Published on July 5th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Four Great Offline Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
So, you’ve decided to move your marketing “beyond the screen” and target the offline demographic. This is a fantastic idea which can lead to drastically increased profits in only a short amount of time. But where to start? Just like its online counterpart, offline marketing can initially seem quite complex, with a number of key areas on which to focus.
The best way of approaching “real-world” marketing is to choose strategies which will support and benefit each other. For example, business cards which can be handed out at in-person meetups which can in turn be used to collect customer contact information. You’ll end up with a dynamic, ever-growing marketing plan which integrates a variety of mutually beneficial elements both digital and physical.
In this article, we present four effective offline marketing strategies which target distinct groups of potential customers while also working together and consistently providing you with new opportunities to expand your business’s reach. All four function as solid starting points for your brand-new “beyond the screen” marketing plan.
1. Be Active
One of the best ways to connect with your customer base is to put in personal appearances at relevant events. You can search online to find meetups, seminars or workshops happening in your area. Attend as a participant to hype up your business, or volunteer as a speaker or event leader to establish yourself as knowledgeable and helpful.
Trade shows and similar vendor-focused events are the best way to network with a large number of potential customers in a short amount of time. You can rent a booth and decorate it with banners and signage displaying your business’s branding. Entice attendees to stop by with free “swag” in the form of pens, water bottles, shirts and other items prominently featuring your logo. That way, everyone who stops by will become a walking advertisement for your product or service!
Once you have the available time and funds, try hosting events and workshops yourself. This will let you keep your brand front and center while getting to know your local customer base on a personal level. To really enhance your social marketing game, attend meetings for business-focused groups such as your local chamber of commerce. You’ll come across not only as a business and entrepreneurship authority, but also an approachable, community-focused individual.
2. Be Seen (and Heard)
Social media is not the only place to advertise. The never-ending flood of promoted content on Facebook or Instagram may seem like the only game in town, but it definitely isn’t. By neglecting television and print media such as newspapers and magazines, you’re ignoring key customer demographics.
First, research your options. Are there trade publications geared towards people interested in your niche? Is your business based in an area with several local TV channels, which often feature affordable commercial spots available for purchase? Does your town’s newspaper have a business section or “entrepreneurship spotlight” feature? Never limit yourself to one avenue. Reach out to your potential audience in every way that you can.
Don’t write off marketing avenues which may seem “unusual” or “old fashioned”. Posting flyers and distributing business cards have come back into style, as they allow advertisers to quickly target oft-crowded public spaces such as cafes. Many communities offer marketing opportunities in exchange for supporting the local economy. Make donations to place your ad in a community theater program or on the field at the local sports stadium.
Remember, come to your target audience – don’t make them come to you. Advertise in the places where they meet and congregate, and your customer base will grow exponentially.
3. Be Consistent
There are plenty of ways to get your brand noticed in the offline world. But how do you keep your customers interested if social media just “isn’t their thing”? How do you inform them when you’re releasing new products, or when there’s a sale going on? How do you, in the language of modern business, “convert” them?
You may be surprised to learn that the principles of online and offline “conversion” are extremely similar – in that they involve the creation and maintenance of a mailing list.
A physical mailing list is the number one recommended method of keeping your offline demographic up to date about your business. First, collect contact information at public appearances. Include sign up instructions in your ads and on your flyers. Once your mailing list has started to grow, keep them interested via consistent updates.
Send regular newsletters announcing upcoming events and sales. Offer exclusive discounts to encourage continued subscription. Most of all, use these mailings to foster a personal relationship with your customer base even from a distance. Send holiday greetings, New Year’s wishes, and special birthday coupons. These reminders that your business truly cares about people, and not just sales figures, will ensure that your updates never run the risk of being discarded as “junk mail”.
4. Be Generous
Never forget one simple truth: people like free things. One element, discussed in this guide’s first strategy, is handing out branded “swag” at trade shows. This both establishes you as generous and allows your brand to spread further as customers show off their new pens or T-shirts to their friends and family.
A “swag element” can easily be added to any of the strategies previously discussed. Attach coupons to flyers or print them on the back of business cards. Send your mailing list “member’s rewards” such as free samples. You can even give them an opportunity to test out a new product in advance and then provide feedback – this truly makes them feel a part of your business family!
Another great way to attract customers through generosity is to team up with other businesses in your area for cross-promotions. Offer product samples to a local store or restaurant, which they can give out if customers spend a certain amount. Find fellow businesses whose offerings “click” with yours and create unique deals or bundles at a discounted price. For example, if you sell sunglasses, why not partner with a seller of hats, or a travel agent advertising cruises?
Even in the “information age,” word of mouth remains a powerful tool. The business people will remember is not just the one with the colorful Facebook page, but the one who handed them a free sample while they were running their errands or mailed them a coupon book on their birthday.
Although each of these four strategies offers a different approach to offline marketing, they can all be summarized in much the same way. Be approachable, be available, get to know your customers, and you’ll be the one everyone is talking about for years to come!