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Offline vs. Online Marketing: Which is Best for me?

Offline vs. Online Marketing - Which is Right for You? [Featured Image]
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Ever been torn when deciding if offline vs. online marketing would be a better option for you? If so, stay tuned because in this article, you’ll get pros, cons, and advice to make your choice.

Have you found yourself blindly trying out different marketing techniques, hoping that they will work for you as well as they worked for another company that you saw? 

Or, you try it out because that’s what everyone else says you need to do. 

People might be telling you, “Open a Facebook page– that’s where you’ll get more sales”, or “start a website because everyone else is doing it”. 

Don’t waste time and resources trying out different marketing techniques without doing your research and understanding how they work. 

Keep reading this guide to help you understand online and offline marketing and pick out the marketing that will work best for you.

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What is Offline Marketing?

Offline marketing is the kind of marketing that doesn’t need the internet. 

Offline marketing uses traditional channels that worked before the internet existed, and are still used today. 

Like the billboards that you pass on your drive to your doctors’ appointment. Or, the flyers you receive in your mail, advertising a 10% off offer on bedding.

Offline marketing can be as large and involved as renting space on a billboard next to a major highway, or as simple as handing out your business card to the owner of the coffee shop you like to go to.

What are some Offline Marketing Channels?

There are several offline marketing channels that are used by businesses, all offering different ways to reach your target customers.

1. Print

This is where you advertise your business on physically printed media. You can:

  • Buy ad space on magazines and newspapers to advertise your services.
  • Print out flyers to supply to potential clients that show what you offer, or to communicate new products and discounts
  • Send out pamphlets and coupons directly through mail to your target audience, or follow up mail to previous customers to market different services that complement their purchases.
  • Print business cards with your contact information and services to hand out to people

2. Cold Calling and Warm Calling

You have probably received these calls from random salespeople trying to sell one product or the other. For cold calling, you scrap people’s contacts from different places, and then call each of them selling your product, with the intention of getting a few new clients from the cold calls.

Warm calling, on the other hand, is more targeted as you would get contacts of people who have already shown interest in the product or service you offer. You could have people sign up with their contact information at a trade fair, and then reach out to them later by calling them to offer your services and products.

As you can probably tell already, warm calling may have better results. People are less likely to dismiss your call when they already know of you. You don’t want to sound like one of the numerous annoying callers trying to sell them something they haven’t shown interest in.

3. Billboards

Highways and busy roads are ideal places to put up marketing messages. You can rent space on the billboards and have your business in front of a large number of drivers and passengers that use that route.

4. TV and Radio Ads

Can you picture the Hershey’s Cookies n’ Creme TV commercial? Or one of the Old Spice commercials. TV and Radio ads are aired in between shows on TV. 

They target people watching TV or listening to the radio and are used to keep brands in the memory of their audiences.

When your audience keeps seeing your brand or hearing about it, they are more likely to grab your product the next time they see it, as opposed to picking a product that they can’t recall at all.

5. Networking

You can also market offline by attending events and talking about your products at those events; striking up a conversation with people that you think might be interested in your business: all part of networking.

Now, offline marketing is often referred to as traditional marketing. 

So, you may worry if it really works, with all the newer, more tech-savvy ways of marketing that exist. Then comes the question:

Does Offline Marketing still Work?

Yes, it does!

People will remember your brand if they see it every day on their drive to or from work.If they see your brand of dishwashing soap, for instance, it might remind them that they need to replace their dishwashing soap. Chances are higher for them to grab your brand of soap when they go shopping because they are already familiar with it. 

Offline marketing gives you a way to be in people’s minds, and often, it leaves them with something physical that they can remember you by. Similar to a business card, that they can quickly pull out of their wallet when they need a service or product that you offer. 

If your message comes at the ideal time, your audience will purchase your products.

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Who does Offline Marketing work for?

There’s a whole list of offline marketing channels as we saw above, and each comes with its own advantages. 

Some offline marketing channels require a large budget and are more suitable for larger businesses. For instance, using billboards and TV ads may need you to have a large budget to pay for that space.

On the other hand, some channels like creating flyers and networking or handing out business cards require a smaller budget. 

You don’t need a lot of money to market in these ways, and may often just need to put in the time and effort. 

Offline marketing also works better for different target markets. 

It is often location-sensitive. You may need to be within the same area as your target market to distribute flyers for instance or hand people your card. 

When your clients are scattered across the world, offline marketing to a local audience may not be most suitable for you. 

Pros and Cons of Offline Marketing

Let’s look at some of the positives and negatives of offline marketing:

 Pros

  1. Remain in people’s minds for longer, when they have a physical reminder of your brand.
  2. Reach customers who are not active online, like the elderly, or busy CEOs
  3. Allow a face-to-face interaction depending on the channel you use. Through networking and conversing with people, you can give more personalized messages to people.

Cons

  1. Not always targeted. May get more uninterested audiences.
  2. Hard to measure reach
  3. Relies on geographic location. Limited reach of people
  4. Often viewed as annoying interruptions. For example, calls from salespeople, or ads that appear in between shows may be viewed as interruptions.
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Online Marketing

Now that we’ve seen what offline marketing is, let’s look at online marketing and what it’s all about.

What is Online Marketing?

Online marketing is the kind of marketing that happens over the internet. It includes the use of social media, websites, apps, and other online channels. 

Through online marketing, you reach potential customers when they are online; whether that’s on Facebook, or search engines (like Google), or even on their emails. 

Online marketing has enabled many people to market their businesses even with a small budget. The budget and expertise needed depend on the type of online marketing you choose.

What are the different Types of Online Marketing?

Online marketing can be done in so many different ways. Here are some of those ways…

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

For SEO, you want to work to get your listing or website to rank higher up in search engine results pages like Etsy, Pinterest, Amazon, Google, or Bing. 

When SEO works for you, you would appear at the top of the search results page, on page one–that is where you want to be.

How Search Users Search

Think about the times when you search for anything on the web. How often do you visit the second and third pages of the search results?

Not very often, right?

Your audiences will behave in the same way, which shows you just how much better it is to rank on that first page.

How to Rank Higher

You rank higher by:

  • Making it easy for users to access your website
  • Giving them valuable information on the website such that they can find exactly what they were looking for
  • By using terminology people are likely to use when searching online
  • And, by offering information that’s in high demand and low supply

Great Benefits of SEO

SEO is great to direct audiences that were already looking for something similar to what you offer to your site. 

And, while you may need to pay an expert to help you rank, or take some courses, you don’t have to pay the search engines when it comes to SEO.

Resources:

2. Search Engine Marketing(SEM)

Unlike SEO, Search Engine Marketing uses paid search. 

The end goal is for your site to appear at the top of the search engine, just like SEO, only that you pay for SEM. 

How Search Engine Marketing Works

You do this by bidding for keywords that your audience might type into the search engine.

Every time someone types in these keywords, your site can appear on the search engine. 

Search engines clearly point out the paid search results. On Google search, they appear at the top with the word “ad” before them.

3. Email Marketing

You can send out messages that promote your product or service directly to people’s emails. Email marketing lets you reach a large number of targeted audiences with a more personal engagement.

Email lists are often of people that have shown interest in your products. 

The Benefits of an Email List

People could be on your list of emails because they signed up to receive a discount on a purchase made or to access a webinar or short course. 

You can then target your message depending on why they subscribed to your list.

This could be introducing new products to them, offering after-sale services, or keeping them in the loop of what is happening in your business.

Email marketing brings your brand closer to your potential buyers, by letting you communicate with them directly through their email.

4. Affiliate Marketing

For affiliate marketing, people earn a commission by promoting your business to their audience.

For instance, if you are selling running shoes, you could work with a website that has content on sports and a solid following of people interested in sports. 

They would post their content and include information about your running shoes on their website, encouraging people to buy your shoes. You then pay them a commission for any shoes sold through their website.

You gain access to their audience while they earn by selling your products.

5. Social Media Marketing

Social media also provides a platform to market your business. Depending on where your target market spends most of their time, you can use sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to advertise your brand. 

You can use social media to drive engagement and get people talking about your brand. 

Your audiences get to share their experiences, tell others about your products and build a community of people that share an interest in the industry you are in.

With social media marketing, you can create a relationship with your clients, and build your brand in a way that lets your audience recognize you easily. 

6. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is where companies partner with ‘influencers’. These are people that have been seen to influence buying choices. You would pay the influencer to promote your product on their platforms and drive traffic to your business.

Your task would be to partner with those that share a similar audience, so they can drive the right kind of traffic to your site.

Online marketing has become very popular in the past couple of years, even as more companies rush to migrate online. But does it work for everyone?

Who does Online Marketing Work for?

Online marketing can work for different businesses: both small and large. When you have a limited budget, you can opt for free marketing techniques such as the use of social media to build relationships and grow from there.

Online marketing also works best for companies that have either a fully or a partly digital model. 

Some thing to Consider about Marketing Online

If your business operates online, such as for eCommerce stores, online marketing is more suitable for you. Your clients will purchase from you online, so you would also need to market to them online.

Online marketing also depends on your target audience and their behavior. 

Do your potential customers spend their time online? Do they use social media often? If they do, then online marketing would be more suitable for your business.

Pros and Cons of Online Marketing

Online marketing has its good side and some downsides. Let’s look at a couple of them.

Pros

  1. Easy to measure and track performance. You can track and measure data in real-time for online marketing. This includes follows, likes, shares, number of visits, time spent on the platforms and other such performance indicators that are available on your sites. 
  2. Location independent. You can market to anyone anywhere in the world as long as they have access to the internet. 
  3. Allows direct feedback. Clients can quickly give you their feedback by leaving a comment or sending an email at their convenience.
  4. Enables more targeted marketing. You can divide your market into specific groups based on their gender, age, interests and location, allowing for targeted messages that could lead to better results.


Cons

  1. Some may require technical knowledge. You may need to know how to optimize a website for Search Engines (SEO) for instance, or how to send out bulk emails.
  2. Requires internet connection to work.
  3. Competition. There are millions of websites online, social media pages that you need to compete with

Both online and offline marketing offer different benefits. Now you may find a few techniques that could work for you from both options. Is there a way to integrate both options?

How do you Integrate Online and Offline marketing?

You can choose to integrate online and offline marketing, picking those which work for you on both sides. 

For instance, even as you have social media platforms to market your business, you may also carry business cards with you to events to share with people that are interested in your product. 

Offline vs Online Marketing: Which one should you use?

When picking the option that will work best for you, consider your business and its specifics including:

  • Your target audience. Where do they spend their time, what platforms do they use? If you answered mostly online, then go for more online marketing styles.
  • Your business model. Is it fully online? Do you sell through a brick-and-mortar building? For a fully online business, you may need to lean more towards online marketing.
  • Your budget. Some marketing techniques need a higher budget, while others could be even free. When you have a small budget, go for a mix of easy-to-implement online and offline marketing styles.
  • Your expertise. Can you handle SEO or SEM? Do you have the skills needed to use the marketing technique? Or a team to handle it? If your answer is yes, then you can create a more detailed online marketing system that includes Search Engine Marketing, Email Marketing, and styles that require some form of expertise.

Answers to these questions give you a more clear view of which technique to choose. You know your business and its capabilities best, and now you have the information you need to pick between online and offline marketing.

For more personalized help in choosing between offline vs. online marketing or deciding on the marketing technique that will work for you, get a free consultation with us here.

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Hey there! I'm Leah Ngari.

Hey there! I'm Leah Ngari.

I am a Copywriter/Blogger that's very passionate about helping others. I joined the How to Entrepreneur team in 2021 and my goal is to help entrepreneurs and business people grow by informing and educating them through written content.
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