When it comes to marketing, entrepreneurs have to remember that it isn’t always an “either/or” proposition, especially with small business owners that already have a physical presence with brick-and-mortar stores in place. You can still pursue traditional offline marketing techniques while getting your brand’s message out to a broader audience range through social media platforms. Diversity is key to capturing as much of your market as possible and offline marketing, for all intents and purposes, isn’t dead just yet – it’s still a tried and true method in the following areas.
Although newspapers may be seen as a dying medium with its main consumer base composed of baby boomers, there is a still good reason for you to have an ad printed in your local paper. According to the 2013 Nielsen National Cross-Media Engagement Study, newspapers have the highest advertising effectiveness ratings, beating social media, TV and radio in “Likely to Purchase,” “Usually Noticed” and “Advertising Annoyance” categories.
Some affordable marketing options include well-designed flyers and posters that can be passed around and put up in high-traffic areas in the neighborhood or open storefronts like coffee shops where you know your target audience gathers. An eye-catching sign can also do wonders in increasing foot traffic to brick-and-mortar stores, as the US Small Business Administration recommends it for its cost efficiency.
Despite the widespread use of apps and check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare to connect with clients, customers and colleagues, live events including trade shows, conferences and expos are still highly attended and get a lot of coverage both in mainstream media and online channels. The face-to-face dynamic is at play, presenting more personal encounter offers to build and establish stronger business relationships.
Read up on news within your industry so that you are always updated about when and where these events will take place. Sign up and reserve a space for a booth to showcase your products to a new customer base, partner with like-minded entrepreneurs to further strengthen your professional network, and learn lessons that will help you become a better businessman.
When you’re participating in a live event, take advantage of the atmosphere that has most attendants already interested in checking out what everyone has to offer. Don’t be afraid to spend more on giving away customized souvenirs or gifts to people. Having your brand name on these items will keep the name of your business on the owner’s minds, and they will also act as mobile advocates when they’re seen in public using your promotional products. Just remember to make the design for these items attractive. Stick with a company logo or tagline, and include one brief contact detail like your website URL, email or street address, and your phone number.
Integrating your traditional marketing tactics with online marketing is the ultimate goal for marketing campaigns, and QR codes can help bridge that gap seamlessly. These are matrix barcodes that once scanned by a smartphone can lead the user to a specific URL. Put them onto your physical promotional items to direct customers to exclusive online offers.
QR codes carry a sense of intrigue that you can expect people to scan them just to know what they can get from doing so. You can also easily track its effectiveness through online analytics tools, letting you take the right course of action once you’ve reviewed its performance.
Essentially, offline marketing follows the one foundational principle that also governs online marketing – delivering a compelling message that caters to the target audience. Offline marketing just takes that message and funnels it through more trusted channels that leverage a more intimate connection with the customer.