In Content Marketing, Event Marketing, Marketing

Traditional and Online Marketing aren’t mutually exclusive. Here’s how you can help them work together.

Digital marketing is all the rage these days, but if that leads you to conclude that traditional advertising is dead, you could be missing key opportunities to spread your brand.

Traditional marketing—print ads, TV spots, live events—can direct audiences online to connect and learn more. And the Internet can affect how people engage in the real world as well.

So, when considering traditional and online marketing solutions for your business, don’t think “either/or,” instead, think “both/and.” Here’s a few suggestions to get you started.

1. Include hashtags and Twitter handles.

When was the last time you attended an industry event? Better yet, when was the last time you presented at an industry event? During your networking efforts, did you direct anyone to your website or social media channels? Or did you only pass out business cards?

Live events are an excellent opportunity to draw attention to your brand. If you’re presenting at a conference, include your Twitter handle so that visitors have an easy way to find you online. Many may even send you a tweet to let you know what they thought of your presentation. And if you’re organizing the event yourself, include a hashtag for the event which your attendees can use in their social media posts.

The same goes for your advertising. If you’re running a TV spot, include a hashtag to help viewers connect online, like Tide did for their successful #TideAd Super Bowl promotion.

2. Create a sharable product.

Few drinks have the legendary social sharing status of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. Every year, the moment the weather starts to turn, social media lights up in anticipation of the re-emergence of all things pumpkin.

Obviously, Starbucks has been big on promoting their sharable products, and made another big splash last summer with their limited edition unicorn frappuccino, but they’re not the only business who’s run a successful campaign that encouraged online sharing.

Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign spread through the bottles themselves, with each Coke can sporting a different name. But Coca Cola also used other traditional advertising mediums to draw attention to their product change, and the public caught on.

The campaign inspired many customers to purchase a Coke just for the delight of drinking a can with their name on it—or of sharing one with a friend. And those who managed to find the right pairings of names were quick to share their discovery on social media.

3. Use print to direct customers to your website.

You want to keep your print ads looking clean, but most can afford space for a hashtag, website link, or QR code. This is a simple way to get more for your money: your ad is an advertisement that will raise your brand awareness, but it also generates an online response that you can track and analyze.

That said, once you direct your learners toward some kind of digital call-to-action, have a plan in place for what you want them to do once they arrive at their online destination. Will they follow your social media channel? Sign up for a mailing list? Buy your product?

Connect the dots for your visitors by thinking through your goals aligning the digital execution with the real-world campaign.

4. Organize in-person events online.

For community organizations and non-profits, the Internet offers an excellent way to organize supporters for in-person events. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Meetup are especially useful tools in this regard.

Meetup allows users to create and join groups according to certain themes. The Ann Arbor Meetup community has groups devoted to everything from professional networking to language learning to board games. If your organization wants to attract members to a cause, a local Meetup could be just the key.

Facebook and LinkedIn also have group functions for creating online communities. While this isn’t a great strategy for everyone, it is an opportunity to consider for group or community-oriented organizations.

5. Integrate your online and offline advertising.

Just because you made a spot for TV doesn’t mean it has to stay there. That same TV spot can be used on your social media channels, or through paid advertising campaigns online. Why not do some demographic research on YouTube to see if there’s an audience there you could target.

Similarly, an advertisement you write for a billboard can work just as well on Twitter—and at a fraction of the cost. Don’t let your creative ideas got to waste. If it’s good enough to run in print, take a moment to share online as well.

If your customers are there, you should be there, too.

At the end of the day, the marketing strategy you use will depend on your audience and your industry. If your market base has a strong online presence, digital marketing presents a cost-effective means of reaching them with your message.

But if your base has a strong showing at industry events, you should be at those events. If they tune in to a certain TV program, you should be on that TV spot. And if they also search for a certain kind of video on YouTube, you can use that same video ad online.

There’s no reason online and traditional marketing campaigns have to be separate from each other. On the contrary, they work best when executed through a multi-channel strategy that provides customers with a unified brand experience, no matter where they encounter it first.

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