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Had an interesting bike ride this morning with my riding partner, who had just come back from surprising his fiance at her wedding shower. He flew up to surprise her, and as we were starting our 24 mile jaunt around Central Park this morning, he told me about the weekend.
“My fiance’s mom and her friends are the most influential people in their city,” he said. My brain immediately went to the cool-factor of his fiance’s mom having massive amounts of Twitter followers, or a verified Facebook account.
He continued… “The thing is, though, they don’t go online. This is entirely in the real world.” When they go to a restaurant and like it, they tell everyone. They know the best supermarkets, they know the best bakeries. They know which art galleries are worth visiting, and they tell EVERYONE.”
He got me thinking, and as we crested Cat Hill for our first of four loops, it became clear again – If we’re only focusing on our “online” customers, and we run a business that has offline customers as well, we’re only winning half the battle.
1) Find out if your customers are online or offline. This is a no-brainer. Ask them. Do they use Facebook? Do they tweet? If you get a “Deer-in-the-headlights” look, you know they don’t. And if they don’t, how DO thy like to get their information? Regular mail? In-store? Find out, and if the numbers work, service them that way.
2) They’re not “Checking in,” but that doesn’t mean they’re not checking out. Are your offline influencers buying items to show off? If so, where? Back in the day, customers used to tell salespeople how they found out about them, and the salespeople would reward the influencers. Just because we can do that online doesn’t mean we have to stop doing it offline. Ask each customer who recommended them to your business, and reward the recommenders! And remember – If they’re recommending one person, they’re recommending others.
3) Give them something they can show off. One of the greatest “gifts” I ever received from a company was completely offline – It was the card of a United Airlines 777 pilot, who thanked me for my loyalty on the back. I still carry that card in my wallet to this day.
4) Influencers are influencers at the end of the day, whether online or offline. Treat all your customers well, and the influencers will subtly present themselves. Once they do, it’s up to you to take it to the next level.
As my bike partner’s finance’s mom (whew!) proved to me, influencers come in all different shapes and sizes. Online or offline, your job is to make them loyalists. Get to work.