Old school marketing still works. Yes, there’s a lot of emphases put on marketing online, and with such a wide reach, it’s impossible to ignore online marketing, SEO and PPC. If you want to compete in the local and national space, you have to devote a lot of your resources to online promotion. But there’s a lot to be learned from brick-and-mortar stores and the marketing techniques that were used to build local empires. What techniques still work that worked decades ago? 1. Promotional Gifts Everyone likes getting something for free. Promotional gifts are timeless, and they’ve been around for decades. What a lot of businesses forget is that it takes money to make money. There’s something to say about bootstrapping, but spending money on promotional gifts will: Bring brand awareness to your company Build lasting business relationships Help promote your business and gain customers I remember my first job fondly, and while I won’t bore you with the details, I remember a very large company down the road that had billions in sales worldwide sending the company promotional gifts around the holidays. The company is a household name, but the promotional gifts, primarily food, helped keep the company relevant on a local level. 2. Scholarships Make a Difference Giving back to the community is a must, and this means spending money that will get the attention of locals. Sponsoring sporting events and teams is still a good way to build a brand, but if your business has the money, offering a scholarship is even better. Scholarships are: Highly promoted Make a real difference in someone’s life Offer great promotional material Local businesses are making a splash with scholarships. AvaCare Medical offers a $1,000 scholarship, but the scholarship is promoted at colleges, admissions offices and on several scholarship-related websites. Offline and online benefits are provided, and there is even a section on the bottom that lists the winners of the scholarships as well as other finalists. It’s all about giving back, and scholarships work wonders when trying to make an impact in the local community. 3. Lead Buying and Mailing Lists Lead buys and mailing lists are still very beneficial in some niches. Mailing lists have started to evolve, and the mailing lists of yesterday are now email marketing campaigns. But there are also direct mail and lead buys that still work as well today as they did decades ago. Local repair shops often find that drumming up local business is easier with local lead buys and it remains very profitable. The return on investment is higher than other marketing channels, including PPC advertising. Pre-qualified leads are: Highly targeted Ready to buy Small businesses can also buy ad space on newsletters from local websites or magazines. The goal is to find local clients, and lead buying, mailing lists and email marketing campaigns remain some of the best revenue drivers for businesses. But you need to make sure that all of the leads are pre-qualified and are not part of a large mailing list that is receiving spam rather than legitimate offers they want. 4. Sponsor Local Sport Teams Sports bring crowds together even on a local, smaller level. I remember a local bowling league, led by one of my former coworkers, asking the first company I worked for to sponsor them. The sponsorship was to help pay for the team’s fees and shirts. And while I didn’t realize it then, there was a good reason for the company to sponsor the team: Local recognition The leader of the team was phenomenal at bowling People really go to these events The team’s season went well, and while I don’t remember the details, I do remember the company continued to sponsor the team until I left my position. The sponsorship was under $1,000, and it helped spread the company’s name around the community. And if the company did the same for a local, award-winning football or baseball team, this could put the business in front of thousands of potential customers. Local teams will appreciate the sponsorship, the parents of the players will support the local business, and the business will be giving back to the community. Everyone wins with sponsorships. You can also choose to sponsor a local parade, fashion show – anything that brings crowds together. 5. Join Key Local Events Local communities often try their best to promote local products and services. You’ll find a lot of key events, and these include parades, festivals or local, niche events. Every location is different, so you may or may not have many opportunities in your local community. But you can often venture out to your nearest, large city and find ample opportunities to join in on events. A good example of this just occurred in my city. We’re a small town, but there is a lot of “local pride.” Residents would rather support the small establishments in my town than go to a big chain that is already nationally advertised. “Restaurant Week” was a major event held recently. The event brought together all of the town’s restaurants, and it was a major hit for locals. The event allows for local sponsors that are promoted right on the main event’s website. Participating in the event allows patrons to receive great deals on their meals, and it’s a way to promote a local business that patrons may not otherwise visit. The event expands a person’s restaurant choices, offering multi-course meals for a fraction of the price. Large-scale events may be held in your city, too. But let’s say that your city doesn’t have any events that are relevant to your industry. In this case, you can take this time to create your own event. Creating an event is a lot of work, but you can get help by going to your local chamber of commerce. You can also choose to use meetup.com to try and see if you can get other businesses interested in the event. Facebook and social media will allow you to create groups, drum up interest in the event and determine if there’s any local interest. And if your goal is to sell more products to local customers online, you can’t afford to ignore these 12 key value propositions for online businesses.