The Benefits (& Differences) of Promoting Your Business Online vs. Offline

When there are so many different ways to promote your business, it can be hard to decide which channels are the right ones to include in your marketing strategy. In this day and age there are so many options - from billboards to Facebook to virtual reality!

Both online and offline promotions have their place, however their reach and effect are very different. This blog explores the pros and cons of both, and will help you understand where you should be directing your marketing efforts.

The IABNZ (Interactive Advertising Bureau of New Zealand) has recently released its latest Digital Advertising Revenue Report for 2020, and reveals that despite being a challenging year, digital advertising revenue in NZ continues to boom, growing 6.6% from the previous year.

IABNZ report FY2020(Source)

The digital revolution has drastically changed the marketing landscape, and even though online marketing has exploded over the last decade and continues to grow, you might be surprised to hear that it hasn’t completely diminished the effect of offline marketing.

In fact, it has amplified the impact offline marketing can have by forcing businesses to think much more strategically about the marketing channels and platforms they use, and making sure that their ad spend on offline methods are engaging enough to get a good return on investment.

To get started, let’s break down some of the major channels for online vs. offline marketing and their pros and cons:

Online Marketing

Online marketing consists of anything that happens online, so customers are going to be seeing your ads from their smartphones or computers. Some examples of online marketing are:

  • Google Ads
  • Online business listings
  • Company websites
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Video ads on sites like Youtube
  • SEO

Pros of Online Marketing

  • Online tactics are easy to measure, and the results are usually timely and accurate. For example, once you’ve sent out an email newsletter, you can see over the first 24 hours exactly how many people opened and clicked on your email.
  • Target your key audience, so you won’t waste money showing ads to people who aren’t interested.
    You have access to better analytics and insights that will help you make better decisions in future.
  • Digital marketing is adaptable - you can track and adjust your campaigns over time.
  • You’re able to test different variations of ads, giving you a better understanding of what your customers respond to and allowing you to maximise your ad spend.
  • Get longer-term exposure, for example blogs that are written for Search Engine Optimisation will improve your Google rankings, bringing more people to your website over a longer period of time.
  • Online is generally more affordable compared to offline advertising - this is ideal for new brands or small businesses with smaller budgets, especially when they are trying to compete with bigger, more established companies.

Cons of Online Marketing

  • Your target market may not be tech savvy or spend much time online, making it harder for you to reach them digitally.
  • It can take longer to establish trust with customers if you are only advertising online.
  • Some people use Ad Blocking tools that can limit the reach of your ads.

Offline Marketing

While offline marketing might be seen as old-fashioned by some of the more tech-focused digital marketers, it can still be incredibly powerful and grab your audience’s attention in ways that digital can’t.

  • TV advertising
  • Direct mail: postcards, letters or catalogues
  • Printed collateral such as flyers or business cards
  • Billboards
  • Printed directories such as Yellow Books
  • Bus shelter advertising
  • Promotional products

Pros of Offline Marketing

  • Offline marketing provides customers with something tangible. For example fridge magnets with your phone number could be really effective if you’re a local plumbing business - if your number is on their fridge, you’ll be the first call when their pipes burst.
  • Strategic offline methods like direct mail campaigns can have really high conversion rates, local businesses might get more people walking in the door if they deliver coupons to mailboxes in their area.
  • You can reach customers who are not regular internet or social media users, especially people in older age brackets.

Cons of Offline Marketing

  • It’s hard to measure, for example it’s difficult to know how many people laid eyes on your billboard, and even harder to know how many absorbed your advertising message.
  • You have limited targeting capabilities, so you can’t control who sees your ad.
  • Once it’s printed, it’s set in ink. Literally. So it’s really important to get the message right before your marketing goes out into the world.

How to Integrate Online and Offline to Maximise Your Marketing

With both methods having such a range of pros and cons, and if you want to include both in your marketing mix, you’re going to get the best results by making sure your online and offline marketing are well integrated.

Here are some simple ways to connect your online marketing to your offline marketing to expand your reach:

  • Include your website and email address on all marketing collateral
  • Convert printed marketing material to online traffic by including QR codes or unique promo codes
  • Encourage customers to connect with you on social media and keep the conversation going

The reality of this digital age is that you can’t really do standalone offline marketing without having an online element. Connecting offline and online channels to reinforce your promotions is a powerful way to build trust with your customers, and you can boost your offline promotions with online call to actions.

Marketing has changed drastically over the past decade and isn’t just about advertising anymore, it’s about engaging. By combining your online and offline marketing activities, you can develop stronger relationships with your audience, engaging with them both in the digital space and in the real world.

If you’re ready to keep exploring the ways digital marketing will help you to grow your business, download your Demystifying Digital Marketing toolkit today.