Have you noticed how brick-and-mortar businesses are beginning to incorporate online strategies into their offline marketing to encourage more social media or website traffic? For example, just this weekend alone, I saw a pizza parlor with a sticker on its window that invites customers to like its Facebook page. I went to get a massage and was told that they now have an online app available for download. I saw a friend “check in” to a frozen yogurt shop on Four Square and received a discount.
Now that digital marketing is beginning to influence offline strategies, it is becoming increasingly important not only to incorporate online advertising into your budget but also to understand how the new digital generation behaves. Below are just a couple of tactics you can be doing in order to reach the new generation of consumers.
Hashtag effectively and carefully
Whereas before, hashtags were just a way to indicate a number or a pound sign, Twitter has completely changed their meaning and marketing significance. Now, hashtags are used not only to organize content into themes but also as a branding tactic. When used properly, hashtags are effective marketing tools that will help your business achieve the following goals:
- Research product interest and sentiment – Track a hashtag month by month in order to determine audience interest in a topic or product related to your industry. By knowing when people talk about your industry most frequently, you can publish blogs and create marketing promotions during that time in order to optimize your campaign.
- Shape your content marketing strategy – Many social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, show you the hashtags that are currently trending in real-time. Therefore, if you’re fast and savvy enough, you can tie your product into the trending topics, as it is statistically proven to increase purchase interest by 18 percent.
- Reach a wider audience and get more engagement – Statistically, hashtags receive twice as much engagement than those without, especially if the hashtag is trending. This is because people track the topics they are interested in, meaning that if you use hashtags in your social media posts, you not only place your posts in front of more people but also to people who are actually willing to engage in conversation with you.
Manage your online reputation
Although referrals have always been important in gaining and keeping business, it is now even more so when information is easily accessible online and searching for a product review takes less than a second. In fact, statistics show that 65 percent of new business comes from referrals, which can either be word-of-mouth referrals via social media or online reviews. Maintaining your online reputation requires you to do the following:
- Create social media accounts and stay active – Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and Yellow Pages are popular sites people use to look for and leave reviews on businesses; therefore, start creating your profiles on those sites and encourage interaction with your customers so that they’d be more willing to leave you positive reviews and comments.
- Monitor your online listings – There is nothing worse than creating a profile and forgetting about it after, because it shows your customers that you don’t care about their opinion, much less their business.
- Respond to customer feedback kindly and graciously – Whenever you get a comment, whether it is positive or negative, reply to it quickly by either thanking them or addressing their feedback. Your willingness to take their advice goes a long way in engendering positive sentiment in your customer service, turning these negative reviews into positive referrals.
Now, more than ever, in order to gain more customers, you must implement an online marketing strategy in order to stay relevant and to gain the attention of digitally-savvy consumers.