Wondering how to bring your company’s shopping experience online?
An effective offline-to-online marketing strategy can help you reach a nearly infinite customer base – without sacrificing your brand values.
However, making the transition from in-person to online can be difficult, especially for brick-and-mortar brands.
In the following post, we share the key to successful offline-to-online marketing – as well as five proven strategies you can use to build your online community.
What is offline-to-online marketing?
“Offline-to-Online Marketing” is a term used to describe all activities that customers of the physical presence of a brand (e.g. brick-and-mortar stores) through to digital offers (e.g. a company website or an Instagram account).
When done properly, offline to online marketing is a seamless experience – the user journey should be intuitive and in line with brand identity, from the visual design to the tone of voice you use.
And the benefits can be increased tenfold.
By developing online and offline marketing strategies, brands can offer their customers even more touchpoints – which ultimately leads to more engagement and sales.
With that in mind, here are five tactics you can use to successfully move customers from offline to online:
- Host a virtual event
- Create a home experience
- Go live with your audience
- Create a branded hashtag
- Create an exclusive online membership
# 1: host a virtual event
Virtual events have grown in popularity over the past 12 months as the COVID-19 pandemic is driving brands to find new, creative ways to bring their communities together.
While it’s true that in-person events are a great tool for building community, virtual events can reach a wider audience – no plane ticket or hotel stay required.
At Later we host an annual digital conference, LaterConthat connects and informs attendees on a much larger scale than would be possible with a face-to-face event.
However, frequent, smaller events can also be a great tactic for reaching new audiences.
For example, Create and cultivate – a conference that was once synonymous with in-person events – has changed its marketing strategy to suit a digital landscape.
With weekly conversation series on Instagram Live and the integration of sponsored online events on topics such as financing, creating and cultivating, you can successfully offer valuable content digitally.
# 2: create a home experience
If you have a service-oriented business, creating a do-it-yourself kit for your customers can be another source of income for your brand.
For example, if your business is a bar, creating a cocktail kit to be delivered to your customers’ doorstep is a great way to attract those who prefer an evening at home but don’t want to miss out on a perfectly prepared cocktail.
Or take Shop Good Co – Another great example of a brand that brings customers a home shopping experience.
The San Diego-based clean beauty company offers a Facial treatment at home Kit for those who cannot enjoy personalized service. It’s also a great gift that can be bought online all year round.
With a little creativity in repackaging goods and services, your brand can offer an even wider range of customers the best of both worlds.
# 3: go live with your audience
Instagram Live is a great way to connect directly with your followers and build stronger bonds by answering questions and comments in real time.
Plus, you can easily save your Instagram Live to IGTV once you’re done, making it valuable content with an even longer shelf life.
Lululemon, the yoga-inspired sportswear company, goes beyond just selling workout clothes and is using Instagram Live as an opportunity to give back to its Instagram community with free yoga classes.
And when it comes to going live, Instagram isn’t the only platform to jump on – brands like eleven cosmetics went live on TikTok, with influencer takeovers hosting makeup challenges and encouraging their followers to join in too.
Ready to go live on TikTok? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to go live on TikTok
# 4: create a branded hashtag
Hashtags can be easily overlooked, but when it comes to community engagement, they can be your best friend.
By creating a brand hashtag, your customers can connect about a common interest (like your products or services!) And at the same time provide your company with user-generated content!
For example, horst has built an integrative community around their hashtag #aeriereal that promotes pristine photos of their customers in their gear. The hashtag alone has collected almost 330,000 posts.
Have a branded hashtag is a surefire way to get new followers, make sales, and convert your existing audience into customers.
If you’re looking for an easy way to search for hashtags or posts made by your community, visit Later UGC tools and functions.
# 5: Create an Online Exclusive Membership
Online memberships are a fantastic way to make customers feel like VIPs while creating a recurring source of income for your brand.
For example crime comedy podcast My favorite murder holds exclusive podcast content and merch for members of their Fan club, Incentives for fans to pay an annual subscription to get access and connect with other podcast listeners.
DIY lifestyle brand Brit + Co also offers a monthly membership that gives users unlimited access to all of their creative online courses at the same time instead of purchasing and accessing courses individually.
So while many brands are returning to personal events, it’s important to create impactful online experiences as well. After all, community building takes place both on and off screen.
By marketing your business online and offline, you double the needs of your customers and create a lot of brand awareness – a win-win situation!
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