Ben is an entrepreneur on the internet and in the real world. Online he builds online businesses, and offline he invests in real estate. You can follow Ben at his website.
I am sure that you are doing everything in your power to market your ecommerce site to your clients. Email, SEO, AdWords, forum posting, coupons, social media, and more. But what if I told you that your most valuable time spent marketing is directed towards your existing customers. In this article I will cover 5 ways that you can target your existing customers in the offline world.
Here is my 5 point plan:
#1 – Mobile!
Make sure that your website is mobile compatible. It’s ironic that my first suggestion is totally “online,” but the offline world and the mobile world are almost one and the same. People are on their cell phones when they stand in line, wait in traffic, take the elevator, do #2, bored in a meeting, and just about any time we don’t need to focus on something important. So, if your customer sees your company in some offline space, it doesn’t help you to have a great desktop site, because if you don’t make a good first impression on their cell phone, they might not ever come back. Furthermore, mobile e-commerce is ramping up faster than online e-commerce, now making up 4% of total retail sales.
The best way to go about this is to make your website responsive, your web designer can help you with that. Also, Shopify has a mobile ecommerce themes that you can plug-n-play. I’m sure many e-commerce shops have mobile themes you can use.
#2 – Mobile, Again!
Send your customers text messages. Big box retailers are sending text messages all the time to remind customers of sales, or for delivery notifications. Consider using an text reminder service like Coordinato.com to schedule texts to be sent out automatically to your existing customers. You can also use Coordinato.com to send appointment reminders to remind your customers of important events coming up like holidays and birthdays.
You can send delivery notifications, and marketing messages. You can shorten links with Bit.ly or Goo.gl, and send recipients of text messages hyperlinks to landing pages on your website.
[Disclosure: Author is a founder at Coordinato]
#3 – Coupons
Send coupons in the mail. You can use a postcard service like VistaPrint.com to create a generic coupon for your business, and have them mail it out to your customers; it costs about $0.50 per postcard shipped. This is especially great since you already have your existing ecommerce customers’ mailing addresses.
#4 – Packaging
Invest in your packaging. As an ecommerce shop, you literally reach the inside of your customers’ homes. Take advantage of this by utilizing “smart packaging.” For starters, put your brand on your package. If you have a beautiful logo, then use it. This package will run by postal workers and anyone else in the final household destination. Just because the father made the order, does not mean the son knows where it came from. Amazon is a great example of this. Furthermore, like Amazon, you can print a call to action on the box. Things like, “Rate the product,” “Tell a friend,” will provide dividends for your business in the offline world without very much investment.
#5 – T-Shirts
Giveaway or sell t-shirts. Your customers should be your brand ambassadors. By making a handsome t-shirt that your customers would actually wear (not just as pajamas) can pay off with big time dividends. If you think that this might be too “expensive”, take a look at who your customers are, and cherry pick who receives a t-shirt. By sending a t-shirt to someone “big” in social media, might earn you a Tweet or Facebook post. A local pizza shop in my hometown had a special: 1 slice of pizza, and 1 t-shirt, for $5. Within a few months almost everyone that I knew at school had one of their t-shirts.
Best of luck!
What other offline marketing methods are you using to promote your online business?