Tactics to Get Offline Customers to Participate Online

by: | December 17, 2012

On this site, we focus a lot on the online tactics—blogging, social media, e-mail marketing—to get visitors to your website or social media presence. In getting these potential customers to your site, though, you need to employ a variety of marketing tactics, including offline methods. Let’s talk about how to convert offline customers into website visitors and social media participants.

Why Offline Customers Matter

For brick-and-mortar businesses, you might be wondering how to get your customers to your website. You might even be wondering what use it would be to them once they’re there.

For business owners, it’s always cheaper and more profitable to create repeat customers than to find new ones. Get your best customers to subscribe to e-mail newsletters and connect via social media, and you’ll see more repeat business. That starts with getting your business online.

For your best customers, they want to reminded of your business and kept updated on deals, specials, and promotions. More, or at least some of your customers will gladly give you their information or connect with your online presence to be kept in touch with. Use this to your advantage and increase your repeat business.

Here are some ideas for bringing your offline customers to your online presence:

Foursquare Check-in Reminders

Geolocation tools are a powerful way to create raving fans and use gametheoryto improve your online marketing. Simply setting up the new services and letting people know on Facebook and Twitter isn’t enough. When your customers “check-in” with foursquare, Facebook Places, Yelp or any of the other geolocation tools, their status is pushed to their social media connections, which means killer word-of-mouth marketing. Remind your customers who come into your establishment to “check in” with a window sticker, point of sale display, or any print pieces, like menus. Doing this will increase the number of customers who connect with you online.

Offer specials for customers who check in, your mayors, and also to entice your customers even further to participate online.

Surveys and Polls

Create a poll or survey and ask your customers to participate in them. Print a request on receipts or handouts asking them to take your survey or poll, and give them a short URL to go to. Use a service like Wufoo or Google Docs to create it, and, of course, plug your website and social media channels while they’re there.

Coupons and Promotions

Offering special “web-only” specials and coupons are a great way to get people to connect with your business online. You can offer promotional codes for your online store or Facebook- and Twitter-only specials and deals. Put a point-of-sale display, saying something like, “Follow us on Twitter for online-only coupons and deals!”

YouTube Product Demos

Do you have a product or service you can offer instructions or suggestions for? Promote your YouTube channel, and upload videos showing how you can use your product or service in unique and useful ways. Print a reminder on any handout or manual you’ve got. YouTube is a powerful community and connects to many other communities, so this is a great way to utilize this tool to entice your offline customers to pay attention to you online.

Sign Up for E-mail Newsletter

This is one of the easiest and most popular ways to connect your offline customers to your online presence. Simply put a sign up sheet by your register or any other place where you can get your customer’s attention. They can sign up for your e-mail newsletter, where you can keep them updated with specials, deals, promotions, news, updates, and more. Send them reasons to come back into your establishment and connect them to your other outlets, like your website, social media, etc.

How are you enticing your offline customers to connect with your business online? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in: B2C, Content, E-Commerce, Email, Engage!, Facebook, Featured, Social Coupons, Social Networks, Twitter, Video

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

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