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Marketing 101: Online and Offline Marketing Strategies

marketingMarketing has changed since the emergence of the Internet. People have become more aware of when they are being sold something. This savviness has resulted in practices like adblocking, where annoying pop-up advertisements are ignored. These advertisements are flashy and animated, and are seen to slow down or interfere with the browsing experience.

In print, meanwhile, this ad saturation has become pervasive as well. Many publications are padded with ads, with sponsored articles ever more obvious and prevalent. The Internet has also made many print publications obsolete, and the few magazines and newspapers that have not folded are looking for new ways to thrive. That’s where new methods of marketing, offline and online, come into play.

What is Online Marketing?

Simply (or perhaps overwhelmingly), online marketing is communicating your brand through all available avenues on the internet. This includes, but is not limited to, your official company blog, your corporate storefront, your partner websites, guest posts with your affiliates, email correspondence, and social media.

Types of Online Marketing

1.     Domain name

Your domain is literally your address on the Internet. It’s important that this be easy to remember, so that people can go straight to it without needing to search. Make sure that your domain is readily connected to your company—preferably your brand name.

However, unless your company name is truly unique, it’s likely that your domain name has already been taken. See if you can contact the owner of that domain and settle on purchasing it from them. If not, think of something that is at once catchy and easily associated with your brand.

2.     UX design

User experience design is critical to the online process. At its most basic level, this means the ways through which your customers will interact with your online presence, from initial exposure, to purchase, and down to support.

As such, your online storefront and blog should be easy to read and use. Ordering a product should be as hassle-free as possible, and your customer service should be top-notch. Every aspect of the experience should be optimally designed to promote ease of use—crafting a great experience goes a long way in fostering that reputation for quality.

3.     SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a useful tool in promoting awareness of your brand. People use search engines such as Google and Yahoo to help them navigate the Internet, and websites that appear in the first page of results get the highest traffic. Using SEO, conducted through promoting relationships with other sites, will help your website get to the top of search results organically.

4.     Email marketing

While it may be seen as old-fashioned, email marketing is a potent tool to contact your already existing userbase. Using the personal nature of email, you can inform them of new promotions, sales, or products. You can even give them perks for signing up for your newsletter. This added layer of exclusiveness lends to its appeal, and makes your customers feel valued.

5.     Social media

With the proliferation of social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, many Internet users simply get their content from their buzzing social feeds. With links shared on the most prominent social media networks, who needs to actively look for the latest developments? Promoting your presence on these networks is also a great SEO technique—the search engines now consider this factor when calculating your site’s credibility.

6.     Great content

Having people visit your site means nothing if they immediately leave because your content sucks. Make sure that you create articles, videos, and images that are engaging and informative, and leave your visitors wanting more.

Put up a company blog that is more informal and accessible, presenting a relatable face for the company. Cultivate relationships with other sites and post there, linking back to your site. As long as your stuff is worth reading or listening to or watching, people will be interested.

What is Offline Marketing?

Offline marketing, on the other hand, is taking advantage of traditional media to raise awareness as much as possible. You can employ brochures, pamphlets, television ads, radio ads, and more long-established media like newspapers and magazines. Ironically, many forms of offline marketing direct readers to URLs, for potential customers to get more information on the Internet.

Types of Offline Marketing

1.     Networking

While social media is great, actually making real-life friends and contacts is on another level entirely. Brush up your spin, tweak that smile, and physically get out there and promote your company and yourself. Don’t be blatant about it—become their friend first, and then casually drop what it is that you do. In this case, having a business card is elegant, efficient, and says it all.

2.     Snail mailing

Advertising or direct marketing is the original “junk mail”. While its effectiveness has certainly diminished over the years, with envelopes that explicitly look like ads thrown immediately in the garbage, using it for your present customers can be even better than the email advertising we mentioned above.

Class it up by using quality envelopes, paper, and a striking, modern design, and include truly exclusive offers that are only available through this method. As spam moves to the online space, getting an actual physical advertisement may be surprising enough to actually work.

3.     Seminars and conferences

Trade meetings are excellent places to keep abreast of the latest trends in your industry. You’ll also be able to learn new techniques and approaches from luminaries, and maybe even meet your personal and professional role models. Plus, it’s a great way to network.

Just make sure that your business card stands out—in a sea of them, it’s easy to get overlooked. At these shows, set up a stand that attracts attention, and stock it with products and literature about your company and your products.

4.     Television and radio

An obvious approach using TV and radio is buying ads directly, but this is often cost-prohibitive. A more engaging way is to secure guest spots on talk shows, where you can actually have conversations with the hosts, answer questions, and promote your brand more effectively. Getting featured in a program will also extend your reach, allowing you to reach demographics you previously could not access.

By using a calculated combination of new and traditional media, you can ensure that your brand will permeate throughout the various audiences for your product or service. Study these methods and see which of them will be most effective for your business.

Which of these techniques have helped you the most? Are there others that you find particularly useful? Let us know in the comments!