There’s a Big World Out There: How to Promote Your Online Reviews Offline
In the not so distant past, advertising your business often meant picking up the phone and placing an ad in the paper or hiring a Don Draper type to come up with some killer copy and a great plan to take your business and brand to the next level. Offline advertising was a different world. There were no algorithms. There were no “keywords.” And the only things that would decide the worth of your company were the people reading your advertisements.
So what changed?
The internet – obviously.
At RepCheckup, we focus on the online side of marketing and, more specifically, how online reviews play into the perception of your business online and relative to your competitors.
Today, we’re going to bring the best of both worlds together and cover how you can promote your online reviews through traditional offline advertising methods.
Why Businesses Still Need Offline Advertising
Even though people nowadays are all about the fastest internet access, having the best new mobile phone, and using Wikipedia instead of the encyclopedias on their shelf, there are still key groups of consumers who benefit from offline advertising.
Many businesses need to utilize offline advertising to reach their target audiences, especially if they provide services for the elderly or other groups who use the internet less frequently.
A mix of both online and offline advertising is also useful for businesses who serve a diverse group of consumers, not only because it helps reach those who are offline, but also because it touches digitally-savvy consumers in two spheres of their lives.
So how do online reviews come into play?
Let’s think about the bigger picture.
Online Reviews in an Offline World
Reviews aren’t a new fangled invention that has just become popular thanks to us shouting from the top of our soapbox. Instead, businesses used to collect feedback and reviews about their services through hand-written cards, questionnaires sent out via snail mail, or handy “tip” boxes.
These reviews, often handwritten, would be filed away in folders after they were reviewed and never see the light of day. Managers, staff, and business owners would get some information about what customers like or dislike about their services, points of improvement, and problems customers faced, but this information would never be of use to potential customers.
Online reviews changed that system, taking the real customer feedback out of those forgotten folders and placing them somewhere where potential customers could see. In turn, those doing research online could see exactly what other people experienced with your business and make a well-educated choice.
Unfortunately, creating such an intuitive and easily accessed system offline is nearly impossible since instantaneous, in-home access to customer feedback basically requires internet access.
Unless you work your online reviews into your offline advertising, that is!
Working Your Online Reviews into Print Marketing
Over the years, print marketing has become less of a thriving market than it used to be. However, businesses should still be using it to their benefit whenever possible.
As we said before, incorporating your online reviews into your offline advertising is the perfect way to show potential customers what your real customers are saying all without requiring them to access the internet.
Here’s how you can work some magic using your online reviews in non-traditional settings:
Let’s go back to our roots and talk about where it all started: print advertisements.
And this type of advertisement exists all around us to this day, even with dwindling subscriptions to newspapers. Everything from the “More from the Author” inserts in books to the catchy saying printed on a t-shirt falls into the print advertisement category.
Your online reviews can very easily be transferred from their place as a piece of digital print to something physically represented in the world. And that’s exactly where you can reach more consumers.
Here are some ways you can bring your online reviews to life using print advertisements.
- Place an ad in the paper or in a magazine, specifically ones read by your target audience, such as real estate magazines if you work with realtors.
- Mail advertisements to people within your area that feature snippets of your business’s online reviews.
- Create company swag that features quotes from your online reviews that can be distributed amongst staff and as giveaway prizes to customers.
2. Use Your Online Reviews as Physical Advertisements
If you want to cover all of your bases, why not use your online reviews as a part of physical advertisements?
Before a potential customer even comes in through your doors, you could entice them by displaying snippets of your online reviews through an attractive sign on your window. Each piece of collateral that you create to display in your store, and online, helps build your brand story in the eyes of the customer.
Create signage that can be displayed in your store and on your windows. If a great review you’ve received is simply too long to place on a poster, pick select a quote instead.
To give your advertisement more authority and credibility, be sure to credit the reviewee and point readers to where they can find this review online.
And remember, this is the perfect time to get creative! The image below, courtesy of Small Thanks by Google, shows you how a brewery, restaurant, bakery, and hair or nail salons can employ their online reviews as part of their on-street signage.
3. Incorporate Your Online Reviews into Your Packaging
If you have a physical product that customers can pick up in your store or online, why not incorporate online reviews into its design?
Using real customer feedback to fill space on your packaging accomplishes two things: it reinforces an existing customer’s sense of loyalty and it also helps convince potential customers who may be browsing your products in store to move ahead with their purchase.
It’s something we see time and time again on those “As Seen on TV” products. Right there on the packaging is a quote from a happy customer emblazoned in attention-grabbing text.
And this concept is also familiar to authors, who often use online reviews (gathered from journalists and other writers who sent in their feedback online) as selling features on their front and back covers.
If you don’t want to use a direct quotation as a part of your packaging, you can always point to your star-rating to accomplish a similar goal.
4. Radio Ads: Broadcasting Your Customer Feedback
Even though music and podcast streaming services are on the rise, it’s important to investigate how radio ads can benefit your business. To this day, there are millions of commuters who tune into their favorite radio stations and, as a result, hear advertisements from their local businesses.
Regardless of whether or not your business serves one city or ten, targeted radio ads can get your message across to people who are listening to the radio in their cars or at home.
The process for this is quite simple: analyze your target audience and narrow down what radio stations they’re most likely to listen to. From there, reach out to these stations and inquire about the steps necessary to have an advertisement run on air. This is different for each station and the options available to you, such as a 15 or 30-second spot, may vary.
The good news is that, once again, online reviews can be valuable content for your radio ads. Whether you find a customer who left a review and get their consent to record them reading their review, use a voice actor, or simply quote their review in your radio ad, it all can help a radio-listener learn about your company.
5. Use TV Ads to Showcase an Online Review
Now, we’re not telling you to place a bid to play your TV ad during the Superbowl, but local companies should not overlook the wide world of tv advertisements when looking for ways to diversify their offline marketing strategy.
Personally, it’s one of my favorite things to turn on the TV in a new city and see what the local commercials have to offer. Sure, some of them are hilarious and cringey, but that’s besides the point. The best part about TV advertisements is that you can make them as attention-grabbing as you want, even if that means you’re dabbling in comedy.
- Record a real customer testimonial
- Have a quote from one of your online reviews read during your commercial
- Work a real online review quote into a scripted conversation during your commercial
If you want to make sure your marketing strategy is well-rounded both online and offline, make sure your incorporating online reviews when possible. Remember: the insights provided by your online reviewers are valuable, and customers without internet access should be able to benefit from them too.
For more information about your offline marketing strategy and how online reviews can fit into it, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone at 1 (800) 818-7199, or take matters into your own hands by starting your free trial with RepCheckup. As always, we’re happy to help you manage your reputation and grow the success of your business through real customer feedback.