If you are deciding whether to promote your business online or offline or how much budget to assign each online or offline tactic, then you should consider the following 11 factors.
Both online and offline communications work and it’s often more effective to use an integrated approach, especially when budget is sufficient for such campaigns. However, it’s also important to understand how they differ and how each helps you to reach your target markets.
Virtually all consumers use TV, radio and print (newspapers and magazines), so offline advertising has a wide reach compared to online ads. Online ads are usually seen by people who are actively searching for products or services especially in the case of search engines – and also people who are browsing sites will see ads that are contextually targeted. So, offline promotion has a wider reach than online, however that gap is closing quickly.
2. Brand Awareness
Offline is better at increasing brand awareness because of its high-impact visuals. The combination of sound, motion, animation, video or illustrations that are hard to achieve with online promotion are much easier to create with offline promotion through TV, radio, billboards and others.
3. Emotional Connection
Offline promotion is especially effective for consumer advertising where emotional connection with the brand through visuals and sounds is important.
Online channels are more effective at explanation of the value proposition and they do it more cost-effectively too. A range of features including FAQs, resources, videos, tutorials etc can be provided for prospects on the website for free – and they help to educate about the business and brand and provide answers to any questions. This is often difficult and expensive with offline channels.
Compared to online advertising, offline ads have higher wastage due to targeting limitations. The well known statement ‘half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half’ is true with offline advertising but not with online, especially when the right tracking is in place.
Online promotion allows for precise targeting by behaviour, location, demographics, lifestyle, usage, keyword, site visited and content and this is difficult to achieve with offline promotion, except direct mail marketing.
Tracking online campaigns is straightforward and there are many tools like Google Analytics that make this possible. Offline it is more difficult to track responses and behaviour and it is error-prone.
Detailed information to support customer purchases and queries can only be cost-effectively provided online. This is evident in emails, website, social profiles and other areas where customers come in contact with the brand and need information to make informed decisions.
Personalisation is far more straightforward and easier online than offline and it’s one of the reasons online customer behaviour is more understood by marketers. However, direct mail allows for personalisation and this works well for many businesses and has a high ROI.
11. Interactive experience
Many offline communications are one way and not interactive as online ones.
Overall, online promotion has many advantages over offline promotion and it’s the reason many businesses are realising its benefits and increasing their expenditure and exposure in the online space. However, online marketing has some major drawbacks and one of them is that it is not near as effective as offline promotion at raising brand awareness.