How to Unite Offline and Online Marketing Channels for Integrated Customer Journey
It is believed that customers are kings. This sentence is true and people who understand it constitute the most profit-making firms. When it comes to reaching out to customers and promoting a business, there are a number of questions to be attended to. One particular major concern of the marketing teams is whether to select offline marketing channels or online marketing strategies. These channels have their own benefits and potentially useful to the company to boost its profits ultimately.
Today we live in an era of technology and digitalization. Therefore, marketers spend quite a lot on digital marketing campaigns. However, every customer’s journey is naturally going to be different. The audience is always made up of various categories, and different marketing ways will appeal to different kinds of people. They do enjoy personal communications at times, which is why offline marketing channels are still in the frame. Many people rely entirely on offline sources to get updates and news about brands.
Many marketers apply one-to-one, offline marketing techniques like mailing postcards, networking, attending or hosting trade shows, and cold calling. Nowadays, companies do not have to choose any channel as they can easily combine multiple platforms into one grand marketing strategy.
Online distribution channels include:
- Social media platforms
- Digital advertisements
- Video marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Email Marketing.
Offline distribution channels include:
- Print advertisements
- Direct Mails
- Television and newspaper advertising
- Trade events and conferences
- Flyers, pamphlets, and brochures
Both these modes are interrelated and together can produce astonishing results for the firm. One channel benefits from the other, and this circle of marketing goes on and on. It is also essential to consider that there are many financial benefits obtained by using a cross-channel approach. That’s because you don’t spend heavily on only one platform and wait for results. Instead, you optimize your resources and put all the channels at work while your company is benefiting greatly.
With advanced automation tools, it has become very simple and quick to integrate different channels and properly track everything. This advancement provides your customers with an exceptional customer experience. Cross-channel marketing is now widely incorporated in marketing campaigns to reach out to all segments of people.
Different Ways to Unite Offline and Online Marketing Channels for Customer Journey
For an extensive and integrated customer journey, firms should adopt smart ways to link marketing methods. The merge of offline and online marketing channels can be done in a lot of ways, and there are some things to be taken care of:
Plan a budget, evaluate all channels:
Sometimes, we tend to focus and spend on some campaigns that are absolutely not working for us. At the same time, we also miss out on many productive offline and online distribution channels. This loss can be avoided with proper evaluation of every marketing platform and especially navigating the most popular ones. A proper budget has to be laid out to spend the company resources in the right places proportionately. You need to continuously keep monitoring and analyzing the engagement level that a specific platform is bringing in.
Personalizations are also essential while navigating platforms on a budget. Instead of sending out multiple direct mails, marketers should target a certain number of people. Also, different combinations of cross-channel marketing should be tested, simplifying the process of decision-making.
Conduct regular market research:
Tracking your audience’s behavioral patterns and potential customers helps you learn better what is required. Offline marketing channels and various digital platforms should be used and tracked to see how people are responding. Market research should be performed every now and then to follow the trends of the market. Customer preferences, buying patterns, and other factors keep changing every day. Hence, keeping up with these changing factors is a must.
Motivate your audience:
Always keep your audience excited and connected. VentureBeat had earlier stated in a report that about 75% of people readily wish for businesses to make use of their personal information for an unmatched shopping experience. They want to see what they like and don’t mind spending time and money on the same. For getting these people to like your organization, you need to excite them about what you have to offer. Announce a giveaway, hold an interesting competition, or just give them daily quizzes where they can answer and win. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is engaging.
In the meanwhile, appreciate your existing customers and express your gratitude. Deploy all methods to retain them and keep them satisfied. This can be done through online and offline marketing channels by continuously keeping up to their expectations and being seen everywhere.
While uniting online and offline advertising channels, it is regularly advised to produce highly engaging content. This content can be utilized jointly on all platforms. Almost all marketers now do this for assured responses and high visibility. However, recently user-generated content is taking up the limelight. The audience finds it more relatable when other people like them have posted the text, images, or videos.
For example, you encourage people to click pictures at your boutique and use a specific hashtag to post them online. You can then repost these images on your channels. This type of content connects people into groups who appreciate your work and are celebrating your brand.
Promote your offline business through an online presence:
Several bricks-and-mortar businesses have started working on their online presence. Improving offline customer journey through digital platforms is the new motto. If you have an offline store, say a restaurant or a retail store, and get fewer customers, it is high time to make yourself digitally visible. You can do this via a website, blogs, chatbots, ratings on other websites, and social media pages.
Create an online community and make everyone aware of your existence. People will not respond until they know you. You are more likely to get clients once you get out there in the digital world and make an identity for your brand. Food trucks use these ways very innovatively. They keep posting updates on their whereabouts, which pulls huge crowds to their next location.
Posting testimonials of customer experiences prove to be very valuable and beautiful for their social media channels. This emotional bond shifts the mindsets of people and makes marketing successful.
Drive online business through offline modes of communication:
Like the earlier point, you can also present your online business through offline marketing channels. When your customers have been following you on social media, it is good to make them feel your existence in person at times. If your business is all about people buying your products or availing of your services online, offline communication can keep them closely connected.
For instance, if you are hosting an online webinar, directly inviting people through invitation cards will indeed create a buzz. Sending direct mails, gifts, advertising in magazines, handing out flyers and brochures, and attending business events are examples of offline marketing. There are many other offline advertising channels that you can incorporate into your campaigns.
Use automation tools:
For performing cross-channel marketing campaigns, you should highly consider using marketing automation tools to assist you in the same. With one common platform linked to every channel, you can make and maintain reliable reports for future planning. You can do a lot more things like insert links, hashtags, and codes on your direct mail or use customer information to personalize advertisements on their screens.
Importance of Connecting Offline and Online Marketing Channels
There are several reasons why more and more marketing teams are getting offline, and online marketing channels collaborated in their plans. When combined, these powerful tools are best for the company and its audience as they, too, have their own preferences. Below are some of the benefits of this smart combination:
Inform and educate people from all walks of life:
Whenever we speak of human beings, the term “diversity” comes to mind. Companies operate in a society where they have to please and keep up with people of all segments to continue their existence.
A combined form of marketing helps connect people online and be a part of the offline customer journey. It is essential to inform and educate people about your brand if you are looking at them as potential buyers.
However, the goal will not be justified with just one or two marketing channels. The more marketing channels a company gets involved with, the larger is the audience. It makes it more likely to get purchasers and keep the business running smoothly.
Increase and improve your database:
Businesses should keep on increasing the number of people they have on their database. Collecting prospects’ details is an ongoing process that never comes to an end. The executives are always looking for means to improve the quality of their data and, at the same time, keep adding to it.
United offline and online distribution channels enable extracting data from many channels simultaneously, which can be of good use. Offline data can be collected in the form of names and contact details when customers are physically visiting somewhere.
Online data does not require any physical appearance and is just collected and stored through digital platforms. This data is then put together to enlarge the company’s database, giving rise to more leads and more sales.
Maintain long-term customer relations:
Driving customers to make sales may be the most important business aspect for a firm. But customer retention is equally necessary for long-term relationships and smooth operations.
Maintaining customers can be difficult if online and offline advertising channels are not used together. People spend a lot of time on their phones, which makes it a must to have an online presence. If you are digitally visible to a customer, they will remember your brand and continue repeating their purchases. In the same way, sending an appreciation postcard or a letter showing how much you care is a small yet great gesture.
Enhance brand image and visibility:
Increased media coverage, transparency and trust-building, clear brand motives, and high trustworthiness are some of the things that every company wants. When you decide to absolutely level up your online and offline customer journey, using it collectively is the best choice to make.
Your brand needs to be visible at all times to everyone. It should be adored and well-recognized by the people and the media. Blended marketing campaigns are sure to achieve this objective and give people a clear reason to look up to your firm as a reputed brand.
Cut down marketing costs:
Marketing and PR costs are cut down to a great extent when multiple offline and online distribution channels are simultaneously utilized. With proper planning and execution, marketing teams can cost-effectively make the company appear everywhere and have a tight grasp of the expenditures. This is because creating content can be costly. The resources are used in an optimized manner when you share the same content over many channels all at once. One message, multiple platforms, and an increased audience can be the real game-changer for a lot of companies.
Simple collateral efforts, more results:
Consistency is the primary key. Being consistent everywhere builds trust among people. It gives them a feeling that they can blindly put their money in that company’s hands and get something valuable and useful. Collateral management of offline advertising channels and online platforms makes marketing time-saving and simple.
Online and offline distribution channels are two opposite sides of a company that needs to work together for a cherished customer journey. There are a lot of advantages to both of these modes individually. But when it is merged into one, the results are excellent. This combination should flow very easily and should be an ever-lasting process.
Cross-channel marketing has gained much popularity in the business world, and the reasons are clear and obvious. The more places you are known, the more sales you tend to get. Along with high sales, the enhanced brand image and coverage are absolutely worth the integration.
The mixed-use of offline and online marketing channels is applicable to all business models at any level. Start-ups use it to make themselves known, while already established firms use these channels to maintain their image in the market. Under all circumstances, the ROI is always positive, which makes it an excellent decision to mix and perform.