iStock_000019825913XSmallAs an entrepreneur, I feel like I’m constantly learning new things—and in the case of my online steak brand, Fuego Diablo, I’ve especially learned a lot about how marketing works in the age of Facebook and Snapchat.

What I’ve learned, for starters, is that all online businesses require credibility. When you’re engaged in e-commerce, you don’t have the opportunity to look a sales representative in the eye, offer a handshake, or ask whatever questions are on your mind. Thus, it falls to the online seller to establish trust—to make the customer feel comfortable and confident in the purchase.

The question is, how do online businesses create that level of trust? How do they prove that they’re legitimate—not online swindlers or Internet frauds? How do they assure customers that they are in good hands?

I won’t claim that there is a single answer for all businesses across the board. For my online business, though—one in which most of my customers make a comfortable living, and are generally in their mid-30s or up—I’ve found that one of the best ways to build online credibility is to, well, take some of your marketing offline, not necessarily forsaking social media but not solely relying on it, either.

I think there’s a simple reason for this. These days, anyone can launch an online company; having a website and a Facebook presence doesn’t mean much. But when customers see your company offline—in the so-called “real world”—and then encounter it online, that immediately establishes authenticity. It proves that your business is Real.

Simply put: Many customers—especially those in the demographic I mentioned above—still feel a little more comfortable doing business with companies that have physical offices and an offline presence. And when you can show them that your business is present not just on Twitter, but also in the Yellow Pages, in print magazines, or on billboards… well, that creates a certain level of comfort and trust.

Again, my point is not that social media should be spurned—though I do think more and more business owners are finding it to have diminishing returns. I’ll speak to that in the follow-up to this post. For now, let me encourage my fellow entrepreneurs to try a blended approach to marketing. This may not work for everyone—I suspect it will work better for those with more traditional products—but offline, conventional marketing still offers a certain respectability that digital marketing hasn’t yet matched.