With online marketing still being revered as the new jam, many proven offline methods continue to be overlooked. Whilst online marketing is undoubtedly important in the internet-connected world we live in, offline engagement with customers still has unique and distinct value that shouldn’t be forgotten.
So, if you want to give your business a real marketing boost this year, here are five, often overlooked, offline marketing tactics that may help you (and won’t break the bank).
- Engage in offline guerrilla marketing
Guerrilla marketing is a generic term for the use of quirky marketing strategies, and because online marketing channels are so narrowly structured, the offline arena is the best way to deploy your small business’ guerrilla marketing muscle. Guerrilla marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hire a funky chicken outfit from the local fancy dress shop and stand in the high street handing out free samples (although feel free to indulge your inner child if it tickles your fancy). If you’re struggling for some ideas, here are a few:
Write a promotion to a few sticky notes and leave them in random places (bars, coffee shops).
Use chalk to advertise promotions on a pavement.
“Accidentally” leave a branded pen at the bank.
Donate branded bookmarks to your local library.
- Drop business cards
This offline marketing strategy is one that vastly underused and is generally relegated to sharing with someone you meet for the first time. However, there are many ways to “drop” your business card, for example:
Leave a business card with your tip at a restaurant.
See a public bulletin board? Put up a business card.
Go to the library and place business cards in books related to your business.
When you see a contest fish bowl asking for business cards, drop yours in. Always.
- Take pictures/videos of everything
Because social media marketing takes place online it’s easy to forget that social campaigns can be boosted by offline efforts. Real-life photos from the offline world show the personality of your business and increase online user engagement. Facebook posts with photos, for example, receive 84% more clicks and twice as many Likes than text-only posts, according to Kissmetrics. https://blog.kissmetrics.com/more-likes-on-facebook/
And with image-based social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr becoming more important for online marketing, making sure you take and post photos of company events and interesting topical activities should become second nature. Don’t forget videos help too. If someone from your company speaks at an event, make sure you record it and upload it to YouTube.
- Donate gift certificates or products as prizes
This one is so brilliantly easy and can be used by so many different businesses. By offering your product or service as a prize for a local school fair, Spring Fete, Christmas Bazaar in return for a listing in the programme or social media plugs, you can build visibility for your business while showing your commitment to the local community.
- Speak at events
We all know the value of networking events; they offer a great way to meet new people, share your ideas, and build brand awareness. They’re even more effective if you speak at them. There are plenty of networking groups who want a speaker. So, decide what you can talk about, approach a few groups and volunteer. You can deploy the same approach with secondary schools who often want local businesses to talk to students who are in the process of choosing their GCSE or A Level subjects.
You don’t have to adopt all of these offline marketing strategies. Just try one. Add a few extra business cards into your pocket or write a promotion on a couple sticky notes, put them in your pocket for the day. Who knows what could happen.
Of course I couldn’t sign off without a nod to the stalwart of all marketing – print. Whether you are looking to start/restart/continue your advertising campaign and would like help/advice/too book a space in the magazines, do feel free to get in touch. I am working on the June issue and the booking/copy deadline is 20th May.