As you may know, IRL stands for “in real life.”

In a world where so much is done online and digitally, it can be hard to remember that there is a world outside of that. When looking at your marketing strategy, you need to have both digital marketing and IRL marketing plans. IRL marketing sounds confusing, but the truth is that it is just an offline marketing plan. 

Having a digital marketing plan is very important but without IRL marketing, it’s much less effective. Why? Even if someone reads reviews and trusts your brand, meeting in person will develop a relationship and trust much faster. But there’s more to IRL marketing than just networking. It also includes good old fashioned bus stop and TV ads.  

Benefits of IRL Marketing

There are tons of benefits to marketing, both digitally and IRL. The main goal is to reach and grow your audience to increase revenue. What IRL marketing is especially good at is building loyalty, trust, and brand recognition. But how does IRL marketing actually do that? Let’s take a look at some examples of IRL marketing to see how it works and what it looks like. 

There are two main categories of IRL marketing: advertisements and relationship marketing. Let’s take an in depth look at each. 

IRL Relationship Marketing 

A big part of IRL marketing is actually connecting with people IRL. That could look like going to networking events, hosting a holiday party or a seminar, or attending a conference. The goal of relationship marketing is to, suprise suprise, form relationships with your clients and customers. So how do you do that? 


Networking helps build relationships, loyalty and trust, some of the hardest things to accomplish through digital marketing. Below are some tips for making the most of your networking. 

  •  First of all, have a business card! The new relationships you form won’t go anywhere if you don’t have a way to connect in the future. 
  • Ask questions. Making sure the conversation is a two way street will lead to a much better connection. 
  • Be proud. When talking about your company and what you do, you need to show that you believe in your company so that other people will as well. 

Event Marketing 

Event marketing is a way to promote a product or service to a large group of people. It’s a way to get the message of what you do out in the world. When attending an event, you want one that you can market your brand best at. For example, if you sell handmade beauty products, attending some kind of farmers market or maker’s gathering would be best for selling and marketing your product. So what kind of events could you host or attend to start event marketing? 

  • Product Launches 
  • Award Ceremonies 
  • Fundraisers 
  • Seminars 
  • Conferences 
  • Recruiting Events 
  • Job Fairs 
  • Trade Shows

There are tons of event options so make sure to look up what events are going on in your area. 

IRL Advertisements 

IRL advertisements, the second form of IRL marketing, help build brand recognition. For example, if you live in the Bay Area you have probably seen those Apple billboards that have photographs and say what kind of iPhone it was taken on. Now Apple obviously doesn’t need any more brand recognition, but having an ad that people see a lot and have come to recognize builds brand recognition. 

Another example of ads building brand recognition is State Farm. Their jingle, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” is well known and has built strong brand recognition. People know of State Farm by seeing their ads and know more about what they do by getting that song stuck in their head. Now that we know the goal of IRL advertising, let’s look at how to do it effectively on different platforms. 

Bus Ads and Billboards

The key to having a successful ad campaign for billboards, bus stops, busses or subways, is having a unique look. People will pay attention to your ad if it catches their attention, whether that be what it says or how it looks. San Francisco’s public transportation system, Muni, recently put ads on all their buses and trains about train etiquette. Their ads caught lots of people’s attention because that had a simple look and great content. 

Below are two examples: 


  • Choose how you will grab your audience’s attention, whether through look or content.
  • Make your ads have a uniform look that matches your brand.
  • Have a short attention grabbing slogan.
  • Use creative imagery. 

Radio Ads

To make your radio ad stand out you need to make the most of the sound component. Maybe use a jingle or fun sound effects. Like any other style of ad, your radio advertisement has to be creative, unique, represent your brand and lastly, grab your audience as quickly as possible.


  • Use audio by creating a jingle or using sound effects.
  • Make your message and clear and don’t try to pack in too much information.
  • Find a creative way to present your information. 

TV Ads 

TV ads are great because you get to combine visuals and audio. To make the most of that make sure your ad is simple yet creative. Having a storyline will help grab your audience’s attention. If you make a theme or character to represent your brand, this will easily build brand recognition. For example, look at Progressive Corporation, their brand is easily recognizable because of their character, Flo. 


  • Create a story that represents your brand style
  • Keep it simple
  • Have a tagline or jingle 
  • Create a character 

Print Media Ads

Print ads are all about messaging and spreading information in a simple way. One of the most important things to consider when making a print ad is the layout so that it is readable. Make sure that you are not packing too much into an ad. Have a key message and focus on the one thing in the ad. 


  • Keep it simple and straightforward. 
  • Focus on one topic and don’t pack in too much information. 
  • Make it as readable as possible. 

IRL marketing can help create more leads, increase revenue and create brand awareness and loyalty. More than just billboards and print media, to have an effective IRL marketing strategy you need to meet with people face to face (or, given the current COVID-19 crisis, via Zoom). 

Now that you know what IRL Marketing is and what it looks like, the next step is to create your strategy by choosing what channels to use, such as what events to attend and ads to invest in. Then put your plan into action and get out in the world and start marketing.

Looking for other ways to upgrade your digital marketing by organically driving website traffic or improving your branding? Schedule a meeting with one of our digital marketing strategists here