Traditional or offline marketing strategies have been around for years, even before the internet emerged. And despite what anyone would say about traditional marketing being dead and all, it is still a very effective method of marketing your products or services today.
This is mostly because we live in an offline world – regardless of the vast amount of technology around us. Most business owners get caught up in the digital marketing race to be on the first page of Google or to be popular on social media through viral growth hacking or to build up thousands of email subscribers. While all these serve their purpose, we shouldn’t lose touch with reality; that we live in a real world (not a digital one) and that we can make much more meaningful connections in the real world with offline marketing – minus the scalability and affordability that comes with online marketing.
And while it is true that offline marketing has its limitations, there are numerous benefits you can expect, such as:
- Offline marketing helps you build a stronger, intimate connection with your target audience. You also have the opportunity to tailor each customer’s user experience to improve retention and customer lifecycle.
- Offline marketing strategies such as flyer distribution and cold calling can help you generate enquiries and sales faster because people have the opportunity to make on the spot decisions, unlike online marketing’s lead nurturing process (which, though, has a higher conversion rate).
- Offline marketing gives your small business the opportunity to make a great first impression. This could be through offering excellent customer support, or through a radio or television interview or in-person events where you hand them your printed materials.
- Offline marketing can be integrated into your marketing sales funnel, working seamlessly with content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing.
The most successful companies in the world leverage both online and offline strategies to push their brand awareness and to establish themselves as credible and trustworthy brands. Small businesses can do the same, without the budget, and achieve similar results. The strategies discussed in this article will help you increase your brand awareness and establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
- Print Materials
Print materials such as flyers, brochures, pamphlets and business cards are one of the most effective ways of generating awareness and interest in your product or service. Just as people are turned off by promotional marketing materials online, the same rule of providing valuable information applies to print materials.
For your business cards to truly stand out, choose edgy and creative designs that communicate your professionalism.
- Consider repurposing one of your infographics into flyers and brochures for distribution to enable consistent touch points across all your marketing verticals
- Add QR codes profiles on your flyers, brochures and business cards that lead to dedicated landing pages or social media.
- Track the effectiveness of your printed materials by including special discount codes on your flyers and brochures.
- Use high-quality materials for all printing, especially your brochures and business cards.
- Outdoor Advertising
Whether your business is run online or in a brick and mortar store, you can still benefit from running an outdoor advertising campaign. Outdoor ads could be billboards, point of sale displays, vehicle branding, bus shelter branding etc.
Any form of advertising that is done by displaying your products or services in public places can be considered an outdoor ad. This form of advertising helps to keep you top of mind with prospects.
- Complement this strategy with a highly personalised social media marketing campaign targeted at 100miles of your outdoor ad displays.
- If you’re on a limited budget, start small by converting your vehicle, and those of friends and family willing to support your brand, into a mobile billboard.
- If you have a substantial budget to spend, why not partner with a non-competing company to share the cost of an electronic billboard. If the budget doesn’t allow for that, go for normal billboards; but make sure you choose a location with good foot traffic (or near street signs).
- Branded Souvenirs
Souvenirs present a great opportunity for companies who want to create an intimate relationship with their current and potential customers. Branded souvenirs like pens, calendars, t-shirts, mugs etc. will help keep your brand top of mind with both your current and potential customers.
Another added advantage is that people are more likely to share images and videos of themselves with the souvenirs social media, probably linking back to your company profile, and thus not only generating brand awareness, but also social proof.
- Aesthetics is everything. Ensure your souvenirs are visually appealing and with a simple design.
- Make sure your souvenirs are of the highest quality. Don’t skimp on price only to lose out on your brand’s perceived value, because inferior products always give people a negative vibe.
- Integrate this strategy into your digital marketing efforts by running social media contests and giving out branded souvenirs as gift prizes.
- You could also give out souvenirs to your current customers during holiday seasons to improve brand interaction and loyalty.
- Public Relations
Every opportunity to get your company in front of new audiences in a non-promotional way is a form of public relations. As a small business, you should be on the lookout for such opportunities. Better yet, why not create those opportunities?
Some public relations strategies you can use are:
- Speaking at industry-specific events where both traditional and digital media professionals are broadcasting the events live
- Writing guest columns for local newspapers and magazines that your prospects read
- Building relationships with reporters and journalists that could result in interviews and news features. This could also help your press releases get more distribution.
- Organise or sponsor local community events. Your budget can be minimal and still be able to throw a glamorous event; you just need to be creative.
- Participate in trade shows, especially those hosted by your local chamber of commerce etc, as this is sure to get maximum media exposure.
Pro Tip: Leverage your media connections for both offline and online reach. If giving them a sample of your product or a free trial of your service in exchange for their reviews.
- Offer Expert Advice on TV/Radio Shows
Television and Radio still have their place in today’s internet driven society and you can leverage that to your advantage. Odds are there are Radio or TV shows that are focused on your business industry, why don’t you reach out to these hosts about you coming on to offer “expert” advice?
If your pitch works well enough, you might even become a regular consultant on the show and this will have a tremendous impact on your overall brand reputation. By giving consumer advice that is related to your product or service, you can educate your prospects and establish yourself as an expert in your field, thus making prospects trust your company more.
- Whether you’re a regular guest or it’s just a one-time offer, promote the interview as much as possible. You could also use a dedicated hashtag to track conversations and don’t forget to leverage the hosts’ social influence to your advantage.
- Run highly personalised and targeted ads to followers of the Radio or TV station’s profiles on social media to help with generating website traffic.
- Offer “free, no-strings-attached” consultations as a means of generating leads.
Every small business that hopes to capture a larger market share and gain more brand awareness along the way should consider using an integrated marketing approach that combines all the strategies described in this article with their current digital marketing campaign.