Anyone who is part of making a business profitable worries about whether offline or online marketing is more effective. As technology and consumer trends evolve, it’s even more important to figure out which channel is the best way for you to get the word out about your event. Most events perform a balancing act between the two—they print some brochures or registration forms, but also send emails, and maybe buy a few ads on websites. But when it comes to getting results, online marketing tends to outperform print advertising. It’s more targeted and relevant (and therefore, successful), which means you get more bang for your buck.
According to figures released by eMarketer, online/digital advertising grew by 20% in 2011 and is expected to approach $50 billion is spending by 2015* (making it the second most popular ad format behind television advertising). Trends show that people are online (on their PCs, iPads, mobile devices) all the time, so that’s where businesses are going to reach them.
For busy endurance event organizers, online marketing is often the most effective way to connect with participants. Here are five reasons why:
1. There is an immediate call to action
We all know that attention spans are shortening and if you have someone’s attention, you should take advantage of it! With online marketing, participants have the instant gratification of clicking on a link to get more information (or to register for your event) the moment it catches their interest. Print advertising does not allow you to take direct action and often requires extra steps for a participant to get more information.
2. You can target any audience
With online marketing, you can choose the people you’d like to reach and send them a targeted message. Advertise to as broad or narrow audience as you see fit, instead of being unsure who you are reaching in a more traditional forum (like a newspaper ad). It’s also easier to work within a budget because you can pick and choose who you’re advertising to (most advertisers can target by geography, gender, age, interest, and more) versus being locked into a one large-scale print buy. The more targeted an ad, the more successful it will be and the better use you’ll make of your marketing dollars.
3. It’s easier to get detailed reporting and tracking
Print provides reporting, but it is necessary to set up a coupon code or unique URL to track its results. In other words, it can be less exact and more of a pain. Whereas online media offers extensive reporting, allowing you to track deliveries, impressions, opens, clicks, click rates, and even conversions. This is particularly helpful when you’re trying out multiple advertising vehicles—you can easily determine what performed well and what didn’t.
4. You can mix it up
What makes up a truly successful marketing campaign? It’s a mix! With online advertising it’s easy to target your potential participants with multiple forms of digital media, ensuring as many people as possible are exposed to your event. You can send them a series of emails, hit them with online ads, and throw in some social media posts and tweets. You have a variety of channels at your fingertips and the smartest marketers tie the messages in those channels together so participants get one overarching message. With print advertising, you simply don’t have as many options.
5. The customer finds you
What’s unique about online advertising is that is has shifted the marketing path. Traditional offline (outbound) marketing is a one-way street where messages are sent “out” to customers, such as radio and TV commercials, postal mail, etc. There is no interaction or conversation involved until the recipient decides to take action on it via another media channel, like logging onto a website or picking up the phone. With online (inbound) marketing, the customer finds you. As people surf the web looking for the next event they want to participate in or reading about activities they enjoy, your ad will pop up. And it stands a good chance of getting their attention because it is aligned with what they are already searching for. From there, it just takes one click for someone to get to your website or opt in to receive an email.
Need some help with online marketing? Check out our eMarketing Center. It’s completely free and full of new ideas, advice and downloadable templates for your marketing efforts.