With focus on phrases like “content is king,” the incredible rise in video marketing, and the push to get brands active on social media platforms as soon as they emerge, it’s no wonder that companies give so much attention to internet marketing. After all, more and more business is moving online; isn’t that where advertising dollars should go as well?
Businesses definitely should focus plenty of attention on internet marketing, but internet marketing shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy. Here’s why.
As part of a business plan, companies come up with an ideal customer. Many businesses are targeting their attention to Millennials; after all, the oldest Millennials are about to hit 40, and have gaIned significant buying power. While many Millennials are comfortable online, there are plenty who prefer to remain outside of the “digital age;” although it seems like everyone has a smartphone, that simply isn’t true. By focusing solely on internet advertising, you can be missing a key portion of your preferred demographic.
If your ideal customer is part of an older generation, they simply may not be comfortable online at all. Online advertising will simply have no chance of reaching them.
Customers Like Getting Mail
Businesses often assume that their customers like getting absolutely everything digitally, but we’re slammed by spam these days. Millennials may find the post office cumbersome, but some research has shown that offering initial contact through direct mail may boost response rates. In a USPS study, more than 60% of Millennials said than they had visited a store because of a direct mail campaign they received. Direct mail needs to be carefully targeted – it’s a waste of money to blanket send a catalogue to everyone on a street – but reminding potential customers of your company in a sea of advertising can be beneficial.
Many stores have an online presence while maintaining a brick-and-mortar location. In these cases, internet advertising is important, but so is local advertising. There are many different ways to catch the attention of customers when they’re around town. Some of the classics – billboards, radio ads, newspaper ads – still work.
But companies can also get much more innovative. Partner with another store in your location that aligns with your brand. See if they can offer a reciprocal discount. For example, a popular destination for visitor tours might offer a couple of flyers for different restaurants that include a coupon for a free appetizer or drink. The destination, meanwhile, may offer a discount to customers who come in with a receipt from the restaurant.
Getting creative with your advertising helps you find new offline opportunities to attract customer attention.
Much of advertising is about getting customers into your store, but once they’re there, upselling them becomes a major goal. Sure, they came in for a small table or a new shirt, but convincing them to buy a new loveseat or a complete outfit can be accomplished with high quality in-store advertising. Discounts on full sets can be effective, and so can rewards and loyalty programs that offer incentives to spend a certain amount of money.
Okay, this is somewhat online advertising, but some companies have found success with building an app for their store. This can allow for payment through a phone, pre-ordering items for pick-up, or more. But when customers give the app permission to access location, some companies have begun triggering notifications that the customer is near a store.
This is particularly helpful for small companies that rely on quick walk-in purchases, like coffee shops and convenience stores. When a customer is used to stopping for their morning coffee, an afternoon reminder of a free latte between four and six can help get them back into the store for a second purchase.
Online Marketing Is Hard To Target
For several years, Facebook was the place to be to communicate with customers. But over time, social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and more, have made it more difficult for companies to reach their customers directly.
To get the kind of audience needed to make ROI worthwhile, companies need to pay for promoted posts or create the kind of content that goes viral – which is harder than it sounds. Many companies then work to redirect their audience to their own webpage – but maintaining a webpage can be expensive for a smaller business. Without regular updates, companies tend to fall off Google’s SERP pretty quickly, and again you’re left buying ads and promoting posts.
Targeted marketing online can be frustrating as well. Adblockers, for example, are becoming more common. Retargeted ads – those which build on a customer’s search history and display products they have already searched for – have mixed reviews from average users.
However you decide to market your business, make sure you’re tracking the ROI of your ads. If you find that a particular avenue isn’t getting the results you need, you can either choose to change the advertising in that channel, or leave the channel. But without knowing how successful the avenue is, you won’t have solid data with which to make your decision.