Marketing is the group of activities a business undertakes to buy or sell a product or service. Broadly speaking, a marketing strategy is the overarching goals and objectives, while the marketing plan is the inventory of tactical actions to be undertaken to achieve the stated goals.

For decades, the term “marketing” was conflated with the term “advertising”. In the old days (we’ll refer to MadMen), advertising was the group of opportunities to gain viewers’ attention, usually in some form of a printed publication (e.g., magazine, billboard, transit ad, on the side of an airplane, etc.).

Today, one could argue advertising is now what we refer to as “paid media”. Offline obviously is not on your device (though likely you’ll end up there just the same).

Many businesses focus all of their marketing resources towards developing digital and social media campaigns. While digital marketing is critical as it has been proven that people are making more and more of their purchasing decisions based on what they have seen online, business owners who ignore offline may be missing out on significant opportunities.

This article will explore different types of offline marketing and the benefits of using offline marketing as one driver of your overall campaign.

Types of Offline Marketing

Pamphlets and brochures are rather simple to make and can be created on apps such as Canva. This resource can be dropped door to door, given out to clients or potential clients, and even left on bulletin boards or desks at other businesses.

Posters, signs and billboards draw attention to the brand and capture your audience while they are not on their devices. Though we know that people are spending a lot more time behind a screen, our audiences are still going for walks, meeting friends for lunch, driving to the bank, taking public transport to work, etc. This type of marketing includes transit ads (bus shelters, benches, etc.), garbage collection units, store windows, vehicle wraps and magnetic car signs.

Business cards are mini postcards and a call to action item when used non-traditionally. They are inexpensive to print in bulk. Of course, your business card can be used as a traditional contact reminder.

Direct mail adds a personal touch and a longer lasting impact when sent to clients. When someone receives a letter (or couriered envelope) addressed to them, they will most likely open it and consider the contents more thoroughly.

Personalized notes in deliveries show your client that they are more than just a number and that you value their business. Many businesses include cards in their deliveries or will send notes around the holidays. Hand-written or hand-signed also adds that personal touch, often missing today.

Sponsorships are a great way to give back to your community while also getting your name out there. Whether it is sponsoring a youth team or helping with a local event, your community will recognize you as an authentic leader and generous member.

Speaking and Training at events allows you to give back to your audience by providing them with valuable information while also asserting yourself as a leader in your field. Whether it is a free trial, a webinar, a class or participating in a panel discussion, this is your opportunity to prove your merit to your audience.

Benefits of Offline Marketing

Whereas many people are still sceptical of purchasing online and will only do so if there are significant positive reviews, when marketing in person, it is easier to demonstrate your company’s value.

When utilizing the strategies above, businesses have been able to create genuine and authentic relationships with their target audience. The audience is therefore much more likely to become loyal customers or clients.

When resources, such as pamphlets are given out directly, it is most likely that people will engage with the material with a different level of curiosity than had they scrolled past it. Giving out a physical product also sparks conversation and may lead to the person discussing your opportunities with others.

Discussing and presenting your products and/or services in person allows you to receive feedback on the spot and in greater complexity. Often people rush through reviews online in order to reap the reward offered for doing so. In person, people are much more inclined to discuss their experiences at length. One thing to be aware of however, is the fact that people are less inclined to offer negative feedback in person than they are online. For this reason it is crucial to create an inviting space where clients are comfortable enough to share their genuine thoughts. You may also consider providing surveys that can be completed anonymously.

Remember so use a call to action in order to bring people to the online space where they can either talk to a salesperson one on one, register for your service, or complete their purchase. Be sure to track the return on investment (ROI) after each campaign and make note of the action ratios on specific types of engagement. Take into account that exposure is different than lead generation and it is difficult to track those who have been exposed to your campaign. Those who have been exposed are of course more likely to visit your website and social media pages in the future.