Offline content such as brochures, flyers and posters all serve primarily to capture the attention of an offline audience. By adding a few extra elements into the design of this printed collateral it is possible to drive more visitors to convert online. If copies of the offline work are accessible digitally then it’s also possible to make that more interactive in order to increase overall return on investment.
This article explores the ways in which a piece of offline content can be designed to engage an online audience both in print and digital formats.
QR codes on printed magazines
Probably one of the more commonly used elements linking offline and online content, QR codes allow users to scan the small symbol using a mobile phone and be directed to a webpage, phone number or other piece of data.
However all too often this format is misused, directing visitors to a homepage or simply the online version of the content they’ve just scanned. Whilst that may be ok in some cases, it’s usually going to be much more beneficial to send visitors to a piece of unique content.
Take for example a poster advertising a local music gig. Rather than directing people to the homepage of said band, it’s probably worth sending them to a video of the band playing. Video works particularly well as most modern phones have native YouTube applications.
Links in printed content using vanity URLs
Similarly to adding a QR code, displaying website links can be a good idea, providing they’re short and easy to enter. Having a 500 character URL isn’t going to get many people typing it into their browser, so using a vanity URL (something that’s easy to remember and write) is always advisable.
Adding a vanity URL at the end of a piece of copy is usually the desired choice, but if the copy talks about something you already expand online then stick a link in brackets within the copy itself.
It’s important to remember to make the vanity URLs unique so you can track exactly how well they perform in something like Google Analytics, and be sure to hyperlink them if you’re hosting a digital copy of the printed collateral.
Easily associable landing pages
So the printed collateral has QR codes and vanity URLs pointing readers to a specific location, that’s great. If that location happens to be a landing page, make sure that the page is (A) unique and (B) easily associable with the printed work. As with pay-per-click advertising, if the “advert” (in this case the printed brochure or flyer) has no correspondence with the landing page then it’s unlikely that the visitor will convert.
Using the same images, following on the copy and providing a valid reason for converting are all essential to help increase the ROI of the overall campaign.
Augmented reality and close proximity marketing
Although augmented reality has been around for a while, it’s never really picked up significance. However there seems to be an increasing number of projects using the technology in recent months.
Taking the music poster again, holding an augmented reality app up could reveal a wealth of additional information (venue location and distance would be a good start).
Interestingly, the recent introduction of iBeacon means we could see an upsurge of close proximity marketing which uses Bluetooth, NFC or local wifi connections to push messaging to people in specific areas via their mobile. Could we be about to witness a new chapter in multi-channel marketing?
Turning whitepapers into HTML5 infographics
Coming back to more familiar grounds, turning premium content pieces such as whitepapers into interactive infographics and website elements can increase the exposure dramatically.
Doing this has several benefits, not least the ability for Google to crawl the content. Additionally other sites are much more likely to accept this format of content (over .PDFs) and it’s also more likely to be linked to from others.