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As business owners and entrepreneurs, we hear it all the time- “Your business needs to be online.” Search engines and social media dominate the consumer journey, and businesses do whatever they can to show up in this mobile-driven landscape.
When all of the experts are giving their top tips to be found online, it’s easy to forget the necessity of offline marketing.
It’s time to get back to some basics.
What is marketing?
Before we can start to look at offline marketing, we really need to understand what marketing is- and what it isn’t.
To many, the words “marketing” and “advertising” are synonymous. However, there are some key differences we need to know in order to be effective at either.
Advertising is exposing people to your brand, products, and services. Billboards, print ads, online banner ads- these are all advertising.
Marketing is the strategic process of connecting, educating, and building a relationship with your desired audience over time in order to establish trust and loyalty. Marketing is all about relationships.
Marketing is not just throwing up a billboard on the side of the highway and calling it a day. Marketing is not building a fancy website- just because you’ve built it does not mean they’ll come.
Marketing is about giving people a real, human experience.
Here’s a great example...
A young man stands in the check-out at the convenience store. He glances at the cooler of soda on his right, and there it is: a bottle of Coke with her name on it- “Samantha”.
He grabs it from the cooler and hands it to the cashier. This is his ticket.
The young man makes his way to school, and his heart is pounding as he opens the door to the classroom. He pulls the soda out of the grocery bag and sets it on the desk of a bubbly brunette.
She’s blushing as she looks up at him, smiles, and says, “Thanks.” Her heart is pounding now, too.
The sweating bottle of Coke on her desk bearing her name just confirmed what this girl had been hoping for- the boy likes her back.
This beverage just sparked a sweet, innocent meet-cute, and the two teens will always associate “Coke” with that electric moment.
They just created a lasting, emotional connection to the brand.
That is marketing.
Offline marketing strategies often consist of billboards, employee t-shirts, and sponsoring little league teams. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, if there isn’t a strategy involved, then they will do nothing more than advertise.
Let’s use sponsoring a little league team as an example.
If that is something that makes sense for your business, how can you turn that from advertising into effective offline marketing?
You create an experience.
As I mentioned before, your social media should be a mirror of what you’re doing offline.
What’s so great about these offline strategies is that every single one of them provides the opportunity to create engaging, relevant content online. Facebook events, social media posts, and website content will all naturally flow from these offline efforts.
The Key Takeaway
Hopefully these examples ignite some inspiration for your own strategy.
Just remember- marketing is about investing in the long-term relationships with your target audience. Those real relationships are cultivated both on and offline. They take time, forethought, and patience. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
At the end of the day, people just want a real, authentic, human connection with the companies they use.
If you can create that, you’ll generate loyal customers for life.
by Megan Dyer