Internet Vs Offline Marketing – Does Your Business Need Both?

Would you like to make sure that your marketing efforts are more concentrated? Do you find yourself trying to find a delicate balance between offline and online marketing techniques and methods? We will state for the record that you should probably be doing both. There is no one size fits all answer here and a lot depends on your business and the goals you are trying to accomplish with your marketing. Answering this question will allow you to focus your advertising spend on the efforts that get the best return on investment (ROI).

Adding The Internet To Your Strategy
One of the best things you can find out and be conscious of is how does your business measure up to the competition? Knowing this answer means you can start to formulate a comprehensive plan of action. This will also depend largely on your specific niche market and geographical location. For example, if you are a relatively small business concern and located in a predominantly rural area then you may want to focus on direct mail,television, radio and print advertising. However, keep in mind that the Internet can be very advantageous as well. This is because most people will look online first to help them decide what they need, who to call and where to go. If they find your presence there you may have just effortlessly created another customer.

Online Advantages
If you are a business owner who has been using traditional marketing methods outside of direct response then you already know the difficulty of measuring the effectiveness of your marketing dollars. The Internet allows you to very easily measure your marketing spend (ROI) and total cost of ownership. You will also find in most cases that the results tend to have a greater sticking ability. This is usually a direct opposite to what happens in print marketing which can usually have a short shelf life.

Use A Comprehensive Approach
We are not for a moment suggesting you get rid of offline marketing methods that have worked for you in the past. We are suggesting that you embrace some of the newer online technologies so that you can take advantage of multiple mediums of information delivery. Everyone is not reading magazines, or listening to the radio or watching TV at the same time. This is why it’s important to take advantage of having a presence where people are already getting information. This can mean using social marketing, blogging, press releases, article marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), direct mail, print advertising and even email marketing to name just a few. By using this group of online and offline methods you can increase the ROI of your marketing dollars in an efficient and very measurable manner.

Of course if you are not sure where to get started with this or don’t have the time to learn it or implement the named strategies then you should think about using a consultant. In most cases they will be able to assist you with both of these methods or maybe just with the newer online strategies where you may not have that much experience.

A New Marketing Strategy Is Like A Move Across Country

Bob just got a promotion. After years of hard work and keeping his nose to the grindstone, his efforts have paid off. Now he can sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labors.

That is until his boss informs him that along with the promotion comes a move to a different office – in a different state – clear across the country!

And we all know what that entails. Not only does Bob have to arrange for new utilities, new schools for the kids and meeting with moving companies, he now has a thousand other little details to take care of. That kind of stress can change a sane person into a raving madman.

No one likes to move. Bob has to wonder if the promotion is worth it. Not only is he starting fresh somewhere else, he now hat to prove himself all over again.

Deciding on a new marketing strategy can be likened to a cross country move. While it is exciting to contemplate, the details can be overwhelming. Bob is comfortable at his current office. Similarly, tried and true marketing of a brand is comfortable: not only to the company that offers the product, but to the consumer as well. The question then becomes, will change help or hinder a known brand?

Remaining stagnant in an ever changing marketing environment can sound a death knell to a brand, no matter how well known. You can see that happening daily on any business page in the news. Sitting back and allowing complacency to take over only shows that your brand is out of touch with today’s market.

Instead of looking at a new marketing strategy as something to be dreaded, see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to learn new information, expand your horizons and make new clients.

Start with little things first. Has your marketing be totally reliant on website presence? If so look into direct mail marketing or email newsletters as an addition to your marketing strategy. Are newsletters sent by either email or direct mail how you have been keeping your clients informed what is new in your industry? Think about expanding that idea with social media marketing. Have one or more of your employees become a social media maven by interacting with existing and potential clients through blogs, social media platforms and local events. Direct marketing with all or any of these mediums increases exposure and offers personalization the competition may not be part of.

When it comes to competition, do not mimic their marketing tactics but go a step beyond. Join networking groups, become a well known presence in the local community and never dismiss the advantages of being a member of an industry organization. There are a great many news companies today that offer businesses a way to let the world know what is going on with your company. Begin to implement press releases on a frequent basis as part of an overall marketing strategy. Be pro-active instead of being ignored.

The more places potential clients see your name, your brand or your logo the greater chance of increasing a client base. An increased client base means greater growth.

Maximize B-To-B Lead Generation With a One-Page Direct Mail Letter

When generating high-quality B-to-B (business-to-business) leads, your goal is to get people to raise their hand and say they are interested in your product or service. You do this by offering prospects information, a premium, or other incentive to respond.

Consequently, many companies spend thousands of dollars creating glossy four-color or dimensional mailers in an attempt to get the attention of prospects – and then wonder why response is so poor. And yet, the secret to increasing B-to-B response is so simple, many people can’t accept it. What is the secret?

A “plain” #10 business letter.

“Nah! A plain #10 business letter to maximize B-to-B lead generation?” “You’re kidding, right?” “Everyone knows creative is king.” “Not so,” says expert B-to-B direct marketer Liz Taylor of Liz Taylor Marketing. “Testing has consistently proven a one-page business letter with a compelling offer out-performs a glossy self-mailer by 100%.”

One reason one-page letters are so effective is because they appeal to the target audience. Says Taylor, “Think about it. If you’re selling high-end products with long sales-cycles and/or multiple decision makers, your audience is most likely decision makers or people in management who are strapped for time. You have seconds to tell them what they need to know. A one-page letter respects their time and their intelligence.”

Reduced risk.

One page letters also reduce financial risk for marketers. For example, testing is the heart of the direct mail process. Without it, marketers have no idea if another offer, a different list, or a slight copy change will generate better response. One-page letters allow B-to-B marketers a fast and cost-effective way to test these components. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand testing various versions of a four-color mailer can be cost-prohibitive.

Bob Derr, director, Industry Marketing for Microsoft Business Solutions, concurs. “We always strive to make our budget work as hard as possible. Creative executions simply consumed too much budget and time and were never able to beat our control package (standard business letter). Even with increased budget, we stick to the business letter control because it is a consistent winner.”

This is not to say creative isn’t important. Indeed, it takes a great deal of creativity and excellent writing skills to say what you need to say in one page. And, creative is especially important for follow-up response. Once you’ve qualified your B-to-B leads, then you send them the snazzy dimensional mailing or glossy four-color brochure. You’ll not only save money, you’ll also know you’re sending the right information to the right prospect.

Keep your audience in mind.

The most effective letters offer prospects information, a CD, or other high-value premium and they allow prospects to respond – instantly. When writing direct response letters, keep in mind the following:

* Don’t entertain your reader. Keep your letter short and to the point. Your reader wants to clear through her mail fast.
* Keep response forms simple. Make it easy for your reader to respond by asking only a few questions. Allow various methods of response including fax, postal mail, online, or a toll-free number.
* Don’t include a brochure. Testing has shown that anytime anything is added to a business letter mailing, response goes down.
* Keep the envelope professional looking. A “live” stamp or indicia and a laser printed address (versus a label) can improve response.
* Use envelope teaser copy with care. Teaser copy, while effective for consumer marketing, can work against the B-to-B marketer as it says to the reader, “Throw me away.”
* Use simple language. Use compelling, easy-to-understand language to spell out your offer and its benefits.