How to Blend Online Marketing and Traditional Media

April 29, 2013 Jason Corrigan


Marketing seems to be really siloed right now. You have SEOs, Social Media Experts, PR, Print, Radio, and TV guys and rarely do they cohesively work together to market a business.

Whether search marketers develop advertising for a small business consisting of two individuals or manage campaigns through multiple agencies for fortune 500 brands, businesses can significantly grow their reach and recognition by connecting all of their offline advertising channels to their digital properties.

As search marketing and SEO continues to evolve into a system that is dictated less by on-page optimization and more by PR and online relationships, the SEO and online marketers should actively search for opportunities that utilize traditional top of mind advertising (TOMA), to drive offline consumers to their desktops and mobile devices.

In order to maximize search interest, traffic volume, and conversion opportunities, an SEO and/or digital marketer must look at the entire marketing wheel and understand how each channel interacts with and complements one another.

Here is how brands can set up great search marketing campaigns by leveraging offline owned media with television, radio, and print advertising.

TV is Still King for Consumers

Multiple reports and studies offered by groups like eMarketer show how businesses are continuously allocating more advertising dollars into their digital campaigns, and less in traditional TOMA channels.

However, while brands may be shifting their advertising dollars to digital platforms, consumers are still glued to their television sets and the world’s largest brands are still in love with the talking picture show.

According to a 2012 year-in-review report by Nielsen, consumers view almost 145 hours of television – or six whole days per month! Compared to desktop and mobile usage, both channels only consume approximately 34 hours of an individuals’ attention per month.

So if people remain hooked to their television sets, then brands should capitalize on this to spark interest and drive offline consumers to their online properties.

Using TV Advertising to Gain Great Traffic

Brands that invest in television advertising can maximize their traffic levels and drive immediate conversions to their site by including specific messaging that instructs and directs viewers to their sites.

Esurance is an insurance provider that serves as an excellent example for how brands can create great television commercials that speak to the brand and its services, while also enticing viewers to act on their website.

Let’s break one of their commercials down:

eSurance commercial

As soon as their commercial opens, the viewer is immediately exposed to the brand’s online domain and telephone number, offering two specific choices for how the viewer can take action.

eSurance commercial

Within 10 seconds, the viewer watches the commercial’s main character hop onto her desktop computer to search for insurance rates.

eSurance commercial

Immediately after watching the main character go to her desktop computer, she then shows the viewers that what she is doing is typing in Esurance’s domain, while demonstrating to the viewer how each letter is typed.

The next frame continues to push the fact that the main character is going to Esurance’s domain, as a side panel is offered showing eyes locked on to the brand website.

eSurance commercial

Without missing a beat, the commercial frames out so that the viewer can see the main character at her computer. She has successfully reached the brand’s website and the commercial directs the viewers to what they want them to do once they reach the website; click on the “Quote” box.

eSurance commercial

Finally, within 30 seconds the commercial ends by pushing their logo and domain right in the viewer’s face to establish retention and top of mind awareness.

By developing television commercials that coordinate with online properties, brands are able to continue marketing their message and services to a wide net of consumers, while also driving potentially new customers to their website for further action.

This is a phenomenal opportunity for brands that offer online coupons, discounts, or products that can be purchased online as 25 million consumers actively seek out online coupon applications each month.

Additional benefits of directing offline consumers to online properties include:

  • Growing online audience
  • Attracting new customers
  • Increasing online search interest
  • Increasing search rankings through traffic
  • Increasing keyword authority through use derived from traffic
  • Increasing links
  • Increase conversions/online sales

Use Radio to Remind and Direct Immediate Action

media usage

According to research conducted by Radio Ad Lab, 57% of radio use is connected with online users who listen to various internet and local stations while browsing/working.  Of those listeners, the vast majority are shown to react immediately to things they hear on the radio such as going to a website or making a purchase.

In addition, 67% of radio listeners say that the radio reminds them to search for particular forms of content, while using the internet. In this, brands can leverage their radio advertising so that consumers are exposed to a message over the radio and directed to interact with the brand’s online properties.

The ability to direct consumer engagement directly and indirectly is an enormous opportunity for driving immediate conversions.

Geico car insurance is a great example of how to effectively leverage radio advertising to direct online action.

Their commercial illustrates a family trying to save money by pretending their bathroom is a water amusement park. The 30-second commercial ends with a voiceover telling listeners that they can save money easily by going to and getting a free insurance quote.

In 30 seconds, Geico hooks the listener through a humorous situation that speaks to families, and tells them how they can overcome an obstacle by going to their website.

With that, Geico creates new opportunities to drive offline consumers to their website and gain immediate conversions. These opportunities would not exist if their ads only spoke to their name and services and did not tell the listener that they can save money quickly, by going to their site.

Use Print to Capture the Mobile Consumer

While the print industry might be on the decline, brands that still utilize print advertising can do so in a way that benefits their online properties.

Brands can maximize their offline opportunities for increasing conversions by placing their website’s URL right in the ad for consumers to read, while also attaching QR codes that allow consumers to go straight to forms of content through their mobile devices.

This allows brands to capture mobile consumers wherever they are and gets them to react by offering incentives for why consumers should scan the QR codes.

For brands, attaching QR codes is an affordable way to connect with online consumers and based on a 2012 report released by ScanLife, mobile barcode scanning experienced record breaking use with 5.3 million scans in June 2012 alone.

So as mobile usage continues to increase, consumers that utilize barcode scanning on their smart phones will increase as well.

Starbucks ran a successful QR campaign in 2012 promoting their coffee roasts for specific in-store locations. The QR code was planted on bookmark fliers that were handed out to customers throughout the country.  The QR codes were also inserted in Starbucks print advertising within major publications such as People and other daily newspapers.

Each bookmark contained QR codes that allowed users to find the roast they wanted the most.

When consumers scanned the QR code, they could vote for their favorite roast and watch a video to learn more about the company, its offerings, and history.

What Starbucks found was that by offering an additional step in their print ads for consumers to interact with and engage, they were able to enhance their consumer relationships by giving their customers additional options that allowed for further progression. Starbucks has since created options for consumers to actually make purchases from their QR codes, offering a convenient way for consumers to purchase their favorite Starbucks products immediately.

Putting the Wheel Together

qr code

At the end of the day, brands that own and promote offline advertising can easily leverage it in a way that supports their digital efforts, as well as maximizes their reach and conversion opportunity.

By being considerate of the fact that offline consumers present a larger opportunity to attract and retain customers, marketers can develop comprehensive strategies that target consumers in their home, their cars, at work, and in passing. Such an opportunity allows brands to connect with consumers wherever they are; by reaching the offline consumer in a way that gets them to go online, brands are essentially creating a revolving cycle of attracting new customers and turning them into returning visitors.

Digital marketers that focus only on online search tactics and build strategies that only capture online users are always going to limit their client’s ability to max out on traffic, search visibility, and potential sales.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author

Jason Corrigan

Jason is the Manager of Search Marketing at The American Cancer Society; whose portfolio of experience includes developing complex search and social strategies for world-renowned brands that include: Duracell, Febreze, Swiffer, Oral-B, The Source, and more. Corrigan is a published author on the concept of "Social SEO" and a frequent contributor to some of the industry's most recognized search marketing journals.

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