Supporting Your Online Marketing Campaign through Offline Outdoor Advertising

There are many in the advertising arena that believe the online space is the most important advertising medium and is where businesses should focus the majority of their marketing efforts. There is of course substance to this idea as technology continues to develop and online marketing becomes increasingly important.  But there are also lots of other opportunities to capture the attention of your audience.

While online marketing certainly has its value, it is not the only place you should be advertising and spending your advertising dollars. Creating an effective marketing campaign requires a balanced mix of multiple mediums and an online marketing campaign is no different. By supporting your online marketing campaign through alternative offline mediums you can increase the effectiveness of that campaign and outdoor advertising presents a great option for accomplishing this.

Advertising with billboards


Establish Brand

One way that outdoor advertising can supplement your online campaign is by further establishing your brand. Establishing brand name is one of outdoor advertising’s greatest strengths and it can be applied to this situation wonderfully. While an online strategy may be able to reach your target audience easier and connect with them more, it does not necessarily strengthen brand recognition. Without brand recognition, even the most creative online marketing campaign will fall short. By incorporating outdoor into your marketing mix and taking advantage of its ability to fortify your brand name in the minds of your audience, you will only be increasing the effectiveness of your online efforts.

Hashtag use on a billboard

Build Trust and Relationships

Another way that outdoor advertising can support your online marketing strategy is by building trust and developing relationships with customers.

While the internet is useful in countless ways and is an incredible tool, it is not necessarily renowned for its trustworthiness. Less than credible people (scammers), hackers, and viruses have made consumers somewhat skeptical and suspicious of the information they find online. This may not bode well for your online marketing projects, especially if you are trying to change perceptions or influence behavior.  However, outdoor advertising can be used as a tactic to re-enforce that you are a real and credible business. Through outdoor advertising you can show your target audience that you are in fact an actual business and not just some random person with a website. When people see your outdoor ads they will view you as a legitimate business and begin to open themselves up to your message and not be as guarded as they would typically be.

By implementing outdoor into your marketing plan you can also begin to develop a relationship with your target audience. This can be coordinated and organized through your online strategy. For example, you can create an online contest for your customers to compete for the rights to create your next billboard. This not only encourages engagement online, but it helps build a relationship and promote loyalty which increases the chance of obtaining repeat business.

Classic billboard sign


Drive Traffic to Online Campaigns or Websites

Outdoor advertising can also bolster the efforts of your online campaigns by directing potential customers to them and increasing traffic.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by applying this strategy to social media campaigns. Simple examples include billboards with a hashtag linked your twitter campaign or an ad on a bus that says “Like us on Facebook”. These are pretty standard examples but you can see how simple it can be to drive traffic to your social media campaigns. Another option is to utilize QR codes with your outdoor advertising to direct potential customers to specific webpages or sites.

The use of outdoor guerrilla marketing tactics can provide other ways of driving traffic to a specific website. For example, creating stickers to post all over town with the site’s URL on them can not only raise awareness of the site but also increase traffic. Another idea would be to employ street artists to “paint” the site’s URL in various locations around town.

There are a variety of ways that outdoor advertising can efficiently complement your online marketing efforts. Whether it be reinforcing brand name, building trust, or driving traffic to online campaigns; the value that outdoor can add to your online marketing strategy should not be ignored. They key to any successful marketing plan is a healthy balance of ads on multiple mediums and the grouping of outdoor and online can surely be an effective combination.


Darren Leach is an experienced media planner and outdoor advertising expert. Currently he writes on behalf of Billboard Source, who provides a variety of billboard marketing products.





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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.