Integrating Your Social Media and Traditional Marketing

3d man targetAS THE DIGITAL economy becomes a fact of life, many businesses have come to rely on their website and social media efforts to drive sales. Seeking free exposure and greater access to buyers, they’ve abandoned traditional mar­keting in favor of blogging, email marketing, social media and other online channels as a means of generating leads and sales.

Unfortunately, online-only marketing is not delivering for many businesses. As more companies vie for attention online, reaching buyers is more challenging. According to a study by DoubleClick (a subsidiary of Google that develops and provides Internet ad ser­vices), online advertising yields only a 0.06 percent click-through rate. Another survey from small-business consultant Manta reveals that more than half of small-business owners (59 percent) don’t see a return on investment from their social media efforts.

These statistics show that small busi­nesses can’t afford to invest everything in a single marketing tactic that may or may not bring results. This also explains why some companies are revisiting online-only market­ing in favor of a more diverse marketing strat­egy that integrates traditional offline tactics, either on their own or in combination with online approaches, to more effectively reach prospects and produce better results.

By attending industry trade shows, we’ve moved our business from a niche product to one that’s experiencing widespread adoption.
—Dan Wade

A case study

Canadian-based Rip n Go (ripngo.ca) sells waterproof, washable absorbent pads and sheets for people suffering from inconti­nence. When the company launched in 2013, with a limited marketing budget and no con­crete marketing plan, they turned to social media and search engine advertising, hoping to reach parents, senior citizens and people with limited mobility.
After a few months, their online market­ing was not producing results. “Online shop­pers weren’t searching for products like ours because they didn’t know it existed, and peo­ple weren’t talking about incontinence on social media because it’s taboo; says Tarique Khan, head of business development at Rip n Go. “We changed course and shifted our efforts toward partnering with nonprofits that advocated for incontinence sufferers:’
Rip n Go forged a cross-promotional alli­ance with the Canadian Continence Foundation (CCF) and included the non­profit in Rip n Go’s public relations efforts. “I called media outlets, but instead of pitching our products I cited statistics from the CCF showing that 10 percent of the Canadian pop­ulation suffered from bladder control; says Khan. “That got editors’ attention:’
The company’s efforts led to feature sto­ries on the Superior Morning show on CBC Radio in Thunder Bay, Daytime Ottawa and The Globe and Mail, which boosted sales and garnered inquiries from retailers about carry­ing the company’s products, while raising awareness of incontinence. “Our relationship with Rip n Go has been invaluable; says Jacqueline Cahill, executive director of the CCF. “We’re now working together to form a hub of like-minded Canadian companies that can help us promote continence awareness.”
Different approaches

Don’t be afraid to experiment and look at different marketing approaches that might be more effective at reaching your audience. Here’s a look at a few.

Know your market. Marketing programs must be based on ho’ targeted customers find, evaluate and ultir lately purchase your products and services. Ask your existing cus­tomers, read trade publications or contact professional associations comprising your prospects. This type of basic market research, besides being easy and affordable, will tell you how you can most effectively reach your pros­pects and persuade them to buy from you.

 
Target “unexpecting” consumers. Online marketing tends to attract buyers who are already shopping. However, you can often achieve better results by marketing to poten­tial customers who are not actively seeking your particular products and services.
“Sometimes you find what you’re looking for when you’re not looking for it, and that’s certainly true for consumers; says Costco member Mitch Dowell, founder of Baltimore-based Brand Experiences. “Whether it’s sign-age at a bus stop or t rain station, or a simple postcard mailing, offline marketing can reach and convert buyers when they aren’t expect­ing it:’
 
Pick up the phone. An old-fashioned phone call can humanize your marketing while providing cost-effective opportunities to reach potential buyers (rather than waiting for buyers to contact you). In a survey by DiscoverOrg (which provides data to marketing and sales professionals), 60 percent of respondents said a phone call led to a vendor’s offering being evaluated, and 75 percent said they decided to attend an event or make an appointment after receiving a cold call.

The key is creating a valuable offering. Before you dial, prepare a brief script to help you maintain a confident, conversational tone. Offer free samples, reports, discounts or consultations that show your call is about the customer, not just the sale.

 
Promote locally. Consumers increas­ingly buy local, which provides opportunities for building personal relationships and long­term loyalty Cross-promote your business with other local businesses, take part in local fundraisers or host customer education or appreciation events that can give you an edge over online-only competitors.
Local media is still an effective way to reach your customer base and become known as a local expert. “We write a weekly column in The Arizona Republic about legal issues fac­ing the elderly” says Costco member Lauren
 
The personal touch. Face-to-face inter­actions build trust. Sometimes connecting with prospects in live settings, events and conferences, where they already congregate, is more affordable than trying to build your own audience online. If you have a physical product, face-to-face marketing allows con­sumers to actually touch and feel it, drawing them closer to making a purchasing decision.
“By attending industry trade shows, we’ve moved our business from a niche product to one that’s experiencing widespread adoption across multiple industries:’ says Dan Wade, director of marketing at Minneapolis-based LifeFloor (lifefloor.com).”Many customers ini­tially find us online, but never pull the trigger until they feel the flooring for themselves and see how good it looks:’

Anti-aging expert Lorraine Maita of Short Hills, New Jersey, built her business by regularly speaking to groups. “Public speak­ing predictably attracts new clients and invita­tions to speak for other organizations:’ says Maita. “For example, a woman at one of my

talks referred her husband for one of my Elite Executive Physical programs. Some people who’ve heard me speak keep my business card for years, waiting for the right time to see me:’
Combine the best tools
The key to combining online and offline marketing is building your strategy around your customers’ buying preferences.  Find the places where your customers are spending their time and interacting with others – that’s where you want to be.  It could be social media, gatherings / events, retail outlets, entertainment venues -only you can know where to find your ideal customers.  That information will lead you to find ways to reach more of them.
If you would like learn more about how you can find your IDEAL customer – click here or  call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.