By Gina Morin, Design Intervention
Most business owners can appreciate the power digital communication has to grow a business. It's often less expensive than print media to advertise. It allows you to target a very narrow audience, and it allows for tracking data to measure your ROI. So while you should have a robust digital presence for your business, I would also encourage you to implement some tactics OFFLINE to make your brand stand out.
PICK UP THE PHONE
Yes, email and text are sometimes faster and more accessible, but allowing your customers to hear a real human voice answering their questions, sharing ideas and "hearing" your smile as you speak to them can spark a more meaningful exchange than one that would have otherwise happened over text or email. How is making a phone call "marketing"? It's not exactly, but every touch point your customer has with you makes an impression on them as to what your brand is all about. Hearing a friendly voice on the other end of the phone will help to build brand loyalty.
SEND A HANDWRITTEN NOTE
You might be asking yourself, how can I send all my customers a handwritten note? Well, there are ways to do this, and it's simpler than you think. Example—I order from Thrive Market regularly and included with each package is a printed copy of my order along with a little handwritten, "Thank you!" and a hand-drawn smiley face. It probably takes the person packing the order less than three seconds to do that, but when I see that it gives me the feeling that a nice person on the other end checked my order and carefully packaged each item to make sure I was pleased—and they were happy to do it. It feels more personal than just receiving the printed invoice. It feels like I'm supporting a business that cares about how their product is received on the other end. That doesn't happen with most big online businesses. Think about how you can send a handwritten thank you note to your top five customers to show your appreciation. Or do something like Thrive Market and handwrite the words "Thank you" and your name on their invoice. A small gesture can go a long way in a world where most things are automated.
SNAIL MAIL SOMETHING
I recently renewed my membership with an online business group I belong to called the Creatives Roundtable. Shortly after that, I received my usual email confirmation with links to the necessary tools, etc. What I didn't expect was the package that also came in the mail. Owner and moderator of the group, Nancy Ruzow, also sent all the members a notebook and a printed letter that detailed all the info we need for the session. It takes more time and money to do these little things, but it gave me another level of emotional connection to the group that I didn't have before receiving that package. It tells me that Nancy cares and wants the members to feel welcome and appreciated.
You don't need to send everyone a package, but maybe you could mail a letter or a postcard that promotes your services and shows appreciation with a coupon or discount. When most of our notifications are communicated to us through a ding on our phones, getting something on a beautiful card stock that you can hold in your hand can make you stand out from your competitors.
MEET IN PERSON
Get out and network in person instead of on LinkedIn. Making eye contact, small talk, laughing, and sharing in real conversation creates a much more significant impact than what you could ever convey in a Facebook ad. Choose a handful of your best clients or customers and invite them to a free workshop or lunch or coffee. Suggest a free consultation for them with no strings attached. Marketing isn't always about getting more and more NEW clients. It's also about RETAINING and keeping your existing clients happy.
FIND A BALANCE
These are just some offline tactics to add your marketing strategy. You don't have to choose between online and offline communication. There's room for both! When all of our businesses are moving faster and faster with the help of technology, taking the time to make a personal connection with your audience offline can have a lasting impact on your customers that will build brand loyalty and grow your audience.
Need help finding that balance between online and offline communication? Let's chat!