5 Smart Offline Marketing Strategies
Internet marketing is a vital part of today's marketing strategies, but it's not the only part. Offline marketing tactics can be extremely effective in attracting new customers and raising awareness of your brand. The trick is employing several tried-and-true methods, while always staying open to creative new approaches to marketing your business.
Here are suggested tactics to incorporate in your offline marketing strategies:
1. Explore guerrilla marketing.
This approach requires a little out-of-the-box thinking and its emphasis on unconventional techniques may not appeal to every small-business owner. On the other hand, "unconventional" often translates into "unforgettable" — and in terms of making an impression on customers, it's sometimes the best approach.
If this appeals to you, marketing specialist Jaye Carden offers these ideas:
- Post sticky notes at popular locations like drive-thrus
- Call a radio talk show
- Leave your business cards in appropriate public places
Event sponsorship represents another opportunity-rich guerrilla marketing technique. Come up with a theme that's likely to appeal to prospective customers, rent a public space and then get creative in promoting the event and deciding what branded gifts you can hand out at the event itself.
"What better way to get people's attention than to throw a party in the name of your business?" asks designer and developer Andy Leverenz. "If people have fun and they relate it to your business, they will like your business."
2. Give stuff away.
One way to raise your brand's profile is by donating your products or services to a good cause. When you partner with a marketing-savvy nonprofit organization, they'll reward your generosity by publicly thanking you in front of their donors and promoting your business in their newsletter and on their social media platforms.
Another giveaway strategy: Include small branded items with each customer order. As Mark Krenn, founder of Coastal Creative Reprographics, notes, "Offering free shipping or a free product when customers place an order over a certain amount [gives] them an incentive to continue shopping with you."
A small, personalized touch like this is a unique differentiator and a great way to instill customer loyalty.
3. Design custom signs and banners.
If your business has a bricks-and-mortar location, it should certainly include bright, eye-catching signs and banners. Also think about other places where you can display customized banners — from local community events to flea markets, sponsored Little League games and other high-traffic areas. Be sure these signs and banners all have the same messaging and logo. Don't confuse would-be customers with an array of taglines and designs. The goal is to make a consistent, long-lasting impression.
4. Public speaking.
Not everyone is cut out to speak in public, but for a small-business owner trying to spread the word, it's often a very useful activity. You're undoubtedly an expert in your area of business, so why not seek opportunities to share your knowledge and experience with others? Remember, speaking before an audience is less about trying to make an individual sale and more about establishing your credibility, willingness to offer valuable information and boosting brand awareness.
"Find a local event related to your industry, come up with an educational topic you can speak on, and volunteer," advises Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a social media agency. "If you don't yet have the level of clout required to speak at an event, attending events can be just as helpful."
5. Get out and network.
Speaking of events, how often do you attend conferences and trade-shows related to your business? Simply attending as a participant is a great way to connect with people and spread the word about your business.
You might also consider setting up a booth at a well-attended trade-show, where you can hand out branded materials (brochures, flyers), along with a limited amount of free products or services. The more memorable your booth (and what you have to say to visitors), the greater impression you'll make on prospective customers.
When you think creatively about offline marketing opportunities, they start appearing all over the place. With so much emphasis placed on social media and Internet marketing, there are plenty of ways to reach your target audience that other businesses never even consider. That may be just the competitive advantage you're looking for.
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