Posted by : Amanda Stein Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Internet has become the modern-day town square, where people gather to catch up on the latest news and gossip.  But the online world is only meant to shrink the offline world, not replace it, so use it to attract more offline visitors.

An online photo can’t completely replace the physical sensation of a product, nor can an online chat match the quality of a face-to-face meeting.  But those things can be used to motivate people to get up from their desks and interact with your business in person.

What Does the Real World Offer That the Web Can’t?

Life increasingly happens online, but the web hasn’t taken over everything, nor should it.  While online media have made things faster and more convenient, some things are still done better in the real world, such as:

Physical Sensations:  A picture of a sumptuous meal or a delicious dessert might look good, but it can’t tell you how good it smells or tastes.

Health Assessments:  Despite the popularity of online medical diagnostic tools, no doctor would ever recommend or prescribe a treatment without an actual physical exam.

Human Contact:  Even with sophisticated technology like video chat, no online interaction can replicate the feeling of a handshake or a kiss and hug.

How Do I Bring in More Real-Life Business?

Despite the differences between online and offline communication, one is still great for initiating the other if you know how to use it.  To initiate more in-person engagement, consider these strategies.

Require a Visit

Some people insist on doing all their business online, and the only way they’ll do otherwise is if you tell them they have to.  This works best when in-person interaction is essential.  If you work in an alcohol rehab center, for instance, potential clients might reach out online, but you’ll have an easier time assessing their needs if you require them to visit for the initial intake.  You’ll bring qualified leads where they need to be in order to better serve them.

Offer Great Incentives

If you prefer using honey over vinegar to bring in more foot traffic, consider enticing leads and customers to take advantage of special offers only available in person.  Use your website or social media page to announce a giveaway for the thousandth customer, send an exclusive in-store coupon, or invite customers to an in-store raffle.  To bring in even more traffic faster, make it a limited-time offer.

Host In-person Events

Your website is great for sharing highlights of past events, or even broadcasting them.  But this can’t replace the feeling of actually attending one of your fun events.  Whether you’re launching a new product, hosting a meet-and-greet or breaking ground on a new location, pull out all the stops.  Offer free food and drink, print take-home materials for all your attendees, and hold contests, games, and giveaways that can only be experienced offline.

Start Doing More Business in the Real World!

Online marketing can be an effective way to bring more offline business, so make the most of it.  Find ways to generate more real-life traffic and use your online channels to promote them. 

This guest post was written by CJ.  CJ has extensive experience in using online media to move consumers to physical locations like an alcohol rehab center and enjoys sharing his insights with others.

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