Why Your Online Business Needs an Offline Marketing Boost
It’s easy to live in an online world. From shopping to entertainment, the entire global community is at your fingertips. But this alluring screen-centered world is not without one danger: the risk of forgetting the offline portion of your life.
This doesn’t just mean teenagers shirking homework for Candy Crush or Fortnite. Business owners too often ignore entire demographics of potential customers simply because they dwell in the “offline world”. Many otherwise savvy businesspeople look at Facebook ads and hashtag campaigns and say “enough,” when they should be saying “more”.
The ideal strategy for your business effectively combines online and offline marketing. Don’t treat them as two unrelated elements. Start with successful online marketing methods and reshape them into something suitable for a “non-digital” audience. Take your marketing beyond the screen and into a whole new world!
Odds are, your business already has a logo. It’s fundamentally true that, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a unique, eye-catching brand-related image is worth at least five thousand. In addition, you may also have produced other branding elements such as a slogan, company e-mail header, or distinctive color scheme.
Bringing these branding elements from the digital realm into the physical is extremely worthwhile. From billboards to TV ads, people are bombarded with images in their offline lives. Your imagery can earn you new customers by being more memorable and eye-catching than the competition.
A good place to start is printing and distributing business cards. Cards can quickly connect potential offline customers to your online presence – they deliver all your contact information, including Web site and social media links, in one small, lightweight package. Plus, you can stealthily distribute your cards by leaving them in cafes, libraries and other publicly accessible locations.
Additionally, you can attach your branding to many other physical items. Go classic by canvassing local neighborhoods with flyers. Pens, colorful branded lanyards, and notepads are all things people use daily which can easily serve as a vehicle for your business’s information. Don’t forget the kids, either – endear yourself to parents by handing out branded Frisbees, kick balls and other classic toys!
A Different “Social Network”
Once you’ve created your physical branding, it’s time to share it! Opportunities to promote your business to a willing crowd are plentiful. Trade shows are perhaps the most lucrative, as you can display banners, give away free (branded!) swag, and quickly collect a large amount of customer contact information. If the booth price seems a little daunting, try splitting one with a fellow small business owner. With luck, you may make a great connection that can lead to future collaborative events and cross-promotions.
Another great way to meet your customer base face-to-face is through events. Volunteer to speak at a seminar or a convention related to your area of expertise. Host a workshop teaching attendees about how your business’s offering can improve their life. Poll focus groups about your product or service.
This is another great opportunity for online-offline connection. In-person meetups are announced via Facebook pages or forums. Join these groups. Put your name on these mailing lists. Not only will you find out about relevant events happening in your area, but you’ve got a ready-made advertising platform once you start hosting your own!
Spread the Word
Repurpose your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram advertisements for print media. Newspaper ads are affordable and reach a surprisingly large audience. Press releases can draw attention to milestones such as the release of a new product. They are primarily written in the same eye-catching, to-the-point, keyword-focused style as online articles.
To target more specific demographics, seek out magazines or newsletters related to your product or service. Don’t limit yourself to just ads – promotions, discount codes and coupons are a great way to draw customers to your business.
Use collected contact information to curate an offline mailing list. People receive so little “snail mail” these days that your regular updates will definitely garner attention. You can send out physical versions of important e-mails to avoid getting lost in overcrowded inboxes. Plus, customers love getting pleasant surprises in the mail – especially loyalty rewards such as exclusive coupons!
Don’t Knock the Classics!
Calling customers has fallen out of style, but it remains an effective tactic. Your voice on the phone can provide the personal touch that many people feel is missing from online business transactions. Make sure to strike a balance between cold and warm calling – targeting those who are unfamiliar with your brand and those who have already expressed interest in potentially becoming a customer.
Lastly, free samples or trials are the quickest methods of introducing people to your brand. A small amount of free product can lead to significant profits simply via word of mouth! Always “think outside the screen” for an effective, efficient and above all profitable marketing strategy.