With the growth in inbound marketing, and the buzz around content, social media and digital media, marketers have more choices than ever when deciding where and how to promote their products and services. But how do you work out which channels are right for you?
Ask the Audience
Before I start answering the question and highlighting the difference between online and offline marketing, I want to point out that the one most important factor is to be found where your customers are looking. So before you decide whether you are using online marketing, offline marketing, or a combination of both, find out what your potential buyers do – how they search for information before they make a purchase decision, where they look and what they need to know. That will inform your choices.
Is it Digital?
The obvious difference between online and offline marketing, is that the former takes place entirely electronically, via the internet, and the latter can use a lot of different channels, from TV, radio and press adverts to exhibitions, direct mail and cold calling.
Permission Based Marketing
The less obvious difference is about permission versus interruption. If you think about how traditional communication methods work, they target their audience when they are doing one thing, and interrupt them with a message about something else – think about TV advertising. You are watching Coronation Street because you want to find out what David has been up to, and half way through you are interrupted by messages about butter, washing powder and car insurance.
The big advantage of online marketing, particularly using your own website, is that you can provide the information your potential customers need, and let them find it when they actually want it. The aim is to make sure that your information is found when people are looking for it, using the power of search engines and great content. If that content is useful enough, your site visitors will be happy to give you permission to send them more information and stay in touch until they are ready to buy from you. It’s a sustainable approach that grows over time and builds long term customer relationships and loyalty.
You can read more about online and offline marketing on our blog. http://blog.redevolution.com/the-benefits-of-offline-tool-vs-online-tools-in-marketing
Julie Mitchell-Mehta is a Chartered Marketer at Red Evolution, an Aberdeen based Inbound Marketing Agency that uses marketing, design, development, content and SEO skills to help businesses thrive online.