Tried and True Techniques for Fusing Offline and Online Marketing

    by Anum Hussain

    Date

    March 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM

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    The quest to become completely reliant on inbound marketing is easier said than done. Many companies still rely (at least a bit) on tangible print collateral and in-person events to drive leads and generate revenue. The truth is, not everything can always be perfected online alone -- but you should still make an effort to fuse your online and offline marketing to get the most out of all your marketing campaigns.

    According to an Econsultancy survey cited by Marketing Charts, 90% of marketers believe that using online data to optimize the offline experience will be either very important (51%) or quite important (39%) in the next few years. These marketers responded to the surveys based on the needs they saw among their own clients. In fact, 73% of company respondents and 75% of agency respondents noted that their clients will be using a more cross-channel marketing strategy this year.

    How Do You Integrate Your Offline and Online Marketing?

    With some inbound wisdom of course! #InboundWisdom is a weekly amalgamation of tips from Twitter users based on a question posed by HubSpot. On February 10, HubSpot asked for tips marketers wish they could have given Super Bowl advertisers, and on February 27, we asked for tips to give event marketers to keep their efforts inbound. Here are the top tweeted tips to help get your cross-channel strategy off the ground.

    Create Calls-to-Action

    What do you want users to do after they see your advertisement? And how do they know that's what they're supposed to do? Your call-to-action should be more than just asking viewers to go to your website. Tell them to go to a specific landing page, one of your social media accounts, or your blog. After you make them want more, let them act on it with a compelling call-to-action. A great tool for connecting your print calls-to-action to your web presence is QR codes. QR codes enable mobile users to easily access the information/web page you're trying to direct people to. They're very easy to create (see here), and they're a great way to generate online leads from your offline efforts.

    Let Offline Lead to Online

    To expand on the previous tip, be sure that all your efforts are integrated. A successful campaign cannot exist alone, so connect the pieces of the puzzle. Want to introduce a new M&M character during the Super Bowl? Great! But how are the other M&M's reacting to this new little lady? Showcase a series of each M&M character reacting to their new friend's debut. For example, an M&M marketer could post a series of photos on Facebook of other M&M's reacting to the new M&M, and ask users to write a caption that matches the photo. Now you have an online campaign that relates to your offline effort and lets you continue reaping the benefits of your offline campaign for a longer period of time -- and for far less money.

    Implement Hashtags

    Yeah, why not? A hashtag is another avenue for peering into the actual effectiveness of your offline efforts. Make a hashtag that is specific to your offline campaigns so you can track how many people are actually having a conversation about it. You can't monitor word-of-mouth, but you sure can monitor word-of-tweet! The easiest free way to do so is to use HashTracking.com. It updates the number of times a hashtag is used within the past 24 hours, so be sure to check after your event to see how the hashtag performs over time.

    Promote Offline Events With Blog Content

    It doesn't even have to be a conventional event, like a trade show. Is a new version of your product hitting the shelves tomorrow? Are you expanding your services to a new location? It's okay to balance your blog content with information about your product or service. Your blog shouldn't be paragraphs of spam, but that doesn't mean you can't brainstorm brilliant blog content that will connect your offline and online efforts. HubSpot does this with blog posts about our Twitter chats -- for our lead generation Twitter chat, for example, we posted a blog post about lead generation concepts as helpful content that still promotes our events. You can apply this concept to any of your offline events, too!

    Real Examples of Offline and Online Marketing Integration

    It always helps to understand how you can fuse your online and offline marketing with some real-life examples. Let's take a look at some marketing that demonstrates these concepts successfully.

    Day-Timer

    Webinar Planner 2 resized 600Day-Timer is a provider of time management and organizational tools such as calendars, planners, and appointment books. The bulk of its products are printed, but that hasn't stopped them from bringing their customer base online. The company released its 2012 planners with a bright yellow banner sticker that invites customers to attend a webinar to help them plan for success. Someone purchasing a planner will likely be interested in planning, right? This is exactly what Stephen Jackson was referring to in his tweet: connect offline and online. Provide a beneficial call-to-action.

    Mrs. Fields

    Facebook Like Cake resized 600One of the local Mrs. Fields chain stores showcased this eye-catching cake. If the desire to eat a cookie cake isn't pleasing enough, Mrs. Fields displayed a wonderfully designed cake to prompt users to like them on Facebook while right in their store. The next step could be to include a QR code, as we discussed earlier, so anyone waiting in line could scan and like them at that instant, or a hashtag like Jacob Mouritzen suggests in his tweet to get customers tweeting about the store and generating online buzz while they're standing in line. Plus, this cake would make a great Twitpic!

    Old Spice

    Isaiah Mustafa old spice challenge resized 600Ah yes, the infamous Old Spice example. When Old Spice released a TV advertisement with Isaiah Mustafa in place of iconic Fabio Lanzio, the world went crazy. The advertisement was posed as a challenge by Mustafa, and later hosted on YouTube. Here you can see what Paul Danek was discussing in his tweet: TV ads should be a way to connect to a grander online campaign. Old Spice also promoted a discussion on Twitter via "Fabio Beats Old Spice Guy?"

    HubSpot

    Blog Event MK HUGS Example resized 600Katie Stuckenschneid recommended connecting an event with a blog post. This is exactly what we did with the 2011 Inbound Marketing Summit and HubSpot User Group Summit (now known as Inbound). As noted above, a business blog should never be completely product-centric. Instead, you should use the concepts behind those products, services, or tools to form educational content. Here at HubSpot, we took ten marketing tips from the speakers coming to the two aforementioned events and shared them through a visually appealing SlideShare presentation. The content gave expert advice that would potentially draw readers into purchasing their own tickets to hear the speakers live. A call-to-action to purchase tickets to the conferences was right in the presentation.

    What are some additional ways you think marketers can fuse their offline and online marketing efforts? Have you seen any other examples of brands doing this right?

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