Marketing My Website
Whilst digital marketing when done correctly, can be a highly efficient way of generating business, the high cost of advertising with AdWords and Facebook and the relatively long payback period for SEO efforts can tempt some merchants to undertake traditional offline marketing methods as a way of gaining exposure for their business and boosting sales.
I have discussed the details of various online marketing methods in previous posts, so this post is for merchants who have found their digital campaigns underwhelming, but also for those who have had success with online marketing but perhaps could benefit from broadening their marketing mix, on the most effective ways to utilise offline channels to drive website sales.
I am going to run through some of the offline marketing opportunities available to your business and discuss how you can make the best of them.
This may appear to contradict the reasons why you got into ecommerce in the first place; however selling at events is very popular with many of our merchants. There are a number of reasons why this is good idea.
Firstly, being able to go to where your potential customers are is better than waiting for them to find you. For most products there is an industry relevant event where you will be able to generate sales face to face, but also awareness for your businesses website.
Whether you choose an industry specific event or a general one, you are marketing to a captive audience and will still be facing less competition than you would online.
Despite having a high level of detail in your descriptions and beautiful photography, the reality is that many people still prefer to physically hold or try on a product before committing to purchase.
A lot of merchants using our platform are experienced sales people and there is no substitute for personality when it comes to persuading customers to opt for your offering. If you get chatting with prospective customers and demonstrate the benefits of what you are selling, even if they don’t purchase there and then, there is a good chance that they will come back to you at some point. For this reason it is worth handing out business cards.
The disadvantages are the fact that the cost of hosting a stall can be up to £200 at some events, meaning that if you are selling lower value items then you will have to make a lot of sales. This makes it crucial that you research your event to ensure that you are in front of a relevant audience.
Pop Up Shops
Following on from the previous point, investing your marketing budget in a pop up shop can be a great way to gain local awareness for your business. Many highly successful ecommerce retailers have taken advantage of relatively low short term rents to increase their market penetration.
Pop up shops can form part of a sales promotion, creating urgency due to the limited period of time and enabling you to offer discounts without damaging your brand.
Whilst the print industry may be rapidly going digital, advertising in magazines and newspapers can still reach a large and highly relevant audience. A key advantage of print advertising is that you are positioning your business to prospects who you know are engaged, as supposed to online banner advertising which people find very easy to ignore.
Because of this high level of engagement, print allows you to make the most of design and visual aspects to create appeal.
The reason why some print publications are still successful is often due to their prestige and loyal readership. To fully benefit from print advertising you should use the association with an established publication to lend gravitas to your business.
The obvious disadvantage is that it is somewhat of an unknown quantity compared to online advertising, as you can only measure its success after the investment has been made and some time has lapsed, rather than being able to constantly monitor and optimise. You should always include a redeemable code in your advert to help measure its success more accurately.
Advertising in the most desirable publications is quite expensive, but it is possible to gain exposure for free by writing press releases.
Direct advertising has the benefits of being highly targeted and cost effective. How much this form of marketing will benefit your business is therefore dependent on how easily you are able to define and identify prospective customers.
Popular forms of direct marketing include flyers, postcards, telephone and face to face sales. Mail is generally better suited to selling to consumers whereas a proactive sales effort is more likely to be well received by businesses.
People generally won’t give direct marketing a lot of time due to its intrusive nature so it is very important to have a concise and attractive message to put across. Having said this, with direct mail it is also important to create visual impact with your design to ensure that your flyer catches the eye amongst the recipients other mail.
If you are using flyers, a good idea is to include a Quick Response code so that anyone interested can scan it with their Smartphone and be taken to the web page instantly. There are plenty of websites such as qrstuff.com that will easily allow you to generate your own codes.
For B2B marketing, often initiating communication with prospects can be a great way of getting customers, although clearly you will have to effectively demonstrate that what you are selling is either going to save money or significantly improve processes. Most consumers on the other hand won’t even give a direct sales effort consideration so a soft sell approach is likely to be much more effective.
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