When it comes to promoting your business, the focus these days seems to be almost exclusively on online marketing. Of course, since the social revolution it’s important for businesses to have a strong ‘digital footprint’ but what about the traditional offline marketing methods?
Does the proliferation of Twitter, Facebook and co. mean that you should stop all forms of offline marketing? Of course not, particularly if your business is B2C (Business to Consumer) and especially if you have a clearly defined geographical reach.
They might seem low-tech, but traditional methods of marketing your company such as, leaflets, targeted advertising, local PR and local awareness campaigns can have great impact.
However, just like all forms of marketing, if it’s not thought through correctly, you will waste your time, energy and money, as well as potentially confusing your clients. Remember, a confused mind always says, ‘No’.
So here are my top 5 tips to ensure you get the most out of your off-line marketing efforts;
1. Understand your customer
Before you start on any campaign, the first thing you need to do is to clearly understand your customer, or perhaps that should be your ‘Customer Avatar’. Ask yourself who your target customers are for the campaign, bearing in mind that these maybe different from your current client base as the whole point of marketing is to draw new customers to your business.
Be really specific in your description of the target customer. If it helps, create an image of your ideal client. Think about their lifestyle, their current life stage, their challenges, their aspirations, their vision – and then talk directly to that person.
Make all of the copy in your marketing materials relate to that Customer Avatar. Having this clear focus ensures your message is consistent in its themes and underpinning values, attracting your ideal clients to the vibe.
2. Get your materials professionally designed
This is one area, unless you happen to be a great graphic designer on the side, where it can really pay to invest in a professional.
Long-term it is great to have a really good graphic designer on your team who really understands you, your brand and what you want message you want to convey. This doesn’t have to be a massive cost, and there are online resources such as 99designs.com and odesk.com where you can access outsourced help from talented individuals from around the world.
Remember, your brand is not just a logo or a colour scheme it is a promise of consistency, so you need to be consistent in how you present yourself in the marketplace.
This means, you must make sure all your marketing materials; your business cards, your leaflets and your advertising all follow a consistent theme.
When you are writing copy for letters, leaflets, brochures etc. using the acronym PAIN gives you a great structure;
- P = Problem. What is the problem that members of your target audience need to resolve? What are they attempting to fix or avoid?
- A = Accentuate the pain. What would be the consequences to them not taking action? How could this problem get worse, or who else will it also impact?
- I = Imagine. Tell them how it could be when this problem goes away, assuming they take your advice of course!
- N = Next. What must they do next in order to avoid this problem and create a positive future?
3. Avoid making printed materials, date or offer specific
Generally speaking, one of the the main differences between offline and online marketing is that you can change things very quickly online, whereas once something is in print, it’s permanent. This also makes a very strong case for ensuring that all your offline work is properly proof-read!
If you are going to invest in getting 20,000 leaflets designed and printed, you don’t want them being out of date in 2 weeks because a special offer date has passed. So where possible make them as generic as possible.
4. Budget to repeat your marketing activity at least 3 times
Research tells us that on average people need to see a company name, an advert, or a marketing message 3 to 5 times before we will act on it.
This can be delivered by different media, so for example, an advert on television, a print advert and then a special offer at the point of sale in a supermarket could all play a part before a buying decision is made.
Investing in a variety of different activities that deliver a consistent message across different media has been proven to increase sales.
However, even if you are only investing in one form of marketing, such as a leaflet to be hand delivered to your target audience’s houses, it might be more effective to distribute 5,000 leaflets three times to the same households a few weeks apart, rather than posting 15,000 leaflets once to different households. This might sound counter-intuitive, but it is worth testing.
5. Include a clear call to action
Failing to include a clear ‘call to action’ is the biggest mistake that non-professionals make. So many campaigns forget to tell people to DO SOMETHING! I cannot emphasise enough the importance of including a very clear call to action.
People need to be told what they should do next. Should they pick up the telephone and call you, ‘Like’ you on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter or take some other form of action?
This is the moment when your offline marketing can collide beautifully with your online ‘digital footprint’ for an integrated approach.
At the bare minimum use this as an opportunity to capture prospective customers’ details such as their name and email address. This will enable you to establish a relationship with that individual and continue to market to them through online channels. It will also mean that you can begin to build a valuable list of prospects.
Ultimately, people still choose to buy from people and brands they trust, so when you are unknown to them, you have to accept that your initial messages are like the early courtship stage in a relationship.
The more you communicate consistently with potential customers, the more they will begin to trust you and want to engage.
About the author
This guide has been written for ByteStart by Nicola Cook. She is an award-winning entrepreneur, twice-published international best-selling author on professional selling and personal & business growth, and CEO at Company Shortcuts.
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