For all the doom-saying about traditional marketing and media, it’s not dead—not even close. A Nielsen survey conducted last year shows Americans still watch over three hours of live television every day—not counting DVR or online programming where it’s possible to block or fast-forward through commercials. And while subscriptions are declining, about a quarter of Americans still read a print newspaper every day.
This buffet-style media environment demands a new approach—both traditional and digital media are still too big to ignore—so here are a few ways you can cover all your bases without duplicating effort.
1. Use traditional networks to publicize your digital content
It’s easy to overlook this step, but make sure customers see your website URL on every billboard, sign, flyer, ad, or business card you distribute. Traditional media is now cheaper than ever, and if you can grab users’ attention that way, it’s a great tool to increase your online presence. Give users a reason to visit your site. Offer online discounts, and maintain an interesting and valuable social network presence—for instance, repair or home improvement contractors might publish simple tips or did-you-know factoids periodically.
2. Put QR codes on every scrap of marketing material
The marriage of the QR code and the smart phone was made in marketing heaven. With a flyer, newspaper ad, or sign, you can engage customers with your digital content with the snap of a photo. Use some kind of “hook” to draw viewers, like a question, an enigmatic statement, or even a discount offer, to spur curiosity. Some businesses even print out a giant QR for the side of the company van, or incorporate them on Tyvek bands at entertainment events—it’s eye-catching and novel, and people want to find out more.
3. Throw your traditional campaigns online
With the typical small-business budget, your local TV commercials aren’t likely to be “high art”—but that isn’t always a bad thing. If you’ve put in the work to create a commercial that’s funny (intentionally or otherwise), post it on Reddit, Youtube, Tumblr, and anywhere else it’s likely to get a laugh. A small California taxidermist with the help of a local marketing agency created the “Nope, Chuck Testa!” ad, which got 14,000,000 views and made the company an internet sensation. That means they’ve earned $42,000 just for posting the ad, and it cost them nothing more than an ordinary TV commercial. Also, any fundraisers, trade shows, or traditional marketing events should go up on your social networks for customers to see.
4. Involve your online audience in trade shows
Trade shows are great for B2B networking—but keeping the party to yourself is becoming less and less feasible. Get the most out of trade shows by letting your customer base see you with your best foot forward, too. If you’re speaking, post surveys and questions to get users talking—then include them in your creative process. This strategy increases your viewers’ engagement, as well as demonstrating your responsiveness to the opinions of customers and clients. Record insights, snap photos, and involve your online audience as much as possible.
5. Apply online analytical tools to traditional campaigns
The unique advantage of online marketing is how measurable everything is—it’s possible to know exactly where your customers are coming from, what caught their eye, and what they’re looking for, in a way that simply couldn’t be done in the era of TV and print advertising. By pointing the QR codes and URLs on your promotional materials to different landing pages, you can find out who is reading them, what’s catching their attention, and more importantly, who is going on to patronize your business.
Tara Wagner is a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She’s fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.