Ever get sick of staring at a computer screen?
Ever look up from your phone and realize the sun has gone down and you barely even noticed the day going by? Wish you were out in the real world, walking around, talking in person for once to real human beings?
Well, your customers feel the same way. Though they are often online, they’re not ALWAYS online. Sometimes they are out and about.
And when they are, they’re often in a different frame of mind. Less guarded. More open to new ideas and new people…like you!
This, my friend, is the perfect time to do a little branding and offline advertising. A little business networking. Heck, possibly even do a little selling. Mixing in a bit of offline marketing and advertising will have a synergistic effect on your digital marketing efforts and amplify the results mightily.
If someone hears about your company for the first time in a PPC ad, they may or may not click on it. But if they have seen you or your business name around town, the chances of them patronizing you vs. your online-only competitor skyrockets.
And marketing and advertising in the ‘real world’ need not cost an arm and a leg. Sure, if you want to invest thousands of dollars on a full-page ad in a local glossy monthly magazine, you can. If you think it will reap great rewards, maybe you should!
But you can ‘get out there’ with out breaking your bank. Here are 17 ways to market your business offline.
Gotta have them. Keep stacks of them in your trunk. Dozens of reputable online sources exist that will print and deliver full color, glossy brochures to your doorstep for almost pennies apiece.
Keep them on hand and ready to go for trend shows, live events, anywhere you think some of your customers might gather.
Tip: Make sure whatever you print in there is ‘evergreen’. One price change or business hour shift and you could end up having to toss the whole lot. Keep it vague and only include information you know is going to stay the same for weeks or months, ideally.
2. Bulletin boards
Your local gyms, libraries and coffee shops likely offer a table for local companies to leave their marketing material. Most places are free but some might charge a nominal fee. It’s worth asking and worth testing!
Tip: Add a special discount for “Joe’s Gym Customers”. People will be more likely to pick up your collateral and the business owner will more likely let you leave it there in the first place.
3. Card & Coupon
Get in the habit of clipping a business card to a small coupon. Leave them everywhere. Tuck them in your check when you pay at your favorite local restaurants. Give them to your mailman.
Tip: Make the coupon nice and small. The easier it is to pocket, the less likely it will get tossed out.
Local events and school assemblies are looking for speakers all the time.
Offer your services! Pick a topic that is of great interest to the potential audience and pitch it. Ideally it’s tangentially related to your company and you can have the host of the event talk about your company when they introduce you. It’s a great way to get your face – and your expertise – out there!
Can’t find an event to speak at? The heck with it, create your own! If you have a nice office space, invite customers and fellow business owners alike to come by for wine and cheese and discussions about topics that interest them. (Topics, which, again, should be somehow related to your product or service.)
Tip: DO NOT go heavy on the sales pitch. You want to create goodwill and a regular schedule of fun events. Luring someone in with wine and cheese and subjecting them to a heavy-handed sales pitch will turn them off and do more harm than good.
6. Barter services for exposure
Are you a car-detailing expert? Or a landscape architect? Approach local businesses or even media outlets and offer your services for free if they will let you advertise or market to their customers for free. You’d be surprised how many take you up on this!
7. Car billboard
Don’t feel silly, feel proud! There’s nothing wrong or tacky with branding your car. It’s a great way to get your brand out there. Might as well be doing something useful when sitting in traffic.
Tip: You don’t have to go whole hog and wrap your car with a neon car cling. Invest in a customized car door magnet. They’re removable and more affordable than you think!
8. Sponsor teams
The cutest offline technique yet. You will never feel more like a part of the community than when you see your company name emblazoned on the back of a little league jersey. And moms and dads are some of the most fiercely loyal customers. Let them know you literally have their family’s back!
9. Donate prizes
Church raffles, non-profit events, schools…they’re all always looking for things to raffle off to raise money. Reach out and offer a product or valuable service package. You’ll also benefit from that invaluable ‘brand glow’ to be associated with a charitable event!
10. Choose group to discount
Pick a segment of your community: seniors, veterans, single moms, etc. and then loudly market that discount to local businesses, churches and organizations. They will embrace someone who’s helping their community!
11. Church bulletins
Speaking of church, your local church bulletins are a great place to advertise! Think about that captive audience who has nothing else to read during services! Not to mention that folks are always looking to patronize and help out businesses who attend the same church.
12. Small town newspapers
Along the same lines is the small town publication. People love to help out their neighbor and buying local has become a real priority for a lot of folks. Let them know you’d appreciate their business!
13. Welcome wagon
Find out if your neighborhood, or nearby ones, offer welcome wagon packages for new residents. Find out if you can tuck a brochure, coupon or free sample into those packages.
14. Chamber of Commerce
This is so obvious, yet so often overlooked in the digital age. Your Chamber of Commerce is still a vital, important way for you to be part of your local business community. Find out how much it costs to join. The networking alone might be worth it.
15. Bar/restaurant coasters
Your local bar or restaurant may be open to using coasters printed with your logo or business info. Find out how much they would charge for this unique and fun exposure.
Tip: Design coasters that are interactive. Use trivia or word games or jokes to get the table talking about and reading your coasters.
16. Mailer coupons
Every week you probably get at least one packet of mailed coupons in your inbox. Don’t toss them! They could be an invaluable way to make your neighbors aware of your business. The next time you get one, find the contact information and reach out for prices. Definitely worth a test!
And finally, we’ll go full circle. Find great offline opportunities online! Check out listings like Meetup.com to see if there are any great meet ups in your area.
Tip: Don’t just limit yourself to business networking events, although you should start there. If you sell running shoes and activewear, find out if there is a group of runners that regularly meet in your area. Again, don’t go in with the hard sell, but simply going for a regular run with a bunch of potential customers is a great way to get the word out about your business!
Okay, so what did I miss? What are some great offline marketing techniques that have worked for you? Any of them a complete waste of time? Tell me in the comments below!
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