Online marketing methods have for a while now been hogging all the attention, making it seem like advertising was born alongside dial-up connections. Naturally, digital marketing is not as popular as it is just because of its novelty. It is gaining dominance because of the simple fact that a lot of the techniques it relies on can be at least tested, if not fully implemented, without necessitating huge investments, and consequently, without you standing to lose too much if they fail (barring extreme examples).
However, regardless of how much of our interactions with the world and the people in it are carried out through a screen, we still cannot completely avoid going out into that world every once in a while. Likewise, other media platforms may have retreated before the onslaught of various digital channels, but they are not gone and still have their place in marketing.
Naturally, this is not to say that you should ignore online advertising opportunities that make sense for your product or services; we are just trying to remind you that there are other ways to disseminate information apart from sharing it on your Facebook page.
Here are some of the instances in which you should examine your offline advertising options and see if they may bring you more value than digital marketing could.
Believing Your Senses
Since we crawled out of the primordial ooze, we’ve been relying on our five senses to make judgments about the world. Not even on those senses individually, but on the total, combined input they provide. If you see a chimp showing its teeth, it was the sound it emanated that tells you if it’s greeting you, or if it is feeling threatened and preparing to charge you.
Even those five senses, we understand today, are woefully incapable of picking up all the signals that the world is giving out – sounds below and above certain frequencies, millions of color nuances, different smells, etc. When you consider the fact that online shopping forces us to make purchasing decisions on sight only (well, and a fair bit of trust), it’s not difficult to understand why some people are not quite as quick to commit to a purchase.
For instance, you might be selling furniture online. While your online presentation can be composed so it contains all the relevant info on particular pieces, there is no website that can let your potential customers smell the wood or feel the texture of that couch they have been eyeing.
Losing Your Senses
There’s another reason to open a showroom despite your business being mainly online-based. The previous example revolved around letting people be persuaded by their senses, and this one describes how you can persuade them to leave all sense behind.
Just take car dealerships as an example. By having a customer in front of them, these notoriously persistent salesmen are able to see if their pitch is too pushy or too soft; if a customer likes a particular feature of the car being presented, or are they ambivalent towards it; and it gives them a chance to redirect the customer’s attention to a cheaper model if they see they are not making the original sale. While opening a showroom may only make sense in cases like this one, when high-value purchases are involved, there’s nothing stopping you from going on the road to promote your product by looking your potential customers in the eye, and explaining why they want and need to buy what you’re selling.
Event Related Promotion
A significant portion of time and money invested in online marketing goes to finding the ideal target audience, so that your advertisements are not falling on deaf ears. Offline marketing takes a different approach, you know where your audience is going to be, you just need to find a way to get in front of them. From NASCAR races to the Super Bowl, you are presented with huge, impassioned groups of people who share the same interests.
Naturally, these may not be the cheapest advertising opportunities out there, but they are just meant to illustrate a point.
Regardless of what your business is offering, chances are you are in the loop when it comes to industry events, conferences and other meetups. If there aren’t any that would be suitable for your purposes, you can always organize one on your own, as long as you estimate that it would be worth your while.
A Touch of Tradition
You may have decided that the online sales model makes the most sense for you, but as long as there are people who might be interested in your product but simply aren’t tech savvy enough to find you online, you are missing out on potential sales.
If you’ve done your due diligence when defining buyer personas, you’ll know not only which parts of your audience are being adequately catered to, but also which of them are being neglected. They don’t respond to email – but might react to snail mail; don’t read blog posts but still occasionally pick up the Daily Post; don’t listen to podcasts, but you can bet that they get all the info they need by delicate manipulations of the tuning knob of their radio.
If you find out that there are enough people who might be interested in your product and who harbor nothing but aversion and mistrust for the internet, finding alternative ways to reach them is more than likely to be worth your time. Turning to pros in branding and design like those at Red&Grey can help you put together a campaign that will appeal to precisely this crowd.
Where’s the Line?
We hope we have adequately illustrated why, despite the numerous advantages that online marketing can boast, offline tactics still offer their own set of benefits. Providing consumers with a better insight into what makes your product special; ensuring that you are looking them in the eye while they are trying to formulate a deal-breaking no; finding them where they congregate naturally, and giving them an alternative to cold, soulless online shopping carts are just some of the reasons why you might want to consider supplementing you online marketing efforts with some old-school word of mouth, shake of hand techniques.
It might not be clear right away how much you should invest in these offline campaigns, but if you’ve so far only been giving online promotional methods a chance, it might be time to run at least a test offline campaign.