5 Tips For Moving Your Offline Marketing Budget Online

Ian Lurie Feb 25 2009

This is a quick preview of the webinar I’m running tomorrow.
Marketing departments that used to sniff at internet marketing are now falling over themselves trying to shift dollars from offline to online marketing. I believe the thinking is that online marketing will get them a better return for less dollars in a tight economy.
While it’s certainly a solid strategy to move online, it pays to put a little thought into it, first:

  1. Verify your infrastructure. Before you shift dollars from offline to online, make sure you can actually take care of all those online customers. Do you have analytics in place? Can you rapidly revise landing pages and site copy? No sense putting money into online ads if you’re going to send visitors to a site that sucks.
  2. Set reasonable goals. If you’re shifting money from offline to online hoping to generate a 5:1 return within two weeks, cut back on the Prozac and think again. It’s not going to happen. Set goals you can achieve. Don’t depend on a home run.
  3. Manage expectations. The biggest mistake I see when companies shift their budgets online is they assume it’s a ‘run and done’ thing. Marketers and their bosses think they can build the landing page or launch the PPC campaign and then forget about it for a month. While that cycle works in print or television, it won’t work online. Online is highly, highly iterative and requires constant attention. So a lot of the money you save in ad fees goes into labor.
  4. Adjust your style. In print, on television and such the emphasis is grabbing attention and drawing people deeper into your message by putting an ad in context. You place the headline right next to a photo, and together they make an ad. Online, the emphasis has to be on description: Each element of your ad – the headline, the image, etc. – has to stand alone as it’s own little message. Why? Because you never know when a search engine or blogger will grab one element and use it to talk about your business.
  5. Know what a click is worth! You must be able to track the value of a customer from first contact through a completed transaction. This is not optional. Figure it out. Take the time. Fudge it if you have to. But you must know what a customer is worth if you’re going to judge the success of your efforts to convert your offline ad budget to an online campaign.

I’ll talk about more elements, and go into more details, tomorrow. If you’re going to be in the webinar, and see gaps or want to hear more about one of these items, let me know with a comment, below.

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  1. Point 3 and in particular ‘Online is highly, highly iterative and requires constant attention. So a lot of the money you save in ad fees goes into labor.’ sums up the reality of moving marketing online. The task of educating the customer about how labour intensive it can be is central to the process.

  2. To add to the labor intensive point, there is also a lot more to learn. It is more important for marketers to keep up with trends because the internet environment is constantly changing.

  3. diane


    Amen to the point that online is a different animal! Here’s a hypothetical scenario (bears no relation to reality; all characters are fictional; any resemblance to real corporate entities is strictly coincidental):
    Brand’s offline market: college kids
    Brand’s online market (verified by data out the wazoo): Gen X and up, with a plurality of Boomers
    Online strategy: target the college kids
    Online copywriter reaction: bangs head repeatedly against cubicle wall
    Conclusion: Dilbert would be funnier if it weren’t so real.

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