There are millions of websites on the Internet, more than one billion Facebook users, 500 million-plus people tweeting and more than 80 million users posting photos on Instagram. With these numbers increasing exponentially on a daily basis, how in the world are businesses supposed to stand out online?
Interestingly, one way to maximize an online presence may be by turning to traditional offline marketing. In fact, signage and graphic professionals are uniquely qualified to provide the perfect offline media to businesses looking to stand out online. In this column, we highlight some of the ways you can help your customers boost their online presence using offline graphics.
The Sum is Greater Than the Parts
For businesses looking to embrace the latest new technologies, it’s important not just to remember the basics—but to integrate them into your new media and vice versa. For decades, signage has been proven an effective marketing tool. Likewise, there aren’t many who would argue the importance of an online presence, be it a website or social media page. But while each can be effective on its own, like any marketing techniques their greatest success comes when used cohesively as part of a larger strategy designed to keep a product, promotion or brand top of mind.
At Signs By Tomorrow, we pride ourselves on not only providing signage and visual communications solutions, but on integrating those into our customers’ broader marketing plans. Knowing the right balance of signage and other tactics—and how to use them together—is key to increasing return on investment.
Today, marketing has evolved to be more than just print ads. Businesses are choosing from dozens of possible tactics ranging from direct marketing and events to POP displays and web marketing. With so many options, businesses can quickly become overwhelmed about the right mix or how they all should work together. As both signage and marketing experts, it is our role to step in and recommend solutions that drive results.
For instance, a retail customer may have a lot of foot traffic in its store, but experience a lack of website visitors. By incorporating a URL or even a QR code into in-store signage or graphics—and better yet, tying it in to a special offer—we can help them remind their customers of the value of following the store online as well as off.
Attracting a Crowd
Social media, while virtual, can certainly have a very real impact on a business’ bottom line, if used correctly. Some of the most popular social trends are promotions, contests and sweepstakes. Whether a business uses Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or FourSquare, its social marketing can be even more successful when backed by traditional media including signage and graphics.
Your clients can bridge the gap with these social promotions by using media to remind their customers where and how to find them online. Making it easy is a priority in the success of a promotion. Add directions, rules and prizes to signage near their register, front window or even vehicle wrap. This way the information is easily received and easy to remember or find on any device.
Adding QR Codes
Go even further to bridge the gap between a customer’s signage and online presence with QR codes that can link to just about anything, from YouTube videos to Pinterest or even a specific web page. Many businesses don’t realize there are options beyond the boring black square of most QR codes and that they can be designed in different colors, shapes and sizes. QR codes can be great way to boost online success rates and are ironically most successful when a business has a captive audience in a bricks-and-mortar space such as in a queue.
For example, when Signs By Tomorrow’s Bloomingdale center was approached by an area shopping mall to promote its annual fashion show, the staff there recommended QR codes on floor displays throughout the mall to direct traffic to the event site. The QR code led shoppers to more information about the event and special offers. The success of the initiative has led the mall to continue to use a mix of QR codes and signage to boost its online presence.