4 Things You Can Do Offline To Boost Your Business Online

There’s a symbiotic relationship between your online and offline marketing efforts. Here’s a look at how to maximize the benefits of that relationship.

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Online marketing and offline marketing — two separate things, right? Well, yes and no. While the strategies, avenues, and techniques themselves are different, your online marketing and offline marketing efforts are connected.

Think about it, you ramp up your online marketing when you need more business offline — investing in Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and other online marketing strategies to help make the phone ring. But it’s not a one-way street — what you do offline can also work to support and give a boost to your business online. Here are a few things you can be doing offline that will positively impact your business online.

1. Sponsor Local

Plumbers, like other service businesses, have a local component that other types of industries don’t. Your customer base is your community. Potential and existing customers live in the area you serve. So leverage local opportunities to increase awareness of your company, as a brand, and to get your name out there as the go-to expert plumber.

Some of the best ways to do this are to:

  • Sponsor local events and activities, like charities, fundraisers, 5Ks, parades, festivals, etc.
  • Sponsor local sports teams, like a Little League team or a high school football team.

How does local sponsorship translate to a boost in business?

For one, sponsorship gets your business name in front of your community (your potential customers), building brand awareness and showing them that you’re invested in your community. People want to do business with people they like and people they can trust. Sponsoring local events, activities, and sports teams helps to build that relationship, which means those potential customers are more likely to call you when they have a plumbing problem or project.

Secondly, the more you get your name out there in front of your community, the more people will search for your business directly online, which can give you a rankings boost. Not only that, but when the websites of local magazines, newspapers, and schools link to or mention your business, Google sees that as proof you’re local and relevant to the communities you serve. Since Google is all about providing searchers with the most relevant search results, your website and your business name is more likely to surface in organic search results. That means you’ll have more eyes on your business without spending a dime on ads.

2. Build B2B Relationships

What’s one of the first things you do when you need to find a professional to do a job in your home? You ask someone you know and trust. Your potential customers are no different. You may not have established a relationship with everyone in your service area, but there are professionals in other verticals (HVACR professionals, painters, flooring professionals, etc.) who have already established those relationships.

By building trust, authority, and good relationships with the other professionals who are going into the homes of your potential customers, you’re putting others to work for you as your own personal advertisers. When your potential customers have a plumbing-related need, they’ll ask the HVACR, painter, flooring guy, or other contractor they already know and trust for a referral. Wouldn’t you like to be the one getting those referrals?

Let’s take it even further. Competition can be scary, but building relationships with your competition can be helpful as well. Not every plumber in your area prefers to do or is even capable of doing every type of job out there. But potential customers may not know that. If the first call a residential customer in need makes is to a plumber who prefers commercial work, their problem will still need a solution when they hang up the phone. But if you’ve built referral relationships with the other plumbing companies in your area, you can help every customer who calls. You and your referral partner can pass customers on to each other when the job is out of your scope or specialty or when the schedule doesn’t allow for it. That means your customers always win, and you get business that you may have otherwise missed out on. 

How does that translate to a boost in business online? Building and maintaining business to business relationships with those in your local community typically leads to more searches for your business online and more business overall, but it can also build authority and relevancy with Google, especially if your referral partners are willing to link to your business on their websites. So find those businesses you align with in terms of company culture, values, and customer service, and start working on building those referral relationships.

3. Get Involved In Local Professional Groups

You may think networking is a waste of time or maybe it just doesn’t come naturally to you, but getting involved in local professional groups can generate a lot of business and build offline and online authority.

In these types of groups, you’ll meet other professionals (which can lead to more B2B referral relationships), mix and mingle with people in your community you might not otherwise come into contact with, and learn from other business owners.

Every opportunity you have to pass out your business card, talk about your business, or introduce yourself to other professionals in your community is an opportunity to increase your reach and boost business — so take advantage of it.

Some of the top groups include your local:

  • BNI (Business Networking International) groups
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Trade groups
  • Gold Star Referral Clubs

An added bonus is that many of these local groups will mention the businesses associated with them on their websites, providing links back to your website and mentions of your business. Remember, that leads to greater local authority with Google, greater relevancy with Google, a possible rankings boost, and more eyes on your business.

4. Ask For Reviews

Lastly, one of the best things you can do offline to put your business in the spotlight online is to ask for reviews at the end of a service call. Look at these stats:

  • 97 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2017
  • 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • Positive reviews make 73 percent of consumers trust a local business more
  • Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business

Seems like reviews are pretty important for local service businesses. The reality is, your customers are looking for the best plumber for the job, and they’re looking for reviews to find out who that is. That’s why, the more reviews you get, and the more consistently you get them, the more clicks and calls you’re going to get — clicks and calls that may have otherwise gone to your competition.

If you’re not already asking your customers to leave you reviews online, start today. Make it a part of your process at the close of service, right after you’ve showed your customer how you’ve fixed their problem and made sure they’re happy with the work. Studies show 68 percent of consumers will leave a review for a local business when asked. So ask.

About the Authors
Taylor Hill and Carter Harkins are the co-hosts of the Blue Collar Proud (BCP) Show, a podcast that’s all about having and living the blue-collar dream, and co-authors of the book Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Hill and Harkins also co-founded Spark Marketer, a Nashville-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation, aiming to change the perception of blue collar work and serve those who serve the world. Visit bcpshow.com.


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