For quite some time in the early days of the internet era, offline marketing was written off as insignificant by those eager to embrace new technology. The digital world was new and exciting, while billboards and samples were played-out and unimpressive. In the years since, however, smart marketers have come to accept one simple truth: the best strategy takes a hybrid stance.
What does this mean? Put simply, hybrid marketing combines the strengths of the online and offline worlds while also mitigating their weaknesses. Your actions online can impact the efficacy of your offline activities, and the same is true in reverse: if you want to get noticed in an increasingly-crowded online landscape, turning to offline events can give you an edge.
But how exactly does this method work? Well, that’s what we’re going to look at in this post. More specifically, we’ll set out five simple tips to help you leverage offline events for online promotion, laying out great options for your next marketing campaign. Let’s get started.
Run live showcases
If you’re trying to sell products online, you need to contend with the lack of contextual clues: people like to investigate things before they buy them, and that obviously isn’t possible online. But you can highlight them more prominently through offline demonstrations. This isn’t great for all types of products, obviously, but it’s a viable method for most types.
If you’re selling clothing, for instance, you could don some of the items and go to a shopping mall or other retail area. Your task would be to engage people in conversation about the clothing: ask them what they thought of it and what they’d pay for it. You could then hand out product pamphlets and business cards (maybe even discounts) to get them to your online store.
Create pop-up shops
After showcasing your product (or products) in person, you might not want to wait until your prospective customers go online to have a chance at making some sales. Thankfully, you don’t actually need to: you can sell to them there and then through a modern pos system. Make your business future-proof with best pos system tech — that way, you can even use smart cash registers to make payment easy if you still want to accept cash.
Image credit: MTA
So here’s what you’d need to do: gather up a solid selection of products, find a busy area in which you can set up a stall (you may need to pay for this), set up a pos system to help you track sales and sync them with your main inventory system, and start selling.
The more you can sell while there, the more positive PR you’ll pick up through general social media buzz.
Organise charity functions
Doing things for charity, in addition to being ethically laudable, is also great for your brand reputation — so organising a charity function with various other business owners attending is a tried-and-tested way to get eyes on you and ensure that you’re viewed more warmly. Realbuzz has some great tips for getting it done.
What kind of charity function could you run? In trying times, there are so many worthy causes out there, so pick whichever one inspires you and think of a suitable function to hold (most likely a fundraiser, of course).
The primary goal would be to raise money and awareness, and your company would benefit in the process, making for an easy win-win.
Host some competitions
People like participating in competitions: it’s just human nature.
If you can create a branded competition with an enjoyable premise and a decent incentive that furthers your goals (a selection of your products, for instance), people will want to get involved. If they win, they get the spoils. If they don’t, well, they still had some fun trying.
What could a competition involve? How about a drawing competition, giving each participant five minutes to draw a scene involving one or more of your product? Or maybe you could have a quiz featuring questions that relate to your brand, turning it into a biggest-fan contest.
Provided you got some positive social media mentions, whatever you chose would be worth it.
Sponsor existing events
If you don’t want to organise your own event (charitable or otherwise), you could just sponsor an existing event.
This is perhaps the easiest way to take advantage of offline attention. Even events that don’t seek sponsorship might go for it if asked. Sporting events are particularly good for sponsorships.
You might not have the budget to sponsor a huge national event, but you could look for some small regional events that might attract your target audience.
A sponsorship can yield benefits such as your brand name being listed on billboards and packaging, your products being mentioned enthusiastically in marketing materials, and your details being passed to potential business partners or investors.
Build a good enough relationship with the event host and you can eventually earn some loyalty benefits.