March 2, 2020

Online. Offline. Treat them as one.

I’ve been actively involved in digital media for many years and have battled what I refer to as “the myth factor”.   That is when people have asked, “How do you know your visitors are really people?”

Personal stories have been most revealing that these visitors are, in fact, real people. The teams of people who respond to the messages and communication have shared countless stories of lives that have been deeply impacted.   Relationships have been repaired and many suicides thwarted.  People have discovered hope and a personal relationship with God. Successful people have learned how to cope with their success, and many have learned to deal with endless other life issues.  However, when these stories are shared, people will ask if they took place online or in a “real-life” place.  My response has more often than not resulted in an “Oh, I see.”

It’s time to stop pretending that the online world is a universe entirely disconnected from our “real” world.  That day is over. The only difference between online and offline is that technology allows us to engage deeper, faster, and actually gives us permission to connect with someone in a more personal way in a shorter time period.

Your message is stronger when you understand that your audience is real, whether they are standing in front of you or not.

Four simple steps to get started:

- Stop inserting "online" in front of your marketing slogans.

- Capitalize on geo-targeting tools. Connect with the people in your region who are interested in what you have to offer.

- Don't ignore social media. You can't afford to. Make sure your message is available and easy to share.

- Be real. Be authentic. Be consistent. It's easier than ever for someone to go back and check what you said a week ago.

It doesn’t matter how someone contacts you – if they call, meet face-to-face, text, email, tweet, or comment on your post.  What matters is that your audience engages with you so you can begin a conversation.  Engage with them.  Quickly.  If you wait, they will be long gone!

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