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Integrating Digital and Traditional Marketing

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Letterhead and responsive web design mockup for integrating digital and traditional marketing

If you’re trying to target a larger audience, is it better to get more “likes” or mail more flyers? The answer is—you’re asking the wrong question. The issue isn’t which to use, but how can you get digital and traditional marketing to work together. It’s called “integrated marketing” and it combines the best of both to drive results. Here are some tips to use digital and traditional marketing together to meet your small business goals.

Integrating Digital and Traditional Marketing

Expanded Toolbox

In its simplest form, marketing is about getting your message out to the right people at the right time. In the past, the traditional tools to get the job done included things like print advertising, TV and radio commercials, brochures, and giveaway items. With the addition of digital tools, you now have options like websites, landing pages, social media, blogs, apps, and geo-messaging.

But digital doesn’t replace traditional media; it just expands the toolbox. Traditional marketing is still effective when you’re targeting a wider audience with an overall message. Digital marketing is stronger at targeting specific segments with personalized messages.

The One-Two Punch

Here’s how the two can work together. Start with traditional marketing to gain awareness with a broad message. Its call-to-action might direct them to a digital property like a website. There you might ask them to “Like” your Facebook page or sign up for your blog. That’s where you can push out more targeted messages about your business.

For example, XYZ Foods started out with a TV commercial on a local cable channel promoting their home meal delivery service. In the ad, viewers are sent to a webpage for more information. The webpage asks a few questions about their food preferences and prompts them to sign up for their blog. Each time a blog article appears about one of their favorite foods, XYZ emails the article to those subscribers along with a coupon to try them out.

The advantage of this approach is they could access a wider audience using a traditional TV spot. Then they targeted smaller segments with digital media and unique content. Combined, they’re a knockout. They increase the number of exposures seen by people in the target market.

Tips to Make the Two Work

Consider these tips to use the strengths of digital and traditional marketing to your advantage:

  • Speak with one voice – While the message might be delivered in different forms, it all needs to look and sound like you’re speaking the same language. It’s confusing to prospective customers to see one approach in a print ad and then another on a web page. You can minimize that by using consistent images, color palate, and graphic elements across media. That also applies to the tone of your message. For example, you may not want to start with a serious newspaper ad, then transition to a laugh-out-loud message on a landing page.
  • It’s a two-way street – While traditional marketing can funnel attention to digital media, the traffic can be directed the other way too. For example, you might upload your email database to Facebook to be sure all subscribers are invited to like your page, and then use your Facebook page to get people to sign up for your print or email newsletter describing all the services you provide.
  • Let your target be your guide – Be careful about which traditional and digital options you combine. Stick with the ones that will appeal to your target market. For example, newspaper readership tends to be popular with baby boomers. And, with smart ad targeting, it’s easy to get your message in front of the same demographics on Facebook. So, if you’re targeting an older population, you could combine a traditional newspaper ad with a call-to-action to “Like” your Facebook page.

Get the most out of your traditional and digital marketing programs by combining them in ways that use the strengths of both. Start with these tips to maximize your marketing dollars.

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