The Key to Local Marketing: Combining Online and Offline

Any business that believes marketing can be broken down into small categories is doomed to fail. There is no online marketing strategy and offline marketing strategy. Local marketing requires a unified effort, regardless of medium.

The rule of seven

The rule of seven is one of the classic principles of marketing. He says that for a prospect to become a customer, they must see your offer at least seven times. In other words, once a customer has seen a brand’s offer seven different times, they have everything they need to continue with their purchase.

While the underlying principles of the rule of seven still apply, the number will be higher in 2016 and beyond. Jay Walker-Smith of Yankelovich Consumer Research points out that the average customer was only exposed to 500 advertisements a day in the 1970s, against 5,000 ads today. Accordingly, the rule of seven may as well be the rule of seventy.

But this is where marketers go astray. Many assume that throwing a bunch of marketing and advertising campaigns against a wall in hopes of a torque stick is a good idea. “It seems like the goal of most marketers and advertisers these days is to cover every empty space with some kind of brand logo, promotion or advertisement,” says Walker-Smith. But should that be the goal?

If you want to satisfy the rule of seven (ty), the goal shouldn’t be to make a lot of noise and hope your message will ring the loudest. Instead, you should be looking for ways to maximize your reach by targeting both online and offline channels. In this article, we’ll look at some specific offline and online strategies that will help your small business improve its local marketing efforts.

Three Offline Local Marketing Tips

Thanks to the growth of the internet and e-commerce, offline marketing often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So let’s start with that channel and discuss some specific tips and techniques for getting your brand in front of customers in today’s saturated marketplace.

Spend on signage

“As a famous quote goes, ‘A business without a sign is a sign of no business’ and therefore, signage should never be an afterthought. You should see it as an investment that will give you a good return long-term,” says Luke Markey of ShieldCo. “A well-designed, smartly placed sign will attract customers and generate good profits over time.”

Few investments pay off like physical signage. Think about it! If you’re trying to expose the same customer to your brand over and over again, a physical sign is the best option. People have routines and walk the same streets, drive the same roads and eat in the same places. So if your sign is on the corner of a crowded city block, the same 5,000 people will see your sign every day. After just one month, they’ve already been exposed to your brand a handful of times.

Make referrals a priority

If you’re looking to get your money’s worth, sponsoring local events and programs is a fantastic way to get your brand in front of a lot of people. Some of the more popular options include sponsoring school sports teams, non-profit events, and cultural events.

“There are many other opportunities, such as carnivals, county fairs, beauty pageants, cookouts, flea markets, walks/runs, concerts, trade associations and trade shows,” marketer Dana Zarcone suggests. “Not only do these referrals help you get your name out there, but you also build your referral network by making connections within the organization or group you are helping.”

Speak at industry events

All B2B industries – and most B2C industries – have regular conferences and events that take place at different times all over the world. If you can find a way to earn a speaking engagement at one of these events, you can give your brand some much-needed exposure. In addition to being able to reference your brand and include your logo in printed materials, you can also build your reputation as an expert or thought leader in your niche.

This also presents a great opportunity for a small online crossover. Most events and conferences these days are taped. Get a copy of the recording and upload it to your website, YouTube and social media to expand your reach.

Three local online marketing tips

You cannot survive with just one offline marketing strategy. You also need to invest in local online marketing to reach people where they spend hours of their time every day.

Here are a few tips :

Move TV commercials online

Here’s a progressive strategy to maximize your return on investment: reallocate all the money you spend on local TV ads to online video.

“ComScore recently discovered that 84% of people watch videos online. On the other hand, fewer people are watching TV, not to mention the ads that companies are still paying a lot of money for,” notes cloud marketing expert Gravity4. “To merge these two worlds, more and more companies are moving their TV ads and messages online.”

The wonderful thing about online video advertising is that it is becoming more and more programmatic and profitable. No more guessing what channels, shows and what times your customers are watching. With online video advertising platforms, you can target very specific customers and base your decisions on solid information and analysis.

Put social media to work

Social media is a challenge for many small businesses. It can feel like a huge responsibility, and many business owners are too intimidated to invest in this powerful engagement resource at any time. You shouldn’t be, though. When leveraged correctly, social media is the ultimate marketing tool – enabling repeat exposure and meaningful engagement.

Keeping in mind the rule of seven, social media is very effective because it allows you to control when customers see your brand (as well as how). If you know your users are most active during the 7-9 p.m. time slot, you can invest all of your resources to target them during that time. On the contrary, if you know that your customers do not connect to social networks during office hours, you do not have to waste your time. Social media gives you control over messaging and timing, which is incredibly valuable in the long run.

Split test all

While you need to gather a ton of data, interview clients, and hold focus groups to truly understand when an offline marketing campaign is effective, you can gauge effectiveness online in hours. The key is to divide test all.

You should test your PPC ads, social media posts, landing pages, blog posts, web design, and everything in between. The insights you extract from these tests will help you better understand your customers and produce more accurate marketing materials in the future.

Bridging the gap between online and offline marketing channels

It doesn’t matter if you are a brick-and-mortar business or an e-commerce brand, you can’t afford to target only online or offline marketing. Also, you can’t completely separate these two channels. There must be a crossover between them. Otherwise, you’re missing a chance to maximize exposure in a strategic and brand-relevant way.

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