We now live in a digital world. And it is not surprising that marketing has changed so much. Now any advertising strategy or brand communication has to include a good online marketing plan. Despite the rise of digital, we still love the touch and feel of physical items and don’t spend 24 hours a day looking at a screen. That’s why offline marketing is still vital. Marketing that includes all the things we do to get the attention of others when they look up from their mobile device, laptop or TV! Creating a good offline branding message will set us apart from our competitors without a doubt and tap into non-digital factors that influence the buying habits of our customers. Here are 10 ideas that you can start up, whether you have a well-known brand or you have a fledgeling business and you are working hard to build your brand:
1. Brandbook or styles book
Organisations communicate the important first impression through their brand: their name, logo, brand design and colour scheme. This message is then spread far and wide to reinforce that message. But if this message becomes confused, it loses its strength and ability to influence. It can also cause brand confusion which ultimately sends out completely the wrong signal. A brand book or style guide is a document we can use to define how we want our brand to appear whether digitally or in the physical world. This ensures that there is consistency of message which links back to the organisation’s strategy and the needs of its customer audience. Large companies may use a very complex document but even a more simple guide is still very useful for smaller enterprises to highlight printing and reproduction styles on letterhead and business cards, signage, promotional pens and other giveaways, website design, banner images on Social Media and even on the side of the company vehicles!
2. Offline advertising
Online advertising has allowed us to measure with great precision each of the promotions that run – conversion rates, click-through rate, cost per click or impression for example. This has lead many to suggest the metrics show a lower advertising and marketing cost relative to offline marketing. However, the actual delivery cost is only half the story as we also need to measure the overall return on investment and the level of engagement and brand awareness it creates with the audience. Experience tells us that offline marketing is still a valuable and effective tool to win the hearts and minds of our customers. In fact, the most effective marketing campaigns blend digital and offline marketing to ensure the message reaches as many customers as possible. So yes we can use TV and Radio advertising, social media and Adwords but depending on our target market we may still choose to advertise in specialist media and magazines, have a visual display or stand at a trade fair or expo or even ensure our people wear a uniform displaying our brand!
3. Press releases
If we need to highlight something about our business that is “newsworthy” (e.g. new product launch, success stories or new people joining the organisation) a press release is still a great way to spread the word. Once the message is carefully drafted to better engage our audience, it can be sent to many press media sources providing them with valuable content they can use to fill “column inches” and offering interesting material for their readers. We are then spreading our brand message far and wide (and hopefully without cost!) through traditional media and digital media.
4. Corporate Events
Hosting corporate events of any kind is a fantastic way of showcasing your brand – networking, products launches, exhibitions and conferences, award ceremonies hospitality and VIP events, the list is endless. In fact, if we get our marketing approach right, our brand message is communicated both when we are organising the event, as we host the event and then for many weeks and even months after! Events can big, small, niche, intimate or even open to the public It all depends on what you are trying to communicate and to which audience. It will of course also depend on your budget and time available! Digital is great, but there is no better way to win hearts and minds and communicate the important message about our products and services than meeting people face to face. If we can also use these events as an opportunity for socialising and a bit of fun, they can build strong and long-lasting relationships.
5. Direct marketing (offline)
Direct marketing is very effective in situations where reaching a local audience is important. Depending on the area we want to cover, it will involve smaller promotions running in local neighbourhoods, towns and cities and perhaps across your county. We can reach our target audience directly through some type of brochure, catalogue flier or leaflet sent out by post or hand-delivered. But there is an important rule: there always has to be value for those that receive them. No value and the direct marketing material simply ends up in the bin without a second glance! The key, therefore, is to ensure that the marketing material is visually appealing and engaging. We need to differentiate our direct marketing material from that sent by many others by making it distinctive and valuable to the reader. It is not just about discounts though. It is about solving problems for the buyer and a good price is only one of many things we can help with (e.g. free delivery, quality, personalisation).
A very quick way to get our logo brand seen is by sponsorship. By sponsoring sports clubs with new kit and accessories, exhibitions, tournaments, cultural or environmental projects, Charity events etc. As we agree to pay money as part of the sponsorship package we can negotiate at the same time how our brand or logo will be featured. Although this can be a little sensitive when we are sponsoring charity events, it is still possible to raise the profile of our brand without seeming mercenary or exploitative (e.g. we have our name in booklets, programs or newsletters promoting the event).
7. Street Marketing
It started with an A-board and a sandwich board! However, we now have billboards (and even mobile billboards), bus shelters and even sponsorship of roundabouts! On-street marketing is exactly what it says on the tin. Making sure our brand message is highly visible on the high street and public places such as parks where lots of people congregate or other businesses operate.
8. Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla marketing is very popular. It grabs attention by surprise or being highly unconventional. As the marketing approach is unexpected it can have a huge impact and therefore be especially engaging. It obviously requires a high level of imagination and creativity and high tolerance to risk. Its all about risk and reward but these things can go wrong if not well thought through. They don’t have to be expensive though. The key is that they are eye-catching and captivating and we can also use creativity to keep the cost down! We have had some great examples over recent years – flash mobs became fashionable with choral performances in the middle of the high-street or station, offering free “hugs” or even stunts. This is a high-risk strategy but can have amazing results if you are creative and original. Get your creative thinking cap on!
9. Gifts with logo or name
Placing our logo on promotional items or giveaways such as pens, umbrellas, coasters, muds and USB stick as a fantastic way to win the hearts and minds of our customers. At Web Products Direct we even produce personalised Car Air Fresheners and Glasses Cases. Customers can choose to give these away as a gift in their Corporate Welcome Pack or at exhibitions and trade shows and our Charity customers often sell them to raise awareness of important causes. However, the promotional goods must still send out the correct brand message and be valuable to those receiving them. If they are not relevant, useful or valuable they will end up in the bin. Think carefully about your customer, their likes and dislikes and the demographic you serve.
10. Customised Silicone Wristbands with your brand
Silicone wristbands remain one of the most popular promotional products we provide to our customers. Customised with their branding and logo or key message, they remain a much loved, highly visible and relatively inexpensive way of engaging with your customers. Relatively long-lasting, they are worn with pride and act as a constant reminder of your brand message. Comfortable, clean and high quality what is not to love! We either create a unique and distinctive design for our customer (and we do not charge for this!) or use their own design if they prefer. We then manufacture the goods and ship them straight to our customer’s door! I should say, this applies equally to all the promotional goods we supply.
So, the message is, don’t give up on offline marketing!
So, in conclusion, our message is don’t give up on traditional and offline marketing. It remains as relevant and valuable today as it ever was. A good mix of digital and offline marketing is the way to get your message out far and wide and reach the widest audience. It is also a fabulous way of targeting niche or specific audiences. Although we are bound to say it, customised and printed promotional goods remain a key component of offline and traditional marketing. Used appropriately, they create an immediate emotional reaction that can help drive repeat business and inspire potential new customers to knock on your door.
If you would like to find out more how we can help you to win and retain more customers through customised promotional products, our expert team will always be happy to chat. Call us on 01524 848382 or contact us via our contact form.