Often, deciding whether to focus your marketing efforts online or offline can be a dilemma.
According to data from the US government, while a whopping $354 billion  was generated through online commerce in 2016, an even mind-blowing $4.5 trillion was generated offline. Experts keep saying that the Internet is the future and that soon the bigger portion of e-commerce revenue will be coming from the Internet, but you can’t deny the fact that the bigger piece of the pie is currently offline (in fact, more than 12 times bigger according to the data we just referenced).
So do you go offline or online? Is the Internet overhyped and not as essential as the experts say it is. Not necessarily. Going back to the data from the US government on the size of revenue generated online vs offline, while it is easy to come to conclusions just by looking at the massive amount generated offline, a huge piece of the puzzle is missing: over $1.2 trillion of this was influenced by digital media. In fact, some estimates put this to be much higher .
In essence, how do you deal with a rapidly growing and unavoidable future as well as a very big “present”? You merge both. To really get the best from your marketing efforts, it is essential to ensure your offline and online marketing are in sync. Here are some tips:
Use Social Media to Actively Engage Offline Users
One of the most effective ways to sync your offline efforts with your online marketing efforts is by making use of social media . You’ve most likely watched a TV show in which viewers are asked to go online and tweet certain hashtags to show that they are following the show or to go online and answer some questions. You can do the exact same thing for your brand.
For example, you can run events in which you communicate with all your users and ask them to Tweet a certain hashtag at a certain time on certain days. Besides the fact that this creates awareness about your presence online, it can also help create some buzz. Alternatively, you can include “secret” items in packaging for your offline products that prompt people to go online and interact with your brand on social media in exchange for a special offer or a reward.
Incentivize Offline Users to Get Them Online
One of the biggest challenges for organizations with a heavy base offline is the challenge of getting their users online. How do you get users to visit your website and subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on social media, carry out their transactions with you online, or use your mobile app? By incentivizing them to do so.
According to Nick Dutko, CEO of Auto Transport Quote Services , “When someone regularly engages with your brand offline but do not have much impetus to carry on this engagement online, you can give them the needed push by offering them an incentive . This incentive could be in form of a coupon or special discount for joining your newsletter, using your app or transacting online. It could be a bonus product or service, or it could be a form of reward system in which they are awarded points for all of their activities online — on your website or in your app. By doing this, not only will you be able to get a good portion of your offline user base to go interact with your brand online but you will also be able to make them excited about doing so.”
Online Giveaways Actively Promoted to an Offline Audience
Another way to sync your online marketing with your offline marketing is by running online giveaways for your offline users. The giveaways could prompt them to install your app, subscribe to your newsletter and/or carry out a number of transactions on your website for example. The longer you can keep the giveaway running, especially to allow enough buzz to build around it, the better.
Online Contests Targeted at Offline Users
You can also use regular online contests, especially aimed at offline users, to ensure that users are well-aware of your brand online. For example, you can ask users to create videos answering certain questions about your brand or products and upload it to Youtube or to a section on your website — you then tally all of the videos and pick winners.
The contest in and of itself will generate enough attention for your brand online, but you can also announce the results through your offline marketing channels to create more awareness.
Leverage Conveniency and Speed to Make People Comfortable with You Online
One of the major drawbacks to people transacting with businesses online is the delay in getting what they want. Research shows that we are growing highly impatient, and, with decreasing attention spans, very few people will wait days to get what they could get in hours. This explains why 61 percent of people  will happily pay more for same-day delivery as well as why 18 percent of people choose their favorite store based on delivery speed.
Many people will happily come and engage with your brand online if they will get products and services faster. Add free delivery to the mix, or discounted offers for people using your online brand, and you just sweetened the deal.
About the Author
- ^ a whopping $354 billion (marketingland.com)
- ^ to be much higher (hostingfacts.com)
- ^ making use of social media (www.ducttapemarketing.com)
- ^ Auto Transport Quote Services (www.autotransportquoteservices.com)
- ^ an incentive (www.ducttapemarketing.com)
- ^ 61 percent of people (www.bringg.com)
- ^ Hosting Facts (hostingfacts.com)