Digital vs Physical Tools
Welcome to the conclusive post in our three-part series about digital vs. physical tools. If you missed the first two parts and are interested in learning more about the respective benefits of these different mediums, click here for part one or here for part 2.
You know why both digital and physical tools are important for building your business. And you know they can work together to drive greater sales. But, how do you do it? It’s simple: by combining high-tech digital with high-touch physical components. Below, we’ve listed a few tips to get you started.
Take it Offline
When prospecting online, keep in mind that the device is just a bridge to get you to a place where you can have personal contact with a potential customer. If you’re a distributor and someone has liked your Instagram post about your company’s newest product, respond! Send them a personal message that will enable you to start creating an authentic relationship. If you’ve a business-to-business company and you’ve received some interest as the result of an email campaign, make a plan to set up a sales demo as soon as possible.
These in-person meetings are a great opportunity to utilize physical tools—especially those that have a high perceived value. Letting a contact borrow a book or giving them an eye-catching informational brochure are great ways to show that you’re willing to invest in them, both emotionally and financially.
Remember that your online prospecting efforts should always have one goal: to take the relationship offline. Social media is a great way to make connections, expand awareness and share educational materials, but you should always treat it as a jumping-off point.
On the flip side of that scenario, digital follow-up tools are a great way to keep in touch with a prospect without seeming overbearing. If you’ve successfully piqued your prospect’s interest with a card, book or brochure, don’t stop there. Sending a carefully crafted email, text or social post with supporting materials is a great way to keep your message in your contact’s mind. In fact, there are many services that allow you to set up automated follow-up content in a way that is fully customized for the recipient.
Employ Sampling for Greater Sales
Sampling is a sales strategy that is successfully utilized by many retailers and are a great example of the intersection of digital and physical tools! Once a sample has been sent or requested, recipients can receive a series of follow-up content in the form of emails, texts or social media. This content should feature information about product benefits, as well as calls to action to learn more and ultimately to order product. For best results, package your sample inside a professionally designed mailer brochure that provides additional information and/or directions for use and accompanied by a personalized letter from the distributor.
Other complementary tools include: post cards with new product info, catalogs, "we miss you" cards, postcards with promo codes, and more. This delivery system can be effectively adapted to meet your company’s ever-changing needs, whatever they may be.
So, does sampling work? Absolutely! According to an article by The Atlantic, some retailers have seen as much as a 2,000% increase in sales as a result of sampling, making it well worth the effort.
The most successful brands have developed a way to combine the increasing influence of technology with our inherent desire for substantial, in-person experiences. And current marketing analysts have coined an appropriate word to describe it—phigital, the merger between a physical and digital marketing experience.
If you’ve been to a Disney park recently, you probably witnessed this firsthand before you even got on a ride—not only have several queue lines been reimagined to hold the guest’s attention with the use of video and interactive touchscreens, but the company also has a mobile game that is designed to integrate with your in-park experience. Check out the video about Disney's Play app below
Some companies have been built entirely around the blurred phigital lines. Take, for (culturally relevant) example, Peleton. Their entire brand is based on an exercise bike that works in sync with live, online fitness courses.
If you aren’t in the theme park or fitness industries, don’t worry—there are a lot of ways you can take advantage of phigital momentum. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:
- Place QR codes on physical products that encourage customers to scan for more information. Where that code takes them is up to you! It can be a website, a giveaway, a video, a social media site or something else entirely.
- Optimize for mobile. If your online presence doesn’t work on a mobile screen, you’re shooting yourself in the metaphorical foot, as the majority of today’s consumers spends most of their online time on a handheld device (in fact, recent data shows that media users spend almost 70% of their time on smartphones). So, if you decide to incorporate your website URL on a billboard, poster, or other physical tool, make sure that site features responsive design.
- If you’re an in-person retailer, you can enhance your customer’s experience by implementing technology that allows for a customized shopping experience. A great example of this is the Coke Freestyle machine, which enables customers to use a touchscreen to create unique beverages. Other retailers have utilized in-store tablets that allow shoppers to browse online-only offerings.
Here at Verb, our clients have seen tremendous success with the sample packages our production and creative teams put together. Check out the video below where this sample kit with Upshoot gets phigital.
The phigital experience can vary widely based on your company’s position and goals, but anyone can take advantage of this strategy. Just be sure to keep in mind two things:
- Make sure your phigital efforts always enhance the customer or prospect experience. Even if it looks cool, if it’s not helping you it’s not worth your time.
- Embrace your creativity. Going phigital is the most helpful when your ideas are original!
If we want to express anything with this series, it’s this: If you’re not implementing a blend of both physical and digital marketing solutions and tools, you’re putting your company at a big disadvantage. From Tesla to McDonalds, the biggest names in business have figured out that the synergy that exists in the phigital world is the best way to remain relevant and engaging on today’s constantly evolving marketing stage—and now, it’s your turn to do the same!