Most e-commerce marketers focus on digital marketing for obvious reasons. Everything from email automation to social media marketing to SEO is in the e-commerce marketer’s wheelhouse. But to gain a competitive edge, you need to go where few e-commerce marketers are willing to go—offline.
So many e-commerce brands dedicate their entire marketing budgets to Internet marketing. But, meanwhile consumers are growing more adept at tuning out online ads. The e-commerce marketer can take a creative advantage by reaching customers offline.
Here are a few of the best ways to market your e-commerce brand offline.
1. Direct Mail Automation
Direct mail gets results up to 30x better than email, and now you can automate it. You can use Inkit in lock-step with your CRM to trigger and personalize postcards just as easily as email. (Check out our current direct mail CRM integrations here, and don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you need help getting started).
2. Text Messaging
You may not think of SMS marketing as an offline strategy, but text messaging allows you to reach your customers in real-time, in a much more personal way than email. Plus, texts are read more than emails. Use a permission-based text message strategy to keep customers in-the-know about sales, product launches, special events and anything else that is relevant. You can even drive leads via text messaging by using a text code that you promote to get email opt-ins.
3. Pop-Up Shops
In 2012, Warby Parker (then an exclusively online eyewear retailer), proved the pop-up model is a highly effective way for e-commerce brands to create buzz, test new markets, and even generate online sales. At the time, co-founder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa said that although less than 10 percent of the company’s sales happened offline, those sales fueled even more sales online and generated customer loyalty. In the years that followed, Warby Parker expanded further into brick-and-mortar with pop-ups and partnerships with retailers. While you may not plan for your e-commerce to become a blend of online and offline retailing, a la Warby Parker, pop-up shops are still an excellent way for you to develop authenticity with consumers and drive sales.
If you’re an e-commerce marketer, chances are pretty good that you’re proficient in networking online. But this doesn’t mean you should overlook networking IRL (in real life). Attend industry events, sponsor local organizations and join business associations in your community. It can help tremendously when consumers are able to put faces to an online business . Additionally, consider teaming up with brands that sell complementary products.
Offline Marketing Rules for E-Commerce Brands
Marketing your e-commerce brand offline can usher in significant benefits, but you’ll need to follow some best practices:
- Be consistent. Be sure to maintain brand consistency on all channels, online and off. Millennials, in particular, expect a consistent brand experience across channels.
- Go omni-channel. Your customers frequently switch between channels as they go about their lives. Offer a seamless experience, and boost results across channels, by fully integrating your marketing strategies. Brands that practice omni-channel marketing achieve significantly better retention rates than those that don’t.
- Make it measurable. One of the things marketers appreciate about online marketing is that everything is trackable and measurable. But with a little extra legwork, the same can be true of each of the offline tactics mentioned above. For example, use landing pages, QR codes or special coupon codes to track direct mail performance. You can even split-test direct mail.