When you’re building a marketing strategy, including digital components is important. Establishing an active social media presence is critical for any business trying to make it in 2019.
But digital isn’t the be-all, end-all.
You have to treat digital marketing as a tool in your marketing toolbox rather than the only weapon at your disposal.
Traditional, in-person marketing tactics can also help you spread the word about your business – sometimes in a way that creates a more resonant, meaningful connection than more technically-based methods.
Why traditional marketing is just as important as digital marketing
While digital marketing gives you the ability to reach an exponential number of people, it doesn’t allow you to establish quite as deep a connection as traditional, in-person marketing tactics will.
Think of it in terms of personal interaction. Let’s say you have a Twitter following of 100,000. Maybe you’ve created some great viral content or had a celebrity retweet one of your posts to gain you some attention.
Of course, this isn’t a bad thing! Getting high-levels of engagement online should be the goal of every business – but only if it’s helping you reach your goals.
In this hypothetical scenario, let’s also say your Twitter followers never make one purchase from your website. Of course, this probably means you need better, more engaging content! But for the sake of this scenario, assume your followers lead to zero sales.
Now imagine you also have a brick-and-mortar store. You set up a booth at a local vendor fair to advertise it. People walk by all afternoon and you end up only talking to one person. You two really hit it off, sharing your stories with each other. They enjoy talking with you and love your product, buying one on the spot. You’ve sold yourself and what you do based on the power of your handshake.
Which is more valuable: 100,000 people online who never engage with you any further than hitting follow, or the one person you actually met who put their money down in support of your business?
Many businesses get caught up in measuring meaningless statistics from their social media channels. But those channels only exist to help you make sales. In-person networking can also help you do that. It might be on a smaller scale, but it has a chance to create customers who are more invested in you and your business.
Examples of in-person networking opportunities
Below are just a few examples of potential opportunities for in-person networking you can explore within your community:
Your local chamber of commerce
Being an active participant in your local chamber of commerce allows you to meet with other local business owners to help develop your city or town into a better business community. This can help you stay aware of what’s happening in your community that may impact local business owners. You can hear about (and participate in) discussions on how to strategically create a better economic environment for everyone.
According to the Business Network International (BNI) website, “With over 240,000 members in 8,500-plus chapters worldwide, BNI is the world’s leading referral organization.” This is another great opportunity to interact with other business owners from all over the world. You can tap them for best practices, lessons learned, and any other advice to help your business grow.
Participating in charitable fundraisers and other community events in your area isn’t just a great idea because of the good work you’d be doing. It’s also a great way to ingratiate yourself as a member of the community. Check out this selection from an article about research on what happens when a business decides to get involved locally:
“According to a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, community engagement brings positive outcomes for retailers in two ways: by directly building consumer trust in, and commitment to, the retailer; and by lessening the importance of the retailer’s economic value proposition, or the perceived value of products and services sold.”
The bottom line is that community involvement – marked by face-to-face interaction – builds customer loyalty. You essentially weave your business into the fabric of your area.
How to combine digital and traditional marketing
When you build your marketing strategy, you need to look at all available digital and traditional marketing channels and determine which ones will give you the best return on your investment.
You should also weigh how well different channels work in concert with one another. Don’t neglect one side to serve the other. Strike a balance that allows your various marketing tools to complement each other.
For example: imagine you and several other businesses in your area decide to hold a community event such as a block party. This is a more traditional way of promoting what you do, but there’s no reason you can’t use social media to signal-boost the event itself and drum up additional interest.
There’s a lot you can learn from traditional marketing that can be applied to digital marketing as well. For example, think of the information you use to gauge the results of each interaction.
If you were to go door to door pitching your product or service, you’d consider any customer who bought or requested more information as a successful interaction. Yet when many businesses create content online, they’ll consider getting numerous “likes” or page views as a success in and of itself – even if it doesn’t lead to a sale or to the customer seeking more information.
When you do use digital channels to reach your customers, make sure to focus on the right metrics. Treat each online interaction as if you were shaking the hand of the person behind the device. Getting attention online is great, but it’s counterfeit if you can’t take your engagement with the customer to that next level. Make sure you’re developing content that is leading to the most important metric of all – sales.
Digital marketing is a wonderful and integral method of promoting your business. But it’s not the only way to reach your customers, and it’s not always the most effective way. Using in-person opportunities to meet people and network is an important part of helping your business grow.
It may not be as easy as clicking a button to send a post to your followers online. Creating in-person connections with your customers is hard work and it’s not always the sexiest approach to marketing.
But that doesn’t make it any less necessary or any less effective.
Looking for more ways to build a marketing strategy that works for you? Contact us today!