The Secret Weapon: Offline Marketing for Online Marketers

At the latest Oahu Online Business meetup, I got to talking to David, a new member, about a subject you don’t hear about very often in Internet marketing: offline marketing.

“Offline marketing?! I want to stick to Internet marketing. Why would I want to go offline?”

Short answer: because that’s where the money is. Check out the animated infographic Retail in Real Time. It claims to be live, but I suspect it’s the same loop that just runs over and over.

At 60 seconds, about $500,000 is spent online. How much is spent offline in the same period? $5,000,000.

If you’re a glass half-empty person, not going offline is like throwing away 90 percent of your potential profits.

If you’re a glass half-full person, going offline is like 10x-ing your profits.

You’ll also make a bigger impact on customers. While the Internet is getting more and more accepted, there are a still a lot of people who are suspicious of it. However, if you’re able to communicate through phone, direct mail and other ways? You’re seen as a “real business” that knows what it’s doing. Compared to the belief these days that anyone can put up a website.

When I talk to new members of Oahu Online Business, some of them confess feeling they’re at a disadvantage, since they might be familiar with sales and business, but not with websites and technology.

I try to be positive and encourage them. I think it’s easier for a salesperson to learn technology than for a technology person to learn sales. A lot of Internet marketers would rather slit their wrists than talk to a prospect on the phone.

“But offline marketing is difficult and expensive!”

There is truth to this.

The safest way to try out offline marketing would be implement it on the back-end, with your existing customers. Or you can generate the traffic online, but follow up with the leads offline.

Don’t use it on the front-end, to acquire new customers. Like cold-calling or sending sales letters to rented mailing lists. That can definitely work, but it has a big learning curve.

Get some experience by experimenting with offline marketing with your current buyers. When you feel more confident, and you can get into offline marketing as a traffic source to get new customers.

The Phone: The Highest-Converting Channel?

The mobile marketing analytics company Invoca said in its 2015 Call Intelligence Index:

Talk is powerful.

No other interaction is more influential in the path to purchase than a phone call.

Phone calls have 30-50% conversion rates compared to 2% for clicks.

So at the low end, phone calls convert 15 times better than clicks. Wow.

Makes sense when you think about it. When people browse the Internet, they’re in information-gathering mode. They’re also more likely to try to find a free or pirated version. As Gary Halbert eloquently put it, “People are cheap bastards on the Internet.”

In contrast, when people pick up the phone and call, they’re ready to take action–like buy something or request more information.

I think driving phone calls can make more sense for local businesses, particularly for high-priced professional services.

The good news is you don’t have to start with hiring an outsourced call center or building your own. You can answer calls yourself or designate a staff person. Just make sure they’re trained to take down leads’ contact details and you tell them how important this task is. Capturing leads and following up with them is the lifeblood of your business.

I was brainstorming ways to implement this with Andrew, a real estate agent at the meetup. You could have a standard squeeze page offering a free report.

If you want to attract buyers, you could offer a “Honolulu Relocation Guide” for new people moving to the city. To attract sellers, it could be “How to Increase Your Home Selling Value by $10,000 with only $1,000 in home improvements.” Use the choice of topic to attract prospects with the right “buyer intent” for your business.

The twist is instead of just asking for a name and e-mail address, go further. Ask for a phone number and integrate your opt-in form with a phone tool like Call Rail. Get notified right away whenever a lead fills out the form on the squeeze page. This allows you to do outbound calls, rather than waiting for an ad to generate inbound calls.

Then either you or one of your staff could call up the lead immediately and confirm them into the next step in your sales funnel.

Examples:

  • Make an appointment for free consultation.
  • Schedule an on-site inspection.
  • Register them for a free seminar/workshop, etc.

The goal is to move them a step closer to the final sale.

Strike while the iron is hot. Get proactive, instead of waiting for the prospect to make up their mind and call. The nice thing is it’s not cold-calling, because the prospect has indicated interest by submitting their contact info to get the free report.

Imagine the difference: instead of staring at a silent phone, wondering when the next sale is coming from, to having hot prospects giving you their phone numbers all day long.

Direct Mail: Snail Mail Still Works?

Here’s a video:

PDF version: Using Neuroscience to Understand the Role of Direct Mail. Although keep in mind the study was funded by the Royal Mail in the U.K.

Still, it’s easy to believe that being able to touch and hold a message in your hands makes a greater impact on the brain.

One easy way to apply direct mail is when you make the first sale, set the expectation of a service schedule/routine maintenance/free periodic checkup.

This brings customers back into your business consistently, and gives you more opportunities to sell additional offers. Meanwhile, the customer is impressed and believes you care about service.

Dentists and optometrists often do this. “Hey, it’s time for another dental cleaning!” “Time for your annual eye exam!”

David, a member at the meetup, liked using postcards as a relatively low-cost way to use direct mail to maintain relationships with buyers. Compared to the cost of mailing out full-on sales letters or product catalogs.

He said you can also do “multi-step mailings” or “sequential mailings.” For an Internet marketer, think of them as an offline autoresponder sequence.

Here’s an example for a post-sale sequence:

Postcard 1: “Hey thanks for becoming a customer! Welcome to the family. Here’s our customer service number if you have any questions.”

Postcard 2: “How are things going with the new product? Here are 3 tips to get better results . . . ”

Postcard 3: “Ready to take it to the next level? We offer personalized coaching for people who are serious about making a transformation . . . call this number to get more information. ”

The member raved about the effectiveness of sequential mailings. It feels more personal and the customer feels that the company cares about them. On the entrepreneur’s side, the whole process can be outsourced and automated.

Recommended Resources

I Love Marketing Podcast with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson – Two savvy entrepreneurs who have tons of advice and tips on marketing, especially offline marketing. They’re big advocates of using phone “free recorded messages” and direct mail.

I would go deep into their back catalog (scroll to the bottom) and listen to the first 7 episodes and episodes 38-42. They’re like a crash course in offline marketing.

CallRail – A whole suite of tools for integrating phone calls into your business.

Sendpepper – A part of Ontraport (formerly Office AutoPilot) that specializes in postcard mailings.

Ontraport and Infusionsoft have postcard functionality, but are full-fledged CRMs that are more expensive and complex.

Photo credit: Ryan McGuire / Gratisography