Many times, when we talk about “traditional marketing,” we’re talking about printed pieces, billboards, newspaper ads, etc. If you think back to when your organization started its marketing strategy, you can probably recall the quarterly newsletter that went out or the advertising contracts you had with monthly magazines. And you may very well have those items still in your marketing arsenal today.
However, traditional (print) marketing has some new competition in town: digital. And rather than think of traditional marketing taking the back seat to digital or online marketing, think of them as friends working together to give you the best, well-rounded marketing strategy for business.
Working together: traditional and online marketing
Let’s look at a few examples of traditional marketing pieces you may be using and how they can apply online as well. Much of what we do in print can be applied to online marketing if you keep your strategy in mind from the start. Always think about ways to make your marketing materials have multiple purposes (and in the long run, it can cut down the amount of work you need to put into each project).
Large format advertising can be tricky. You have seconds to grab the attention of your audience, get them to remember your brand and drive them to act. If billboards are part of your overall marketing strategy, be sure to think about how you will track the success of these messages. One way to do this is to combine your online channels with your ads. Drive your audience to act in a way that can be tracked online.
This can be as simple as directing them to your Facebook page (be specific about where to find you; just putting the Facebook icon on your ad will not inspire most people to search for you there). If this is the route you’ll take, set a timeline around your billboard ads and monitor the activity on your Facebook page within that same time period. Can you make a correlation between increased likes, engagement or interaction to your page during that time period?
Even better: Create landing pages. Keep them short and sweet, creating customized landing pages that are only accessible to those who view your billboard. Whatever short landing page URL you decide on can then be used on your billboards so that you can track the traffic and success of those pages based on who saw your ads. Once those users have found you online, there are ample opportunities to engage with them and gather more information about your audience.
Similar to billboards, custom landing pages and URLs can be displayed in your magazine ads to track success as well. Another option would be to use a customized QR code to track ad success (yes, there are still QR code users out there). Think about your audience and what the best chances are for engaging them in your ad; for getting them to act.
Another option would be to provide offers that are only available online or by using a certain promotion code that is provided in your ad. Direct readers to your blog, your Facebook page or your YouTube channel to learn more and to input the code for the special offer.
Newsletters or annual reports
One of the most common ways to merge traditional marketing and online marketing is to make your newsletters and annual reports interactive so that those who prefer to read things on screen can do so and those who would rather have the pieces in their hands can go that route as well. A few digital publishing platforms to look into include Joomag, Lucidpress and ePage Creator.
When it comes to content in your printed newsletter or other publications, think about how that content can be translated online. Are there articles you can expand on as a blog post? Is there a hot topic that you can invite readers to discuss on your Facebook page? Are there images you’d love to see (e.g. think conferences, events, etc.) your audience snap a picture of and share on Instagram? Think multi-purpose when it comes to the content in your printed publications in order to engage others online as well.
Services brochures and sell sheets are great printed materials to have on hand for trade shows, meetings with potential clients or new members of your organization. Not everyone is ready to move to the purchase stage of their decision making and it can be helpful to have materials your audience can look back on when they’re ready (check out my notes on multiple paths to purchase). When you are designing your services brochures, think about creating live URLs in a web-ready PDF version. Make sure that your services brochure is also available on your website and there is a clear call to action at the end (with a clickable link).
Another tip for implementing your services brochure in your online marketing tactics is to request a small amount of information from your audience before they download/view your brochure online. Typically, when you hand out your services brochure at a trade show or other event, you’re collecting data from those who stop at your booth and are interested in your services. The same strategy should be used when you make this same publication available online. It helps capture leads and make quick follow-up calls if you request the person’s name, email and company before providing them with your services brochure download.
eBooks and white papers
Looking at things from the other angle, where you create online content first is also important. I allude to this in my final notes, below, but always assume that you’ll print your eBooks or white papers at some point. And, if that is going to be the case, get your designer on board to make sure he/she is thinking in 4-page increments and bleed settings that will work both on and off-line.
An example of this: We recently produced an eBook, “Best Practices in Social Media,” and when we were designing the piece, we kept the always-design-in-sets-of-4-pages rule in mind even though, at the time, we were only going to offer the book as an electronic download. A handful of months later, we’ve now been asked to provide printed copies of this book to clients as we walk them through social media training. Since the piece was already designed in a way that assumed printing, we saved ourselves a lot of time, money and headaches, and we were able to execute the printed versions quickly.
3 final notes: tips to remember for all marketing pieces
Whether you are the project manager, the artistic director or the marketing director, keep the following high-level tips in mind so you don’t find yourself doing double-duty:
- When publicizing your social media channels, always give the reader information where to find you. Whether that be your customized Facebook URL, your Twitter handle or the name of your YouTube channel. Skip the lone social media avatars and provide the links to where you can be found.
- Always assume that you will print anything you design. Whether this actually happens or not, being proactive (e.g. setting documents up in amounts of pages that are divisible by four so they are easier–and cheaper–to print) will save you time and money in the long run.
- Create print-ready and web-safe versions of your marketing materials. No one wants to download a 10MB PDF from your website (and your print readers want crisp, vibrant images that are print-ready).
What have you learned along the way when it comes to integrating your traditional marketing tactics with online channels? Share them as a comment on this post, below.