Here’s an analogy I like to keep in mind as I structure a marketing campaign for a client — each facet of the strategy is its own stream. Alone, they might not be strong, but together, they are a force. As in nature, each stream has its own personality. But whether they are meandering or straight, lazy or fierce, they all have one thing in common — to reach the sea. Like those many little rivers, marketing streams also have multiple personalities but one goal — to reach the ideal client, and to do so using a series of offline marketing ideas.
Using my client XO Bloom — a floral designer and event professional based in Westlake Village, California — as a case study, I’ve outlines five offline marketing ideas I love. I’ve chosen XO Bloom as the case study because the business is multi-faceted. They offer wedding and event design, traditional floral delivery, a DIY flower bar and also have a large lifestyle retail element. Many of the marketing campaigns we’ve created for them can be adapted to fit almost any offline business. And, a little secret — in all of them, our favorite marketing stream, social media, closes the communication circle either before during or after the experience.
Find creative ways to partner with other businesses in your area, or in complementary markets.
In action: XO Bloom puts flowers in all the neighboring stores at the Westlake Plaza shopping center with its card strategically displayed. When Soul Cycle moved into the Plaza, the popular spin studio reached out to neighboring businesses to offer free classes to their clients. It was a smart way for Soul Cycle to build its location connection and also a great way for the businesses to give something back to their own clients. When XO Bloom did it, owners Sarah Zahran and Laila Elsherif provided flowers at the front desk, of course, but they also made flower jewelry – bracelets and rings — which everyone wore proudly as they journeyed through a good sweat!
Give back to the community by holding an event (and bonus points if there is an educational component such as a seminar).
In action: The store layout of XO Bloom lends itself easily to seminars and events. To attract the wedding market, we created a seminar series featuring successful and well-known names in the wedding industry such as Nikki Khan from Exquisite Events and Wanda Wen from Soolip. The synergy made sense with a floral design studio. Local wedding and event planners attended and got business tips and got to know more about XO Bloom’s services as well. The next project is a video Sarah is working on with a local realtor who likes to show off the amenities of living in the area through videos. This one is going to be a flower making and wine pairing class. It will be shown to the realtor’s clientele, further expanding XO Bloom’s reach.
Consider producing a “fam” trip to your area.
In action: As I’ve said, marketing is a series of small rivers moving toward a bigger goal. Not every river will have an easy path there but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying! For instance, this idea is not an easy one to make happen, but once it does, it can be easily repeated with different players and attendees. Here’s how it works. Fam Trips, short for familiarization, were created by travel agents as a way to get media or targeted customers to learn about, and spread the word about, a destination. The guest list is generally highly curated and intimate to foster communication and friendship, and create a more exclusive experience. A fam trip for Westlake Village might be based at the Westlake Four Seasons where wedding and corporate event planners could stay the night and fully experience the property and its services. But within the itinerary (and believe me, they pack it in) would be side trips to XO Bloom for perhaps a brunch and floral design class, to Malibu for a Wine Safari and to Soul Cycle for a spin class. Does something like this make sense for your area? Of course, you could go the traditional route and have an event at which all these entities would be features, but a fam trip is about going the extra mile. It’s about SHOWING, not just telling. And of course creating opportunity that comes with a shared experience.
Create pop-up, or pop-in opportunities.
In action: Diner En Blanc (shown) is one of the most famous pop up events … an event that literally …. well, pops up! But for brick-and-mortar entities such as XO Bloom, it’s easy to produce pop-up shops and one-day flash sales and promote them on social media. But this can extend to other event companies. A caterer can do a flash sale on a particular appetizer to booked clients as an upsell — a one-time-only dish they can have if ordered that day. A simple e-mail blast to those clients is all that is needed and its success can easily be tracked. Or, consider a true pop-up tasting for past and potential clients for your new spring menu. You can pre-market with a “save the date” for a mystery event. Like Diner en Blanc, they will get a notice of the venue that day. For others? A rental dealer could do an online flash sale for an upgrade on lounge furnishings. A linen company could partner with a rental company to offer specific linen upgrades as well. While not everyone will rush in, a pop-up event or sale is simply another river leading the ideal client; and other way to creatively reach out to them.
Take a page from another type of business and apply it to yours.
In action: It’s unexpected and fun — Happy Hour at the Flower Bar. Short, sweet and cute. And it reminds passers by that XO Bloom has a DIY flower bar. This very low-cost idea has been great for XO Bloom attracting walk-in clientele. Even wandering celebrities have come in to check out what’s happening. And when they do, Sarah snaps a picture and voila — an online connection has been made!
These are just a few of the ideas plucked from the river of damn good marketing ideas! There is no reason to pick one over another. All of them can happen simultaneously or consecutively because marketing never stops. It happens every day, month, year. Alone, the ideas might not make you rich, but collectively, they will add up. And trust me, each one leads to the open sea where your ideal client waits.