June 16, 2011

In small business marketing it seems like most people are committed to one of two camps: either they think the old world of old-fashioned, physical advertising is still the gold standard or that the internet has changed the world – solely and permanently.

Unfortunately, both of these strategies limit themselves terribly and result in a far smaller customer base than need be.  While many people are online on a daily basis, ignoring in-the-flesh marketing techniques ostracises a large number of potential customers.  By the same token, ignoring those online is flat-out silly, as competition in the current business world demands a strong internet presence.

The answer to this conundrum should be clear – for a successful campaign both physical and online marketing is crucial.  Pairing a strategy in both realms is important when pushing a new product or service, and working on any issue from both sides typically leads to better success.  But as long as you are running an online campaign complimentary to a physical campaign, why not fully utilise both?

This is a lesson best learned from experience with internet marketing, although it applies to both forms of advertising.  The idea behind most internet marketing strategies is to get your product or company visible often enough that eventually you gain attention, which is not much different than most physical campaigns.  The difference is that each of these instances link to one another, forming a web that holds customers close to whatever you are marketing.

We can apply this same strategy to complimentary physical and online marketing campaigns.  Put your website on everything – absolutely everything.  If advertising on a billboard or in a publication, it is critical to have your website placed prominently.  Printing a URL directly onto products can make them living marketing tools as well.  When marketing online, drive customers to places they may run into your physical products.  This can mean blatantly advertising that your products are sold at a particular place, or it can mean subtly blogging about a particular coffee shop within view of a large printed advertisement you may have.  By connecting online strategies to physical ones, marketers create a web of advertising that catches potential customers and bounces them around from impression point to impression point.

Make sure that you deliver at every opportunity.  This means being prepared for web traffic with a well-designed website full of attractive features and fresh, new content.  This also means keeping physical marketing devices updated and well-stocked – a pile of business cards at that coffee shop should be topped off every few days, and displays at various locations should be changed and tidied.

Marketing is not so simple as specialising in the online or physical realms.  It requires that individuals learn how to utilise both, capturing customers’ attention at every opportunity and closing successfully when connections are made.  Only then can an organisation meet its true marketing potential.


Sean McPheat

Internet Marketing Academy

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