O2O: Online to Office ‘“ A New Marketing Strategy

Wed, Feb 2, 2011

Online Marketing

Small business owners put a lot of effort into making their businesses succeed and turn a profit. They do this because their business is not just their livelihood, it is their passion. That’s why many small business owners may watch in awe as larger companies with seemingly limitless budgets attract customers in a way that seems effortless.

Yet, small businesses should not fear. There is a new strategy in the world of marketing and small business. It is called O2O, or online to office. The concept, written about by John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, is predicted to be one of the biggest small business trends of 2011. It works like this: companies connect with their customers online and in their offices. The Internet is unavoidable these days and every small business needs to have an internet presence; however, some small businesses are still struggling to make their business high tech. This should be the year they do it.

Think about it. A customer can see the small business from the comfort of their home and, yet, when they call with a question, the call is answered by a real person instead of a machine. When they go to the store, they are more likely to be greeted by someone more personally involved with the success of that small business.

Now, to many small business owners this may not seem like a very new or novel strategy, but to many in the business and marketing community it is. Marketers are learning that people like to communicate with other people. No one likes calling a customer service line only to have to press endless button options and argue with a machine before being passed on to a representative. The convenience and money saving techniques employed by larger companies is now considered a nuisance by many people.

So, how can your small business benefit from O2O?

  • First, if your business does not have a web presence, then now is the time to make one. You can usually find cheap web hosting through any number of websites. Also, sites like WordPress and Blogger will offer free blog style sites and you can even buy your own URLs.
  • Second, you must engage your customers. For some eMarketing–many times called online marketing–ideas click here and here for more marketing ideas for small businesses. The point is to draw the customer from the realms of cyberspace into your brick and mortar business. To do this the small business must create incentives that will entice the customer into the store.

O2O looks like a more traditional marketing strategy that tech savvy marketers may have thought was obsolete, but it isn’t. O2O simply incorporates the aspects of modern marketing with the personal touch and networking of traditional marketing.

By Sara Beck. Sara is an MBA student and loves to travel. She blogs at www.sarabeck.wordpress.com.

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