How to Bring Your Relationship Building Strategy Offline
The Internet has given us an unimaginable opportunity to easily connect with people all over the world. It has been a huge help for small and large businesses alike to expand their marketing all over the world.
But here’s the thing: Traditional offline marketing strategies are still important. They give you a face-to-face connection with the consumer, business partner or influencer that takes you beyond the fickle relationship built online.
Why Offline Touchpoints Work
Have you ever read “How To Win Friends And Influence People”? It is one of the most crucial marketing books ever released, even all these years later. It stresses the power of genuine relationships—ones that are built while the two individuals are in the same room.
While the Internet has removed borders and connected people all over the world, it has curiously brought in another phenomenon: We are so disconnected that even phone calls are rare!
Establishing a reliable marketing strategy is the task of every business person. Figuring out that formula is key to successfully landing customers. But your end goal should be to turn them into lifelong patrons. Statistics show that prospects are converted to clients after somewhere between nine and 15 touchpoints.
Let’s face it, there are only so many times you can call, text or email. Adding an “offline” touchpoint only makes your marketing strategy stronger.
It is time to reintroduce ourselves to traditional marketing. That means integrating an online and offline strategy to take advantage of both approach’s benefits.
Send A Postcard
I will be the first to admit that 99 percent of the advertisements I get in the mail go right into the recycling bin with barely a glance. But if anything is going to catch my eye, it is a properly integrated piece of paper mail.
Just a few weeks ago I got a postcard from a shop I have bought from online. On it, they announced a promotion that used a mobile QR code to get 25 percent off of any order. I hadn’t intended to buy from them again anytime soon, but that mailer got me to visit their mobile site. At which point I spent $100 using that code.
Having a physical promotion that connects with an online strategy is a great way to attack from both angles, and is quite effective.
Gina Davis of Custom Growth Group recommends SendOutCards, which lets you create your cards online and add a gift like brownies or cookies. They even mail your card for you to your prospects and customers. How does this work in real world? Gina explains:
The year I began my business, I met a local business woman, I’ll call her Frieda. Frieda took me under her wing for the first six months of my new adventure. She was already familiar with SendOutCards and over the next year I dripped on her.
Along with calling, emails, social media and seeing her at local business networking meetings once a month, I added several greeting cards to keep in touch with her. Sometime in the middle of the second year of being in business, she became a customer of mine.
I asked her, “Why now?” She said, “You were the only one that followed up with me.”
At that point, she received a ‘Thank you for your business’ card with a big batch of cookies. I promptly got a call when they showed up to her office.
There is nothing better than the value of saying thank you. That is why I am a firm believer in this strategy and the clients that follow my recommendation see the same results.
Another good idea is to mail your customers custom content. If you sell essential oils, for example, consider sending timely recipes such as a Christmas DIY candle recipe or Valentine’s Day homemade fragrance recipe—something that would prompt your customers to collect and save your content at home.
You don’t even have to handle printing and shipping: There are services that execute the whole custom printing process for you.
Need help designing your print material? Here’s a huge list of tools, including free graphic design tools and free image sources.
Real Life Gifts for Influencer Marketing
Once upon a time I was invited to do an interview for a blog and I was happy to answer the questions. The interview went live and a couple of days later I received this basket filled with cool things:
Quite obviously, many months later, I still remember and appreciate the gesture!
Deborah Anderson of Social Web Cafe has a similar story. Deb does lots of blog interviews every week and one of them stood out thanks to the gift she received:
When I received a package in the mail and a box of chocolates, I was blown away. Already, when I interviewed PJ Van Hulle, I was moved. Her story had me speechless and almost in tears.
So, when this very same woman sent me a box of chocolates and sweet card, I really was beyond words, which is difficult for someone who babbles as much as I do!
Ms. Van Hulle is the real deal. While some could argue it is a marketing tactic, the warmth that it brought to me, personally, was something I could barely call a “tactic.”
To me, it is an illustration of how we should all treat each other in life – with dignity, encouragement, and simple human warmth. It really does go a long way and carries over well into the future.
Executive gifts work, too. They always have, and they always will. Consider creating gifts that appeal to the niche influencer and strengthen your brand, then connect them back to your online marketing. For example, if you were to publish a book you could hand out a couple of copies for free, then invite those people to provide a testimonial or participate in your Twitter book launch party.
You can do this with anything from pens to flash drives to Lego figurines or stuffed animals. Kotex once went all the way and offered Pinterest users customized gift boxes.
Attend Local Events
Many businesses spend a lot of time planning expo hall booths and trying to get into conferences. But they don’t put any thought into lower-key local events that get them out into the community.
Local festivals, farmer’s markets, county fairs, career days or even local school events—these can all give you an opportunity to meet with those who are right there in your city. By handing out flyers and talking with them in the process, you can not only connect them to your website, but you also connect with them on a personal level.
Create an alert at Meetup.com to receive emails every time anything relevant is going on in your area. The Eventbrite iPhone App is another great way to discover and save relevant events.
Integrating Online & Offline
Don’t forget that offline and online relationship building isn’t an “either/or” situation. They work together and complement each other.
When you need a gesture to help you stand out in the memory of a prospect or partner, send them something in the mail. Looking to expand your local clientele? Start showing up at events in your city.
And always connect it all back to your digital content strategy.