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5 ways to use offline marketing to drive online success

Posted by Jessica Thiefels on Jul 18, 2019 4:30:00 PM
Jessica Thiefels
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In our digital world, offline marketing is still relevant, whether you’re sending out direct mail postcards or hosting an event. As Aurelie Lepley, with Adobe, says: “There’s a growing pushback to the world’s digital progression.” This means, many consumers are craving authentic, offline experiences.

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“Not only is it a good way to connect with such people who want to be sometimes or wholly disconnected from online, but it provides a well-rounded (and hence complementary to online) connection with our customers. Besides, if your competitors are abandoning the traditional mailbox, they’re leaving you with a huge opportunity to dominate the channel that achieves the highest response rate,” says Lepley.

The good news is you can use the power of offline marketing to get potential customers online, creating a well-rounded experience. In this blog post we provide some ideas to do exactly that, while also encouraging customers to come sit at your restaurant at the end of it all.

Create custom landing pages

The experience from offline to online needs to be seamless if you want to successfully drive customers from one medium to the other. Maintaining the same branding, messaging and overall goal from the offline material to the online landing page provides consistency. This benefits you in two important ways:

  • Makes your brand memorable, with consistent branding from one experience to the next.
  • Creates connection and decreases confusion. If your direct mailer is talking about an annual sale, but the landing page is talking about something else, there’s a disconnect.

When creating marketing material with the intention of driving people online, plan your landing page in conjunction. In many ways, the landing page can mirror the material, using the same imagery and messaging.

However, it’s important to be clear about your CTA, which will be different. The offline material CTA was: get online. Now that they’re online, what do you want them to do? Book a reservation? Sign up for an in-house event? Check out this guide from Brandpoint with some helpful ideas for writing a strong CTA.

Use QR codes to drive bookings

Your goal is to get people sitting in your restaurant, but most consumers will look for you online first, whether they’re trying to book directly online or doing research. You can use QR codes on your print materials - think: posters, flyers, and direct mailers - to get these modern customers through your doors. Here are a few ideas to start with:

  • Link to a review page: Almost half of all consumers are looking for your restaurant online first, including 42 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 and 44 percent of those aged 30 to 40 and 50 to 64, according to Statista. For most restaurants, this encapsulates your entire target audience, so make it easy for them to get what they want to find by directing them there with a QR code.
  • Link to your online booking app: If you allow online booking, link your QR code directly to your reservation app. If you don’t, it’s worth considering. With apps like OpenTable seating “23 million diners per month via online reservations across more than 43,000 restaurants,” according to a recent press release, you’ll get more people through the door.

Use print to promote coupons online

Coupons get people into your restaurant. If you want customers to engage with your brand online, get them there by offering coupons on the other side. This can be most valuable when encouraging new customers to check out your restaurant, with buy one get one (BOGO) and limited time offers being the most effective for new customer acquisition, according to Valassis.

To get these coupons to the right people, use segmentation to create a targeted direct mail marketing campaign. This starts with knowing your audience inside and out: how old is your ideal customer? Do they have a family? What do they do for work? How old are they?

Then consider how you can segment mailing data to find those people. In the guide, Modern Direct Mail Marketing, MyCreativeShop suggests the following potential segmentation options:

  • Location: zip code or city
  • Demographics: age or gender
  • Job title or employer
  • Life cycle: new homeowners or new parents
  • Sales behavior: current customer or previous customer

When you know who to target, you can use the data to find those people, and then drive them online to get the coupon.

Create hashtags for offline events

Get offline customers to engage with you on social media by bridging the gap between the two with hashtags. The idea is simple: create a hashtag for a specific event, whether it’s one you’re hosting, sponsoring or simply participating in.

Create signs with the event hashtag and remind people to include it when sharing their photos. Not only is this an easy ask, but many social media users include hashtags, including event-specific hashtags when posting at events.

When choosing your hashtag, keep the science in mind. SocialTables explains how hashtags that elicit an emotional response, play on the power of suggestion and more can get customers using the hashtag and therefore engaging with you online.

Take online content offline

Blogs are another way to get customers to convert, whether they book online, follow you on social media, or find a coupon that gets them through your doors. However, to get customers to your website, you may need more than a great CTA.

Good content, in the form of blog posts, is a smart way to drive online success with SEO, while giving offline customers something to engage with before choosing to dine with you:

“A blog can serve as the online hub for all of your special events, promotional offers, photos and videos, and the overall story of your business. Having a blog can also establish you as the go-to culinary expert in your local niche while building customer loyalty,” suggests experts at UpServe.

Get offline customers online by printing a blog post or small ebook that teases the main content or promises an offer. Link to the online content as a way to get them to your site. You can have this available at the front of your restaurant or send them as mailers to local residents.

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Offline marketing can drive customers online to consume content, get coupons, or book a reservation—but the experience needs to be well-branded and seamless with a clear CTA. Use these ideas to find new ways to bridge the gap between these two worlds and reach all of your customers.

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Jessica Thiefels Jessica Thiefels is founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, an organic content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Fast Company. She also regularly contributes to Virgin, Business Insider, Glassdoor, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.

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