Building a business requires a strategic approach to marketing. Too many business owners become focused solely on using online marketing tactics, but there are a number of offline methods that are effective and provide additional channels for you to reach your prospects. Plus, they can give you a significant return on your investment.
(The lowly) Business Card
Would you believe that people still use business cards? It’s true. (You’ve probably got your own.) Keep cards handy in your pocket or wallet because you just never know when you’re going to meet someone. When you go to lunch, drop a card in the bowl. When you see a bulletin board, pin your card to it.
You may not think that business cards have much chance of building your business, but the return on investment for such an easy marketing tactic is quite high. Imagine if you dropped 200 business cards over the course of a month and got one new client or customer — that would likely be a profitable return on your investment considering you can order cards today by the thousands for dirt cheap.
A friend of mine has a waterproof business card holder with snappy lid glued to the back of her car. Supported by a couple of magnetic signs on her car that promote what her business is about, she fills it with her business cards and invites folks to help themselves. She says she is surprised by the number of clients she has picked up this way but it’s paying off for her.
Depending on the kind of business you’re in, your local paper and supplements could be an ideal way to reach out to your community. You’ll build awareness of who you are and what you do, and with a good promotional offer, you’ll be able to drive foot traffic to your storefront or visitors to your website.
A business that appeals to a large swath of people is ideal for newspaper advertising. When advertising in your paper, create a unique offer so that you can track the success of your print ad campaign.
If your budget allows to you to create a “supplement” or an insert, that stands a better chance of being seen than just an ad. But, just know that you’ll be competing with a lot of other inserts and offers at the same time.
How many coffee shops are there in a ten-mile radius of your business? How many recreation centers, community centers, or educational facilities? Many of these locations provide you with an opportunity to hang flyers. They have community bulletin boards that allow you to advertise and market your business.
Create an attention-grabbing flyer with a unique offer. Use it to drive traffic to your business or your website and, like newspaper advertising, make the offer available only via the flyer so you can better track the success and return on investment.
Just be warned: Putting flyers on car windshields in parking lots may get you in hot water. Some cities will give you a littering citation and make you clean up the mess that is inevitably made. Probably not a good idea.
Your community provides a wealth of networking opportunities. In fact, grass roots networking groups are popping up all over the place. People are realizing that the power of networking is stronger than ever before and relationships build careers and businesses. Look to your community and nearby communities for networking groups, organizations, and opportunities.
If there isn’t anything available, consider creating a small networking group yourself. Keep in mind that networking doesní’ have to mean formal. You don’t have to shake hands, hold meetings, and pass out business cards. Networking can be as simple, and effective, as a night at the local brew pub where you meet one another, talk about business and life, and build connections.
People are beginning to tire of internet-only resources, so begin integrating more offline marketing into your overall marketing strategy. Set goals and measure success just like you do with online techniques, so you know where to focus your attention in the future and build your business.
More offline ideas to come soon!
How about you? Got any great offline marketing ideas to share? Use the comment section below. I always love hearing from you.