We’re nearing the end of our series. You can read the overview of what it takes to be successful marketing your off-line business online here.
The first step to being successful with online marketing is being committed to make it happen. There will be trials—and some of the things you try aren’t going to work the first time. Without commitment, you’ll stop before you work through the challenges and get to the success.
The final step to success in using online marketing in your off-line business is to get your staff behind the efforts.
Physical businesses with a location and customers have an advantage over purely online businesses: their relationships with existing customers. The customers who come to you regularly are connected to you. You have more than a business relationship, especially when it’s developed over several years.
What you need to do is move that relationship online.
You’re looking to strengthen relationship so that these loyal customers think of you more often, stop in more often, and buy more when they do come in. You also want them to refer you to their friends as long as you’re delighting them—not just making them happy, delighting them.
So what do you have to do to get your staff behind the efforts? Can’t you just tell them what you’re doing and expect them to follow through?
If you’re lucky, a few may do what you want, but the rest won’t. You’re asking them to do things outside their comfort zones, and you know how hard that is. You want them to ask for their customers’ email addresses.
Who wants to give that out, and why should they? People might say no.
Facebook, another great way to connect with your customers: why should they connect with you?
You have a website, great, but why do I want to go there? I’ve got more to do than go to random websites.
You need to answer these questions for your staff before they can answer them for your customers.
You need to give your staff ideas about how to ask your customers for this information, and then you need to practice with your staff, teaching them how to ask customers for their contact information, or how to encourage customers to connect with you.
Training your staff might involve laying out all the details of why it’s great for the customer to sign up or connect with you, as well as role-playing an interaction with a customer.
After you’ve communicated what you want to happen and have educated your staff about why and how you want them to present this to your customers, you need to complete one more step.
You need to set up a system to make sure your staff is actually doing what you ask. You need a system to hold them accountable for their actions and their results.
The only thing that gets done is what gets measured. This system needs to measure their results and give them feedback on how well they’re doing. You need to follow up with them and make sure you tell them about positive results and encourage them through the challenges that are sure to come up.
You’ll find some reluctance at first to your new ideas and how you want to implement them.
How fast you get results depends on the relationship you have with your staff, and the quality of training you’ve given them. The more they trust you, are encouraged to try, and to try again if they don’t succeed at first, the faster they’ll buy into what you’re asking them to do.
Remember, they’re going through all the challenges you are. They need to be committed, learn new skills, do different things that move them outside their comfort zones, and implement and test new skills.
Your job is to provide the reason why.
When you successfully add the support of your staff to your online marketing, you’ll see positive results more quickly, and you’ll reach your goals faster.
Remember that this is all a process and you and your staff will get better as you practice.
Have a great week.