You probably don’t need to be told about the potential of marketing online, but if you’re experienced only in print marketing, you may worry that you’re jumping into a new arena where none of your skills in print or radio matter. In reality, your experience with traditional marketing actually puts you in a strong position to take your industry by storm online. Major companies and small businesses alike have used a mixed approach, so check out some of the many ways you can bridge the gap between digital and traditional marketing.
QR Codes for Print to Digital
QR codes look like a mix of black and white squares with enlarged pixels that can be scanned by a mobile phone camera to prove that a user is in a certain location or looking at a certain object. QR codes are popular methods of providing user identification and take advantage of the pervasiveness of high-quality cameras in modern life, plus they’re so easy and free to make that they easily fit into any mobile marketing budget. They also function like personal URLs, meaning they can be tracked so you know exactly how much a QR code is contributing to your success.
QR Codes can be used to great effect in print or public display marketing. You’ve likely seen them in magazines, so let’s try a more interesting example. Imagine your business mainly functions locally, and you pass around brochures in a neighborhood advertising your services. These brochures can have a QR code that applies a discount to any online bookings of your services, which gets people more engaged with your website and more familiar with your brand as opposed to just calling a phone number on the brochure.
Customization on The Fly
Apart from speedy delivery and affordable distribution, one of the best benefits of digital marketing is how easily you can customize items for different situations or people. For instance, you can’t alter the print run of a brochure or split it into several iterations just to reach different customers, but online this becomes incredibly easy.
Imagine you run a travel planning business and have a list of leads from a survey where individuals gave their mailing address, names, and ideal places to stay for vacation. When you have a deal suited to a certain person, you could use a variable printing service to send personalized photograph cards with their name, the exact offer for their ideal place that you found, and more, all over your best picture of that location. This kind of power demands some creative thinking but pays off, no matter your business or customer base.
The Power of Content Marketing
If you want to try only a single digital marketing strategy, content marketing is the way to go. In many ways, content marketing is a mindset that anything other people are going to read by, from, or about your business should not only convert those who find it into leads, but should naturally draw more people to find it with no extra effort. Though keywords and search engine optimization might be a bit confusing at first, there are experts who can help combine you or your team’s writing skills with the best possible keyword ranking strategy.
Content marketing is explosively powerful and filled with different forms, so there’s something for any type of business. If you educate your customers with valuable knowledge, blogs connecting to short e-book offers will capture leads and keep them in mailing lists you can market to again and again. White papers and press releases can boost a B2B venture’s exposure and credibility. Even product descriptions are content that can be polished to increase the number of buyers from organic Google searches.
Get Them on The Website
A business website is like a permanently open version of a store. Even businesses who do no actual marketing online should have a website, and once you do have one it’s easy to use it with all of your online and offline marketing efforts. Anything you do through traditional marketing venues like radio or print should include clear calls to action to visit your website for a good reason, such as learning more of the helpful information provided in printed mail.
Your website should be a desirable destination for your customer base, and it’s not just about having an ordering form or online store. It can’t be said enough: having easily searchable and high quality content is what brings more people in and keeps them coming back.
Using Social Media and PPC
Image via Flickr by nan palmero
Social media, particularly through the various pay-per-click ad systems it offers, is the best way to reach lots of people in literally seconds. Imagine you are a small press that releases books a specific nonfiction market of buyers would be interested in. With even a modest online following, you could offer free copies of your next book to followers who agree to post their impressions on social media. Do this before your actual launch, and watch as the many happy pre-customers sharing their love for your product creates a dramatically stronger performance on day one.
While the sharing aspect of social media is one thing, many businesses use social media predominantly for pay-per-click ads. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and most others now let you market your products or services to extremely specific and defined groups of people, basically your ideal customers. This will in turn help you learn more about them through the pages of data revealing which people in your group responded the best to your ads, information you can flip around and use in your non-digital marketing.
These days, many businesses that once operated entirely online saw the value in moving to traditional marketing for expanded reach, and vice versa. We live in a time when major online news sites are making printed magazines for their biggest fans, so when you give digital marketing a shot make sure not to abandon your print, radio, or other non-digital methods. Once you’re comfortable enough with digital, you’ll find better and better ways to combine all of your marketing venues into a unique, cross-pollination strategy that sets you above your competition.