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Why Offline Marketing Still Works in a Digital World

Image © Depositphotos.com/Deyan Georgiev

With online marketing allowing you to track every detail of your campaigns, from click-through rate to return on investment, it’s easy to assume that other forms of marketing simply can’t compare.

From trade shows to loyalty programmes, offline marketing strategies might not give you the in-depth analytics of an online campaign or the ability to see exactly what’s driving your sales.

They can, however, still produce an incredible return on investment, often times significantly higher than what you can achieve with an effective search marketing, SEO or email campaign.

In this guide, we’ll look at seven ‘old fashioned’ marketing methods that have been used for centuries – as well as a couple of newer ones – and examine how they can help you enhance your brand, increase sales and maximise your revenue.

Direct mail

From postcards to brochures, direct mail marketing is one of the best ways to get your message out there. Although digital marketers may think of direct mail as an outdated alternative to email, it can be incredibly effective when used properly.

British Airways recently used direct mail to promote its First Class Cabin to some of its most loyal, valuable customers. Instead of the standard postcard or brochure, the airline sent out a ‘Details’ pack that mimicked the design of its new First Class Cabin.

The pack included a magnifying glass that recipients could use to view the cabin in detail, right down to the stitching on the new leather seats. The result: up to three bookings per person from BA’s top audience within a four-month period.

Referral marketing

Who do you trust more: a large company’s marketing department or a close friend or relative? Most of the time, we’ll pay more attention to a recommendation from a friend or relative than we will to an advertisement or brochure.

Referral marketing lets your business tap into the social proof that only a friend or relative can provide. As a business, you can foster recommendations by offering a reward for existing customers that refer new people to your business.

Media streaming company Roku offers its customers a free month of Netflix for each new customer they refer. The programme is massively successful, bringing in more than 500 new customers a month, many of whom stay on for the long term.

Loyalty programmes

Finding new customers is one challenge – retaining them is another. If your business sells something that customers will buy more than once – for example, plane tickets or a monthly service – a loyalty programme can help you retain valuable customers.

Loyalty programmes achieve two goals for your business. First, they give customers a reason to keep purchasing your product. Second, they differentiate you from your key competitors and make you seem like a more generous, value-focused offering.

From the numerous frequent flyer programmes offered by airlines to Vodafone’s new Cherry Points system, loyalty programmes are a great low-cost, high-return offline marketing strategy that any business built on repeat sales can employ.

Guerrilla marketing

Who says your business needs to play by the rules? Guerrilla marketing turns the ‘rules’ of traditional marketing on their head and uses creative, eye-catching ideas and unique events to get your message out there.

From Ikea’s placement of furniture and accessories around New York City to this creative campaign by Loctite for its latest Super Glue, guerrilla marketing is about getting attention without the traditional marketing budget.

Public speaking

Do you have expert knowledge on a specific trend, idea or industry? If you operate a B2B business, speaking at events and conferences is one of the best ways to develop a powerful brand and set yourself (and your business) apart as experts.

Within the online marketing industry, Rand Fishkin of Moz has set himself apart as a thought leader in an otherwise distributed, fragmented industry by giving speeches and presentations on online marketing trends and ideas at conferences.

Whether your business sells online marketing services, accountancy software or any other commodity that’s useful for other businesses, establishing a reputation as one of your industry’s experts is a great way to brand yourself and increase exposure.

Whether your business sells online marketing services, accountancy software or any other commodity that’s useful for other businesses, establishing a reputation as one of your industry’s experts is a great way to brand yourself and increase exposure.

Celebrity endorsements

Endorsements are one of the oldest tricks in the marketing book, and they remain as effective today as they were decades ago. From A-list actors to online celebrities, the pool of endorsement opportunities for today’s businesses is huge.

Entire products have been built on the strength of celebrity endorsements. Hunter Wellington Boots, for example, became amazingly popular after Kate Moss wore a pair in 2005.

Celebrity endorsements can be overt – for example, William Shatner promoting the airline and hotel booking website Priceline.com – or less obvious. Sometimes a well-known celebrity using your product is all it takes to massively increase its audience.

Which offline marketing method is best?

From direct mail to trade shows, each of the offline marketing strategies outlined in this guide can help you increase sales, expand your customer base and enhance your brand. But which one, of the seven, is the best?

Just like there’s no ‘best’ form of online marketing, there’s no ideal offline marketing strategy for every business. From innovative direct mail pieces to the right celebrity endorsement, use the seven methods above as a source of marketing inspiration for your business.

Trade shows

Instead of just speaking at events, why not exhibit your business? Trade shows are a great way to develop connections within your industry, find new customers and sell your product or service directly to your audience.

From vehicles to digital marketing, there’s a trade show (or 10) for just about every industry. Whatever sector you’re thinking of exhibiting in, check out our expert guide to trade show success to maximise the ROI of your activity.

While trade shows are an expensive form of marketing, they offer huge rewards for businesses that approach them with the right strategy. A successful trade show can generate hundreds of lucrative leads, in addition to strengthening your brand. If you’re interested in exhibiting, don’t forget to browse our range of exhibition stands.

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