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Are Offline Ads Worth the Trouble?

A study shows that people search for companies online based on offline ads

Don’t write off traditional advertising yet.

More than two-thirds of Internet users say they have searched for a company, product or service in response to an offline ad, according to a JupiterResearch study released earlier this week.

‘Thirty-seven percent of the 2,322 people surveyed said they have conducted an online search as the result of a television ad, and 30 percent said they have done so as the result of a magazine or newspaper ad,” according to a Direct article.

This illustrates that, despite the buzz online, many offline ads are still effective. They may not be as interesting a new video ad or a viral marketing campaign, but they work, and that’s what matters.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and to focus exclusively online. But just because you’re on the Web doesn’t mean your visitors can only be reached through emails, PPC ads and Google.

If you’re website needs a boost in traffic, and you’ve got the money, why not explore some offline ads?

Try to identify radio shows, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, television shows or anything offline that offers advertising and appears to serve your market. One good way is to ask your colleagues and yourself how you learn about your industry.

Once you’ve identified a few potential advertisers, give them a call. Ask how much an ad costs and how many people it will reach. If it’s surprisingly less than your weekly Google Adwords spend, then maybe it’s worth a shot?

One problem with offline ads, though, is their lack of traceability. But we are not entirely without options. One way you can track an campaign is with discount codes.

This works by designating a code for a campaign, let’s say it’s “ocean.” The ad tells people to visit your website and enter “ocean” to receive a free gift or a discount. Most respondents will want the freebie, and the number of times the code is entered will give you a general idea of the campaign’s success.

Is it a little gimmicky? Yes.

Is it a little unreliable? Yes.

Is it better than nothing? Absolutely.

Posted in Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

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