Should You Advertise Online or Stick With Traditional Offline Advertising? (Part 1)

Awareness and engagement

The first question you really need to ask yourself is, ‘where are my potential customers going to see my advert?’.  If the answer leads you to advertise in the local newspaper or on billboards then the next question you need to ask yourself is, ‘how will my potential customers engage with my advertising?’.

Consumer behaviour 

Purchase Funnel
Purchase Funnel

Depending on the product or service you’re offering, your potential new customer will go through several stages before they buy.  This is known as a purchase funnel or a conversion funnel.

First of all the consumers become aware of your products and services and associate them with your company.  Next, they start to form an opinion of your company based on what they’ve seen and heard.  After this stage the customer starts considering the purchase, they think about whether they need it or want it, whether they can afford it, whether that matters and then they decide they’re probably going to buy.  Now that they have the intention to buy they’re going to do some research – can they get it cheaper, can they get a better service, can they get it quicker and so on.  Eventually, they buy (hopefully from you).

From start to finish, getting a new customer is a long process and generally the more costly the product or service, the longer the process – did you think people would just see your ad, pick up the phone and buy?

Reaching your audience 

So let’s go back and think about that off-line advertising for a minute.  How much awareness do you think you can generate when you’re limiting your target audience to ‘people who read the local paper’ or ‘people who drive past X billboard’?  On-line you can reach a huge audience of people, in fact 76% of homes in the UK have an internet connection (Ofcom, August 2011) and 90% of adults aged 35-44 have internet access at home (Ofcom, August 2011)…

(Part 2)