Since the start of the pandemic, marketing strategies have relied heavily on online tactics —leveraging tools like social media, email, and digital ads. But what about marketing outside of the digital space, otherwise known as offline marketing?
Is there still value in marketing via billboards, print ads, and broadcast commercials? In a post-pandemic world, whenever that may be, there's a chance offline marketing could make a comeback.
Here's what marketers need to know about offline marketing and how it can be leveraged.
So why should your company still incorporate offline marketing into its strategy, especially in the digital age?
One reason is that it's tangible and allows marketers to physically reach their target audience in a way that online marketing can't. You can hand out flyers, put up posters, and send direct mail to people's homes. Sometimes, physical items relating to your brand can leave a more lasting impression.
For example, the local Papa John's in my neighborhood has a deal with my apartment complex. Whenever a new tenant moves in, they get a Papa John's magnet and menu inside their welcome gift bag. Both the magnet and menu have the local restaurant's number and hours.
I didn't know of any other pizza places in the area, so I pinned the items to my fridge, and every time I was craving pizza I would call that particular Papa John's location.
Offline marketing can also create a personal connection with your audience. For example, you can sponsor and host fun, engaging local and in-store events that let you connect with your consumers in person.
But most importantly, the best marketing strategies combine both online and offline marketing to reach an audience through as many channels as possible. For example, let's say your company hosts an in-store event to connect with customers offline. That offline marketing strategy can also be used to create online content via video highlights of the event.
Another factor to consider is that online channels may not be available to everyone in your market, such as older consumers who are less likely to be tech-savvy — so offline marketing with business cards or pamphlets will make your brand more accessible to that demographic.
5 Offline Marketing Strategies You Should Use
Here are a few offline marketing strategies you can use to reach your target market:
Business cards are a tried and true offline marketing method. A business card with a distinct design can set your business apart from competitors and reflect your brand's values and mission. Make sure everyone in your company has their own business cards to give away at any time —you never know when they might run into a prospective client.
You may be tempted to try online business card generators to save a little money. While those can save money, you're better off opting for local designers or print shops to create cards that are truly unique to your business. That way, you can customize the layout, color, texture, font, and more.
Pro Tip: Use a color other than the usual white for your business cards, and make sure every card has the same logo, font style, and colors for a unique but uniform look as well as brand consistency.
Offline marketing lets you create a more personal connection with your audience — especially if you incorporate community engagement in your strategy. Using your platform and resources to help others within your community can increase brand awareness and solidify your brand's reputation for being responsible.
An excellent example is the annual Stuff the Bus event hosted by First Coast News, a TV news station in Jacksonville, Florida. Every summer right before back-to-school season, First Coast News partners with United Way of Northeast Florida to raise money and school supplies to be donated to local schools. The event helps the station establish itself as an integral part of the community it broadcasts to.
Pro Tip: Carefully consider the organization or service you involve in this strategy to ensure it aligns with your company's values and image.
Event hosting is a great way to market your brand offline because events can promote outreach as well as opportunities to network. You'll have the chance to engage with potential clients in person and connect with potential business partners or collaborators.
One example is RDC World's annual DreamCon anime convention in Arlington, Texas. RDC World is a group of content creators who gained a huge following on YouTube making viral skits geared toward Black anime and comic book fans. To meet its fans in person and to provide other content creators a chance to network, RDC World started DreamCon.
The con attracts more guests each year and has grown to include appearances from celebrities, voice actors, and other viral content creators. The convention, as well as RDCWorld, is now a staple among Black anime fans.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of your event, incorporate digital marketing tactics like live streams and short-form videos for platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
A simple but effective way to boost brand awareness is to send press releases to local journalists in your community. Make a point to build relationships with them and get them interested in your brand. Once you find the contact information for your local journalists and publishers, start sending press releases that advertise your brand and any upcoming events you are hosting such as conventions, workshops, or fundraisers.
Pro Tip: Invite the press to special meet-and-greets and tours of your business to build an offline connection.
You want consumers to know your brand is made up of experts in its field — one way to do that is by offering free workshops. A workshop can be in the form of a TV or radio appearance where you present valuable information while expanding your reach. You can also write regular columns for your local newspaper or magazine that give tips and advice pertaining to your market.
This marketing tactic builds trust with your audience. If they know you're an expert in your space, then they'll trust that your products or services are top-notch as well.
Pro Tip: When handing out flyers or other offline marketing materials, make sure to include a section with useful tips regarding your industry.
Digital marketing isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but offline marketing should still be a part of your strategy to meet your audience wherever they are. In a post-pandemic world where more people will drive past billboards or look for workshops to improve their craft, you'll want to be the brand that catches their eye.