How Small Businesses Can Bring Their Online Marketing Offline
Before there was Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, there was direct mail. It’s not cool, it’s not sexy, but it works and it works very well. If your printer has been sitting in the corner collecting dust for a while, it might be time to pull it out and put it to good use. With pay-per-click platforms becoming increasingly expensive, it might actually be cheaper for you to physically mail something out to your prospects.
Use QR Codes
QR codes aren’t all that difficult to implement. Most printers can print them – even Lexmark products have this nailed down. How you use it is up to you. Many businesses use a QR code to link to their homepage, a "squeeze" page, or to another promotional page on their site. But you’re not limited to hot-linking.
You can also embed your contact information, order info, a special offer, or anything else you want right into the code. When people scan it with their smartphones, the phone will automatically process the code and do what you want it to do.
Advertise Your Company’s Social Media Pages
You’ve got social media pages – why not use them? Advertising is expensive? Use direct mail. That way, you’re not competing with someone else with a bigger bank account. When you use printed materials to advertise your social media presence, it doesn’t have to be low-tech either. Again, you can embed codes into the link you print out so that you can track everything.
In a sense, you’re merging online technology (tracking) with offline reliability and cost-effectiveness. Facebook, LinkedIn, and even a Twitter presence can be boosted with nothing more than fliers and postcards.
Use Augmented Reality
There are a lot of companies out there that use the same technology but Blippar has pretty much perfected the technology. Basically, you aim your smartphone at a piece of specially printed material, and the camera snaps a photo of that image and adds interactivity through the Blippar app.
It’s an interesting and unique way to add a hidden sales message, special offer or gift, or get people to pick up your flier or postcard and interact with it. The more you get people to interact with your message, the higher your odds are of converting them.
Advertise Your Website
Of course, you can use plain old postcards with a link to your website. A simple "www.yoursite.com" in the body of the postcard, direct mail letter, or flier is enough to get the name of your company out there. Of course, your message should actually say something and entice people to get on the Internet and pay you a visit.
This is probably the most low-tech way there is to transition your online efforts back to offline marketing. Once people are on your website, you can track their movement. Most businesses don’t like just throwing their web address out there because they think they can’t track the user once they’re left. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remarketing allows you to continually advertise to everyone who lands on your site – regardless of how they got there.
Michael Holmes is a business marketing consultant. He enjoys passing on his insights to small businesses through blogging.
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