July 26, 2014

5 Creative Content Marketing Strategies for Offline Success – From Web to Brick and Mortar

Guest Post by Deanna Ayres

creative content marketing strategies

In today’s market it is vital to have an online presence. Consumers love having the option to go online and browse, shop and compare companies. They read reviews, look at facebook pages and then head to pinterest for creative ideas. Any great online marketing company knows this and leverages clients’ social media presence to drive traffic to their website where they convert “lookers” to buyers. But what happens when your main business is offline? How do you convert the online crowd to a crowd that heads to your “Brick and Mortar” business?

 

1. Give a little and take a little.


Are you curious yet? Give your customers or potential customers free advice online. Yes free. Let’s say you have a cupcake shop and people love your cupcakes, you can create a downloadable recipe with a picture of your cupcake and the name of your store. Make it look nice and neat, watermark it and then make it shareable. Let them pin it, share it and tweet it. It is great exposure for you. How do you take a little? Add a call to action like: “Bring the printed recipe with you to “Sugar&Spice Cupcakes” and receive a free cupcake of your choice with your purchase of 6 cupcakes!” See how you gave a little and took a little?

2. Create a BUZZ online.


Online and Offline go hand in hand. Customers love your cupcakes? Ask for a review on Google, Yahoo Local or Yelp. Create a foursquare location that people can use to check in. The more people check in and leave you a positive review, the more other people will consider. Add visual content to those sites. Pictures, videos or better yet, ask your customers to add a picture of their favorite cupcake tagging your cupcake shop. Having a social media presence is important because often customers trust their friends and families recommendations. You can easily tap into that market by using this strategy.

3. Have offline Events.

Create annual or biannual events, alongside “surprise” events. Use social media marketing to leverage your online community to bring them by. How? So, your cupcake store wants to be known in the offline and online community as awesome? Sponsor an event, like an Annual Cupcake Contest where you invite all hobby bakers to come by and participate in the contest. Have a panel of well-known people in your community as judges. As a price, you can offer a cupcake party for the winner and a cupcake named in their honor. Create flyers that you can share online with your following; create an event on facebook that you invite people to attend; contact your local newspaper and ask them to run a story online and offline about the event. If you really want to give back to your community, add that 10% of all sales of the event will go to a local charity. Then use social media to chat live about the event, tag pictures and location and refer back to create a buzz.

4. Blog, Blog, Blog.

 

Heard this before? Good, then you should be doing it already and regularly too. The key to your online customers is communication, connection, community and content that is valuable. If you are not interesting online, the chances are you aren’t offline. At least in the consumer’s mind. A blog serves multiple purposes when utilized properly. When you communicate what’s happening in your business, new trends, ideas, events, employee highlights, release of a new cupcake or whatever is relevant, it lets people know what you are up to.  They feel connected and in the loop. They can relate to you.  They are happy with you.  Let’s say you won an award for best bakery downtown.  They can have input.  For example: It’s Fall. What flavors would you love to try?  You can use creatives to engage them visually and so on. You can establish yourself as an industry leader by sharing, teaching, educating and being on top of your industry with news. Connect with them online, provide calls to action, and they will come.

5.  Tease.
That’s right, tease the heck out of them. If you give it all online, why would they feel the need to come to your store? This has a lot of potential when approached right, and you have a lot of options. Let’s say you have a clothing store. Clothes can be ordered online fairly easy and if it doesn’t fit you can return it. Now what? Tease. You received a new collection for Fall?  Post a few gorgeous pictures on social media with a quick line like “First 5 who buy an item from our new fall collection get 10% off!” or “Limited number available>  Hurry by before they are sold out!” This combines the best of both worlds, because customers can view some pieces online, you add a call to action, and you only offer it at your store. Make them want it, and make the drive to your store worth it.

These strategies are great for bringing the online market to your store but the most important thing is to remember to make that experience exceptional. People still value face to face time, politeness, excellent customer service, a clean and neat store, courtesy and respect, variety and a helping hand. Give them that outstanding experience offline and they will carry it back online. While content is king online, customer service is king offline. The two need to be combined just right so it becomes a mutually beneficial experience for the customer and you, the owner.
Take time to create a strategy that works for your business and your target audience. Plan it ahead and be patient, nothing ever happens overnight.

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BIO: Deanna Ayres is the SEM Strategist and Community Outreach Supervisor at The Marketing Zen Group. She loves to come up with new content strategies for her team and believes that connecting on a personal level is vital to success. Growing up in Europe has allowed her a unique insight into cultural differences in the digital marketing world. In her spare time she is a photographer, hobby cook with a love for coffee, gamer and geek. To connect with Deanna you can follow her on twitter: https://twitter.com/deanna_ayres or email her directly: deanna@marketingzen.com

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Comments

  1. These are some really cool ideas! I like the idea of giving people something to print and bring to the store with them. I agree, it is so so important for every brick and mortar store today to have an engaging online presence. Your store can be awesome, but once people walk out the door you’ve lost them! These days if you can make engaging with your brand online really fun and give something of value you can keep in touch with people and cultivate customer loyalty like never before. I’m really surprised and sad at some of the great little local shops that don’t seem to know this. I’m going to send this link to a couple people…

    • Hi Daisy,

      I am so happy you liked my ideas! Hopefully it can help out some of the local shops you were writing about :) Online presence is so important these days. I make it a point to visit local shops because they add so much character to a town! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Rene Smith says:

    I have an artsy gift shop, and I was wondering if it would be worth it to have monthly or quarterly workshops where people could do an easy, fun craft. You’ve made me think about how people respond more to marketing when there’s something in it for them. If I’m offering a free workshop, it gets people to my store, it gets people to tell other people or to make plans to come with friends, because I am advertising something that’s actually about them. That part of marketing gets hard for me Sometimes I feel like I’m just talking about me me me, my merchandise, my shop blah blah blah. I have some ideas I can run with now, thanks!

    • Hi Rene,

      I love the idea of workshops! I’d totally take my kids there :) It’s about giving, taking and engagement. And news of workshops usually travel pretty fast! You can always ask them to take a picture of their final product or time at the workshop and have them upload it to instagram with hashtags and mentions about your shop ;)
      Happy this helped you with ideas!

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