As websites and e-commerce become more and more prevalent, many businesses are tucking all their marketing eggs into one digital basket—i.e., relying solely on electronic channels to drive traffic to their websites.
Can Offline Marketing Channels Really Help?
While those channels can and do produce new views daily, companies limiting themselves to the Internet are ignoring the fact that there’s a wide offline world out there.
And it’s offering you countless opportunities to increase your online traffic.
The trick to taking advantage of those opportunities is to keep your eyes open and your imagination fired up. Look at everything you see and do as a chance to get your website in front of people, so people will come to your site.
A Basic Rule to Follow
Let’s start with a basic rule of thumb: Put your website everywhere: business cards, invoices, packaging/shopping bags, brochures, the shirts your employees wear, even your brick-and-mortar signage.
Remember, you’re not adding your website as an afterthought; you’re including it because it’s the place you want everyone to go. That being the case, you’ll want to be sure your URL is large enough to read easily. And San serif fonts are best.
Adding social media account URLs to offline marketing materials can also serve as an effective, albeit indirect, link to your website.
Use Offline Materials Wisely
Offline marketing channels, like radio and/or television advertisements, classified/print ads, sales slips, and shopping bags can include a call to online action.
Perhaps add an invitation to visit your website to receive a free gift or take advantage of a special offer.
You can also provide coupons redeemable only online through a bulk-mail campaign, established value mailers and local newspapers.
Don’t Forget Your Quick Response Codes
QR codes are a foolproof way to streamline offline-to-online transitions because all a potential customer has to do to land on your website is scan the code with their smartphone.
The codes are a snap to make up using a free online QR Code Generator, and you can drop one almost anywhere—into your print ads, coupons, flyers, brochures, even an ad in the Yellow Pages.
Since anyone snapping your QR code will be visiting your site from a mobile device, it’s important to make sure it’s responsive.
Believe it or not, vehicle wraps are one of the best places to share your website. One wrapped car can harvest as many as 70,000 impressions a day, and 97 percent of the people who see your wrap will remember what they see.
This is also one of the most cost-effective offline marketing channels. So be sure to create a design that’s eye-catching, but simple. And put your QR code in a prominent location.
Vehicle Wraps is a good website to find local wrap companies—but like any service, be sure to review the work and references before hiring a wrap company.
Billboards can also drive traffic to your website, but since it takes five short seconds to drive past one, bold but uncluttered designs are most effective.
Highlight your company name, logo, and URL, and keep additional text to a bare minimum. As with vehicle wraps, be sure to include a QR code on your billboard.
Making the Most of Networking Events
While trade shows and other networking events are by in large designed to promote face-to-face contact, they also provide great venues for promoting your website.
Imprint your display and every giveaway—cups, calendars, pens, and t-shirts—with your URL. Make sure it’s highlighted on every written piece you give out. And don’t forget to add your QR codes!
You can go one smart step further by telling visitors, “Thanks for stopping by. You can get a lot more information from our website at marketinggenius.com.”
Bottom line, mindfulness and creativity are the keys to driving traffic online from offline marketing channels.
If you design and create every offline channel with an eye to how you can link it to your website, the possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. And a steady increase in your web traffic is all but assured.
How have you used offline marketing channels to drive traffic to your website? If so, which channels have worked best for you?
Do you create unique URLs for your offline marketing materials, so you can track incoming traffic from its source and pinpoint which channels are most effective?
What other ways can you think of to drive offline traffic online?
About the Author
Jeremy Knauff is the founder of Spartan Media, a proud father, husband, and US Marine Corps veteran. He has spent over 15 years helping businesses of all sizes to make their mark online, and today, he’s busy building his own media empire.
Image source: author-owned