Want to Grow your Online Brand? Go Offline.
Sounds counter-productive, right? Bear with me.
Remember in the early 2000s when everyone was urging you to take your business online? It was hard to anticipate a day where websites and online marketing were no longer unique. Even elaborate sites with all of the bells and whistles still struggle to stand out in a sea of good design and marketing techniques.
The market is more saturated than ever, and marketers have to get more creative in how to get brands noticed and attract more users. To tackle new audiences and make your brand stand out in a market this competitive, let’s take it back to basics. As companies invest in their digital marketing efforts, one strategy making a comeback: traditional, offline initiatives.
Few companies allocate time or marketing effort to offline strategies and in return are missing out on a large segment of people ready to take advantage of their services.
Explore new ways to stand out online by spending equal time offline.
Replace online communication with face-to-face communication or phone calls. Communicating “offline” doesn’t have to mean no internet. Rather than an email, make a phone call or set up a video chat so that you’re creating a “person to person” connection. If you can’t set up an in-person meeting, suggest a video call. It will be more meaningful in the long run and stand out among a sea of boring emails.
Show up in-person
If you sell B2B, gauge whether or not it would be appropriate to drop by in person. If the company has a public storefront, it may be worth it patronize their establishment or even go as far as to use their services. This way you will get to know the workers, can speak to managers or other decision makers and quickly build a relationship with people from the company. Just make sure you’re not loitering.
Send physical mail
Drop a customized mailer/proposal/pitch in their mailbox followed by a follow-up email or phone call to make sure they got it.
This method can start to get pricey but can have a huge payoff especially in creative industries. Sending actual samples or a PR package with a mailer and product information can create a great marketing opportunity for your brand if you package your materials in such a way that it gets people talking.
Mail is a smart way to stand out visually and supplement your online marketing activities.
Many online brands, like Ban.do, regularly hold in-person pop-up shops selling their products. It establishes a good relationship with clients and makes it a fun experience that they can relate back to your brand. Again these scenarios can translate into significant online marketing opportunities if the visitors take to social media to talk about the experience, so it requires balanced effort online to promote the event to get the marketing payoff.
Events like these create an excellent opportunity to show off your branding and generate buzz through social media and word of mouth. In-person events are great for getting testimonials in an organic environment because you know most everyone there made a conscious effort to be there because they follow your brand.
Web-based companies; research where a majority of your customers or clients live and choose your location accordingly to ensure that you get a decent turnout and at least know you have a reliable network of users in a particular area. For service-based companies, instead of pop-up shops, hold networking events, workshops or free training sessions.
Create a local presence
Setting up at significant events in the areas of high volume clients can build a valuable relationship with the surrounding community. Having a booth or representative at local events will also show that your company has a local face and presence despite its size or location. Sponsoring local charities or benefits can be a tremendous philanthropic opportunity and a way to generate more attention for your brand offline.
In addition to promoting your offline events online, research the patterns of your customers to determine the best marketing methods for that audience. Find out where people are getting the news in your market and advertise using those platforms.