6 offline strategies to build your online brand identity
Over the past decade, more firms than ever have begun allocating an increasing amount of budget and resources to digital marketing in order to achieve strategic goals, while traditional marketing efforts become more and more scarce. In short, this shift is based on the recent evidence that online marketing efforts can be cheaper, easier to measure and analysed, as well as providing a greater insight into a company’s active clientele base. This, in turn, provides answers to the age-old marketing question of how to build a brand.
However, the assumption that an online marketing strategy is all that’s needed to build a successful brand, audience, and platform for growth is false. Even the most modern, tech-based companies can still benefit from offline activities and presence.
In order to maximise marketing success, a combination of both online and offline marketing is necessary to provide maximum presence and brand visibility. Read on to learn some key marketing techniques to grow your business online through offline marketing.
1. Show your face, speak to people & shake some hands
Simple networking events can help to personalise your online brand, put a face to its name, and breed brand loyalty and trust among potential customers and partners. Face-to-face connections through networking, speaking engagements and trade-shows are a valuable form of offline marketing. They not only promote your company, but inspire others to want to learn more; often leading to online engagement. These events can be organised by small local associations or organisational chapters, or even facilitated at larger national conferences and conventions.
Appearing at industry speaking events also generates a large amount of offline engagement. It builds credibility and establishes thought leadership at the same time as putting your firm front and centre to a highly targeted audience, thus giving it the best chance to attract new customers. Incorporating your website or online communication channels in your presentation can convert passive listeners into active online conversions.
The challenge that inherently comes with networking, events and public speaking is the difficulty in securing opportunities, especially if you are a relatively new firm in your respective industry or if it is an especially competitive market. The best way to begin these offline marketing efforts is by taking small steps with local events, happenings and unpaid opportunities; for example, giving guest lectures at nearby schools or universities. Practice and experience will pay off in the long run and build your brand better than relying solely on online marketing efforts.
2. Promote through trade show presence
Attending trade shows alongside other businesses within your industry naturally draws in potential customers and new leads. Attract people to your booth with a memorable banner stand, branded giveaways, and eye-catching flyers to hand out. For example, you could give each visitor a creative sticker to decorate their laptop or device, that will keep your brand on their mind whenever they go online.
Additionally, leave each visitor with a dazzling impression of your brand with a genuine old-fashioned hand-shake and a well-made business card. As we all know it's very easy to forget a website, booth, or even an individual you’ve only seen once - a business card provides a reminder that invites visitors to engage with you and your brand online.
In order to track these real-life conversions, mix these marketing efforts with online tactics by getting visitors to sign up to an emailing list, connect on LinkedIn and social media, or by using live URLs and QR codes.
3. Strive for a physical feature
While digital marketing concentrates on channels like search engines and paid advertising and digital PR provides benefits such as ranking, backlinks, and online visibility, print publications offer value in the realm of traditional marketing. Magazine and newspaper articles can cater to readers who prefer papers to blogs, and give your business a competitive edge in targeting particular geographic areas.
Your firm should aim for offline mentions in physical industry magazines, newspapers, and printed publications that could reach an audience that hasn't been previously attempted. In addition to online placements, these physical features increase brand visibility and recognition, as well as establish industry expertise.
Furthermore, obtaining print opportunities seamlessly transition your online outreach strategy offline, and can be a low-cost effort that can further link to your website by adding a QR code or URL to the printed publication. All printed media should be visually engaging, provide actionable insights, and be compelling from the opening sentence.
Yet just like online publications, one should exercise caution when choosing a relevant magazine or paper to promote themselves in. By being selective, you should make sure the source is trustworthy and reputable, as well as aimed at your target market. 7
4. Work it with a workshop
As webinars and collaborative content build online marketing benefits, informative workshops and hosted events translate into offline success. Whether your company is B2B or B2C, in the data management industry or selling pottery, the idea is to teach or show your audience something new that they can then practice in their day-to-day lives. This could be through giving free and exclusive advice, an interactive creation session, one-to-one support, or a group participation activity. This approach gives them a memorable experience with your brand, that will encourage them to seek you out in the future.
If your firm is too small or lacks resources to have an impactful workshop, consider sponsorship of an event or partner workshop. This also generates brand awareness and builds authority-online and offline. For maximum results, documenting the workshop or event through social media allows for consumers to relive the experience. This renders it even more memorable, while simultaneously attracting new customers to your brand.
5. Remember what phones are used for
As most economic activities and transactions today take place behind a screen, customers and potential partners alike appreciate brands that can also provide a more personal touch by picking up the phone and calling. Despite what “cold-calling’s” derogatory phrasing may suggest, it has the potential to generate new leads and conversions, as there is an existing customer base that appreciates and needs this social brand characteristic to become loyal consumers. Once you've established a relationship over the phone, online engagement will follow.
In order to be successful over the phone, make sure to plan out your objectives beforehand, state a clear message to the receiving individual, understand timing, be confident, and remember; practice makes perfect.
6. Create your own print marketing materials
When you’re focusing your attention online, it’s easy to forget that one of the easiest ways to put your brand in front of your target audience is with high-quality marketing materials landing on their doormats. With a well planned and executed print marketing campaign, you can make sure that your brand will make a great first impression on your audience.
Unlike online marketing methods, where you’re relying on people coming to you or you’re attempting to attract attention in a crowded advertising market, with print campaigns you can precisely define who you want to see your materials and when they’ll see it. A company like Pepper will help manage your mailing list to ensure that it will reach as many of the right people as possible.
You also have complete control over the imagery and wording that you want to use. With high-quality digital printing methods available, you can be sure that your marketing materials will convey exactly the right messages for your brand.
You can then track the effectiveness of the print campaign by tying it into your online strategy. Invite people to go to a specific landing page URL, to reach out on social media or to claim a particular offer. All of these activities can be tracked, which will enable you to see how your offline efforts are impacting your digital performance.