Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Online Vs Offline Synergy Tips

By Charles Moffat - February 2010.

Synergy is all about about having things work together and promoting each other at the same time. I sometimes refer to it as a duality effect, especially online when you have two websites that link back and forth to each other.

Developing synergy between your online business and your offline business is important because it means clients you meet in real life will be able to check your website... and vice versa, clients who find your website will be able to phone or meet you in person.

I personally believe that nothing beats meeting a client face-to-face. So much so that I usually don't work for people unless I've met them in person or at least spoken to them on the phone, although situations are known to vary.

Building synergy between your online and offline business however is a process and an ongoing one, so here's some tips to get you started:

#1. If you're hosting some kind of sale or event, post it on the main page of your website. This will encourage people to come to the event and see you or your products in person. (This also boosts your Google PageRank for SEO purposes because they track how often you update your website.)

#2. Invite friends and colleagues to visit both your website and your business events. If you're having a sale, tell your friends about it. Maybe they can even give you positive feedback (free advice!) on how to improve it next time.

#3. Promote your website on all your offline marketing. Advertising, letterheads, stationary, leaflets, brochures, catalogues, directories should all have your website address and contact email.

#4. Likewise on your website, your mailing address and phone number are quite useful for clients who want an immediate response and don't want to wait for your email response. Such info should be easily viewable, on multiple pages of the website so its super easy to find.

#5. If you have your site listed or advertised on other websites, list your phone number & contact information on those websites too. Don't expect them to go to your website and contact you later, leap frog it to the next step.

#6. Don't be afraid of the mass media. The more reporters you know on a first name basis the better. Make sure they have your contact info and web address too. This can lead to more coverage both online and in newspapers.

#7. Form partnerships with other companies that operate both online and off, but are not in direct competition with you. Rub each other's backs from time to time and watch as your list of clients grows.

#8. If your business only serves the local community try to tailor your online and offline activities so that it speaks specifically to your target community. ie. If your business only operates within Ontario, your marketing strategy should incorporate that and your online presence should drop words like Ontario, Toronto, GTA like breadcrumbs so your customers can find you.

#9. If you have company cars or vans you need to invest in advertising on the company car. Some companies even go so far as to buy a car that looks outrageous or unique in an effort to attract attention. ie. A pizza company that uses a Carver (a Dutch vehicle with three wheels).

The same concept can applied to employee uniforms, hats and equipment.

#10. Keep track of reach methods are the most effective at reaching clients and augment those methods in an effort to improve them and increase the synergy.

According to market research the most effective means of advertising online are:
  1. Paid Keyword Advertising (ie. Google AdWords)
  2. Brand Sponsorship (ie. Sponsoring events)
  3. Referrals
  4. Video Ads (ie. YouTube)
  5. Podcasts
  6. Display Ads (general ads, non-targeted)
Some less reputable people out there believe in just contacting potential clients (telemarketing and such), but in this day and age people have developed such a hatred of telemarketers and similar tactics that it really is not effective advertising. Its too pushy and that causes most people to immediately reject it and can even cause them to boycott a company or product.

Remember the ultimate purpose of synergy is to get new clients to contact you. That is half the battle, the rest is up to you to keep the client happy and coming back for more.

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