4 Old Fashioned Ways of Marketing that Aren’t Dead – Yet

ways of marketing

Internet marketing. When you hear this buzz phrase, chances are you inevitably think about social media, virility and PPC (pay per click) campaigns. While these are certainly some of the best avenues for marketing in today’s digital world, the market is so saturated that it can be difficult to gain a foothold.

YouTube, for instance, has an astonishing 72 hours of footage uploaded to the site every minute. And millions of users and pages update their Facebook so often that posts easily get lost on the news feed.

With so much competition in modern day advertising, why not consider old fashioned, yet highly effective, ways of marketing online and in the real world?

Alive and Kicking: Old Fashioned Ways of Marketing

Mailed Newsletters

Yes, I mean physically mailed, not emailed – like with an envelope, stamp and mailman. Direct mail is considered one of the cheapest yet most effective ways to create customers in today’s digital age. On average, the response rate of direct mail campaigns hovers around 4.4 percent. While the cost per lead is generally the same or comparable to the cost of email marketing, customers created through direct mail are more likely to perform repeat business.

One of the great aspects of direct mail is the ability to directly tie it into your current Web marketing efforts. For instance, encouraging direct mail recipients to enter a promo code as they purchase your product online is a proven technique to introduce the recipient to your website.

Promo Materials

Whether it’s key chains and water bottles for an upcoming convention or fancy products for major giveaways, promotional materials are an easy way to help your business gain attention. Because physical items such as pens, bags and bumper stickers will circulate throughout a wider audience than the person who receives the promotional product, you will experience a higher ROI (return on investment) for this type of marketing.

In fact, you can even directly tie promotional materials into your digital advertising by always printing your logo on each product. This ensures that if a potential customer has a need for your products or services, they’ll be able to easily recall your business or website and avail themselves of your offerings.

Earning Attention

Instead of paying the high price for short-lived marketing campaigns online, why not achieve attention the old fashioned way? By earning it.

In online marketing, we refer to this as SEO – search engine optimization. Through content marketing and website optimization, you can clearly define the purpose of your Web presence and business for the search engines. By regularly making your site a trusted resource in your industry, you will gain authority among consumers and major search engines such as Google.

Hosting a Contest

With all the focus on SEO and website design, it’s easy to forget the simpler tactics that drive traffic quickly and effectively to your site. One of these tactics is to host a contest for your consumers and fans. By determining the winner via vote count, entrants will share their submissions with their friends, thereby earning more exposure for your business.

Entrants will inadvertently become ambassadors for your brand.

Mailbox Photo via Shutterstock


Amie Marse Amie Marse is the founder of a small content generation firm based in Lexington, KY. She’s been a passionate freelance writer turned business owner for over 7 years. Her philosophy is that the essentials of content marketing do not change from the small business to the Fortune 500 level, and that creativity trumps budget every time.

22 Reactions
  1. I don’t really look at the few newsletters I receive in the post. They don’t work for me. However, I can appreciate that it may work for others.

    I’ve come across contests on blogs before. They really do work! In comparison with some of the posts where there’s next-to-no comments, on a contest post it’s usually quite busy, so they really can work in drawing attention and promoting a business online.

  2. For a lot of people that i know mailed newsletters have worked well , It is important to remember that what should be looked at here is the fact that these will all work on certain sectors of the population – as they say ” different strokes for different Folks”

  3. I definitely would say that mailed newsletters are a dying form of marketing.

  4. Great article and great reminders that in this “digital age” many of the old ways are still viable. Promotional products are very useful for branding. Everyone likes the trinkets.

  5. I love promotional items that have everyday value. Want to give out t-shirts? Get high quality ones with good fits, not cheap 100% cotton white shirts with your name on them. The extra money ensures people actually wear them later.

  6. I don’t know if mailed newsletters work as much as they used to. But I guess it depends on the brand and the content that it contains. But I do agree that earning attention is still the best way to not only get new customers but also retain the old ones. Social proof works and it will still work in the years to come.

  7. I love the idea of partnering traditional mail with web marketing as it proves that the old fashioned marketing ways is not really obsolete. We just need to reinvent how the process works and incorporate it with new technology available to us. There’s endless amount of strategies we still haven’t come up yet, so it never hurts to get back on the basics 🙂

  8. The important take-away from this is that even “old fashioned” marketing can be part of the mix in appropriate situations. For example, mailed newsletters may be more costly than some other “modern” alternatives like email but in some cases they may still provide the best approach.

    • Agreed. In some instances, mailed newsletters can be effective for some people. However, I’m also thinking about whether it’s an environmentally efficient way to go about it (printing, franking, posting, what paper is used?) and a business’s responsibility where that’s concerned.

  9. Hosting a contest still works good as it used to be. I personally practice this strategy and must say that this really drives in heavy traffic to my sites and blogs. Thanks to Amie for this nice article and reminding us of those marketing methods which once were the most practiced by businesses.

  10. Alamin, could I ask, please? Do you keep track of how many people you retain on your sites/blogs once the competition’s over? Competitions can be effective in getting traffic and encouraging participation, but I’m just wondering how many of them come back once the party’s over.

  11. When I was growing up, my parents had a friend who owned a “promo materials” company. Back in the day it was called ‘gift advertising.’ Because of all the keychains, pens and other items I got, I still use that technique and it works great for me.

  12. What are some suggestions for someone just starting out? I have a website but it it yet to bring clients. Running a 20% discount for 2 months Nov- Dec is yet to generate a call. The website is currently number 2 on yahoo and google doesn’t even show up in a search. Looking for answers. Open to suggestions.

  13. I live in a community that is very behind when it comes to technology. Many people still are not using text messaging and have the old flip phones. Most local businesses do not have websites. Information online is mostly through facebook. In addition, the community has a military base that has a influx of outside visitors who are used to online advertising. They are out of luck here. Being from a tech savy city, I am having to think outside the box and try to remember what businesses might have been doing 10 to 20 years ago. It is a challenge!