Best Practices For Increasing Website Traffic From Offline Sources

By Patrick Cole

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How would a 30% increase in sales in one year feel? You may be leaving money on the table by forgetting about some important marketing techniques. Here’s how offline marketing can impact your bottom line.

Online retailers hire website designers/developers, marketing strategists, content marketers, and CRM specialists. They establish a large social media presence and pump out content all over the web – establishing relationships, solving problems, providing value and benefit. These are all excellent marketing strategies, confirmed by research.

What these retailers fail to realize, however, is that there are offline sources for marketing that, if not being used, are leaving money on the table. Small, medium, and large companies can learn from retailers that have used offline marketing techniques. One such retailer is Toms Shoes.

History of Toms Shoes – a Cause

Toms Shoes was founded in 2006 in founder Blake Mycoskie’s apartment. From the very beginning, Mycoskie had a cause in mind. He had traveled to Argentina twice, once as a contestant in The Amazing Race and again as a tourist. Two experiences came together.

He noticed that polo players wore a shoe they called alpargatas – a canvas slip-on. He like them. He also noticed that many poor Argentine children ran the streets barefoot. He returned home determined to start an online shoe company selling alpargatas and donate one pair to an Argentine child for every pair sold. With $500,000 from the sale of his online driver education school, he launched his online startup.

Originally, he commissioned an Argentinian company to produce 650 pairs, but when a story about his business ran in the Los Angeles Times, orders poured in. This was his first experience with offline marketing. 10,000 pairs were sold between launch in May and October, 2006. The rest has been an amazing story, with additional products, additional causes (eye health and prenatal care) and a company that by 2010 was generating millions in sales every year.

The Slump

Despite a great deal of online publicity and its annual “One Day Without Shoes” event, with corporate sponsors such as Flickr, AOL and others, sales were down in 2010. Other than continuing its online social media presence, continued updating of its site with new products, and participating in charitable events all over the world, Toms marketing strategies had not changed much since 2006. It was then that the decision was made to pursue offline marketing and sales strategies to see if they could get a boost.

Offline Strategies

1. Print Advertising

There are a number of publications that are still hand-held. The marketing staff at Toms had already, of course, developed personas of their target audiences, so it was easy to find those magazines that served those targets. Full page ads were placed in magazines such as Seventeen and Rolling stone.

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2. Press Releases Related to Events/New Product Launches

Not only does Toms hold its own events, such as “One Day Without Shoes,” the owner and other staff are continually invited to participate in charitable events sponsored by non-profit organizations. The marketing staff realized that getting out more press releases about these events would spread the brand faster. They began to contact major newspapers that still had print publications every time they were participating in a major events, nationally or internationally.

And because each new product launch has been tied to a new cause, it was easy to get great press. It launched its line of eyewear with a goal of contributing to eye care for people in underdeveloped countries. Other product launches support clean water efforts and prenatal care. Here are just a few of the 5 Great Ways To Stand Out on Pinterest

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