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Monday, December 21, 2009

The combination of online marketing and offline marketing can give you a real bang for your buck. It’s pretty common today to find companies running well integrated marketing campaigns that include online advertising like PPC with offline campaigns. This combination is ideal for anyone who is building their brand and driving leads for a particular product or service.

Getting Started With Integrated Marketing

Perhaps you’re running marketing campaigns across multiple media. Even if you’re using something as simple as the Yellow Pages from a print perspective, there’s usually a corresponding form of online marketing that can enhance results.

One of the easiest ways to take advantage of an integrated campaign is use direct mail with a corresponding landing page. For example, I recently worked with a local retailer who was trying to bring more people into their store during the holiday season. My recommendation was to mail out post cards to past customers and nearby prospects that contained an offer.

The post card contained a special offer on select merchandise available in the store. To get a full list of applicable products that could be purchased during the promotional period, users were given a URL to a specially designed landing page. They could print a special coupon by visiting the URL included on the postcard. The web page included additional merchandise, specific information about the promotion, and an opportunity to sign up for special offers. This resulted in a number of outcomes including increased foot traffic and a list of emails that could be used for promotional purposes.

Start Small and Build From There

Creating an integrated marketing program is not an easy thing. All aspects of your campaign need to be well planned and tracked. Often times I see companies working towards integrated marketing only to give it an effort that is partially thought through. When asking consumers to go from an off line piece of marketing (an ad, a post card, a brochure) to an online information or offer, marketers are wise for focus on their audience and product or service benefits.

The best thing you can do is to start with a small campaign. Perhaps your campaign is similar to the retail example above. Or, perhaps you start with a special offer that is communicated via a flyer or newspaper ad. Your landing page needs to be designed with the specific offer in mind. Driving individuals to your home page is a waste of money.

Integrated marketing is only successful is you are relevant. Your messaging must be consistent both online and off. In addition, the look and feel of your offer and landing page should be as consistent as possible. This improves the user experience and enhances conversion rates. When beginning with a small campaign, it’s easier to get the details right and see success.

Split Test and Tracking

Whether you’re running a traditional print campaign or an online marketing program, it’s best to be in a mode of continual testing. Start with a split test. Change your headline, experiment with a different offer, or change your copy. Regardless of which element you choose, split testing sets you up for future winning campaigns.

Track your results using basic web tracking like Google Analytics. To make the most of your integrated campaign, you’ll need a way to track whether your web visitors arrived directly from your promotion. By driving users to a specific URL identified in your direct marketing piece or ad, you’ll be able to measure web traffic. Additionally, require a special promotional code to be entered on your order form. In combination, you’ll have a number of data points that provide valuable information about your promotion.

Integrated marketing can work extremely well if your concept is simple and well executed. Start with a well thought through plan that is easily implemented. The effectiveness of any direct campaign is largely based on the offer and you’re list. Creative has less impact on the overall success of your campaign. So get started and be sure to test your campaign, comparing it to the effectiveness of your other marketing initiatives. You may find that integrated marketing has a better result than other forms of marketing on their own.


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