In our increasingly digital world, the media often pits tactile/hard copy and digital marketing against each other in a battle where only one medium emerges. In reality, there are advantages to both online and offline marketing, and many successful businesses leverage a smart mix of the two.
We asked Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) members how their companies pair tactile/hard copy marketing pieces with digital marketing to maximize the advantages of both. They offered some best practices:
Maintain Brand Consistency Across Channels
"With the online/offline marketing combo, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," said Jeremy Brandt, CEO of We Buy Houses®. "We leverage both online and offline marketing in a complementary manner to connect with customers.
"Pairing extensive television, direct mail and billboard advertising throughout the U.S. with online marketing forms a connection in prospects' minds: "Often when a consumer sees a TV spot, the first thing they do is search online for information about the company. Digital ads ensure that we capture these searches and can direct them to the appropriate solution.
"Once a consumer engages with our website, digital retargeting enables our ads to 'follow' them around the Internet. Because we know they were already searching for our solution, these ads are high-impact and result in a significant conversion rate.
"And it works both ways: when someone goes online to sell their house and sees our ad, they are more likely to click if they've seen our TV spots, billboards or other offline marketing," Jeremy continued. "By maintaining brand consistency across all channels, we grow the trust home sellers have in us. The more familiar our brand, the more likely they are to contact us to solve their problem."
Direct Outreach: Everyone Loves Receiving a Package
What are best practices for making your tactile marketing efforts stand out? At least two companies we interviewed said that good things come from small packages.
"What we call 'lumpy' mail―a box, a package, something special―will get more attention than a flat envelope," stated Borzou Azabdaftari of The Falcon Lab, a creative digital and print company. "Mixing direct mail that includes gifts or packages with emails helps our clients stay top-of-mind and generates leads. Print has changed, but it still works."
Kaylie Kipe, Marketing Manager of InfoTrust LLC, a digital analytics technology and consulting company, agrees: "We find 'offline' and online marketing efforts to be highly complementary―and a nice surprise to prospects and clients, alike!
"Our direct outreach strategy combines physical mailings such as custom reports, letters and small gifts with emails and online advertising. On its own, digital advertising and email can become part of the background noise in a world bombarding people with digital information―it gets tuned out," Kaylie continued. "However, people are drawn to tangible items, and everyone loves receiving a package in the mail! With this combination, a stronger personal and brand connection is formed, and your digital efforts are more likely to jump out from the crowd."
Kaylie offered an additional tip: "If you are a small business, we have found that it is important to work with a direct mailing partner that can handle logistics and execution."
Differentiate Your Product with High-Quality Print Materials
High-quality print materials are seen as a luxury and can help differentiate your company in our digital landscape.
"We're a retail company offering handcrafted, artisanal products in a social selling business model. We have found synergy in inviting people to gather in homes to buy products and using social media and digital materials to support sales," said Travis Wilson, Co-CEO and President, Noonday Collection. "This naturally leads to a mix of digital and analog marketing strategies, including a luxurious 200-page printed lookbook, guidelines for setting up trunk shows in homes, a robust social media marketing funnel, and digital communities on social channels that help drive sales success.
"Video, live feeds and photography help bridge the experience between customers gathered in-person at events across the U.S. and artisans across the globe who craft our products by hand. At the same time, printed materials that can be passed to neighbors are crucial to reaching a wider audience and appealing to different ages and demographics," he said. "We leverage this strategy with our lookbook to elevate our product.
"A mix of print and online experience helped us make Inc. Magazine's 5000 fastest-growing companies list in 2015 and we've become one of the largest retailers of Fair Trade jewelry worldwide. By harnessing both facets of the marketing coin, we believe that companies can out-perform both traditional brick and mortar and e-commerce companies that only exist in a single space."
Want to learn more about how our entrepreneurs leverage a smart mix of tactile and digital marketing for success? We'll share additional best practices in our next post.