Why Offline Relationships Drive Digital Marketing & How to Embrace Them

Nomads, lone wolves, trailblazers, self-made… why is the world of digital marketing filled with images of lonely individuals slogging away at their jobs without any help?

Nothing could be farther from the truth: the digital community frequently rallies together, both online and offline.

Whether it’s vetting clients, choosing writers, or batting back and forth with designers, what happens when the computers are turned off really matters. Making successful connections will boost your digital know-how, so embrace the power of offline relationships today.

While you’re here, check out our previous article on why you should invest more time in your offline relationships.

Talk to people

Number one rule — be open to people and collaborations.

Digital marketing can be a funny business: one minute you’re flying high; the next minute an unexpected update means you are back to square one.

That’s why it’s so important to build solid relationships with colleagues and associates, so that you can discuss things openly.

Knowing you have someone to call to discuss your latest success (or failure) is invaluable. It also means you are likely to be more successful and bounce back from setbacks sooner.

Outsource smarter

Outsourcing is a fantastic strength of digital industries because it allows you to meet deadlines that would otherwise be unachievable in-house.

For example, you can outsource your copywriting to a number of services, such as Sumer, LLC, to meet your copywriting and content marketing deadlines in a timely manner!

Outsourcing also works for virtual assistants, customer services, and even admin work. In digital marketing, you can outsource strategy to consultants and advisors to help you make the right business decisions.

Virtual outsourcing is best complemented with real world associates and colleagues.

This is a powerful combination that will give you the best of both worlds — because at the end of the day, people need ‘real’ interactions as well.

And just because your staff is online, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get the same ‘offline’ treatment. Remember to get involved with people’s personal milestones like birthdays.

Check out this guide for more information on outsourcing etiquette.

So much happens online these days, but it’s important to strike the balance between online and offline relationships when it comes to team culture.

Communication = creative community

Successful digital marketing is a bunch of skilled people constantly communicating with each other.

Words fly back and forth across computers at a dizzying rate, with messages and briefs being adapted and exchanged. The creativity and energy of digital communication is pretty awe-inspiring.

So it’s not surprising that this noisy digital community also wants to assert itself offline.

When a digital marketing team comes together in real life, results are almost instantly created. Face-to-face meetings in hired group spaces or at agencies are becoming the secret weapon of many successful teams.

There’s nothing quite like the heady, acronym-filled language of digital marketers.

It’s like a code, designed to confuse the uninitiated. When you meet someone and discover they literally speak your language, it can be easy to launch headlong into a long exchange.

And often these initial exchanges become partnerships, and even businesses later on. Finally – a fellow digital nomad to link arms with.

Tried & tested

Digital marketers are savvy people who know how to manipulate language and reputation, so a personal recommendation is highly valued.

There are a lot of people out there who will try to cut corners, so a successful partnership is worth holding on to. Recommendations can be a lifeline in an otherwise erratic market.

There are a few different ways that referrals can work in digital marketing:

  • Referring a known supplier to a client (e.g. a designer recommends a social media manager to their client)
  • Referring an associate to another associate (e.g. recommending a good writer to an account exec)
  • Seeking out referrals for our own projects – asking people you’ve worked with to give feedback

Be open to referrals and projects and always be fair — you can offer a referral fee, or work on joint ventures and split profits.

We need each other

In the digital pyramid, every interaction builds on the previous one.

No-one can work in an empty virtual vacuum. Whether it’s rivals or complementary services – we all feed and bounce off each other.

Meeting other digital marketers at networking events or building up marketing synergy with other complementary agencies is a great way to learn how to use offline relationships to build your online capital.

Don’t dismiss colleagues; make space for cooperation and synergy.

Supportive social media

The online world can be a cruel place, so social media support is absolutely vital. Whether it’s private or public, reaching out on social media can make all the difference during a tricky campaign or exchange.

Social media is a great way for marketing professionals to connect and share thoughts; the supportive networks also transcend into personal life, building lasting friendships.

If you meet someone inspirational at a digital marketing conference, connecting with them on social media can be a fantastic way to remain in contact with them. These relationships can give you a real professional edge.

Here’s how you can use social media for your own professional development.

Bridge the gap between offline & online with ecommerce

Ecommerce sales are set to surpass 10% of total retail sales this year. It is clear that now, more than ever before, it’s important that retail brands and entrepreneurs partake in the online world.

Offline and online synergy is central to ecommerce brands that have to bridge the two worlds.

  1. It’s easier than ever to take offline operations online. Offline retailing can be taken to dizzying new heights by the use of a customizable store creator like Shopify, or powered by an open source platform like WordPress. Brands can even go to marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy to find new customers. Modern ecommerce solutions can save you a lot of time – there are lots of pre-made, professional themes that only require a little tweaking. You can be up and running in a few hours and limited technical knowledge is required.
  2. Offline marketing like flyering and retail pop ups can provide an important boost to online-only brands, bringing them face to face with new communities.
  3. In ecommerce, there is a real community spirit both online and offline. Seller communities can give you a real leg-up as industry leaders frequently share their insights and top tips on a range of topics, including digital marketing.

By establishing yourself online as an ecommerce merchant, you can become part of a community that can inspire and educate you.

For more guidance on establishing an omni-channel selling strategy, check out this post.

Are you lonesome?

Let’s face it: you get lonely plugging away all day on your PC, especially if you are freelancing.

There’s nothing better than logging off and heading to the local watering hole for a sympathetic ear. Or even better, pooling your digital resources together and working in a group. Why not all meet up in a local coffeehouse with your laptops for some work and brainstorming?

Humans are essentially social animals and we all appreciate company.

Do you think digital marketing needs offline relationships? How will you develop yours? Tell us your thoughts below.

Patrick Foster, Ecommerce Enthusiast & Entrepreneur

I am a lover of all things digital, with a real penchant for ecommerce. I write content for a myriad of digital publications and I just love sharing my knowledge with the online community.

Patrick Foster

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