Mind The Gap
If you’ve ever been to London and caught a train on the London Underground you may have seen stencilled on the platform the sign reading “Mind the gap” or heard it echoing over the loud speaker. It was introduced in 1969 as a warning to train passengers to take care while crossing the gap between the train door and the station platform. Though the gap is narrow, passengers have fallen or injured themselves alighting or boarding a train.
I began this article speaking about this gap as a metaphor for the gap that exists between offline and online marketing and how we need to be mindful of creating ways to bridge this gap to increase profits.
Be Mindful of the Gap
The first step is to become aware of the gap that exists between offline or bricks and mortar store marketing and online marketing. The gap may not be as wide as one imagines but not acknowledging it and not bridging that gap may be perilous for your business in our changing world.
Bridging The Gap
Bridging the gap may be a lot simpler and easier than you may think. No longer can one rely on passing traffic to bring customers and sales to your door. No longer can we rely on traditional media marketing or blame the shopping centre for not promoting the centre and what it has to offer enough. In order for a business to prosper it must become proactive in driving traffic in new ways that speak directly to the consumer. Just as crossing the gap and boarding or alighting a train isn’t difficult so too bridging the gap between offline and online need not be as difficult as you think either.
Narrow The Gap And Increase Sales
Narrowing the gap requires that we narrow the gap we may have in our knowledge about our customers. Often we believe that we know and understand our customer base yet very few of us have taken any action to really get to know them and their needs, wants, likes and dislikes, what turns them on and what turns them away.
Get to know your customer
Your perception and the reality of who your customer base is and what their wants are may not be the same. One of the first simple and easy steps you can take is to simply speak to your customers and ask them questions. You may ask them to fill out a short survey in return for a small gift or being eligible for winning a prize in a competition or asking them the right questions while they are making their purchase.
Analyse your sales figures
This may sound crazy, but many retailers cannot tell you how many units of certain products are sold in a week. By understanding your best sellers and then paying particular notice on who these customers are and asking them simple questions you may begin to get a good idea of who your customer really is and what they buy. By narrowing the gap in your perception and actual reality you may then have the knowledge and be ready to drive your online traffic effectively to your store.
Bridging the digital divide
When you have a clear understanding of who your customer base is you may then decide to begin to bridge the gap between you and your customers online. What you may have found that by understanding your customer and analysing your sales figures that you may have found a ‘gap’ in the market or be able to cater for a niche market such as stay home mothers with a sizeable disposable income, or women who are single and independent, etc. Niche markets are said to be ” an inch wide and a mile deep”. If you are able to ‘fill’ or ‘bridge’ this gap in the needs of your customers both on and offline you may well have found a way to increase your bottom line.
In Mind The Gap Pt. 2 I will discuss simple and practical ways in which you can begin to bridge the divide between analogue and digital in order that you can increase your bottom line.
The image above is from kimaoscarjuliet’s flikr photostream and used under Creative Commons.
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