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Online marketing is only part of the picture

For most businesses, online marketing should not be seen as the be all end all, Holy Grail. It should be used as part of your marketing strategy. The great thing about using multiple marketing strategies is that they reinforce each other. As you build name recognition in the off-line world, it will make people more receptive to your online marketing. Conversely if people are used to seeing your name on the web, they are more likely to stop when they spot your storefront on the street.

Although all of us are looking for a strategy that will instantly convert strangers to buyers, for most businesses patience is a must. If you can get people on the web to subscribe to your e-mail list and you start sending them great information and great offers, you can eventually sell to a much higher proportion of subscribers than you could if you were only taking a one-shot approach with visitors to your site.

Let me try to illustrate this in terms of off-line marketing. Years ago when I was a very inexperienced salesperson, I sold coupon advertising to local businesses in Rhode Island. One of my customers was a stove and fireplace dealer. He did not want to provide an expensive giveaway such as a drawing for a TV, as he felt he could accomplish that more cheaply with newspaper advertising. So we settled on a free giveaway of long fireplace matches.

After the mailing was all completed, I stopped by his store to give him the proof of mailing certificate, and see how he did. He was angry, he accused me of not mailing out all 10,000 coupons despite the fact that I had just given him proof from the post office that we had mailed 10,000 pieces of mail. It was a long time ago, but I remember he had roughly 19 people show up, and he was disappointed that he only sold those people about $90 worth of merchandise. I think he missed the whole point of advertising. Some of those people were buyers, we know that, because they actually bought small items from him. If he had not been so disappointed and angry, I suspect he could have started to build trust and customer relations, and eventually sold a lot of dollars worth of product to those people, as he was selling were fairly high ticket items. Somehow he expected results similar to the pizza parlor whose offer went out to 20,000 customers (it was a 2-for-1 offer). The pizza parlor spent $600 with us and got in 600 customers. All businesses are not the same. Some of them require more time and patience to get results.

PS he got even angrier when I left without offering him a partial refund, or a discounted price on future services. I was young and inexperienced and a little bit angry at being accused of fraudulent behavior so I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible. At that time I didn’t have the skill to make him happy and convert him into a permanent customer.

13 comments to Online marketing is only part of the picture

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