Supporting Online Through Offline Initiatives


One of the things I’ve noticed in the UAE is that our online initiatives, be they for whatever online media platform (facebook, twitter, website etc) seldom tap into how off-line promotion means that can help.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying no one does this. But considering the large number of businesses who can do this, there are a very few doing this right… in this region.

There is quite a big chunk these businesses miss out on because off-line initiatives can boost both long and short term online goals. While the above is quite important to consider for businesses that run totally online, its equally important for other established businesses who use on-line as a communication and promotions mechanism.

So here are 3 strategies I think businesses should tap into, to leverage off-line for their online goals

Tap into other media broadcasting platforms

In the UAE radio broadcasting is extremely strong. It’s a means that reaches thousands of people. Sure its above-the-line (ATL) nature may make it seem like its an inappropriate fit due it being impersonal when social is all about making that personal connections.  But it’s really strong for brand and offer promotions. We already see numerous companies advertising their events & promos through this channel. But what I don’t see is how their online presence is tied into this. And no I don’t consider the phrase “Like us on facebook at” as an effective tie-in into the online presence promotion 🙂

What I do consider as effective though are things like:

–          “Get the promotion details on our website/FB page and enter through there”

–          “View the new campaign video on facebok”

–          “tweet with the hashtag #heyXYZ to tell us you want to be part of the competition”

–          “results and winner info will be posted on  our website”

So the general gist as you can see from the above is to incorporate online as a required activity as part of your campaign. The challenge is doing it in such a way that it doesn’t seem daunting. The radio stations here do a great job when it comes to running their own promotion campaigns and are a good example you can look into to get some ideas.

Online engagement stations at your business location

If you are a retailer, a mall, a hotel, a university or any other other business with a huge consumer influx, then consider how you can build a relationship with those “in-store” consumers for your online initiatives. Setting up some fun-looking online engagement stations is a great idea. Have a few computers placed on a kiosk and have banners around them. Get people to come and log into these  stations to record their feedback, take surveys, enter promotions or simply show their support for your business. Even if 1 in 20 stops by and you have 2000 people a day coming to your location, that’s a 100 people daily whose information you have linked up with. I’m sure you’ll link up with more though.

Note for online businesses: This strategy isn’t just for businesses who own the venue. You can make use of this as well by renting out some kiosk space at one of the above locations. It would work as good for you as it would for those who own the venue.

Getting consumer preferences during the sales cycle

This is something particularly useful for B2C companies. Whenever you have consumers buying your product/service you should seriously consider recording their likes/dislikes through aspects like their FB identity or an identity they can create on your website. This process need not be long winded or complicated. All you’d need to do is ask consumers for their preferences at the end of the sales cycle. Consumers need to be told that these preferences are being asked for so that you keep them notified of things that matter to them and make the entire sales process personal to their needs. You’ll be surprised how many will start signing up.

In the end what we really need to understand is that the eventual goal is understanding consumers, getting them to engage and increasing business.  Since today, engagement via online is stronger than offline, we need to build our online assets. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use our offline assets to achieve our engagement goals.

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