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Offline Marketing Basics: What Is Offline Marketing and How Can your Business Use it

Offline Marketing Basics: What Is Offline Marketing and How Can your Business Use it

These days, online marketing is all the rage. Whether promoting a business through social media sites or online ads, it seems like marketing really has gone digital. But offline marketing can be just as effective in helping a business grow its reach and increase branding awareness. 

Simply put, offline marketing is any type of marketing that is not done through the internet. This encompasses a wide range of mediums and formats, from TV and radio commercials to billboards and print ads. There are many different types of offline marketing, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Let’s take a closer look at some offline marketing basics and ideas for getting started.


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What is Offline Marketing?

How Does Offline Marketing Work?

What are some key types of Offline Marketing?

What are the Biggest Advantages of Offline Marketing?

What is the Biggest Drawback of Offline Marketing?

Unique Ways Companies have Used Offline Marketing

Is Offline Marketing Outdated?

What Else Should I Know About Offline Marketing?

Lightspeed Can Help Your Business Grow


What is Offline Marketing?

Marketing is any activity that helps a company gain more customers and increase brand awareness. Since the internet has become such an essential source of information for most people, it can be challenging for offline marketing to compete with its online counterpart. However, there are certain advantages to offline marketing as well.

For instance, offline ad campaigns are usually easier to track than online ads, since you’ll usually know exactly how many people saw or heard the ad. Also, studies have shown that radio ads tend to capture people’s attention better than online ads do; TV ads are even more effective, because they make it very easy for customers to identify with the product being sold. These offline strategies are even more effective if your target audience is older and therefore more likely to consume media through traditional, offline methods.

How Does Offline Marketing Work?

To plan out an offline marketing strategy, the first step is to create a sample campaign. This involves coming up with a budget, writing the ad copy, and designing the ad itself. It’s important to remember that not all offline marketing is exclusive to the offline world; usually, these ads are paired with some form of digital advertising, like banner ads or social media posts.

After you’ve created your ad and budget, it’s time to start shopping around for ad placement. Some offline marketing venues cost more than others; for example, a billboard is much cheaper than a TV commercial. Once you know how much you’re able to spend, the next step is choosing where to run your ad—geographically, and/or what time of day. 

The final step is to track the results of your ad and measure your return on investment, or ROI. Since it’s challenging to get exact numbers with offline marketing, you’ll need to research certain effective metrics, including: impressions (how many people saw the ad) and cost per impression (how much each viewer cost). You should also take the time to compare your costs with similar online ads.

Remember that offline marketing is not a replacement for online ads; it’s another tool in your arsenal. You should be using as multi-pronged a strategy as possible to achieve the best results. 


What are some key types of Offline Marketing?

There are many different ways to dive into offline marketing. Here is a comprehensive rundown of some common types of offline marketing platforms, and how they can help you grow your reach. 

Radio Ads

Like TV commercials, radio ads allow companies to convey their brand image and voice. In addition, they’re usually less expensive than TV ads, and they’re more flexible since they can be changed at the last minute. On the other hand, radio ads do not usually provide detailed information about a product or service; this is something you’ll need to add in later with another marketing channel like print media.

TV Ads

Although TV ads are expensive, they provide a great way to grab people’s attention quickly. They can be creative and make your product really stand out from the crowd. Of course, you also have to keep in mind that many companies run TV ads simultaneously with their radio ads; this means it’s important to prioritize which ad is more important for your company.

Promotional items

Since most people have a lot of clutter in their lives, promotional items are usually very effective. For example, small flashlights or USB drives with your company logo on them will help build brand recognition and show customers that you appreciate their business. How you distribute these items depends on your budget and how much time you have to work on the promotion.

Print Ads

A print ad might be the only option you have if you’re dealing with a smaller budget. They usually cost less than TV ads, but they can also take up a lot of time to create. On the other hand, print ads are great for product features because people will actually read them. Furthermore, many different offline marketing ideas will work well with print ads.


In some cases, you can get your billboard ad seen by a huge significant amount of people. However, it’s important to note that billboards only provide a picture and a company logo; it’s up to the viewer to do additional legwork to find out what product or service is being advertised. That said, billboards are usually pretty cheap to create and run.

Magazine Ads

This type of ad is usually inserted into a targeted magazine that’s read by your target customer demographic. So, the number of people who see it will be relatively low compared to other mediums, but so will the costs! Also, magazine ads are great for features because they allow companies to talk about specific products in great detail.

Newspaper Ads

This is a great way to promote small businesses because newspaper ads are usually pretty affordable. They’re also a good choice if your target customer demographic doesn’t have a computer or smartphone, which means the ad will reach the largest number of people possible. 

The downside, however, is that newspapers advertise in many different areas; this means it’s difficult to track your ad and see if a specific area is getting results.


Flyers are perfect for when you want to get the word out about an upcoming event or sale; it’s also a great way to get your brand in front of people who may be interested in what you offer. Just remember that it’s hard to track how many people saw the ad, so you’ll need to do some math.


Sponsoring an event or organization is a great way to reach your target market offline. If you sponsor an event or organization that your target market is likely to be interested in, they’ll be more likely to learn about your company and what you have to offer. 

One example of a company using sponsorship successfully is the car rental company Avis. In addition, they’ve sponsored several major sporting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl.

Direct Mail

Many people claim direct mail is the best way to target older customers. This type of ad works well for small businesses because it’s pretty cost-effective. While some say it is on the decline, direct mail is still a great way to give your company an image of authority and maturity. It shows you took the time to create a unique message for your customers and target those best suited for your product. 

It’s also worth noting that you should never rely on one marketing channel! Instead, it’s important to try different types of advertising to see what works best. Make sure, however, that you track the results of each ad, so you know which channel is bringing in the most business.


What are the Biggest Advantages of Offline Marketing?

Now that we’ve given you some examples of how to use offline marketing, we want to help explain the why behind it. The biggest advantage of offline marketing is that it can be very targeted. You will usually not reach as many eyes as you would with online ads, but the people who do see your ad are more likely to take action (or convert) than those reading about your ad on a website. 

For example, if you are a local business, it might make more sense for you to place a billboard down the street from your brick and mortar store than to set up an online advertisement targeted at a wide net of people, many of whom cannot actually visit your shop. Offline marketing also gives you the chance to create brand awareness and establish a company image through localized visuals and accurate messaging, so that your marketing efforts feel authentic and tied to your business’s community. 


What is the Biggest Drawback of Offline Marketing?

Unfortunately, offline marketing can also be difficult to track and measure. For example, it’s difficult to find out just how many people saw an ad and were influenced by it, and this means you’ll need to do that legwork yourself by tracking sales, measuring sales increases over time, and so on.

This is why in the battle of offline vs. online marketing, there is no clear winner and it’s important to think of offline marketing tactics as a part of a larger, more comprehensive overall marketing strategy. 


Unique Ways Companies Have Used Offline Marketing

There are countless unique ways that companies have used offline marketing to reach their target market. Here are a few examples to spark your imagination: 

  • Purina has a program called “Paws for Pets,” which helps shelter animals find homes. They print adoption flyers featuring photos of adoptable pets and distribute them in local, high-traffic areas.
  • ADT has a program called “ADT Cares,” which helps victims of domestic violence. They print “Stay Safe” cards featuring contact information for local domestic violence shelters and distribute them to victims’ homes. 
  • Denny’s often holds grand opening events where free food and other prizes are given. 
  • Ford has a program called “Drive 4 UR School,” which raises money for local schools. They print donation forms featuring the school’s logo and distribute them to local businesses.
  • Back in the ’80s, Pepsi had a nationwide taste test to prove that people preferred Pepsi to Coke. It worked to Pepsi’s advantage; the majority of taste testers chose Pepsi over Coke, which led to an increase in sales for Pepsi. 
  • Coke has also used an offline marketing strategy by sponsoring the Olympic Games for many years. You couldn’t turn on the TV or see an ad for the Olympics without seeing Coke’s bright red logo right alongside the rings. 


Is Offline Marketing Outdated?

Never underestimate the power of offline marketing. Even though more and more people are doing business online, offline marketing is still an incredibly effective way to reach your target market. A recent study found that 84% of consumers prefer to receive information about products and services through offline channels. 

Most people don’t even realize that they see offline marketing every day. It’s everywhere, from the ads in your local newspaper to the flyers taped to telephone poles on your local street. Offline marketing efforts can feel large, or small, but never underestimate the power they might have. 

Even Amazon uses offline marketing tactics. When an Amazon package arrives, sometimes it comes in a box with a new show or event displayed on it—Amazon just advertised to you even though you already bought from them!


What Else Should I Know About Offline Marketing?

Offline marketing is only part of a good advertising strategy. Although physical, offline ads are usually more affordable than online ads, they don’t always turn into sales on their own. Some types of offline marketing are also harder to track than others; for example, it’s nearly impossible to tell exactly how many people saw your billboard ad.

Since you’re using ads that don’t allow you to go into as much detail about what you offer, it’s even more important to make sure that everything you put out conveys the right tone and message. If people get the wrong idea, they may not be willing to take the extra step of looking you up online. 


Lightspeed Can Help Your Business Grow

Offline marketing is a great way to promote your business and reach potential customers. There are various offline advertising methods, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. It’s important to try different types of advertising to see what works best for your business and track the results of each ad to determine which are most effective.

That’s where Lightspeed comes in. Lightspeed features a host of tools that can keep all of your shop’s activity in one place. We’re a one-stop commerce solution that powers businesses at all stages of their lifecycle. If you’d like to learn more about what Lightspeed can do for your business, click here.

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