Offline Support Can Improve Your Online Presence

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Do you remember a time before Twitter? How about wishing someone across the country a happy birthday somewhere other than a Facebook wall? How did we communicate before email and instant messages?

offline online

Telephones. Paper. Handshakes. Before you write them off as archaic or inefficient, think about the power of a piece of paper. When your email inbox is full of thousands of inane messages, a piece of paper can still be center stage on your desk. No matter how many computer widgets are invented, people still seem to need Post-it notes to stick to their monitor or phone.

So, as you develop your social media strategy, don’t let tunnel vision set in. You don’t have to start sending out direct mail campaigns, but you do need to remember the value of offline networking and impressions. For small businesses, cash flow management is imperative. From that perspective, social media is one of the great equalizers of the modern era. For a very low cost, a great marketing effort or public relations campaign can be executed. But what can you do offline to support your brand?

Write a Note

For something important — like celebrating a colleague’s big achievement or thanking a prospective business partner for a meeting — put pen to paper. A written note offers a more powerful message than an easy to send status update or quick email. Note cards aren’t expensive and you can likely find them at your local store for as little as one dollar for a pack of eight. For a bigger impact, you can certainly get into customized stationery and higher quality paper. The important thing, however, is the message on the paper. Don’t use a lack of embossed cardstock as an excuse.

Stop By and Say “Hi”

Social calls seem to be an archaic tradition, but there is still power in a personal hello and a handshake. Want to pick someone’s brain for ideas or expertise? Invite them to take a walk, go to lunch or meet up somewhere. (Disclaimer: don’t interrupt their day and demand attention if they don’t have the time to devote to you at the moment. Also, know when to leave.) People generally want to share what they know and — given the right circumstances — could probably do with a reason to get up from their desks and move a bit.

Don’t be afraid to go to networking events. Before there were LinkedIn groups, there were Chamber of Commerce luncheons and conventions. Go to those, and meet people in your industry and your neighborhood. You can create valuable new relationships and add more people to your online networks.

Pick Up the Phone

And don’t forget the telephone! As an introvert who prefers to communicate in writing, it’s very easy to avoid making phone calls, but sometimes it’s more efficient to cover something over the phone instead of email or social network messaging. It’s certainly more personal! If you can’t meet in person, and need to address things that will require a lengthy conversation or extensive explanations, wouldn’t you rather be on a phone call than email?

Which offline marketing strategy will you try this week?

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Avatar Margarita Ibbott on April 17, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I will try one on-line, thanks, and that is posting this to my LinkedIn profile for my contacts to read. Great post Janet. As always!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 17, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Thanks, Margarita! Do you still hold events in London to network with people you met on social media? That was a great example of taking online offline!

  2. Avatar Debbie on April 17, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I so appreciate that this article is promoting what I consider to be the basics of relationship building. No matter how technological we become, nothing will trump these personal elements. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 17, 2013 at 9:11 am

      So true, Debbie! These days it’s not uncommon to get hundreds of birthday wishes on Facebook, but how many actual cards do you send and receive?

  3. Avatar Cindy Kamm on April 23, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Great reminders Janet. How fun and refreshing would it be to receive a hand-written note in the good old snail mail?

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 24, 2013 at 6:24 am

      Exactly, Cindy! No matter how nicely worded an email might be, it doesn`t have the same impact as when someone takes the time to hand-write it!

  4. Ron Whitaker Ron Whitaker on May 15, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    With all the technology that’s been thrown at us over the past decade, it’s become so easy to forget the basics: good old fashioned face-to-face conversations and relationship building.

    I also submit that if you have a small business, get out there and join organizations and attend conferences and workshops and get to know others in your industry.

    It’s the best way to build actual relationships, both personal and business!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on May 16, 2013 at 6:20 am

      I agree, Ron! Even though running a virtual business means I can work with anyone, anywhere, many of my clients are people I’ve met face-to-face at a conference or other networking event.

  5. Avatar Ruse Ford on April 22, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Great Share!!

    Creating banners for promoting any business can be another brilliant idea. It increases the visibility of the brand to give a lift to a business revenue.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on April 22, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Are you referring to the type of banner you would use on trade show booth? Have you had good success with those?

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