3 Offline Marketing Ideas You Can Apply Online

Sometimes the best online marketing ideas come from the offline world. When looking for a new way to grow business, ask yourself, “How would I build leads if the Internet didn’t exist?” Then when you have a list of ideas see if there is a way they can also be applied to the online space. Here are 3 examples of offline advertising methods that can be used to generate online traffic.

1. Networking with Other Businesses

Working with other companies who share the same or similar target market can be a great way to connect with a new audience. You’ll also create a relationship with another company that can share your content online.


One of the answers to the question above may be networking with other local businesses in your neighborhood. Well that’s something that can easily work in the digital space with all of the various social networking sites.

There are likely at least a dozen other businesses in the same neighborhood or nearby vicinity that are also looking to grow their traffic. This is where it is a good idea to pull out your customer personas.

Think about your target market. Let’s say you’re client is a yoga studio. What other businesses in the area are they likely to frequent; the naturopath doctor, chiropractor, health food center, nutritionist, fruit juice & smoothie bar?


If you’re company is an American-made men’s fashion brand, connecting with an American-made watch company for a joint campaign to raise awareness for a charity or work together on a collaboration could be a huge success for both companies. As long as you choose another company who shares a similar target market both brands will reach a new, highly targeted audience.

When doing this, choose to work together on something highly press worthy. Style blogs and watch blogs like to mention new collaborations and two companies joining together for a cause is a much more unique story than just another company raising money for their charity of choice.

2. Focus Groups

Google Hangouts has made it easier than ever to hold virtual focus groups. What makes focus groups so powerful is it combines the power of brainstorming with the insight from your actual customers or target market. You get to listen as they bounce thoughts off of each other, creating much richer feedback than you could ever get with a survey.


Let’s say you own a micro-brewery invite your most active followers for a hangout and offer them a voucher for 5 free drinks or a follow up meeting at your brewery where you give them a tour, taking pictures for your social media channels and website.

Make this a bi-monthly or quarterly activity with 20 spots each time and you will have a ton of people waiting each month to participate and even more people talking about trying to get in. Get their email addresses and send each new applicant a $5 voucher or free drink voucher. Now they don’t feel so bad about not being chosen and you have added valuable emails to your email-marketing list.


Again choose your most active followers or influencers to invite for a hangout. These are your brand ambassadors, they know your product well, and are most likely to share their experience with your brand online.

For this example, let’s pretend we have a client that makes beauty products. Beauty influencers hear many people talk about your brand and know what people like and dislike. They’ve also used many other brands.

Choose a select number of 3 to 5 top influencers. As thanks, offer them exclusive access to upcoming products (keep in mind that the fewer influencers that have this information the more valuable it is to them).

3. Television & Radio Advertising

Ok, so this isn’t technically applying an offline idea to the online world. It is however maximizing your offline spend to improve your online performance. I specifically wanted to discuss this because at times it feels blasphemous to discuss offline marketing in the new digital era. However, the only way to maximize marketing efforts is to have an integrated marketing plan where the sum of all parts is greater than the individual parts.

I still hear radio ads that repeat a phone number a dozen times at a speed that would make the Micro Machines Man grasp for breath. And there are so many times I see billboards and TV ads that don’t display the company website or social media URLs.

Local & National

It’s really the same principal here for either local or national campaigns. Include your company web address and social media URLs in your advertising. An easy way to track the effectiveness in driving web traffic via traditional methods is to create a landing page specifically for the ad.

You can also create a distinct URL like www.example.com/radio and redirect it to your homepage or create specific content that builds off of the radio or TV ad. It’s important to remember to keep the URL short and easy to remember. The same goes for any hashtags used on billboards and TV ads. Nobody is going to remember #SuperDuperLongHashtag during a 45 minute commute.

In conclusion, whether online or offline, marketing is marketing and what influences consumers psychologically can be used across mediums. What works in one advertising format can often be used in another format as or more effectively. The tools that you, as a digital marketer, have at your disposal can help better track the effectiveness of traditional marketing activities.

For an interesting study on integrating online and offline marketing check out this post on SEER Interactive’s blog.


Published:September 4, 2014

Search Engine Optimization

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