It’s easy to think that digital marketing is the only way to market and advertise your business in this age of the internet.
While it is important to have an online presence, offline marketing techniques also have a huge role to play when you’re trying to reach more customers.
This list offers a quick round-up of some great off-line ways to increase visibility of your business. Some of these you might be familiar with already but may not have used for a while. Others may be new ideas, but most importantly all of them have been proven to work.
These offline marketing techniques can be easily implemented and some can even be integrated with your digital marketing to make sure you cover as many touch-points as possible. Offline marketing is especially valuable if you want to target customers in your immediate vicinity. Using offline marketing to drive awareness of your business in your locality can help to give your business a real competitive edge.
1. Business Cards
Basic, I know but always make sure that you (and anyone who works for you) always have up to date, great quality business cards handy. Obviously they're great to use when you meet someone new but think bigger than that. Don’t just share them when you first meet someone new. Look out for opportunities to post or display your card when you are out and about. When you see a public notice board, pin up a business card. In your local library you can place business cards in books related to your business. You can also leave some in local community centres.
Make sure to go back and visit the places you left them, to replace them if they have been removed or to prevent them looking tatty. When you see a contest asking for business cards in shops and make sure to drop yours in. Encourage your staff to spot unusual (but appropriate) opportunities to display business cards (and/or posters). Run a competition and offer a prize to help get your team’s creative juices flowing. Not only will this help increase visibility for your business but it also helps your team to feel involved in marketing the business.
2. Flyers & Leaflets
Flyers and leaflets are really an extension of the suggestions above for using business cards. In addition to posting them on local notice boards, look at using promotional staff to get your flyers into the hands of potential customers. This approach can be useful to increase awareness and can really drive footfall when a discount or incentive to sample the product or service is included.
Door-to-door distribution is also another way to get your message into the hands of potential customers. To ensure that your flyer is not viewed as junk mail, think about tailoring your message to specific customer types and targeting geographically. Use reputable B2B delivery services that can help you with this. Again, try using discounts or competitions to encourage engagement. If you want to increase sales of a particular items or service, then remember to make the reader aware of what benefits they can expect to enjoy. Always double check for typos and then double check again! They are so easy to miss and can really ruin your efforts.
3. Branded Merchandise
Take a look at getting useful or novelty items branded to promote your business. Even if your budget only stretches as far as getting some pens branded for now, then do that. Everyone needs and uses pens and they are always well received.
There is a huge range of branded promotional items available. You can really let your imagination run riot with ideas for clever tools or goods that are linked with your business or sector. If the items are useful or funny, then people will use and remember them.
Don't be tempted to cut corners and save a few bob by going for the cheapest items. This really is false economy because if the product lets the user down then subconsciously (or not so subconsciously) your brand gets associated with shoddy quality. Instead try to invest in items of decent quality and reduce your order quantity if necessary. You can then use targeted lists to ensure that your branded products are going to the most valuable people or businesses.
4. Wear It
If potential customers are likely to come into contact with you or your team during the working day, then how about making sure that you are wearing your brand? If wearing a full uniform isn’t appropriate for your business then look at using printed t-shirts, jackets, hats or professional name badges with branded lanyards. T-shirts especially are really effective ways to promote limited time special offers or new product launches.
5. Use Your Assets
How is your signage looking? Is it tired and weather-beaten or fresh and clean looking? Have you updated your logo or business contact information and not gotten round to replacing your signage? If your budget doesn’t stretch to replacing the signage at the moment, then consider using a PVC banner for temporary signage.
Refreshing the signage on your premises can really draw the attention of frequent passing traffic to your business. When you refresh your building signage it grabs the attention of the people who might pass your door twice a day without even noticing you. We all go about our business every day without paying attention to so much of what is around us so you need to do everything you can to attract attention. If you have the space and budget then you could even look at using a building curtain to really get you noticed!
What about your business vehicles? Are you using them to their full branding potential? Branded door magnets are relatively inexpensive and can be easily applied and removed. A partial or full branded wrap can make a huge impact and will continuously drive brand awareness constantly, even when the vehicle is just parked up.
6. Be Charitable
Most businesses are frequently approached by fundraisers looking for prizes and/or donations and if you were to give them all what they were looking for you’d probably need some fundraising of your own to pay the rent! However, you could look at donating a well-designed gift voucher as a marketing opportunity rather than as a drain on revenue.
Not only will the winner get to see, use and talk about the voucher or product, the prizes are usually announced to a room full of people as well as being posted online and in the organisations printed materials and press releases. Look at the potential number of impressions for your brand across all of these touch-points for any particular fundraising event. If possible tie your donation in with a charity or organisation that is somehow related to your industry or sector or one that is close to your heart and which you can easily talk about. For example, an estate agents whose business it is to find people homes, might like to make a donation or support a fundraising event for a homeless charity. People like and respond to symmetry and sincerity and a well-considered donation, even a small one, can really help you convey what matters to your business to your existing and prospective customers.