So much is made of the whole online marketing thing these days that it’s hard for small business owners, like you, to find useful information that pertains to offline marketing, which is marketing performed strictly in the offline world.
The idea of offline marketing can definitely be a misnomer in this day and age, due to the fact that social media and other web-based marketing channels are always beneficial to offline business. But that doesn’t mean you have to go that route every time you’re developing a marketing plan for your latest customer-acquisition project.
You can, in fact, cross-promote your online and offline marketing.
The five following offline marketing channels can pertain to both new and established businesses. Granted, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking, but perhaps you’ll see something that has been long forgotten and consider adding it to your bag of tricks once again.
Offline Marketing Ideas
There is a whole world full of people out there who are either:
- Eager to buy your product or service, if you can only just find a way to get it right in front of them where they can see it.
- Willing to help get your product or service in front of the people who want to buy from you.
Focus your attention on the following groups that pertain to your business:
- TV and radio personalities (actors, musicians, reporters, etc.).
- Marketing experts that have a better reach/more knowledge than you do.
- Bloggers and social media celebrities (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.).
- Business owners who sell related products that would mesh well with yours.
Flyers have been around forever. Now that most marketers have taken their game online, you might find that there’s a significant opening in your area to hand out, post and downright shove your business’s name right in people’s faces.
While that might seem a bit dramatic, think about hiring some young, energetic marketing-minions to stick a flyer on every car windshield in a local mall parking lot. Oe on every telephone pole within a certain area or simply drop your flyer off at local businesses that could use your services.
Consider flyers in your local newspaper for an additional offline marketing option as well.
3. Business Cards
The real ones not the digital kind. This is particularly effective for your “old school” customer or business contact. There’s something that’s just so tangible about having a well made, snappy business card with your name on it.
It’s also one more avenue that could pay off indefinitely, with very little expense. You can print them off yourself quite cheaply these days (use good material) as opposed to going to a local business depot like you would have in the days of old, and paying out the nose for the service.
Newsletters can be just as effective as flyers to the right crowd of customers, or like-minded business contacts. Think outside the box here. When we choose to read something, we’re looking for something that pertains to our interests and that provides value of some sort.
Try to make the newsletter an “indirect” selling tool, where you give the reader some useful information that they don’t have to pay for.
For instance, say you’re in the pest control business. Your newsletter could be about how readers can “pest-proof” their home for the winter months, or how to keep their pets safe from diseases that are spread by vermin.
See where this is going?
If they respect you, they’ll likely buy from you. Especially when they don’t want to confront the ‘rabid’ raccoon in their attic, or the ‘scary’ snake under their daughters bed.
Who says chivalry is dead?
We live in an era of cost-cutting, particularly in public and private school systems. You can sponsor almost any person or cause that needs money and it will help expand your marketing reach.
Look at sports teams. Let’s say baseball, children or adults. Watching a little league game at your local baseball diamond, do you notice how the player’s uniforms have the names of their sponsoring companies on the back? How about your local hockey arena? There will be local and national sponsors advertised all over, in BIG BOLD letters.
Sponsorship gives your karma an instant boost, too.
Your Mission for Today
Give some of these offline marketing avenues a try once again. See if one of them doesn’t increase your business’s reach. Just like fashion, marketing trends fade in and out – and back in again.
Whether they work is all a matter of luck, timing and a little knowledge.
Marketing Concept Photo via Shutterstock
It seems to me that author Tim Ferriss on several occasions has referred to the importance of face to face networking with bloggers who represent the target market of his book as a key part of his strategy in spreading the word about 4-Hour Work Week. So this is a very simple example of cross-promoting both online and off that seems to have worked very effectively.
Shawn: You are right about this. It is a combo of online and offline networking. I look forward to meet you and Tim Ferriss one day! 🙂
Indeed; Tim – and many others – have proven that offline marketing still matters. Let’s take radio, for instance. It’s often deemed as obsolete by many, but having your marketing messages broadcasted from a local radio station is very effective.
I agree – cross-promoting both online and offline works effectively. Even I promote my site Noobpreneur.com on a U.S. local radio station 🙂
These ideas are not that new but it is surprising that most businesses don’t use them. Some of them complain that it takes some resources or some time. I’d say that anything that can bring in more sales is always a good thing.
Yes, depending on your target market, offline marketing actually performs better than the online counterparts 🙂
I think there’s such a deluge of information online anyway – and then on top of that, lots of people trying to get your attention about one service/product or the other. Offline marketing can be more effective in some ways. For example, with networking, it’s just you and the people in the room, no other distractions but that.
In online marketing, the “ad blindness” effect is quite severe. Unless it’s targeted right, it’s like sending direct mails to the wrong neighbourhood: They will only litter the trash bin.
Even hiring a boy from your neighbourhood delivering offer postcards around is far more effective that local online marketing, IMO.
Be careful with item #2. Most localities in the U.S.A. have laws prohibiting leaving flyers, etc. on windshields. This is because most of this stuff winds up being thrown on the ground and becomes litter for the locality to waste funds on cleaning it up.
Check with your local government before implementing item #2. Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean it’s legal.
– Donna Caissie, the ExtraOrdinary Assistant
Good point – I agree; it’s always important to check with the local laws and regulations 🙂
Thank you Ivan!
Finally, my belief that when it comes to social media marketing, it’s not how many people you know but rather WHO you know that matters. Targeting influential people (i.e. journalists, bloggers, celebrities, etc.) for networking purposes with is infinitely better than 500 “Likes” or 50 “re-tweets”.
I fully agree that with the recent digital craze we often forget the basics. Also small business owners or start ups consider social media and digital marketing activities as cheap to start with. Which is not necessarily the case if you want to do them right. So to add to your points above, depending on the business of course, even the “traditional” sampling could be an effective way to reach more people and actually put your product in consumers hands. I know a lady that has her own business with cupcakes. In the beginning she started offering her products at her son’s school in several occassions (eg her son’s birthday, school fests). Gradually she started getting orders for parties, birthdays etc. and then the word of mouth did the job. She is know earning a good income by doing what she really likes.
Indeed! Sampling is a classic but effective way to get customers. Also thanks for sharing your story – yes, especially for edibles, WOM and other traditional marketing works better than the online counterparts, IMO 🙂
I still send business cards out in the mail to my clients. One guy has been without internet and his PC is in for repair, so I printed and sent his invoice in an envelope. I included two business cards in case he wants to refer me.
It’s nice to oocasionally remember not everyone is online 24/7 and that we shouldn’t be ignoring some of the more obvious ways to do business.
Nice article. Agree with points already made – offline is often usurped by online. Online tactics generate a lot more buzz, it’s new and unchartered, so makes for a better story perhaps. The perception is it’s cheaper too. Which may be the case for a lot of methods, but what’s the *value*. The ROI. Certain online methods may well be cheap-to-free, but is it generating profit? In the UK at least, offline marketing still dominates the direct marketing market by a wide margin because of this reason.
To add one more to your list (and shamelessly promote my own company) I would include tissue marketing. We give away sustainably sourced pocket tissue packs as an offline ad platform. On average we get twice the response rate compared to direct mail, for at least half the cost, so it’s worth including I think!
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Yes Agree with that but with the offline marketing, the online tactics are effective too. So I am following you to focus on the offline marketing practices. Its also depend on the industry that what industry you are trying to catch sales or attract customers.
Trade shows and displays can also be used for offline marketing and to increase branding. Business cards are still playing a major role in marketing.
Thanks for the information!!
very nice… i really like your blog…