It’s a cut-throat world out there, competition is the name of the game, and there are so many others trying to make a reputation for themselves and their brand.
It’s so easy these days to focus on building your online presence. There are currently almost three and half billion social media users worldwide, a number that has risen nine per cent in the last year. The fact that around half of the world’s population are digitally engaged is a clear sign to anybody who wants to be seen; that online marketing through social media should be a huge area of investment for your business. And, quite rightly too; using targeted marketing on sites like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube will dramatically increase the traffic to your website and build brand awareness in a way that even the most clued-up, creative, marketing executives could barely imagine two decades ago.
But, by throwing our eggs in the online basket; are we disengaging with our customers in the physical world? Your company needs to have two separate marketing strategies; your online presence, and also a significant representation offline. Even if your brand only exists online; the importance of offline marketing should not be overlooked, and these two separate strategies can work together to strengthen your appeal in a way that a purely online offer couldn’t.
Here are five top tips for marketing your online business offline. Depending on the type of business you are in, some will be ideal, and others may not work for you. The key is to have a varied approach and to consider how you could make any option work for you. Remember that offline marketing is generally more expensive than online due to the potential physical resources involved; therefore; do your research and plan wisely.
Network Network Network
If there is an opportunity for you to go out and meet your customers face-to-face, take it. Getting to know your customers and getting the kinds of reactions that you can only get in person can be beneficial not only in selling the tangible, human nature of your business, but it’s a great learning opportunity.
Get involved at trade fairs and conventions. Set up an eye-catching event display that will stand out from the crowds of other similar businesses. Use positive, enthusiastic and engaging body-language and get out and speak to potential new customers.
Create printed materials to distribute- but make them stand out. A quality brochure is less likely to end up in the bin at the end of the day.
If possible, give away branded gifts. The pen or keyring received from a corporate event will long serve as a reminder of your business and is likely to instil a more lasting impression that is potentially worth much more than the disposable flyers.
If there is an opportunity to become a guest speaker at an event; take it. Make sure you create an informative and engaging presentation. Use visuals and multimedia wherever possible, and always be sure and use a confident member of your organization who exudes warmth and charisma.
Speak to your customers
Cold-calling is often seen in a derogatory light when it comes to marketing. Customers generally hate it, it provides very little return on the time and money spent and may also damage your brand if handled badly; who would want to use the products or services of a pushy company who use aggressive sales techniques?
Warm-calling, however, is different. If you have an existing database of previous customers, get in touch with them. Find out what their needs are and have some great offers of new products or services to entice them back to you, look for ways that you could potentially reward their loyalty. Make the calls relaxed and friendly; this is not about the hard-sell, this about gently reminding existing customers of your brand. Ensuring a positive memory is maintained is key here, so really make sure that your phone operatives are friendly, helpful and well trained!
Everyone loves to feel like they are getting something special that others aren’t. This might mean getting products early, a special discount or being privy to information, services or products that the majority of customers have no access to.
Loyalty schemes tap right into that human need. They promote return custom and provide a direct link between you and your valuable, loyal customers.
Putting effort into creating bespoke offers for your best customers will provide rewards for your company in the long-term and a great loyalty scheme crosses the divide between online and offline marketing seamlessly giving you access to your customers to learn more about their needs and wants, while providing direct targeted marketing to a willing audience.
These days people rarely receive letters. It can be exciting to hear post dropping through the letterbox, and this is another way of engaging with customers that may have used your services in the past and reminding them of your existence while offering them some kind of preferential treatment.
Make sure your letter feels somewhat personalised to the individual where possible, and try to make your offer memorable. Chances are, whatever you send will end up in the bin, but if you can put the seed into your customer’s mind, when they need wherever you are offering, it will be you they choose! Having physical mail is more memorable than receiving another marketing email.
It is important when contacting customers directly that you adhere to any specific data protection regulations in your area.
Donating prizes to charity fundraisers, or holding a draw of your own can be a great way of getting some good publicity without too much outlay. If you’re donating one of your own products or services, then this will could be even cheaper.
Linking up with a charity not only reduces marketing costs, but it again demonstrates humanity surrounding your business.
You might want to look into providing sponsorship to a cause which you believe is important. This creates a brand synergy and can bring a wider awareness of your company. There may also the relevant tax reliefs which you can also take advantage of here.