If you don’t limit marketing for your brick and mortar business to offline techniques, why would you limit marketing for your ecommerce store to online strategies? Online and offline marketing should work hand in hand to maximize your business opportunities.
Though it might seem like it, not everyone gets all of their information from the Internet. It’s important to use both marketing strategies to make sure you are reaching any and all potential customers. And, many online customers are influenced by offline materials, too, so you still will be influencing those customers, as well.
We know you have a limited budget, so we put together a list of offline marketing techniques that will generate business without breaking the bank.
1. Loyalty Club
Loyalty clubs have been proven to increase revenue for businesses. If they didn’t work, you wouldn’t see those people with key chains that have more of those little plastic cards than keys, right? These programs make customers feel rewarded and valued for frequenting your business and keep them coming back.
There are a few different ways you could run a loyalty program. The most basic way is presenting customers with punch cards and stamping or punching the card with every purchase leading up to a free purchase. You also could develop a points/rewards program that keeps track of how much money customers spend and provide a discount after so many points are earned. If you don’t want to keep track of the program yourself, you could employ an app or service to do so for a subscription fee.
Consider offering more points for online purchases, or providing some other perk to members of the loyalty club such as free shipping when shopping online to encourage customers to check out your ecommerce store.
2. Contests and raffles
Contests are a great way to generate brand awareness and get people to your website. People love getting free stuff, especially when it required very little effort. Offering a grand prize and a few consolation prizes will get more people to enter because they feel like their chances of winning something are greater.
The details of your contest will be up to you, but some ideas include entering people to win when they sign up for your loyalty club, or having entry forms at your business for people to enter and allowing additional ways to enter through your website and social media. It’s important to tie your brand to the contest. One way to do that is to have customers submit slogan ideas or mascot suggestions with the best one winning. This will make customers feel more of a personal attachment to your brand, especially the winner.
Information you collect from the contest is helpful, too, because you could use it to build your email list and it gives you a better idea of the demographics of your customers. This will allow you to tailor your branding message better in the future. Be sure to check out your area’s laws and regulations regarding contests and raffles before launching your contest.
3. Business cards
One of the most portable offline marketing techniques is using business cards. Customers remember great business card designs. Make sure the design is unique and matches the rest of your marketing and brand themes and messages.
Be sure to include your website and all social media connections on your card. You could try creative design ideas to do this such as using a QR code. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, seek help from a custom print designer to make your card stand out.
Kill two birds with one stone by making the back of your business card a punch card for that loyalty club you are starting. This will ensure customers will have your business card handy. Or, you could tie in a contest aspect by adding a riddle or trivia question to the bottom for customers to answer on your website for a chance to win a prize.
4. Contact local media
The most cost effective offline marketing technique is to build a relationship with your local media. Is your business celebrating a big anniversary? Are you going to hire more people? Are you working with a local charity somehow? These are all things local media might be interested in writing a story about. Write a press release to let them know. Be sure to submit photos in case a reporter can’t make it to your business but still wants to publish something.
Even if you don’t have a milestone to inform the media about, you still should make contact. Ask to speak to the area business reporter, if there is one. If not, write a press release explaining what your business offers to the community and any type of expertise you have. Be sure to include your contact information so that should a reporter need an expert source for a story, you’ll be called. This still will get your business and your name out there at no cost.
You also could offer to write a weekly or monthly column answering readers questions related to your field or just offering useful tips and information. This will help build trust with potential customers.
5. Direct mail
With all of the email people receive today, it’s very easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. It seems as if items actually stand out more using good old fashioned snail mail. Only in this case, you would use direct mail.
Your reach is limited only by the neighbourhoods you want to send your message as nearly every consumer has an address. You can send anything including coupons, sale promotions, and invitations to check out your website and social media. You also could send information regarding an upcoming contest or your new loyalty club.
Mailed items also tend to have a longer shelf life as people save them for future reference. Like business cards, it’s important to make sure your direct mail has an eye-catching design to keep it from hitting the trash. Using real stamps instead of a metered stamp, non-windowed envelopes, and handwriting fonts for the address and signatures will add a more personal touch and make potential customers more inclined to open it.
Your marketing strategy should include a mix of offline and online marketing to expand your customer base. Because people are so inundated with technology and screens, offline marketing techniques could stand out more to them. So, put these tips to the test and watch your business grow.