effectively.

Cross-Reference and Cross-Pollinate

When you send out mailers and postcards, reference your business’s website on the printed materials. Your newspaper ads should include your website and social media profiles. Share offline marketing efforts like trade shows and seminars via your social media accounts. When you’re at trade shows, hand out business cards that include your email address, website and social media profiles in addition to your physical address and phone number.

When you are having a sale, mention it on social media when you’re sending out coupons or flyers. Better yet, post pictures of the flyers and coupons on social media to generate buzz online about the sale.

Make certain your online and offline marketing materials are consistent. This increases trust in your brand and improves customers’ experience. Cross-promotion will certainly help your business expand its reach with a fair chance of extending engagement with customers, increasing the odds they’ll buy and become fans of the brand.

Utilize Online Marketing Practices for Offline Marketing Efforts

You can use some of the best online marketing practices in your offline marketing content. While we’ve said you can put your social media profile on a printed flyer, you will generate more visits to it by giving them a reason to do so. You could do this by mentioning coupon codes and discounts only available online. You could use the offline marketing content to promote an online contest that requires someone to enter an email address or ‘like’ your social media profile.

Now you can market to them online, and you reached them through traditional offline marketing content. You can use magazine and newspaper articles to promote your business while mentioning white papers and newsletters that are only available online.

You will see the same granular data collection from offline marketing content that you get from online marketing contact. This is done through personal URLs, or PURLs, as they are often referred to. Create a unique personal URL that is printed on each piece of marketing content. Then track the actions of each person who visits the website.

You’ll be able to track engagement and identify your hottest prospects. Another option is setting up phone numbers tied to a particular print piece and tracking the number of times the phone number is called relative to URL visits. You could learn who responds best to offline content and how they choose to respond to it.

Create a Serial Publication

A serial publication is one that continues for some time. You can start a serial publication in a magazine, newspaper column or distributed flyer. At the end, state that it will be continued at a particular website address or shared via your social media account.

You’ll get a lot of people to go online to sign up to get the rest of the story. You can make it easier for people to find this content by tying the serial to a particular hashtag. Then your print content becomes the lead in for your online content, and you can share news about both via social media using the hashtag.

Engage Online Audiences in the Creation of Offline Content

If you want to generate buzz, go with a contest or competition. This is true online and offline. You can mix online and offline marketing by holding a contest where your online audience creates your next offline marketing piece. The contest taps into their creativity, and you can incentivize it by giving away freebies or coupon codes to everyone who enters.

When there is a winner, you’ll generate publicity on and offline by sharing the new offline content piece like a poster, product label or flyer. You can up the ante by mentioning the online contest in offline printed materials that include the final product.

When your customers create online marketing content, share it offline by promoting it in the store or on a flyer. Your customers will feel like you listen to them and become more loyal.

Seek Selfies

User-generated content has a number of benefits. It is free. It is typically coming from your biggest fans. And it ties your product’s use offline with online content. Ask your customers for selfies showing them using your product or the places they buy the content. Share these selfies online and you’ll get a wave of similar content. It certainly helps that those whose selfies are shared through the company’s online marketing will work to promote it, too. You can encourage this by creating a hashtag tied to your brand and the selfie campaign.

You can tie the selfies to offline marketing by asking people to post pictures of themselves next to your posters or product displays, and you should ask them to share photos of themselves at your events. There is a fair chance this will result in their friends learning about the brand simply because they see the picture of their friend participating in the selfie contest. You can incentivize this by offering coupon codes to those who participate or hold a contest for the best image.

You could take it to the next level by handing out lapel pin that mirrors your logo or company name. If you don’t know where to start, sites like lapelpinsuperstore.com offer many kinds of lapel pins that you can customize whichever way you like. This approach has the side benefit of promoting your company when someone takes a selfie while wearing it, whether or not they intended to do so. When their selfies are taken at the other vendor’s booth, lunch or tourist attractions, this ends up helping to build brand awareness.


While online marketing is on the rise, offline marketing still has its place. Offline marketing is invaluable to small businesses trying to reach a local market. Work on integrating online and offline marketing to maximize the ROI of both.

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