Attract Local Customers with an Online/Real-Time Strategy

On eBay, your customers can “shop victoriously.” On Amazon, Overstock, and the big-box e-commerce sites they can get deep discounts, wide selection, and never-leave-the-sofa gratification.

So how can you motivate local customers out of the house and through your door?

Actually, it’s not as hard as you might think. With just a bit of creative thinking, along with some info-marketing and social-networking strategy, you can combine the best features of online and real-time business to bring local customers over your threshold.

Here are just a couple of ideas for blending your online and real-time marketing tactics:

  • Combine online information marketing with real-time events to add value to your customers’ experience. For example, if you are a veterinarian, you might offer an e-course on recognizing common seasonal ailments, along with an in-office demonstration of ways to keep pets healthy during cold weather. For additional incentive, offer participants a discount on related on-site services.
  • Set up a website survey to learn about your customers’ most challenging problems. For example, if you are a beauty consultant, you could ask about their biggest winter skin challenge. Then set up a real-time, on-site talk answering their specific questions and offering a discount on related products. Have your talk digitally recorded or videotaped, and offer (or sell) it on your website as an information product.
  • If you offer more products in your real-time store than you’re able to list online, you can offer a special discount to website visitors who bring in an online coupon to your brick-and-mortar store. They’ll discover your on-site inventory, and you’ll learn more about their buying habits and needs.

If you’re combining your online and real-time campaigns, don’t forget to promote them in both venues. For example, info-marketing tactics offer valuable training to the public, and you can legitimately promote your presentations as educational events in local newspapers. Be sure to send out press releases.

Be sure, also, to include social-marketing options in your strategy. Using your blog and social networking platforms like FaceBook, you can promote both your online campaigns and your real-time, on-site events.

Last but not least, don’t forget to target local business-to-business traffic. If your Chamber of Commerce offers Member-to-Member discounts, match your offer to your customers’ known needs, promote it through the Chamber, and proudly link to the promotion on your website.

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