There’s no doubt that the internet has drastically increased the reach of businesses as well as the sheer variety of methods that they can use to build connections with potential customers. But it has also started to raise a very valid question. Is online marketing more valuable than offline marketing to the point of abandoning the latter? One answer that you should consider is that by forgetting the offline world, a business is seriously handicapping its potential branding power. Most often, the best strategy is to combine the two practices as closely as possible.
Making social media truly social
It’s a good idea for businesses to get on social media. It’s a great way to tap into a customer base that is active and communicating and all too willing to share the things that they like. But it’s not all that difficult to create something of a bubble around your social media. It doesn’t reach the outside world and doesn’t let that outside world in. That’s why you should be thinking of social media campaigns that blur those boundaries a little more. For instance, starting a campaign where customers send their photos along with a hashtag. Or using social media to promote real world change and campaigns. If you’re not getting people to do something from behind the screen, you’re not getting the full social impact of social media.
Get others talking
Trust is essential for any business that wants to attract and retain customers. If you’re focusing too much on the online world, it can be hard to back up any of your claims. That’s why you need to reach out to those who would be able to do some talking for you. Word-of-mouth is more valuable than ten thousand likes on Facebook. If you have a satisfied customer, then make sure you get them to say as much. Testimonials and publicized feedback are a great way to have your customers see the value of your business from people who are just like them. Of course, you have to make sure you’re supporting your reputation by doing the kind of work that actually earns it, too.
Your location is an asset
As we have said, being able to establish trust is important. Having a website and a few social media accounts isn’t going to be enough to convince those customers who are on the fence. Make sure the details of your location are accessible so people can be assured that the business actually exists in the physical world. If you have a real-world storefront, then make sure it’s serving its marketing purpose as well. We’re not just talking about curb appeal, but the kind of search engine visibility that using tools like the Chatmeter platform can win using your physical location. You could potentially make your business significantly more visible to those in your area.
Keeping in touch
When talking about how the online world can benefit your offline business, you should think about how easy it makes it to connect with your customers. For instance, when doing business with a client or customer, why not ask them to join a loyalty program or ask for their email address? Not only will this help you update them with offers that might be specifically interesting to them as well as on-going support for your product and services. It also means that you’re able to show that you’re keeping their experience in mind by sending out things like customer surveys. You just have to make sure that you’re not just asking to flood their inboxes with information that means nothing to them. Ensure every email has some sort of value to the recipient first and foremost.
Know the target
The net can also help you market to those you haven’t got in touch with yet. A lot of businesses rely on leads and still rely on leads that they have to buy or (more reliably) referrals they receive from trusted partnerships. But if you target every lead in the exact same manner, you’re adopting an approach that will win you very closes. Instead, you should take the time and use the internet to do a bit more research on your leads. Especially if you’re operating in a business-to-business model, then social media networks like LinkedIn can help you craft a much more specialized and attractive pitch.
Link building in the physical world
Nowadays, the lines between the real world and the digital are thinner than ever. People don’t have to go home and switch on their computer to get on the internet. Many of them just have to reach in their pocket and pluck out their smartphone, wherever they are. So, make use of that broad availability of the internet. Don’t neglect things like billboards and physical mail as a chance to get some real-world visibility. But add links to them, making them even easier to use by adding QR codes. That way, if someone’s interest is piqued by your advert, all they have to do is scan it. That kind of convenience is important. It gives the potential customer less time to potentially forget or simply stop caring about what caught their interest.
Make a show of it
As far as the real world goes, trade shows are some of the best opportunities to give some real visibility to the brand. It shows you and your proposition in the flesh, amongst the other established names of the industry. It also gives you the chance to shake hands with some of the people most likely to become customers. It can also serve as excellent fodder for online content. Use social media to hype up your attendance and get people interesting in coming to see you. Share interesting, entertaining, and funny moments from the trade show live. Then when you’re done, publicly thank those who spoke with you, and share some perspective you’ve gained from the conversations you’ve been having.
Online marketing has a reach and a permanence that keeps it forever accessible. But real-world presence builds proper optic visibility and trust. If you lean too hard on either side, you’re missing the whole picture.