The best marketing campaigns require creativity and flexibility. Doing what you’ve always done will result in the same outcome you’ve always gotten. And there is no better place to hone in on new tactics and marketing techniques than the internet.
With free thought and countless ideas flowing at an ever increasing pace you can find out what works and what doesn’t faster than ever before.
But are brick and mortar businesses taking notice of the internet marketing techniques that spread like wildfire? They should. Because they work.
Take affiliate marketing for instance. It is so prevalent online that just mentioning it leaves a bad taste in some people’s mouths. This happens because it is so engrained in business on the internet that it is EVERYWHERE. And of course there are people who take advantage of the system and go overboard, SPAM and rip people off. These are the exception to the rule, but people take notice of the negative outliers.
But I digress.
Affiliate Marketing Offline?!
Affiliate marketing is so prevalent because, clearly, it works! So can we take this method offline and apply it to brick and mortar businesses?
“NO!” you may say, “how could you succeed if you send customers to your competitors in the real world?!”
Two responses to that…
First, the internet is the real world. Sure you are in front of the computer and not physically surrounded by people that you can look eye-to-eye, but the internet is nothing without people. And if a marketing technique works online, it is effective because real people respond to it. Why not try it offline?!
And second, get creative!
In some of my recent posts I have mentioned that competition doesn’t have to be competition if you make them your friends. Making friends with the store next door that sells exactly the same shirts as you probably wouldn’t get you very far. But this is where you get creative. Apparently making friends in unrelated niches can work too.
In a recent visit to Columbus, OH where I went to school (go Buckeyes!) I witnessed just that.
My friends and I went to a Thai restaurant in an area called “Short North.” So called because it is just short of downtown Columbus…to the north. Creative, right?
This Thai restaurant serves free dessert with every meal. This dessert comes in the form of a cupcake. I’m not big on cupcakes, but hey, it’s free! So I was going to take my free cupcake and be happy with it.
Only when we finished our meal we didn’t get any cupcakes. We each received a small slip of paper with our bill which we could take next door where our free cupcake would be given to us.
So, given our curious nature, we went next door. What we found next door was a store that sold clothes, jewelry, gadgets, widgets, everything under the moon, and…cupcakes? Except they didn’t sell cupcakes. They gave them away. In three different flavors nonetheless.
And when people stopped in to get their cupcakes, they stuck around to check out all the interesting things being sold in the store as well.
The Thai restaurant and the store next door were partaking in affiliate marketing! The store was offering a freebie that the restaurant could give away in exchange for traffic. Whoa!
I am not sure what the agreement was exactly. Maybe it ended at that: free cupcakes for traffic. But I do know one thing…the cupcakes were damn good.
Traffic is Traffic. Business is Business.
We all know that traffic is the lifeblood of websites and internet businesses. But I heard this rumor that traffic is just as important for brick and mortar establishments too! Can you believe that??? Go figure :).
I’ll up the ante here. Traffic is more important to brick and mortar businesses.
Not traffic, no clients. No clients, no sales. No sales…
But no sales in an online business means you’re losing the $10 you paid for a domain. Maybe a few hundred you paid for hosting. No sales with a physical location means you are losing hundreds per month (more likely thousands) on rent and utilities.
It’s easier to throw in the towel on the internet. Let your site sit there until the domain expires.
If you’re running a store you’re in it for the long haul, there’s no throwing in any towels. You have to hope you’re making enough sales for there to be a towel in the first place.
Do you run a brick and mortar business? Could you use affiliates to increase your traffic? Are there any other internet marketing techniques that could be applied to the “real” world?