The new year is quickly approaching and many businesses have already planned their 2011 marketing strategies. However, for those who haven’t yet, this post provides useful tips and guidelines for integrating your online and offline marketing activities to ensure maximum impact and effectiveness. Some companies in the construction industry still keep their offline and online marketing activities separate, leading to confused messages, inconsistency and wasted budgets.
Integrating digital marketing activities provides a much more measurable strategy for marketing and selling company products and services as every click, visit from an offline channel can be tracked and measured and therefore should not be treated as a separate entity. Utilising internet marketing can help construction companies save vast amounts of valuable marketing budgets because online marketing is generally a much more cost effective channel than print and allows marketing to more relevant and targeted to niche audiences. The basic requirement for establishing your online presence is a website that is professionally designed, user friendly, contains content which is of value for your audience and has inbuilt SEO to increase visibility to those who are searching for a solution to a problem. If architects and specifiers cannot search for you or your information online they will not be able to find the relevant technical and design information that helps them evaluate your products and services to determine whether these satisfy their needs for the project they are involved in.
Some businesses also forget that online activities often lead to face-to-face interaction, especially when scoping for projects. A face-to-face meeting can further cement a business relationship so companies should employ online marketing activities such as e-mail campaigns, social media and display advertisements to promote offline events such as workshops or CPD seminars in order to create awareness and visibility.
But do not neglect traditional media such as print to market to your audience and engage with them. What is important to understand is that architects and specifiers will often be exposed to various messages through many channels. They may pick up a magazine which contains your ad or visit a website with your banner advertisement displayed on the homepage, so put your website URL in the print adverts so that prospects can find you online and then go on to sign up for your mailing list to find out technical and design information for your latest products or promotions.
Integration is key
If logos, colours, imagery, fonts or key marketing messages that you promote offline is different from the content online, or promoted through online ads, then prospects may get confused and as a result softens the impact of the campaign or message. The main purpose of branding is that your company should be instantly recognisable and unique. Inconsistency can lead to poor performing marketing campaigns and key marketing messages not properly understood by its audience. Online and offline marketing must work together to drive sales and improve brand reputation. Think about how your prospects move from the research phase to the awareness phase to the consideration stage, do you have campaigns or content to move them along? Separately, both methods are effective at bringing clients and customers to your business, but a combination of the two working in synergy will keep your company fresh in their minds and make them want to come back for more.
How to integrate:
- Consistency and constancy are the key to successful marketing integration. Make sure that your strategies work together and complement each other. If you are conducting a sales promotion offline, ensure that your website is up to date and is promoting the same deal.
- Put your website address on all marketing material to increase visibility.
- Launch a teaser campaign and ‘tease’ your prospects about a web-based promotion in printed adverts and direct them to a relevant landing page to find out more about your products.
- Optimise website landing pages for search on your company name, catch phrases or any slogans used in offline marketing material so that your site is easily found within search engines.
- Interact on social media and discover what your target audience is talking about. Find bloggers and influencers who write or tweet about similar products and they could help raise awareness about your business.
- Add links to product landing pages on offline marketing material and this will help increase traffic to your site. Soon your company will become associated with the products your prospects are looking for.
- Have the same goals for online and offline marketing so that it is easier to track and measure campaign success. For example, if you are a roof tile manufacturer you should set up specific landing pages for certain types of tiles and put the URLs in your print adverts. You can then track and measure the leads generated through that campaign and analyse the increase.
On the whole, integrating online and offline marketing efforts can help companies in the construction industry strengthen brands and ensure that they are present wherever prospects are looking for their products and services. Marketing strategies will be successful if they are implemented in a consistent manner and work together, not against each other.
So we ask this, have you been integrating your online and offline marketing activities? Have you noticed positive results since combining the two? If you are not integrating yet, then why not? Do you think online strategies are not appropriate for the construction industry? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.