Social Media

Offline Marketing for an Online Business

marketingAs more and more businesses search for ways to cut down on costs, the business model of owning a brick and mortar store with a leased space and employees is beginning to dwindle. Rather, people are turning their efforts and concentration to the online market. But even with a strictly online business, it doesn’t mean that marketing has to be confined to the online arena. Instead, companies should combine online and offline marketing tactics to drive business to their online store.

Utilizing these two channels simply makes good sense. After all, interest in your site is always a positive no matter how that traffic was generated. So whether you’re getting an influx of visitors because of a print ad or because of a viral video, increased traffic means the increased likelihood of sales. So why not double the potential traffic by releasing a viral video and a print ad?

For your offline efforts, consider some of the following tactics and techniques.
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Social Media Versus Search

It seems like it’s impossible to get away from articles nowadays that start with the phrase “In these hard economic times…” But gear up for another, because in these hard economic times, companies are looking for any excuse to yield revenue and cut costs. Perhaps that accounts for part of the reason social media tactics are so very popular right now.

After all, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace can disseminate information about your company’s products and services in a quick and (most importantly) free way. And this ability has many touting this means of marketing as the next best thing.

But there’s also something to be said for holding off on any fad that simply seems too good to be true. After all, any new marketing efforts require time and energy. Even if there isn’t any money required upfront, there is still the necessary dedication of manpower. And this can be viewed as tantamount to expense, because time is most certainly money. As such, before you or your company launches an organized social media effort, make sure it’s right for your business and make sure your business is ready for that kind of campaign.
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Taking Down the eBay Machine

When eBay was first introduced to the online community, it truly revolutionized the way people viewed working from home. In a post-eBay era, it suddenly became a very real possibility for people to pull in a little extra cash simply by dishing off household leftovers. But as the company grew more and more popular, the higher ups grew more and more greedy. Raising their listing fees and other associated fees, users grew increasingly alienated.

With the advent of Craigslist and other less fee-driven sites, users began seeking viable eBay alternatives. While many sites cropped up claiming to be the next eBay rival, they tended to be plagued by scammers and questionable sellers. (Who wants to pay $100 for poorly made Christian Louboutin rip-offs?)
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Social Media Charm School

There’s no reason to talk to anyone anymore. Seriously, why would anyone want to risk calling someone and having an awkward conversation, or (gasp), talking to them face-to-face? I know I don’t. It started with texting a few years ago and then led to social networking sites and Apple’s iChat app. The advent of all these services has made it possible for me to quit talking (with my voice) to most people, except of course my coworkers (who I have to look at and talk to at the same time!) and my family.

In any event, I talk much less than I used to but communicate with many more people than I thought possible. If I am not messaging them on iChat or commenting on something they posted on Facebook, then I am reminded frequently of their status updates or blog posts. But this doesn’t mean I am a social butterfly. I am a reserved type of personality, and social networking has allowed me to become more so. I just maintain a lot of vague conversations while staying within my comfort zone.
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Know When To Say When To Social Media

It’s Time To Clean Up Your Social Media Clutter
Out with the old and in with the new. Why wait around until spring time to start organizing your life, your home and, more importantly, your social media portfolio? With 2009 sprawling ahead of you it’s time sort the social clutter that’s been piling up around on your computer desk and in your inbox.

One way to start this process is to take inventory of the social networking and bookmarking sites you subscribe to, and decide which services you like best in each category. After all, everyone wants to save time and spending hours a day on multiple services isn’t nearly as efficient as getting extra quality time on the best services.
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Search News Special: Web 2.0

Search engines and Web 2.0 have an unusual marriage. Here in the social media corner of the metaphorical room, we’ve long held the belief that a successful social media and Web 2.0 marketing campaign would contribute positively to organic search engine rankings. We’ve come to this conclusion not just from hopeful thinking, but from solid statistical analysis. Do one well, and the other will follow. Search Engine Land just ran an article about this very phenomenom, citing specific examples of links from social media sites that improved ranking. But all too often these kind of results are treated as an abnormality rather than the norm. The fact of the matter is that it’s extremely difficult to get online, let alone run a marketing campaign, without incorporating a least some aspect of web 2.0 or social media. Think about your daily web activities, and I bet most if not all of them involve some component of the read/write web, whether it’s social networking, blogs, or a simple interaction beyond the passive user. Bottom line, we can’t escape social media and Web 2.0, and the same goes for the search engines and their algorithms.
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Modern Old-fashioned Networking

There are very few situations where a social media profile will not be of use to your professional or private life. These days more and more people are jumping on the social media networking bandwagon. In fact, many teenagers who have grown up in the advent of social media don’t know any other form of networking. If you own a small business that’s kicking off a social media marketing campaign you shouldn’t underestimate the importance incorporating some old-fashioned, face-to-face networking. There are dozens of ways to connect that are just as good as “Social Media” on the web.

Here are some suggestions:
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Take It From the Clowns…

When it comes to social media marketing, sometimes you’ve just got to listen to the clowns. Well, a very specific group of clowns anyway.

In particular, the mind-bendingly bendy group at Cirque du Soleil has once again thrown off convention and is currently leading the movement by established and successful organizations to move advertising online. While they haven’t completely abandoned traditional means of advertising, Soleil’s social media manager Jessica Berlin is spearheading the effort to make the high budget production known on forums such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and others.

In a recent panel discussion, Berlin divulged some key points about the benefits of moving advertising efforts online.
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He Blogged, She Blogged

When it comes to men and women, who blogs better? Moreover, how do men and women approach blogging? People all have their reasons for engaging in social interaction, and when it comes down to it women are more likely to blog for social and emotional interaction than men.

A recent Entrepreneur.com article mentioned a study that found more than 36 million women blog every week. Almost 50 percent of those women said that blogs influenced their buying habits. Some women even said they were so committed to blogging that they would give up PDAs and alcohol to continue doing so.

More than half of all bloggers in North America are women. These women tend to write more and longer than their male counterparts. Strangely enough a recent study out of Great Britain noted that the most influential bloggers tend to be white American males. This study also found that women were more interested in the social aspects of blogging, while men care more about new information and opinion.
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Are you Afraid of the Digg?

If you thought witches and ghouls were the scariest thing you were going to encounter this Halloween, some established companies might see it a little bit differently. For them, the most terrifying prospect is…a social networking site.

But why would anyone be afraid of a little site like Digg or Facebook? The simple answer is control. Companies fear social networking sites because they can’t pick and choose what is said about the company through these kinds of outlets. But this hesitation to move viral (and relinquish this control) shouldn’t be too shocking. Think of all the time, money, and effort that are put into carefully creating any and all company marketing campaigns. Commercials are screened by test audiences before they ever make it on the air. Heads of the company have careful speech writers and PR pros coordinating all company information before it’s divulged to the public. And with social networking sites, companies move out of this controlled environment into the wild, untamed world of everyday human interaction.
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