These days a significant percentage of retailers and service providers sell both on and offline. It is not uncommon for them to have a physical store or another type of outlet, with a website that enables people to also buy from them online.
This is a highly beneficial way to do business. It increases reach, strengthens branding, and, most importantly of all, customers like having two ways to buy. Unfortunately, some business owners struggle to come up with a joined-up marketing strategy. But there is no need for it to be that way. The availability of marketing tools and their low cost makes creating effective marketing campaigns for a hybrid business relatively easy.
Here is an overview of the best approaches. Along with a few examples that are designed to enable anyone to work out how to market a hybrid business.
Start using digital signage
People notice screens. In today´s always-connected world we associate them with entertainment, knowledge, and other positive things. When you use digital signage for marketing people respond to the offers and information that is being shared. The fact that you can display anything you want on them means that you can tailor the message to suit the type of people you are trying to attract. Most stores see patterns in the demographics of the customers who shop with them at different times of the day. So, taking a minute to change the advertising that is being displayed makes sense.
Once business owners get used to creating their own images and short videos, they only take around 15 minutes each. They can easily be uploaded to their website, or the size can be adjusted for use in social media campaigns or as banner ads.
It is even possible to use them on flyers. Or static posters that can be displayed on advertising hoardings in the street.
Encourage your customers to create and share content
You can even reverse the process and use successful social marketing campaign images on your screens. Some stores show their social feeds in-store to encourage engagement. It is great for sales when someone who is shopping in your store shares a photo of them trying on an item on Twitter or Instagram. They love coming out of the changing room and seeing their tweet or post on the big screen. This in-depth article includes several other variations of this approach that fashion stores are currently having success with.
Never forget the power of word of mouth. When someone says they are impressed by something, you could encourage them to tell their friends. You have to do it in a friendly, non-salesy way. Whether it is a good idea depends a bit on your customer demographics and how people interact with each other in your area. But if you can do it in the right way and the other person says, “I will”, almost certainly will tell their friends. This is because most people still like to keep their word.
Share evidence that you care about your customers
Letting your customers know that you have their best interests at heart is important. In today’s uncertain world people are drawn to those firms they know offer value. Businesses that never try to disguise junk as a bargain. If you have good ratings on TrustPilot or the products you sell are rated well on review sites, shout about it in your marketing.
Whether you are selling on or offline, connecting with people on an emotional level works. Making them laugh, feel cared for or that you understand their problems and are on their side is a powerful way to connect and be remembered.
Offer value for money and shout about it
Whenever you can, create crazy value for money. If you sell stationery, make sure your biggest discounts coincide with the kids going back to school and times of the year when these items are given as presents.
Offer a few loss leaders too. Promote them a day or two in advance, so people can plan to come in to buy them. Online, it is better o make the sale there and then. Although, if you send out a newsletter, there is no harm in telling customers about upcoming offers a week or so in advance. Starting promotions on the same day every week and advertising that fact is a surprisingly effective way to get people into the habit of shopping with you every week. Aldi and Lidl are good at doing that. Often, the result is a queue outside the day that the new promotions are due to go on sale.
The above are all effective marketing techniques. However, it is important not to stand still. Businesses that regularly try new things and freshen up their approach are the ones that do the best.