Business owners looking for potential markets can turn their heads into online direction. Integration of offline sales with activity in the virtual world has several benefits:
- expensive advertising on TV and radio can be substituted by engaging users on social media
- online you can find new segment of audience and extend brand awareness to Internet space
- by following your brand online users become loyal to your brand
- if potential customer hasn’t made one-stop decision about the purchase, by sending him online you make sure it still stays with your brand and always knows where to find you
- connecting to your brand via Internet is convenient, engaging and time-saving for your potential buyers
Below are several effective techniques and business marketing tips you can use to develop your business. Most of them need company’s site and profiles in the biggest social media to be established or continuously run. Even though it requires some investment and time, remember that it will go a long way for your business growth.
1) Business cards. Make it easy for people to find you online. Along with website address, include social media contact details: Twitter handle, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, etc. If you use other types of print advertising, make sure to mention social media URLs there too. Support this information with appropriate call to action like: “Follow us on …” or “Find us on …”.
Get a bit advanced. Create a hashtag for your brand or product and mention it on the business card too. With this hashtag users can learn about latest updates from your brand, promotions, campaigns and discounts. What is really good, having searched with this hashtag, users can find out what people say about your brand.
The strategy can be effective for restaurants and cafes, for example. Visitors post a photo of fine-looking dish on Instagram. Other users search for photos with this hashtag and becoming excited about what they see they decide to go to the restaurant.
2) Printed materials are also a good place to put QR code. We can think of QR code as paper-based hyperlink that takes user online where he can find much more information about brand, product or activity.
But while it is so many good about QR codes, they should be applied wisely. Scott Stratten wrote a whole book illustrating epic cases of QR code advertising when companies failed to implement QR codes correctly. One of the most common mistakes are codes placed on billboards at the side of the freeway ( which users are not able to scan), on doors which move away when you approach them, or codes placed on websites which lead to the same website. Scott also gives the statistics according to which 85% of people have a cell phone, 50% of these phones has feature to scan the QR code, 17% have scanned the code and only 50% were successful and would use this technique again.
So basic things to check before you use QR code are:
- whether your audience has the technology and possibility to scan the code
- if you have relevant destination page which people will land on
- appropriate call to action to make sure the customer knows what he is supposed to do
3) Questionnaire. Upon purchase at brick-and-mortar store a customer could be asked to fill in a short form, where you can ask him to leave the email address. Why it is powerful is because it leverages email marketing. By asking customer for an email address you ensure that he stays connected with your brand even after the purchase has been made. In online promotion, email marketing is considered one of the most powerful techniques, because it fosters customer loyalty, keeps him up-to-date with the latest deals and triggers conversions even from passive part of the audience.
For example,email marketing can be effective to upsell complimentary product to your customer.
4) Event photos with hashtag. A fun and engaging way to enhance any event at your company and involve more people with your brand is printing pictures taken at the event, say, conference, with specific hashtag. There are special social media applications, like Giclie, which streamline the process and allow to print tagged photos directly from Instagram or email.
The technique is great to create the buzz about offline event in social media and connect with the new audience.
The list is by far not exhaustive. Since offline businesses are seeking for new opportunities on the Internet, social media and branding techniques while online marketers understand they can’t move further without offline campaigns support, we may predict that the integration of offline and online activities will continue.
Do you use any other techniques to merge your offline and online marketing for business? What are they? Share your experience with us in the comments below.