While the internet and social media have transformed small business marketing, if you have local customers, offline promotions are still critical.
Successful businesses need both.
Marketing your business digitally through search engine optimisation and content marketing can be an efficient approach, that allows you to target the precise demographic that you would like to engage with. But as much as digital marketing should be an important focus of a business’s marketing campaign, it’s important to not ignore offline marketing completely; after all, we still live the bulk of our lives in the real, physical world.
Below we’ll look at some of the best offline marketing techniques for bolstering your overall marketing strategy.
1. Partner with other local businesses
Regardless of what kind of business you operate, there are probably other businesses in your area that are already catering to a large portion of your potential customer base. Talk to similar businesses to see if there is scope for collaboration. If you’re a consultant for example, having a team of associates with complementary skills could enable you to bid for larger commissions. Or if you’re a retail outlet, maybe you could get together with neighbouring stores to share costs for a joint promotion or festival to bring more people to your area. Working with other businesses can both reduce your marketing costs and exponentially expand your market.
2. Leaflets and flyers
As one of the oldest and most reliable forms of spreading awareness about a business or product, distributing flyers and leaflets is still one of the most effective methods of grassroots marketing. Unlike ephemeral digital media which is noted and disregarded almost instantly, a leaflet is a physical thing that your target audience can take with them. And if you’re holding an event or promotion you’ll want people to see the posters everywhere online and offline in their library or favourite coffee shop.
3. Direct mail
Direct mail includes postcards, catalogues, leaflets – anything which is posted through the letterbox. One of the top reasons why direct mail is better than email is because direct mail will always land in someone’s hand. They will always collect the mail, so your task, as the marketer, is to make it stand out as much as possible. It may be tangled in a web of insurance letters and pizza menus. You want to get your piece of mail to make a statement. Think about the size and the type of material it’s printed on – high-quality printed items will look less like ‘junk mail’, so it’s imperative you use quality paper and ink or toner. It’s not a straightforward marketing tool and does come with some challenges, but it can be rewarding.
4. Brand your vehicle
Having your company’s logo on the side of a vehicle can do a lot to help your brand gain exposure everywhere you go. It’s essentially a mobile advert, that spreads brand awareness and familiarity.
The vehicle you use needs to reflect your brand values. So if your brand is shabby chic it would be fine to brand say a vintage VW camper. But if your brand is professional or aspirational you’ll need something much smarter.
5. Give away merchandise
Everybody likes a freebie, and this makes it the perfect opportunity to offer useful, branded merchandise that your customers are likely to use on a day to day basis. These items shouldn’t just be random trinkets, but rather functional merchandise that can add value to a customer’s life. Pens, mugs and USB sticks are all great examples of utilitarian merchandise that people actively use and that can be produced and distributed cheaply and easily. Just make sure that your company’s name and details are printed clearly on the item in question, so that customers will see it every time they use it.
Be aggressive but appropriate
If you’re heeding all of the tips above, it might be easy to go a bit overboard, especially when handing out printed materials locally. You don’t want to be wasting time and materials while also making yourself look unprofessional or wasteful by extending your efforts to an audience who have almost no chance of converting into sales, so use your discretion to decide which prospective leads are worth your time and which aren’t.