5 Ways to Use Social Media and Your Online Presence to Drive People Offline

No matter what your business sells, how it sells it or how and where people buy you it, people are going online to find it, pure and simple. That’s as true for those one of kind hand made earrings as it is for the spa and auto repair shop in their neighborhood.

Explore The Bruce via Flickr

And, it’s increasingly true for the local insurance provider, landscaper, plumber, attorney and tax professional.

So, what does this mean for the local small business? You’ve got to start thinking about your online presence as a central tool for driving people offline and into your store, sales presentation, meeting, demonstration, appointment or evaluation.

Below are five ways to think about your online activity as an offline opportunity generator.

1) Online calls to action

When people do find and visit your site make it easy for them to use your website to get a free pass, coupon or trial product.

Enable tools like click to call or chat from Olark, so they can get in touch right now and get their burning questions asked

Put a tool like GenBook on your site they can find a time and schedule appointment without needing to call.

Make sure that you have turn by turn directions and links to maps so they can find your business and even send the directions to their smart phone.

2) O2O advertising

Most people run ads to get people buy, what if you thought about your online advertising as a way to simple drive people offline – O2O?

Create local campaigns using Google Adwords that drive people to your website to take advantage of the calls to action, such a the free pass or coupon, that I discussed in the previous point.

Make sure that your Google Places page is complete and compelling and consider the coupon and advertising options available for this tool.

Look into Facebook targeted ads for your calls to action. You can target local Facebook folks all the way down to targeting fans of your competitors.

To make your O2O advertising even more effective create local landing pages for each campaign or even neighborhood you are targeting.

3) Networked networking

Offline networking is still a great way to create and build potential relationships, but you can really amplify this tactic when you add some simple online tactics to your networking efforts.

When you connect offline with a prospect at say a Chamber event, move to also connect online and watch how much faster you can build a relationship.

Employ Social CRM tools like Rapportive or Nimble so you can easily connect the social profiles of anyone you meet to their record. This will make it much easier to learn how to connect.

Look at tools like MeetUp that make it easy to create offline events and gatherings using an online marketing system.

4) Local social groups

Most social networks give you the ability to create groups. Some organizations have had tremendous success by creating and facilitating local, special interest groups on networks like LinkedIn.

The key here is to think “interest group” and not something that’s clearly a promotional tool for your business. If you can create an industry group or some other niche topic that allows your customers to explore and expand an interest they have, you’ve hit on a formula that’s very potent.

5) Online and on the go

Increasingly, our prospects are not only online they are mobile while doing so. There are some very creative ways to take advantage of this fact and drive people with great buying intent offline.

First off make sure you claim your location on sites like Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter. This way you can enhance the details and make sure people using geo location services can check in at the right place.

Create and test an offer on a service like Foursquare that can help highlight your business when someone checks in at another nearby business.

Look into the group coupon tools like Groupon, Google Offers or Living Social, but make sure you’re ready to capture the leads these programs produce in a way that allows you to turn a low profit sale into a long term customer.

Think about ways to create check-in games that you could use as part of a promotion. Get a group of strategic partners to participate and offers special deals for people that have checked in at a number of your partners on Foursquare of that take a photo of their purchases at a number of partners and posted it to Twitter or Instagram.

As you can see, the way you can employ this kind of thinking is limited only to your imagination, but there’s no denying the importance and effectiveness of this strategy.

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  • opedmkt

    Very useful blog! Another trick that we use with businesses that have brick and mortar stores is to suggest some sort of in-store monthly raffle, where to enter customers agree to opt-in to a newsletter or eflyer.  That way you’re capturing contact info of customers who may not purchase anything in the store, but you can keep relationship alive through online communications. 

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       Yep that’s a good one as well and certainly falls into the call to action list – I like the Wildfire app for this

  • http://twitter.com/EADolan Emily Dolan

    I’m studying Social Media Theory & Practice #NewhouseSM6 with @dr4ward at @NewhouseSU and subscribe to your blog. 
    Thanks for sharing your insightful perspective and advice on this issue.  I especially like that you are able to offer practical and beneficial ideas on how businesses can improve their online presence to see results offline.  Technology makes it quite easy for businesses to make the consumers’ lives easier and in turn, creates positive results for businesses. 

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

       Thanks Emily – great to see your professor having you reach out and see what folks in business are trying.

  • http://www.businessprosperitysecrets.com/ Stephanie Mojica

    I’ve also used the giving a teleseminar/webinar strategy to get people into complimentary coaching sessions over the telephone, which is a good way to get clients.

  • Internet Marketing Company

    I like how you recognize that small business internet marketing has to evolve around locality. The internet is great because it allows small business to connect with consumers across the country, but at the same time, a small, brick and mortar, business thrives upon it’s local economy. 

  • Mlogan7264

    Very good ideas, that even a one person shop, like me, could implement for myself and my wife.

  • http://procntr.com/ Chris – ProCntr

     Being able to use the social media efficiently is a great advantage to
    any business, especially small businesses that wish to expand their
    brand globally. 

  • AJ

    Great tips John!
    So many business owners still rely on local business, these tips are great!