How to Leverage Online Marketing For Your Offline Business
The other day I went into my local pet store to buy my dog a new toy and some treats. You see I have one of those dogs who would rather chase squirrels and rabbits than listen to me. So I figured I should try training her with dog treats. You know, give her a juicy treat every time she does something I want her to do.
My order totals to $19.83. I hand the cashier a twenty. You would expect this to be a quick transaction. Just put the twenty in the drawer and hand me my 17 cents change. Instead I am asked to give up my email address. I just want to buy a few simple things and be on my way. Why are you asking for my email address?
Have you noticed this lately? Everyone is doing it. I can understand when I am using a store charge card. They usually say they want to confirm they have the correct email address. But now it seems every merchant wants an email address.
I am an Internet marketer so I know the power of an email address. However I also know there is a right and wrong way to ask. This is where offline marketers often get things wrong. They try to use online marketing tactics without really knowing how.
So how should offline businesses implement online marketing practices?
Online marketing methods work great for online businesses because the engagement fits. Consumers who are looking online for solutions to their needs will naturally connect with online marketing.
If you visit an online retailer and they offer you something you want for free in exchange for your email address you naturally give it to them. You see it as a fare and even trade.
This is where most offline retailers get it wrong. They just ask for your email address. This creates an imbalance of value. The retailer is getting all the value and the customer is getting nothing but unwanted emails.
There are lots of other ways offline retailers are either implementing online tactics all wrong, or they are simply missing out on great marketing opportunities.
Top 6 Internet Marketing Methods to Leverage for your offline business
Local SEO – You have to be visible
- Make sure your website is SEO friendly
- Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
- Include Name, Address, Local Phone Number on your site, should be text, not an image
- Optimize page meta date; title tag should include Your City, Your State, The keywords you are trying to rank for.
- Optimize your meta descriptions; Include with your page description your city, state, keyword, and phone number
- Include your hours of operation and directions; critical for mobile users
- Leverage the power of social proof; customer testimonials, yelp reviews, BBB ratings, or noting other highly trusted sources
Facebook Advertising – Meet your customers where they are
- It is common knowledge that Facebook is the largest social community on the planet. With billions of users spending an average of 90 minutes daily, chances are extremely high your target market is hanging out on Facebook.
- You should have a clear understanding of your ideal target customer beyond basic demographics. Using this information you can create an ad campaign with laser like focus, putting your ad in the news feed of thousands of your best prospects.
- Since most ads are pay per click, your ad spend is far more efficient than traditional coupon mailers.
- Run ads based on what you can afford. There will be some trial and error in the beginning, but once you have a high performing ad connected to a solid sales funnel, you should be able to achieve a positive net gain with your ad spending. Which means, if your downstream sales are paying for the ad, you can throttle up without risking the farm.
Content Marketing – Publish high quality shareable content
The 2 biggest reasons to publish high quality content on your business website are search ranking and reputation. Both are important to your customers.
- Search rankings:
- When using local SEO, one of the key ranking factors is a relevance match between the search phrase and your location. For example, if you have a knitting supply store and want to be found by local shoppers, you want to rank high for key phrases like “knitting supplies in mytown”.
- When using standard SEO, the relevant criteria is about key words and site content. So your site will rank higher for people looking for information about knitting supplies when you have post titles such as “how to find the best knitting supplies.” This shows your store has content quality that relates to the needs of your customers. Everything else SEO being equal, the store with better content will rank higher.
- Since web content also encourages comments and social shares, content with both will also improve your businesses reputation in your target market among your online peers
- If the Internet is anything it is a vast wilderness of information. This information has given buyers a whole new arsenal in the process of finding ideal providers for everything from electronics to knitting patterns. Often times shoppers will visit several sites looking for advice on the best product.
- Trust, more than any other factor, is what moves a customer from window shopper to buyer. This is true for both online and offline businesses. Your customers are looking for solutions to their needs. Once they find a solution they then need to overcome the emotional barrier to buying, trust. This is where a high reputation can tip the scales in your favor.
Use Hyper Local Group Buying Sites
Sites like Groupon, Living Social, or Tipper are a great option if they make sense for your type of business. These sites leverage buyers emotions regarding instant gratification and value.
Still the best form of engagement once you have built a suitable list, email marketing allows you to directly engage with subscribers and customers using the information you have about prior engagements.
Over deliver whenever possible
Good news travels fast but bad news travels faster. In the Internet age customer reviews and ratings are the gold standard. Having a growing list of positive reviews is money in the bank. Not only does it improve your search rankings, it helps drive sales as consumers look to reviews for confirmation before committing to the check out button.
Consumers have changed the way they shop. Whether they buy online or from a local store, for most people the buying process includes Internet engagement. Something as simple as finding your address or checking your sales, if you are not providing basic information you will alienate a large number of potential customers. Blending both online and offline marketing methods is the best way to engage your customers for maximum return.
How do you advertise today? Can any of your advertising or marketing be done online?
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Latest posts by David Cook (see all)
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