Is it possible to use marketing automation to drive revenue of a traditional offline business? It sure is! In fact, marketing automation allows you to go beyond a one-time purchase and build long-lasting relationships with your customers when they’re not in your store. You can carefully plan your marketing communication so that you keep in touch with customers and, at the same time, free up more time to run your business.
Be where your customers are
If you are a traditional retailer, think of online marketing as an opportunity to offer customers more touch points with your brand. Nowadays, offline and online are closely intertwined. People research products online and purchase them offline (so called ROPO effect) or do their shopping the other way round (reverse ROPO).
Either way, you need to embrace the fact that your customers spend more and more time online, so it’s high time to build a solid online presence and be where your customers are.
Combining online and offline in a meaningful way
In order to make good use of online marketing and make it work for your brand you need to bear in mind a few important aspects.
Consistent branding is crucial when operating both offline and online. Easily recognizable visual identity and a tone of voice reflecting your brand’s personality help consumers get to know you as an organization.
Make sure that subscribers can easily identify your brand – it will help you develop trust and promote customer loyalty across channels.
Great customer experience
Satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal and promote your brand among their friends and relatives. Try to go beyond customer satisfaction. Create a clear customer experience strategy and create a marketing automation workflow that connects various touch points (online and offline) in a meaningful way.
Think of ways of using online and offline to enhance each other. Even a simple thing like free delivery to your store might turn out to be a great convenience and drive sales.
Know your target audience
If your offline business provides outstanding customer service, adopt the same approach to your online communication. Use progressive profiling to collect crucial information about your subscribers, segment your list and run personalized online marketing campaigns that are meaningful and engaging.
Think of your target audience and figure out what they really care about. Then come up with different forms of content they will find useful and interesting. You can use that content as a lead magnet both online and offline.
Img. 1 Lush sends “how it’s made” videos in their emails
Use marketing automation to bridge the gap
Marketing automation offers you a suite of different conditions, actions, and filters you can use to communicate with your subscribers. You can create workflows that reflect your subscriber’s journey and provide best possible customer experience.
Here are a few ideas on how to align marketing automation with a traditional business:
Motivate subscribers to visit your store
Make it clear why people should visit your store. Come up events and promotions available only in your brick and mortar location, e.g.:
- free Christmas gift wrapping
- loyalty programs offering discounts in the offline store
- a small gift waiting in the store for online cart abandoners who finish their purchase
Img. 2 In-store exclusives from Banana Republic.
Create a community
Show your customers that you’re passionate about your business. If you love your brand, those who have genuine interest in what you sell will be more likely to become loyal customers and recommend your business to others.
You can use online marketing to interact with your audience and offer them valuable information about your brand and products. Here are a few examples.
Introduce your staff
Your employees drive your company’s culture and probably play the most significant role in shaping customer experience. Introduce the people behind your brand. Show their passion, knowledge and willingness to help. Give your subscribers an idea of what they can expect when they visit your store.
Img. 3 Brewdog promotes their “rockstar” staff.
Promote live events
Organize events at your store to bring people together. By running workshops, giving presentations, inviting authors to sign books, or simply throwing a party, you not only become an important part of the local community, but also have a unique opportunity to talk directly with your customers and collect feedback on various aspects of your business.
Offer something special
If you want people to use your online channels, make it worthwhile to sign up to your email list by providing exclusive content and offers for subscribers. For example, send out emails announcing new collections, share tips on how to use your products, or run a limited-time sale.
Img. 4 Bath & Body Works subscribers enjoy summer sale earlier
When planning an incentive, think of ways to incorporate your offline store into the process. For example, offer special delivery option for those who live nearby or in close proximity of your offline location.
Activate your customers – ask them to review the products they have purchased, help develop new products, or simply share their opinion on a topic. Marketing automation allows you to identify the most engaged people with scoring and tagging – just make sure you reward the most involved.
It’s up to you
Perhaps the best thing about marketing automation is the fact that it’s scalable and grows with your business. You can start small with basic workflows sending a series of simple messages after signup or create complex ones like onboarding campaigns or loyalty programs based on subscriber activity.
I wonder how marketing automation helps you bridge the gap between your online and offline activity? Leave your comment below.