Which is Better: Online vs. Offline Marketing for Small Business

Ok, think quickly. What type of marketing provides biggest bang for the buck to small business owners – traditional offline marketing or the modern online marketing? If you are struggling to answer this question you are not alone. Many small business owners are in the same boat. Traditional offline marketing has been around for decades and you know how it works – you prepare a nice graphics and tagline, put it in a glossy magazine or on billboard, maybe provide a coupon or two and hope that your customers will notice it in the midst of all other advertisers who are also vying for their attention. Its modern cousin, online marketing, on the other hand, seems like a puzzle. You are not quite sure how to tackle it. Should you create a Facebook page and monitor it constantly? Do you need to have Twitter account and provide stream of updates on it throughout the day? How about Instagram, Pintrest and many other social media sites like that? If your head is spinning already I don’t blame you. Well, let’s take it a bit easy and try to understand both from small business viewpoint.

Offline Marketing

What is offline marketing? In short, it is the marketing that is not done on computer or internet. It includes magazine ads, flyers, direct mailing, billboards and others that everyone is pretty familiar with. Those who watched the AMC TV show Mad Men know what I am talking about. Offline marketing has evolved over decades with the help of those creative types who know how to create a compelling story and accompanying graphics that will attract customers’ attention.

The benefits of offline marketing are straightforward. It has proven over the years. It helps build your brand and is relatively easy to manage. You do not need to pay attention to it every moment of the day. Create it once and forget it. You can also seek help of experts who have perfected this over the years.

While it is relatively easy to manage the return on investment with offline marketing is hard to determine exactly how much it is. Did the customer come to your business because he saw an ad in a magazine? Or did he get the card in the mail from your business? Would he have given you the business regardless? Offline marketing is not something that everyone can do himself. You are most certainly going to need help of experts who can create these marketing campaigns for you.

Online Marketing

Online marketing has rapidly evolved in the last decade with the rise of internet. It started with display advertising on Yahoo, moved to search advertising on Google and has now morphed into social media advertising on Facebook, Twitter and the like. It has matured to a point where if your small business does not have online marketing strategy you stand to lose customers to competition.

The primary benefit of offline marketing is its ability to tell you exactly how many customers looked at your ad and what are the characteristics of those customers. You can even target the right type of customer based on the demographic information that these online sites have collected. Also, with Google’s pay-per-click advertising model you don’t pay until potential customer takes action on your advertise. In short, online marketing gives you the ability to target the right customer and know the return on your marketing spend.

Not all is well with the online marketing world though. There are complains of click fraud in pay-per-click model. While it costs just a dollar per click the cost can add up quickly when you consider the number of people who can potentially click on the ads.

And the Winner is…

So who is the winner in this duel between offline and online marketing? Well, like everything else in life it’s not a black and white decision. I believe there is room for both types of marketing for small business owners. There are companies such as those that provide Serviced offices Bracknel utilize both online and offline marketing strategies effectively to promote their business. You cannot afford to ignore one or the other completely. Offline marketing will give boost to your brand and raise awareness about your business. Online marketing will provide direct traffic to your website at a relatively low cost. Determine your budget and allocate it judiciously based on your needs and target.

But don’t let me be the final judge on this? Why don’t you tell me your opinion in the comment below?


  1. Offline and online marketing when integrated correctly can generate you lots of business. Although you have to make sure you do this accurately.

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    Please feel free to use the information within our article.

  2. This is a very good article! A lot of people tend to compare offline and online marketing. But when you combine the two effectively. Your overall marketing ROI tends to increase.

    We have written an article recently which explains this in a bit more depth. Please feel free to use this.