Integrated marketing cashes in on the belief that consistency is key in branding. It’s an approach that leverages all of a business’s resources to maximize the impact of its public outreach, and by extension, its ability to convert leads.
Which all sounds very nice. But how are you supposed to combine a tweet with an in-store marketing event?
The answer is simpler than you might assume. So is integrated marketing, come to think of it. In this article, we take a look at the power of integration. Read on to find out how you can combine your online and offline marketing activity to maximize your brand impact.
Consistency is Key
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your physical brand syncs up seamlessly with your online persona. It’s very easy to prod around in the endless void of the internet searching for a voice that will make ears perk up.
To be fair, you can find superficial success doing exactly that. Here’s an example.
Tom the baker is a soft-spoken man who loves to make a good muffin. His shop doubles as a café. There’s a fireplace in the corner. Exposed brick walls. Lovingly restored one-hundred-year-old hardwood floor. He plays big-band jazz on the speakers.
You know the type. Everyone likes his store, but it has a particularly keen appeal to the retired segment of his town’s population.
Tom doesn’t know much about marketing, so he hires a college marketing student from in town to punch up his copy. The kid does well. Funny tweets. A meme on Instagram that got five-figure likes.
Not quite. Tom’s online presence may be very visible, but not to the people who actually go into his store. He never needed popular memes. He needed to capture his shop’s feel and translate it online to a small but loyal group of local followers.
It’s easy to chase big game online, but in marketing, it’s a question of quality over quantity. Consolidate your message. Apply consistency throughout your channels, and be sensible about how you leverage those connections.
Let One Channel Boost the Next
Let’s go back to Tom. He wants to run a campaign this weekend. Buy a muffin, get a free coffee. He put notices up in his store, but those only reached the people who were already coming in to begin with. The goal of this campaign is to reach new people.
What should Tom do?
Of course, he should mobilize his online followers. Assuming he has course-corrected his mistake from our first heading, he will be able to boost his physical campaign by establishing a second point of contact online.
Spotlighting an event online is the most obvious and basic way to combine physical and virtual marketing. However, there are also some higher-level strategies you can apply towards growing your outreach efforts. For example:
- QR Codes: Hand out physical pamphlets to in-person customers that contain QR codes leading to your online materials. This is a good way to increase your base of convertible leads.
- Build your email/newsletter list: Email or newsletter lists are a powerful point of contact you can use to generate interest in your business. Some people will organically opt-in but most people will need a bit of a nudge. After all, how many people do you know who are looking for one more regular email subscription weighing down their inbox?
You can use physical promotions to prop up your email list. Tom, for example, offers free refills for anyone who signs up in-store.
- Giveaways: Utilize physical giveaways as a method of keeping people engaged in your online channels. Raffles, discounts. Insider information on specials that only your online followers get to know about. People have a lot of choices for where they spend their time online. Your business needs to leverage a value proposition if it is to hold their long-term attention.
A well-integrated marketing strategy will ensure that both the physical and digital sides of your efforts are always well-fed. However, the ultimate goal is not only to endlessly prop up your base of followers. It’s to convert. In the next heading, we look at how you can set goals and evaluate your success.
Marketing Needs to Be Goal-Driven
Without a goal, you’re just floundering. In the title of this article, we talk about increasing your return on investment. Getting more revenue out of each dollar you spend on marketing. The way to do that is to increase sale conversions.
Assuming that is your goal, it should be the primary consideration behind every marketing choice you make. Even when Tom is handing out free refills to people who join his email list, he is doing it with purpose. Get people into his online space, so he can funnel them back into the store at regular intervals.
To accomplish this, he needs to set a specific goal— say a 10% conversion rate on digital promotions. Then he needs the tools to measure the success of his campaign.
Most online platforms will come with a basic suite of analytic tools that are free for business accounts. Marketing professionals will generally want something more granular, but these tools are perfect for the DIY business owner.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that there are other ways to prop up your public outreach efforts without installing a marketing department in your small business. For example, classes! Consider signing up for an online workshop that will teach you the basics of marketing. These will teach you the basic elements of finding marketing success.
If you prefer physical learning, you may even be able to take Marketing 101 for an affordable price at your local community college. You don’t need a four-year degree to learn enough to elevate your marketing efforts.
For really important marketing campaigns, it is even possible to outsource help. Many freelancers will help you gain traction on social media, or even run your newsletter for you. While these professionals will vary pretty significantly in terms of rate, they will all be more affordable than hiring a full-time employee.
There are many ways to successfully integrate your marketing strategy. Don’t be intimidated. Find the one that works for you, and commit to it.