To Market Online You Must Market Offline

Traditional offline marketing is one of the most effective ways of driving qualified customers to your online business.

However, it is often totally overlooked by many in the ecommerce and online marketing arena. Scratch any online marketer and you'll find an almost obsessive focus on search engine optimization, search engine marketing and online advertising.

There will probably be some talk about email marketing, and, if they are really on the ball, a discussion about conversion rate improvement, but traditional offline marketing methods will probably barely rate a mention.

As a business owner, this means you're missing out on a huge opportunity to drive customers to your site and generate revenue.

Traditional marketing's effectiveness at generating online customers was recently highlighted in research by The e-Tailing Group.

It found that consumers are most motivated to go online after:

viewing magazine ads - 47.2%

newspapers - 42.3%

TV - 42.8%

reading articles - 43.7%

Women were more likely than men to be motivated by coupons - 41.8% vs. 29%

and in-store promotions - 29% vs. 24.5%

while men were more driven to start an online search based on a face-to-face conversation 36.1% vs. 29.5%

Results Matter

Such results are impressive in their own right, but they become even more impressive when compared with the almost non-existent traffic generating capacity of online advertising, currently at 0.1% according to leading online researchers such as Doubleclick and others. (See Online Advertising Still Doesn't Work .)

With online advertising and search engine marketing taking the lion's share of online marketing budgets, it may be time for you as a business owner to re-evaluate the marketing budget spend.

Clearly there are more more effective ways of getting the maximum value from your marketing dollar.

The problem then becomes where do you turn to for cohesive marketing advice . Many online marketers and marketing companies are young, and totally inexperienced in the arena of traditional marketing. Plus, it's probably not something they even want to get into.

While traditional marketing and advertising agencies obviously have the experience and technique in mainstream marketing, they may only have minimal understanding of what's required online. (Plus, as I've said elsewhere, with conversion rates universally low, there are not many people who can truly claim they are masters of online marketing anyway.)

Demand Greater Accountability

As a business owner about the only thing you can do is demand greater accountability from all of your marketing people. Create a culture of producing tangible results , and not accepting anything less. That probably will upset some of your service suppliers, but you will get a much clearer picture of what's working and what's not. Based on that, you can then make better informed marketing decisions .

The Double Edged Sword

One final thing. This discussion cuts both ways . Much of your online activity will drive customers to purchase from you offline. Many customers will fully research what they want o buy online and then go and purchase it offline. They walk into your store knowing more about your product than your sales staff. The only thing the sales staff need to do is get out of the customer's way and not argue with them.

But that's another post. Stay tuned.

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