The offline to online conundrum

There have always been some smart ways of measuring the website traffic sent from offline sources, such as print, TV, radio etc. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem that many people in B2B marketing can be bothered to use them, so most advertisers still have little evidence that – for example – a print advert to web page to email enquiry promotional funnel actually works. This, I suspect, hides an unwanted truth that it doesn’t work very well. But we should at least encourage whatever benefit from it that we can get.

I’ve had the opportunity to do some studies on this recently, and it’s still infuriating how few people will see something in print and type in the website URL to find out more. Indeed, I have some evidence that a negligible number do so. However, there may be indicators that a small number will type in the company or product name into their address (or search) bar of their computer. In other words, while you may as well include your website URL in a print advert, don’t expect to get much direct traffic from it. Any interest that you do generate will probably arrive via Google.

This of course reminds us that if you have a particular offline promotion or advertising campaign on, it’s essential to have a clear link on your home page to the page detailing the product being advertised. Best of all, to ensure prospects end up where you want them, you should be using the wording (or even better, image) from the offline advert.

Many business to consumer companies do this very well. They’ll run an advert on TV or in a newspaper, in the knowledge that this will merely cause potential buyers to type their name into Google. When arriving at the home page, however, visitors will immediately and clearly be shown an image of the advert that brought them there, and off we go with the sales process. It’s not difficult.