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BRANDING YOUR OFFLINE BUSINESS
One area that is often overlooked by offline business owners is their brand. They open up a new store or service location and forget about the branding aspect of it. Branding is much easier to accomplish today if you incorporate online tools and marketing methods. Let's take a quick look at how to do this.
All business owners should at the very least have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. What is important is the way in which you brand these pages.
Your goal is to create a brand or image that helps identify your business. When someone arrives on your Facebook page they should immediately be able to recognize your business. The same applies to your Twitter account.
To brand these pages you want to select a design and colors that represent your business. If you already have business cards and are happy with them, then use your logo and business cards for your social media pages.
This branding should then spill over onto your website or blog. This keeps everything uniform and neat. For a customer if they find your Facebook page and then click the link to your website, they will know, by your branding, that this is your web page. Can you start to see why branding is so important?
Is your business name memorable? Once your business name is registered there is not much you can do about it. But you could add a tag line to it, this would be the line that helps people identify what your business is. Plus it would be the tag line that becomes easy to remember. It is also very easy to add additional text on your website or blog under the main heading.
If you create flyers or use letterhead try to use the same branding as much as possible. Branding also helps create a more professional image too.
You may have a business name without a logo. In this case you can easily get a logo created. There are many designers who will design one for you, or you can use free tools and design your own.
Other online tools that you should be using are things like having a website or blog in place. You should also consider using an email service and creating a database of your customers. You can then send out electronic Christmas cards, newsletters and keep them updated of any sales you are holding.
BLOGGING FOR YOUR OFFLINE BUSINESS
Not many offline small business owners think about using a blog as a way to attract new customers to their store. Actually blogging can be much easier than trying to set up a more traditional type of website. It is a great alternative if your business doesn't really need a huge website with a shopping cart and all the trappings.
Take a look at how any online business markets their products and services. There is absolutely no reason why you can't apply these same tactics to your offline based business.
A blog is a great tool for interacting with your readers. You can share stories, tips, information, videos, podcasts and more. The only twist for you will be that you are discussing your offline business on your blog, nothing wrong with that!
Another huge benefit of adding blogging to your offline marketing business is that you can build a list of leads. These would be people who may at some point become a customer. Having a list of leads allows you to send out related information about your offline business. A great example of this is if you offered a "Customer Meet and Greet Day", or if you were offering free samples. You simply email your list and let them know to come by your store that day.
Your goal with your blog is to drive traffic back to your offline physical location. With an online business your goal is to drive your visitors to an offer or to an online store.
Using tools such as video and pod casts is another marketing method for your business. When you have a new product in your store, create a quick video of how to use it. Then write a blog post about it to share with your readers. This is a much cheaper alternative than paying for expensive radio ads.
Another idea for video is for highlighting your business. It is a fantastic way to allow your customers a look behind the scenes.
If you run a fitness club you could highlight the trainers or a portion of a fitness class. This way people can see what the fitness class is all about.
All of these videos can be posted on your blog, where your readers can ask questions and leave comments. This can also give you an insight into any problems or issues your customers are having. They may be looking for a specific type of exercise or product. Once you know this information you can update your inventory and provide them with the solution.
So look at blogging as a viable tool for your offline business and write your first blog post today.