In today’s world of all things digital, it is a common misconception that you need to rely solely on your online presence and social media platforms to market your business. There’s no doubt that it is natural for a company to invest in its online presence, but what a small business can learn from the big brands out there is that offline promotion continues to have the potential to effectively capture the attention of your customers and prospects.
What does promoting offline mean?
Promoting offline is all about marketing to customers using a range of options they can touch, feel and experience. This includes everything from your business card and letterhead through to brochures and flyers, posters and banners.
In fact, there are a number of offline marketing approaches that are ideal for promoting your business and inspiring trust in your brand. Having a presence in the real world can help build and strengthen relationships as well as get people talking about your products or services. So if you want to give your small business a big boost then it’s worth exploring the wide range of cost-effective offline marketing methods out there that can engage your target audience.
1. Have a great business card
Business cards are a MUST for any business owner but don’t limit yourself to just handing them out when you first meet someone new. To use your business card as an effective marketing tool, remember to leave them anywhere and everywhere you go. For example, if you go to a coffee shop or restaurant, leave your business card with your tip or drop them into the fishbowl asking for business cards and if you see a public noticeboard – pin your business card up there too!
2. Invest in print collateral
Well-designed business stationery helps promote a professional look and feel for your company. Brochures and flyers are the perfect option for businesses looking to attract a local market while branded postcards can also be effective for successful direct mail campaigns if you include a simple message and clear call to action and send them to a targeted mailing list. If you have specific keywords you’re using on your website try using the same keywords in your print promotional material to ensure consistent messaging across your business.
3. Posters, banners and stickers
Posters and banners offer the perfect tools for branding your business offline to your customers and prospects. Add a QR code to your poster or banner and all your target audience has to do is scan this to have immediate access to your business website too. Meanwhile, branded stickers are a fun and cost-effective way to promote your brand and can be used as giveaways, to highlight a sale or customise your packaging. Place a large branded sticker on the side of your car or bike and you instantly create a mobile advertisement for your business.
4. Branded merchandise
Branded merchandise that your customers and prospects will find useful are a great offline promotional tool, all the more effective when you include your logo and URL. Try choosing products that you would be happy to receive yourself and ones that will be seen or used often.
USB sticks, pens, coffee mugs, water bottles, magnets, key rings, stickers and lollies are all popular gifts as is branded promotional apparel such as hats.
5. Local sponsorship
Sponsoring a local community event that you feel is closely aligned with your own brand values helps raise the profile of your business as it not only creates recognition but helps develop trust in your brand. Also look for suitable opportunities that allow you to donate a gift certificate, products or services to a charity or community event being held in your area, as this helps gain familiarity as well as show your commitment to your local area. Your business will also benefit from any associated publicity such as the event’s website, media release or newsletter.
6. Networking events
Events with your local business community are a great way to network and meet new people. Once you become a regular attendee at the professional events in your area you can quickly build up a good reputation by sharing your ideas which in turn helps raise brand awareness. A networking event can be particularly effective for promoting your business offline if you put yourself forward as a presenter. So if there is a local event with a topic you feel confident to speak about then don’t hesitate to volunteer.
7. Create a local presence
As well as sponsorship and attending networking events at your local business community, there are a number of other ways to build up your local presence and create familiarity in your brand. Try partnering with other businesses in your area and make sure that your business is listed in local directories (particularly in those where listings are provided for free). Set aside time to issue a media release about your business on a regular basis to help drum up publicity in your local newspapers.
8. Host an open house
Hosting a business open house is another low cost approach for marketing your company and creating a strong local presence. A business open house is a great way to both strengthen relationships with your customers and introduce your products and services to new prospects. Once you have people through the door it is an opportunity for them to learn more about you and your company. You can keep the event low key or make your products available for viewing, add an element of fun or offer discounts and promotions on the day.
9. Word of mouth campaigns
Increase the conversation you have with family and friends about your business, products and services to help them become engaged with your brand and help promote it for you. Let your staff understand the importance of customers becoming fans and make sure that every member of your team understands the importance of customer service and the value a loyal customer has to your business. If you take time to make customer service a priority for your business you will reap the benefits of satisfied customers spreading the word far and wide.
10. Capture images of everything
Take photos and videos of your products and services as well as business activities and events to give your target market a closer insight into your business as well as showcase your brand personality. As well as using these images in print promotions, taking pictures and videos of everything is also a simple way to use an offline method to boost your online presence. These pictures can also be used on your website and across social media platforms to help integrate offline and online promotion of your business.
These days the offline and online worlds do go together hand in hand – so remember, to include your URLs on everything. Have the same look and feel so that your offline marketing complements your online efforts and keeps your brand consistent, making it easier for customers to recognise your business.