Marketing 101: Online and Offline Marketing Strategies
Marketing 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.
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
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!
Strictly Social: Best Practice Tips on Marketing with Info-graphics
What Makes a Good Infographic?
The MSN software package of Word, Excel and PowerPoint is considered the Holy Trinity of a business’s efficiency and productivity. Not to take anything away from the ‘old faithful,’ but charts and graphs can only communicate ideas while Infographic turns that data into information.
The Shift to Visuals:
Seems like Infographics are everywhere these days, and why shouldn’t they be. We are all perfectly aware that understanding complex data or large amounts of information can be nerve-racking for anyone. When it comes to communicating information, the mix bag of visualizations put together in an Infographic not only looks clean and professional but are also easy on the eyes, which is the reason why we just can’t get enough of them.
Ways to Rock an Infographic: The Designer’s Toolkit!
Infographics are able to quickly convey knowledge and information to its viewers in an engaging manner, provided the Infographic is informative and fun to read. Creating and presenting content and visuals in a compact and creative manner is an art, and submitting a unique Infographic on the web is one of the best things that can happen to an online marketer. The following are going to be some of the tools that can be used to make smart and effective Infographics, the old fashioned way, by doing it yourself!
Know the Lingo:
It goes without saying that to design an eye catching Infographic, you will have to write content that matters. Keeping the starting and ending points of the reader’s deduction and thought which is from the extreme left to the extreme right in mind will prove to be highly beneficial for designing a dynamic Infographic.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff:
Yes, in the world of digital media, content is King, for developing a more advanced Infographic, delve deeper into the realm of visuals to present factual data.
Drawing graphics to effectively support each point is the best way to convey a message. Using illustrated visual puns are easy on the eyes and fun to read, this will keep the audience interested and wanting for more. It is also a good way of reeling in the audience who would otherwise be uninterested in the topic at hand.
Using a color scheme is very important in order to convey a message. In Infographics, always use the main color for illustrations, whereas highlighted colors should only be used for drawing the audience’s attention to certain keywords. This will keep the audience from getting confused while reading complex Infographics.
When it comes to choosing the colors, you can have two or ten, it doesn’t matter, but assigning them appropriately will be important for tying down your thoughts visually.
Make It Obvious:
I did mention visual puns earlier, but making a point obvious with a semi-related illustration is a great way of playing with the curiosity of the viewer. References are usually used but not mandatory. By using icons or visual pointers, one can create dynamic Infographics while minimizing clutter.
Arts and Graphs:
The line graph is popularly used in most Infographics to identify current growth rates or other metrics. To make good use of empty space, you can crunch down serious numbers by using the width of the whole page.
Knowledge, Research and Data:
Well, it goes without saying that when you are making Infographics, you will need to do some thorough research about the information and data that you are going to present. Doing extensive research will inevitably lead you to piles of data and it is the sifting through that data which will be the most important part of developing an Infographic that is concentrated.
Designed the Infographic … What Now?
Okay, now you will really need to pay attention. If you want your Infographic post to go viral, use the following tips to do so:
Add an Embedded Post so Others Can Re-post it:
One of the things which you can use to extend the reach of your ‘work of art’ is by using directories. These directories serve the dual purpose of both acting as a place to house your Infographic and as a resource for finding ones to borrow from.
Involve a Credible Source:
By involving credible sources in the data collection, you can encourage those sources to help you promote the resulting Infographic.
Don’t Forget the Tweets:
Schedule tweets of specific data points mentioned in the Infographic over time with a link back to the full Infographic. This approach can work on sites like Facebook as well.
Highlight your Infographic in an email promotion to prospects and customers. Also include a segment for the link where they can view the image. Offer previews or pre-release opportunities to more influential sources.
Creating a screenshot of the Infographic will help you in promoting your visual masterpiece on sites like YouTube and other video hosting services.
Document Hosting Websites:
While the images can be shared at the sites/directories mentioned above, it would also be wise to deconstruct your Infographic into a document format which can be shared on sites.
Social Sharing Buttons:
Social sharing buttons on the page that hosts your Infographic should always be visible and easy to use. Include a text area form element with a code that users can copy to embed your Infographic on their own website or blog.
Setup: The Anatomy of Marketing
If you are looking for the same unimaginative tips that have been played out on hundreds of other websites, you might as well go someplace else. The truth is that learning how to use Twitter “effectively” will not make you become rich any more than creating a great looking Facebook page will make your business successful.
Ask any of the wildly successful entrepreneurs who have made it big and they will tell you that the only way of building a raving audience is by writing epic Sh*t. Even if you have the best damn marketing team in the world, it wouldn’t matter if your content ‘sucks’. Creative writing makes people think, it creates value, changes lives and could very well blow your audience away with its usefulness.
Schedule your promotions around the times when your potential customers and potential clients are most likely to engage.