Your offline store feels separate from your internet site in many ways: it’s made of concrete and plaster, for one thing. And sometimes, it can feel that your customers are living in two different worlds. Your in-person customers love to browse and talk with you about the best deal. Your online customers fly in, make a purchase, and fly away.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Both online and offline customers are buying the same products, after all. Linking your online and offline marketing strategies via email marketing can be an effective strategy to streamline your marketing efforts, share information, and ultimately drive more sales.
Why Combine Email with Offline Marketing?
Why do you want to attach your email marketing strategy with your offline marketing strategy? Most fundamentally, because your customers expect it.
1. Customers want more relevance
According to a recent survey, more than 60% of customers expect you to collect information about them in order to provide them with more relevant products. This presents two linked problems: how to collect the data, and how to use it in your marketing efforts.
Offline tools can be helpful. You can use questionnaires, track in-store purchases, and meet your customers face to face.
But the real advances in data collection is happening in the digital world, and one of the most effective tools is also one of the oldest: email. Using professional newsletter software, it’s easy to track tons of useful information. You can see where your contacts are opening their emails; which content is most interesting to them based on how often they click; what kinds of emails are likely to be opened; and how effective certain kinds of promotions, discounts, and sales are.
Take this data and incorporate it into your business operation. It will help you know not only how to speak to your customers, but also the kind of products and/or content that they’re interested in. This holds true both for online and offline behavior.
2. Branding via Newsletters
Branding is important. Linking email marketing with your offline marketing is a great opportunity for brand marketing. In particularly, it offers the prospect for an identical brand appearance in offline and online marketing.
The key is providing the same brand experience across all of your communications channels. Every time your customer sees your name or interacts with you and your store, you want them to be seeing the same logos, hearing the same kinds of offers, experiencing the same kind of interaction.
Separate email and offline marketing strategies, particularly if they aren’t speaking in the same way, or using the same graphics and images, can be a real missed opportunity.
3. Distributing Information with Email Campaigns
You have information – about products, events, news – and you want to distribute it as quickly as you can, to as many of your customers, members, and contacts as you can.
How do you spread the information?
You print in-store brochures, you hang up signs, you inform members at the next chapter meeting.
These are all great, necessary, and effective. But there’s one communication strategy that you’re missing.
You probably know where I’m going with this.
I’m talking about email.
Email is one of the most cost-effective ways of communication with your customers. You can broadcast information about store opening times, special events and/or offers.
It’s also a way to speak with your customers. Let them know about events, and invite their feedback. Give them a way to contact you on social media and also to reply to your emails.
Product brochures or informational brochures can, and should, be distributed digitally via your email campaign.
How to Link Email Marketing with Offline Campaigns
Ok, we’ve gotten the “why” taken care of. Now it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts: how to link email marketing with your offline marketing strategy.
1. Collect Email Addresses
If you already have a comprehensive list of email addresses, congrats! You can feel free to skip to the next section because you’re already an email marketing pro.
Or stick around for a few extra pointers. A little bit of advice never hurt anyone, after all.
The first, and best, a place to start collecting email addresses is your website. Put a registration form somewhere on your home page, or include a checkbox as part of the checkout process.
If the goal is to link online and email marketing, then you should also concentrate on collecting the online information of your offline customers.
A good place to start is asking for the email addresses of your customers at checkout in your store. Incentivize the information collection through discounts (give us your email address and earn 5% off your next purchase) or giveaways (enter your email address for a chance to win a new XYZ!).
You can also distribute business cards or leaflets encouraging people to log on to your website and enter their email address for “exclusive deals” or “great product offers.”
QPR codes are also a powerful tool to link your online and offline store presence. Customers use their phones to scan the QPR code, and are forwarded to a webpage. If the goal is to drive newsletter registrations, then the website would naturally be an email registration form.
2. Online/Offline Ideas Email Marketing Concepts
You’ve got the email addresses and you’ve designed great-looking newsletters that will give your contacts a seamless brand experience.
Now it’s time to put all of that work into action.
Here are a few very effective online and offline marketing tools that are guaranteed to bring you success:
Digital Product Brochures: If you’re already sending out paper product brochures, digitizing them and sending them out to your email contacts makes a lot of sense. You achieve a greater reach and ensure that the right people see your product.
Promote in-store sales via email: Link your online and offline worlds by promoting in-store sales via email. You’ll draw in more visitors, driving revenue. Even if your email contacts don’t come to the store, you’re still sharing important information about your brand: you’re putting on sales, you have interesting products.
Simultaneous Online and Offline Sale: This is exactly what it sounds like. Provide both your online and offline customers an identical sales action. This both broadens the reach of your campaign and provides a seamless brand experience both online and offline.
Digital Discount Codes: Send digital discount codes via email that can only be redeemed in-store. Conversely, hand out flyers with a discount code to your in-store customers that they can redeem on your website.
Distribute Information: Email is one of the most effective and value-driving means of communication. Use it to inform your customers of important information. Store opening and closing times, special holiday hours, etc.
We hope this advice helps. Good luck, and happy emailing!