These days, it might seem like online promotion is the first, last and only word in promoting your business. As your customers are flooded with more online advertising, though, bringing your promotional efforts offline is a powerful way to cut through the clutter and get their attention.
There are plenty of great ways to market your business offline with a low investment:
1) Business Cards
If you’re planning to network with others in your industry or related fields, make sure you have a snappy, professional business card. Even in today’s increasingly paperless world, your business card is a sign of how seriously you take your business. With a low-key, prestigious approach, it can gently guide potential contacts to your website or social media presence. Plus, a creative business card is much more likely to be remembered than the average brochure.
2) Customized Promotional Goods
Promotional items like pens and refrigerator magnets tend to end up kicking around in your customers’ homes for months or years to come. The average giveaway item is inexpensive, yet it can be the perfect reminder when someone is facing a problem your company can solve. Invest a little more and you can give away the kind of good notepads, pens or other items that people really enjoy using. Doing so helps to build a positive association between your brand and great quality.
3) Vehicle Advertisements
Anywhere there’s traffic, a vehicle advertisement can be a valuable way to get attention. It takes up real estate on your doors or bumper that wouldn’t have been doing much anyway, so why not? If you go this route, make sure that both your telephone number and your email address are clearly visible from at least one angle. People will only have a limited time to either jot down your information or commit it to memory, so make it as easy as possible for them to do it.
4) Door Hangers
Door hangers are especially useful for two types of business: Restaurants and service professionals who visit the home. A well-designed door hanger can get attention in a number of other contexts, but be careful how and when you use them. Some communities and residential complexes might have specific rules against door hangers, so know what kind of prospects you’re dealing with before you start. Include a coupon or other special offer to sweeten the deal so the hangers get read before they’re thrown out.
It wasn’t that long ago when people assumed that direct mail was on its last legs. Now, as the volume of postal mail delivered decreases by millions of items each year, exactly the opposite is happening. Less mail means that each piece is more likely to get read! If you start with a colorful set of postcards, you can get a lot of mileage out of a small investment. Studies have shown that cards that look like they were written by hand are much more likely to be read in detail, so go the extra mile.
6) Quirky (but Helpful) Deliveries
If you are in the B2B space, you can break the ice by having something essential delivered to a business –- like donuts, for example. The ideal approach here would be to include a note with the confections, but don’t fret if this isn’t possible. People are much more likely to answer or return your call once they find out you’re the one who sent the fresh donuts! Again, though, doing your research is the key here: Some companies have strict policies that might cause this to backfire.
7) Table Tents
Does your town have a lot of family-owned restaurants? If it does, table tents might be perfect for you. Table tents give patrons something to read while they’re waiting for their food, which makes the wait seem shorter and improves their assessment of the service. If they do have a long wait, they are that much more likely to remember reading about your business. Of course, you can also team up with other local entrepreneurs to offer discounts and special offers.
8) Waiting Room Fliers
As doctors get busier, commercial fliers in the waiting room grow more and more common. These fliers usually have a wide variety of different advertisements from businesses in the community. Some of these even include special offers or contests. This might be the venue for you if your company’s offerings synergize well with those of a local dentist, eye doctor or physician. Get creative and you could really increase your foot traffic!
9) Sponsoring Events
Speaking of “foot traffic,” odds are good there are foot races or other charity events going on in your local area from time to time. Organizers are often happy to have local businesses involved. They might even allow you to fly a flag or raise a banner if you make a contribution to the cause. Whether you can donate or not, though, being present at community events (and getting your staff involved, too, if you can!) can generate positive press and good will.
10) Take on Mentees
Being an entrepreneur is a long road. It often helps to “pay it forward” by connecting with the younger generation. Consider volunteering to speak at high schools and colleges where business-minded youngsters might benefit from your wisdom. This rarely results in immediate sales, but it can help you connect with involved, active parents and with young professionals who might soon be a part of your industry. Relationships are crucial, so always invest in them.
Naturally, you can’t neglect online marketing and advertising these days –- and there are plenty of options, such as website promotion software, that are very inexpensive. That said, make sure a healthy dose of offline promotion is part of your strategy. Offline promotion is uniquely powerful in helping you market yourself and your expertise. That gives you the chance to make the kind of personal connections a faceless “brand” has trouble with.
Last, but not least, be creative! New opportunities in offline promotion are cropping up every day. Your potential customers are busy people, but everyone appreciates running into a little something that surprises and delights them. Be as creative and innovative in your promotions as you are in your other business tasks. Before you know it, your dedication and positive attitude will pay off.