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Why Startups That Don’t Do Offline Marketing Fail

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While e-commerce companies naturally turn to online channels like social media to promote their products and services, offline marketing to increase brand awareness, user acquisition, retention, satisfaction, and conversions certainly hasn’t waned or died off.  Good entrepreneurs understand that the lines between online and offline marketing are blurred as they help boost each other.

A business may identify itself as online or offline, but it’s likely that it engages in cross-platform marketing efforts, be it promotional events, adverts in the magazines or papers, pamphlets, or business cards. How is offline marketing integral to a startup? The simple answer is that it’s the best method to start and maintain a local presence.

Here are some strategies and tips on how to manage the marketing mix:

Have a storefront

It doesn’t have to be permanent. A pop-up shop at conventions, conferences or trade shows, at your school, a local mall, or even at farmers markets can act as an introduction point to your offering and provide first-hand experience for prospective customers. This first-hand experience might convince people who otherwise wouldn’t be interested to start using your product or service.

Along the way, depending on the nature of your business, you could offer meet-ups, workshops, and promotional events to get your loyal customers to participate, and to gain new users. There are plenty of options for locations you can work with, but you can also utilise services such as those offered by or that pairs temporary retail spaces with brands.

Have a geographic focus

Concentrate your offline marketing efforts on one or a few key cities. By distributing flyers, postcards or brochures in those areas, your startup is more likely to get noticed, creating a good amount of initial buzz to support your go-to-market strategy in other geographies.

Determine where your loyal customers will be and the areas that are important to your acquisition efforts. It’s easiest to start local, getting your community to be involved in your project and letting them know what’s going on in their backyard.

Reinforce your brand

Marketing promotions that take place in real life does provide a high-touch interaction with your product and an opportunity to build relationships, but other than using your digital presence to promote offline campaigns, you must also use your physical presence to point to your online activities.

Turn your satisfied customers into brand ambassadors by giving away brand stickers that prominently feature your website and tagline. Your Make them attractive enough so that people would love to place them on their laptops, notebooks, or cars. Stickers can also double up as for packaging labels or seals.

Photo credit: Smart Insights.

Integrate offline marketing with your online efforts

Social media is the most cost-effective bridge between your offline and online efforts. Every business is trying to go viral, and the best way to do that, once you’ve generated some buzz with your offline activities, is to keep it going online. For example, if you’re having a launch party, let your followers know through social media or e-mail newsletters.

Include a digital record of your brand’s offline presence to bridge customers back to your online activities. For customers who are not able to participate in the event, lure them in by engaging them through your online presence, perhaps through content from hashtags, a live stream or online promotions.

An example from Movember’s successful integrated campaign. Photo credit: Movember.

Measure ROI

Offline marketing efforts are most likely more costly than using online channels. That makes it imperative for you to keep track on the return on investment. You may not be selling a physical good so you can’t analyse ROI by looking directly at the sales revenue. But there are several ways you can track the results of your offline marketing campaign.

You can create a redirect domain and custom landing page for the event or promotion, or giving away a discount coupon or code so you can identify the customers you’ve reached through your campaign. These simple tracking strategies will aid you in measuring the ROI of the offline promotion.

Keep the conversation going

Keep a record of the connections you’ve made at an offline event. Don’t be shy to ask for name cards or other social details such as email addresses, as these will serve as leads. Whether or not the people you come across want or need your service now, invite them to follow you on social media to stay up to date with interesting events and offers.

To keep the conversation going, don’t miss the golden opportunity to include a call to action (CTA) on leaflets or pamphlets that you’re giving out. The CTA can be a Facebook like, or an incentive such as free downloads, an opportunity to network, or really, anything that’s free and easy to do on a mobile device.

The next step is to target and monitor them through social media or newsletters, and to get your newfound acquaintances to discuss the event online. Twitter chats and Facebook Q&As work well to keep the buzz going and allow more interested people to join the conversation. You can always ask your audience questions via social media to get people talking about a topic related to your brand and to encourage them to participate in future events.

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