Everyone seems to be talking about online marketing these days and while it's true that online marketing is important for SME's, offline marketing definitely shouldn't be forgotten about. In fact, there are a lot of offline marketing techniques that can really jumpstart your business and the good news is that a lot of them are not only cheap, but will easily generate a huge ROI. With businesses investing in SEO, PPC, Social Media, Directory listings etc, I want to highlight some of the most effective offline marketing strategies that you should be using to generate a serious amount of buzz around your small business.
So without further adieu, here they are.
#1 - Advertise
When it comes to advertising these days, you're no doubt regularly bombarded with companies trying to sell you the latest advertising ideas. You'll probably get phone calls every day asking you to advertise with business directories with sales talk that guarantees 100's of leads a year. The truth is, a lot of these advertising ideas are just scams but when it comes to offline advertising, there are a range of things that have been working for companies for years. For example, banner advertising is a great way to raise your companies profile and generate a lot of interest. Whether you are aiming for a local market or a national market, banner advertising can be a great, cost effective way to market your business. It just depends where you place the banners.
Take the image above for example; it shows a local beauty salon advertising their opening date with a simple, yet effective banner ad. Other options for offline advertising include stickers, billboards, flyers, leaflets, direct mail shots and much more. It's best to experiment and see which is right for your particular business.
#2 - Sponsor Local Events
If you're the type of business that relies on trade from a local market, there really is no better way to market yourself than to sponsor a local event. This gives you a great opportunity to get your name and brand out there and without a doubt, it will generate some interest and leads for your business. The great thing about sponsoring an event is that usually, it doesn't cost too much and also, most of the money will go to a good cause, especially if the event is for charity.
Not only does sponsoring an event help to get your name out there, but it also shows that you care about the local community and gives you the chance to interact with those that could, potentially, become long-term customers/clients for your business. Business is all about networking, and this is a great way to start.
#3 - Get Interviewed
Although this one might sound a bit scary and also unlikely, it really isn't that farfetched. We're not talking about getting interviewed by a major television station (well, not unless you run a huge nationwide business) but getting interviewed on a local radio station or by a local magazine can work wonders for your business. A lot of the time, if you have something that is going to significantly benefit the readers of the magazine or the listeners of the radio station, this could happen for free. For example, if you are sponsoring a local event (as mentioned in point one), you might be able to get a free spot to chat about the event and also, your involvement, thus generating even more buzz around the event and your business.
Sometimes, you might have to pay for an editorial when it comes to interviews, but still, it isn't that much money and if featured in the right places, it can make you a significant amount of money.
#4 - Treat Your Customers Well
It's a well know fact that one of the best forms of offline marketing is word of mouth. In fact, there are a lot of businesses (such as restaurants, plumbers etc) that actually rely 100% on word of mouth for their business. However, these are usually businesses that have built up a great reputation over the years and are constantly being recommended by their customers. By treating your customers well and going the extra mile, you will actually be marketing your business offline. Although it might sound like a simple thing, a lot of businesses neglect this. If your clients aren't happy, it doesn't matter how much traditional marketing you do, you won't get the business you deserve as people will spread bad comments about your business.
So, always make sure to treat your customers in a friendly manner and if possible, go that extra mile. If you have regular customers/clients, give them discounts or send them a card in the mail for their birthday. It's these kind of little things that will really go a long way and see your business thrive in the long run.
As you can see, it really isn't that hard to market your business and although you might constantly be bombarded with online advertising proposals, it's important that you engage in offline marketing too. Yes, people are using the internet more and more these days and therefore, online marketing is hugely important, but so is offline marketing. Don't let you or your business forget this.