From mobile to content, search to social, learning how to effectively integrate your online and offline strategies can help you get the most from your budget and get the best results for your sales team’s pipeline.

Building trust & awareness

According to Nielsen, 54 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from a newspaper or magazine ad.

Print advertising can be a very effective way of building brand trust. For new companies wanting to raise awareness, offline advertising will create a perception of legitimacy. For established companies, offline advertising will present your company as a strong brand, and one that can be trusted. That trust will carry through to online.

Strong offline marketing will also increase direct traffic and branded search traffic, so if you’re running offline campaigns, it’s worth monitoring these channels as well as any unique campaign URLs.

Use offline marketing to qualify online leads

If targeted right, your offline campaigns will pre-qualify those who reach your website. Carefully considered positioning can reduce time-wasters, and result in a better conversion rate as leads are highly relevant.

Choosing the right channel for your offline advertising will see a far better return on investment, so take the time to form a carefully considered offline marketing plan. A publication may have a million monthly subscribers, but if they are not the right audience for your business, your ad will be irrelevant and result in very few - probably low quality - leads.

That said, you may also consider avoiding a highly saturated area where it is hard to stand out. For example, a shed and greenhouse company may find that their ads are lost in a crowd in a gardening magazine, but a carefully placed ad in a housing magazine could see far better success. By knowing your audience and having an insight into their lifestyle, you can qualify leads at the top of the funnel.

Use social media to learn about potential customers

Conducting online polls and surveys can uncover valuable data about your target market. This can provide valuable discussion points for blogs and press releases and inform your overarching marketing strategy.

Social media analytics can tell you a lot about your audience, from their age and geographical location, right through to their interests. Gaining data from social media can help you better understand your audience’s needs as a whole (although keep in mind that your social media audience will not be wholly representative of your offline audience). You can target and tailor both your online and offline campaigns effectively to influence your target market — if one type of targeting works online, consider trying it offline, and vice versa.

Encouraging engagement

Encouraging participation in events is a powerful way to boost engagement across your audience, even for SMEs.

Take a book signing for example. The book store could use social media in the build up to the event and create a buzz, rather than relying solely on in-store posters and word of mouth. Setting up a Facebook event for the signing will not only allow people to invite friends, but also remind attendees of the event in advance.

Encouraging your visiting author to post on social media about their day could give you exposure to an untapped audience.

Larger organisations can also make the most of their events online. Pull quotes from guest speakers and share on social media and in your content. This could start a conversation with other professionals in your industry and your target market.

To highlight your event online, make use of dedicated hashtags, custom Snapchat filters and real-time tweets from guest speakers. Geo-targeting can also help you pull in potential attendees from the nearby area, and if you have the technology, bluetooth beacons is another one to look at.

Keeping track of campaigns

Use custom URLs to track your offline marketing. This way, you can see whether your offline activities are effective and which channels are working. Ensure you keep things short and sweet with a vanity URL, or even consider using a QR code.

You can create a custom link for each ad shell, magazine ad, affiliate promoter, or for a particular niche. You can link directly to a landing page that caters to a particular audience and even trial split testing where a split of the audience land on a variation of a webpages to determine which converts better.

This information will give you insight into the success of each ad, and help you in planning marketing strategies and deciding where it's worth investing in future ads.

Similarly, software is available to track where your incoming calls originate from. This will help you discover which landing pages are converting to calls and help you learn about your prospective customer. This data will highlight the services or campaigns that resonate with them and help you tailor your approach when contacted.

Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry online and offline

Content marketing is a time investment, so making the most of your content will ensure it is worthwhile. Producing industry leading articles will position you as an expert in your field. Don’t restrict your content by limiting it to your blog, get it out there!

Make the most of your digital content by adapting it for press releases for your offline public relations strategy. By repurposing your content, you are improving the chance of reaching quality leads. Strong onsite content will build trust in your brand as it demonstrates you know your stuff. You can then use this to outreach to external websites too, creating links to your site and cementing your place as a thought leader in your industry.

Take this one step further with your offline strategy by attending roundtables and masterclasses. Use content from your blog to spark discussions, or as the basis for a presentation.

To wrap up

Integrating your offline and online marketing strategies can lead to higher quality leads, better targeted campaigns, and as a result, a better return on investment. Optimise your pages to convert with strategically placed contact forms, quality content and easily accessible contact information.