Online businesses are great, but sometimes you want to get your boots on the ground and get some face time with your customers. If you’ve never done that before, the experience can be daunting: how do I interact with people in a physical world that I’ve only interacted with digitally? What online marketing principles can I apply, if any, to the offline environment?
Advertising offline is nothing more than marketing done without the internet and can include radio, TV, and print services. It may sound like this market would be too restrictive for your business, but in many cases, it may be your best chance to gain customers and develop a brand. For instance, one study recently discovered that while 92% of people know what Twitter is, only 8% actually use it regularly. That leaves a huge demographic of people that can’t be reached by at least one major social media outlet.
Fortunately, there are some very simple ways that you can still sell to your customers off of the internet. Below are some of the best offline marketing strategies you can implement in your business today.
Who says an online business has to strictly be global? You can generate some local advertising by getting involved with your community and sponsoring a contest or other event. Set up a large banner that you can put in front of a table and advertise your business, but also interact with potential customers] who may inquire about your products or services.
2. Direct Mail
Usually, physical mail campaigns are not nearly as effective as online paid advertising, but if you’re in an industry that could benefit from canvassing an entire neighbourhood geographically, this might be one strategy you could implement for your business. If you sell home painting services, for instance, a neighbourhood in the older part of town might be full of people who could use a remodel. Direct mail campaigns, selectively used, can be a great form of offline advertising.
3. Guerrilla Marketing
This is considered by many to be one of the best online and offline marketing strategies, period. It’s generally non-invasive, it allows consumers to follow you on their own will, and helps to create a presence that is unique. An online bookseller may choose to leave bookmarks with their information in it on the table at a library, or a golf shop may leave branded scorecards in golf carts. Regardless, offline promotion strategies like these can go a long way in establishing your brand as unique and fun.
4. Cold Calling
There’s a reason that businesses have call centres staffed with hundreds of employees that do nothing but call people around the clock: because it works. For every thousand calls their centre makes, you may have 20 people who sign up, but that alone can account for a positive return on investment (ROI). You don’t need a call centre to do this, however. Identify 40-50 businesses that could use your services and see if a few will listen to your pitch. You may even develop relationships that could serve you farther down the road.
5. Local Television
If you’ve ever seen an ad for a local business, you know how cheesy they can be, but that also can be part of their charm. Ironically, a marketing strategy for offline purposes can sometimes go viral online, generate not only traffic to your store but to your website as well. Take some time and money and hire a competent agency to develop a local ad, and have it playing in local markets to create interest in your business.
Having your logo or slogan up on several different advertising signs can help drive passive traffic to your shop. The best part is that most of these billboards are relatively inexpensive, so they’re easy to develop and easy to install, and can more than pay for themselves in a month’s time span. Billboards and other physical displays are some of the best offline marketing strategies for online businesses, and after seeing the success that some companies have with them, it’s easy to understand why.
7. Network Locally
You never know when a relationship that you develop in your community will come in handy down the road. So, get involved with local professional organizations or your chamber of commerce and network with other business leaders. Not only will you get to meet people that share similar interests, but you may also create a fair amount of referral traffic as well.