Marketing a local business today takes a multipronged approach. The latest studies show that local business owners still rely on traditional channels to produce effective, reliable results. But other marketing methods – social media and mobile in particular – are growing like gangbusters. If synced properly with traditional ads, the combined effort can supercharge your sales.
It’s not a contest between methods that requires you to choose one or the other. Today, customers cross effortlessly between online and offline worlds. Your goal is to reach them and reinforce your message in both places, giving you greater control over your message and your brand.
It’s also important because each marketing channel plays a different role in influencing how customers discover you, do their research and make purchase decisions. For example, a print ad might stimulate a customer to want to learn more about what you offer, causing them to search online for more information.
Here are seven ways to meld social media with traditional marketing:
- Make print a social driver: If you are like thousands of local businesses and your Facebook page is your main online hub, use print and other traditional marketing tools to drive people to your page. Promote your Facebook address on counter cards, posters, invoices, receipts, brochures, napkins, menus and other places. Post your Twitter address in your store window. Put your social media listings on everything from cups to coupons.
- Showcase social mentions in print: Use your print ads to showcase what others are saying about your business on your social pages. This approach amplifies the social media conversation about your business and can generate (or reinforce) your company’s value.
- Capitalize on QR codes. These handy devices are an ideal tool for integrating print ads with your digital presence. (Our article QR Code Basics for Local Businesses can show you how.)
- Create offline promotions with online benefits. For example, a cosmetics store can offer a free makeover along with a photo of the customer (with your brand or logo in the background) that the customer and you can use on Facebook or other social media sites. A photography business can do something similar.
- Build engagement and lists with email signup sheets or opt-in cards. Customers are sometimes reluctant to provide an email address, so this works best if combined with a promotion or when they are enjoying a product or service they’ve just received from you. Some customers will not join your social media circle unless you ask. You can also use print to promote rewards for customers who take certain actions online – such as liking you on Facebook or sharing your posted content with others.
- Get everyone in your business involved. Every employee should be trained to inform customers of your social media presence and to recommend they visit you on Facebook. Think of it as pure one-on-one offline marketing.
- Cross-sell continuously on and offline. Each time you use a marketing channel, mention the other channels you are using and what you are doing there. For example, your emails, direct mail promotions and yellow pages ads should all mention how to find you on social media. On the flip side, your Facebook page and Twitter tweets can tell people to be on the lookout for a special offer that’s coming through another channel like a magazine or newspaper.
Shaking up your marketing mix can be a fun and a creative outlet for you to help generate new customers for your business. What creative ways to you sync social media and your traditional marketing? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you.