In this digital age, most small business owners focus on online activities when marketing. While this is smart, since so many consumers browse and buy goods and services online, the reality is that offline strategies are still vital for many different business types.
No matter the size of your organization or the industry you’re in, there are sure to be some viable and affordable offline opportunities you can explore to great success. Non-digital campaigns can help you build your brand, connect with current or potential customers, appear larger and more trusted, and enjoy increased sales. Here are some strategies to test out in 2021.
Send Out Printed Items
Many entrepreneurs and marketing managers have stopped sending direct mail in recent years because of free and cheap digital communication offerings, such as social media and e-newsletters. However, there is still a place for physical printed items that get mailed out or delivered as part of letterbox drops. Since fewer people do these drops now, they can have an impressive impact when done well for the right types of businesses and products.
You could have catalogues printed up and include special offers and deals in them, plus highlight all your latest offerings. Another option is to send samples of products out to your top clients. You can also buy quality promotional products and deliver them to well-targeted current or potential customers. Note, too, that many clients like to receive handwritten or otherwise personalized holiday cards and other mail so they know they’re thought of and valued customers.
Use Apps to Connect Strategically with Local Businesses
While you may be focused on offline marketing strategies, you may want to make sure that you know how to use technology to connect with businesses offline too. Technology can be very useful with helping you discover partner brands that you can connect with.
Some of these apps are actually very specialized. For example, if you are an eco-friendly business, then you should consider using mobile apps that are geared towards green businesses. They can help you connect with like-minded customers and partners.
Network and Face to Face Chats
While many networking opportunities have had to switch to online in the past year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions are beginning to ease somewhat, and in-person networking will become more and more viable over the coming months. You can still converse in small groups, too, of course, in many areas.
While some people cringe at the term “networking” because of the negative connotations it can bring with it, social interactions like this don’t have to be about the stereotypical pushing of agendas on people you’ve just met. Instead, see these kinds of gatherings as a way of getting to meet contacts you otherwise might not have had the chance to and developing connections in a friendly way.
A helpful way to go about networking is to join relevant clubs, associations, and groups that revolve around your specific industry, general business, or the target market you focus on. Also, consider networking at places such as conferences, workshops, and charity events. Networking can allow you to show your passion, expertise, and communication skills and help you gather focused leads to follow up on later on digitally.
Plus, it pays to arrange to chat with your current clients or people who are considering hiring you or buying your high-end goods face to face. In-person conversations can help grow relationships and “seal the deal” for those who aren’t yet sure about paying for what you offer. Getting enough face time with valued customers makes it more likely that they’ll stick with you for longer and buy from you more often.
Take people out to coffee, lunch, or dinner, or invite them to your office for informal conversations where you can update each other on relevant details. These chats can also be a prime opportunity to let clients know about new offerings you have or any significant business changes.
Engage in Speaking Activities
Another great way to market yourself and your organization is through speaking opportunities. You can often build credibility sooner by putting yourself in front of potential clients, or even possible investors, suppliers, partners, and journalists, at tradeshows, galas, conferences, workshops, etc.
Speaking in public gives you the chance to talk about what you love and know best and demonstrate how you’re an expert in what you do. This is particularly helpful if you engage in consultancy work or other one-on-one business where clients want to have some sort of connection with you to feel comfortable. Speaking lets people in on your personality, communication style, and more.
Another benefit of well-chosen speaking engagements is that they can put you in front of targeted groups you know are already interested in the topic and primed to sit and listen to what you have to say.
Some other ways to engage in offline marketing to build your business include:
- Participating in events by donating prizes for giveaways or becoming a sponsor
- Giving away samples at tradeshows and other occasions
- Completing cold calls
- Advertising in physical magazines or newspapers, or on TV or radio
- Creating memorable, shareable, engaging, or even reusable packaging
Marketing across multiple avenues is an excellent way to broaden your brand presence and find new customers you might not have interacted with otherwise.
Annie Qureshi is a serial entrepreneur and writer for Sustainable Business Forum. She embraces ecommerce opportunities that go beyond profit, giving back to non-profits with a portion of the revenue she generates. She is significantly more productive when she has a cause that reaches beyond her pocketbook. Twitter: @annierqureshi