Marketers tend to divide themselves into two camps, online and offline. This is an unnecessary division. Instead of either-or, both would be preferable. Using both, however, should not be done independently, like two parallel lines that never meet. Instead, they should be like lines that intersect at a point.
Small Business Needs an Integrated Marketing Campaign
This optimized state is called integrated marketing. It’s holistic and synergistic. It enhances marketing communication. Since this is a little hard to understand in the abstract, let’s use two concrete examples to illustrate how integrated marketing works:
Example #1. Add a monthly publication for your membership.
If you have a membership website, you might have a member’s only blog, where you share your special insights on your expertise. Perhaps, for example, it’s your stock analysis reports.
For the general public, you have some general-interest blog posts about the value of investing in the financial markets, but for your paid members, you have selective tutorial-style posts where you mentor your audience through an analysis of your successful trades.
However, instead of just publishing weekly posts on your exclusive paid membership blog, think about the possibility of adding value by using commercial printing to create a small monthly newsletter that provides added value to your membership. Your members will receive this in their mailbox, not their overcrowded email inbox.
It’s not necessary that the content is the same; in fact, it’s better that they aren’t similar, as you want to add a spark of novelty to your special printed information. Moreover, the printed version should offer high value. For instance, it could include guest articles from top experts in your field exclusively for your readership.
Why does this work? It’s because of the novelty factor. People are used to reading blogs, and they’ve forgotten the thrill of receiving their favorite publications by mail.
Perhaps, you could argue that there is a certain redundancy of time, effort, and money or that you are incurring unnecessary overheads. However, if you have a loyal audience, they are more likely to buy more from you because you treat them with such extraordinary consideration. While other stock advisers just serve up weekly blog posts, your service adds a little extra sweetness to their membership.
2. Advertise your website on your offline marketing materials.
Posters, fliers, booklets, signs, radio ads, etc are still very influential in the pursuit of brand building and expanding awareness. They reach your target audience even when they aren’t online. These traditional marketing and advertising materials and media can easily be conjoined to online efforts via design consistency, copy, QR codes, and references to your website.
So, for example, your door-to-door flyers could advertise your real estate business, but the URL on the flyer will lead those who want to buy or sell a house to a website about how successful you are at what you do. Your website, for example, may have plenty of testimonials and pictures of homes to continue the conversation you initiated by placing a flyer on people’s front doorknobs.
How to do Integrated Marketing
First, create a full-blown outbound marketing system.
This might include:
- A website and a blog
- A social media profile on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google plus.
- Paid traffic methods like Facebook Ads, banner ads, and Google PPC ads.
- Free traffic generation methods like YouTube marketing and Forum marketing.
- Landing pages to capture the names and addresses of email subscribers.
- An email newsletter you send out to your subscribers to build a relationship.
Second, think of offline media sources that you can tie into your online media channels.
For instance, your radio spot could direct people to friend you on Facebook or direct them to your landing page to sign up for your newsletter. Occasionally, you can do things the other way around, too. For instance, in your email newsletter, you could announce that you are having a free seminar and mention the locations. Meanwhile, you could also have newspaper ads talking about your free training seminars.
You can even go as far as integrated billboard messages with your social media channel. Here is an explanation of why this works from The Balance: “There is great value in an integrated campaign that uses both traditional (e.g. billboard) and non-traditional (e.g. social media) marketing channels.
The different channels reinforce the message and will often strengthen the outcome by increasing the chances that a consumer will take action. The unified marketing approach delivers numerous benefits by increasing brand loyalty, cultivating consumer relationships and boosting profits by increasing sales.“
As you can see, Integrated Marketing is not just about using inbound marketing and traditional marketing, but combining features from both worlds to create a conversation between your marketing message and your target audience. :)