Simple Online Strategies For Offline To Online Businesses Marketing
If I were to ask you for an example of marketing to customers in a way that illustrates the customer journey between online and offline, what example would you give me?
I occasionally ask this question when talking to people because it gives me a sense of how well they already understand the concepts behind what we do at o2o. Believe me when I say it’s not always easy to explain or understand, which is why I ask!
Most of the time, when I ask that question there is a struggle to come up with a clear example beyond “seeing something online and going into a store to buy it”. And while that is a perfectly acceptable example, it barely scratches the surface.
For SMB’s, understanding the online-to-offline flow is critical to the long-term viability of their business. Mobile is changing the customer journey and yet figuring out how to market between online and offline channels is so confusing many don’t even know where to begin.
As media companies and platform providers, it’s incumbent upon us to help SMB’s find long-term success by providing the tools and strategies they need.
An Example of Offline To Online Marketing
While visiting a local pub, I stumbled upon a deceptively simple, yet effective, online marketing technique for offline businesses that I wanted to share because it does a good job of illustrating the point.
Lots of businesses offer free wifi to customers as a way to bring them in-house or keep them around once there. But as more and more businesses jump on the wifi bandwagon it becomes less of a differentiator.
The Londoner in Frisco offers free wifi, but in order to get online you have to register. More importantly you register with them, not a third-party service provider. One of my favorite facets of this approach is that it addresses several aspects of the purchase funnel including consideration, transaction and advocacy. As a marketing guy, I thought this was brilliant for a number of reasons.
- They’re actively gathering customer info and building a relationship with their customers. And the info gathering process is reasonably automated.
- They’re not just asking to put you on a mailing list or add you to their loyalty program, they’re giving you something of value in exchange making it a more compelling proposition. Which is important because as I’ve mentioned, not all transactions involve money.
- In the process of registering, you have the option to receive deals and offers from them which helps them keep in touch and drive more business. The opt-in part is important, it’s called permission based marketing, and you don’t want to do it any other way.
- The next day they send out a short survey providing a permission based way to get customer feedback. That survey also had an option to opt-in to their newsletter giving them a second shot at permission based marketing.
- After you click submit on the survey it kicks you out to their Facebook page. Once there, giving them a “Like” is an easy thing to do. This last step could be used in a myriad of ways, but I liked the simplicity of this approach.
One aspect of customer engagement that the current process doesn’t yet address, but could, is “who’s in your house”. Now anytime I go back to The Londoner and use the wifi I’ll log in. Which means that a manager or staff can be alerted to my presence.
There are a number of technologies coming to market to address the “who’s in your house” issue, but none of them will apply to all users so a multi-channel approach will likely be required to gather a critical mass of data, and this example is a very easy one to implement.
So, as you’re out and about keep your eyes open to the online-to-offline opportunities around you. Once you start looking you’ll find them everywhere.
What examples have you seen or thought about that SMB’s could use to drive business between online and offline channels?