We live in a digital age where it seems every marketing department focuses on social media promotion and online strategies. However, there is still a place for offline efforts. While a television commercial might be out of your budget right now, many other marketing tactics work wonders for building your brand name.
In a study of 2,895 marketing professionals, experts discovered there was a slight uptick in spending on traditional marketing methods. Although budgets for digital advertising continues to grow, the trends show that offline marketing is far from dead.
If you’re like most small businesses, you’ve likely nailed your digital strategy or find it a less fearful investment. After all, if a campaign isn’t going well, it’s easy to change out your ad or try a different tactic on the fly. For offline marketing, poor performance may result in lost money without any recourse. Fortunately, we’re here to help you navigate the offline marketing stratosphere and get more bang for your buck.
1. Create an Experience
One of the trends that has popped up in recent years is experiential marketing. Pulling people into a world that ties into a theme for your business makes your company memorable and draws in consumers who otherwise might not have visited or thought much about you.
One example of brands taking things to the extreme with experiential marketing is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters” invading one of London’s busiest stations. They also installed “slime poles” around the station. The companies involved encouraged commuters to snap a photo and post it online with a hashtag, combining real-life marketing with digital. They also had a team of people dressed up like Ghostbusters handing out business cards.
The event was put on by several brands, but one of the most recognizable was Sony.
By immersing people into something they were familiar with and creating a memory, Sony put their brand name in the forefront of people’s minds. You can do something similar on a smaller scale.
2. Segment Your Marketing
Take a close look at who your customers are and segment them into groups. Perhaps you have clients who are senior citizens and others who are millennials. Your offline marketing efforts might be geared more to those who spend less time online. You can mail out postcards, for example, to your older audience and reserve your digital marketing budget for younger audiences. The strategies you use to market to one group might vary widely from the tactics used with another.
3. Wrap Your Vehicle
If you own a fleet of vehicles or just drive your personal car to and from the office, you have a built-in moving billboard. Wrapping your vehicle is inexpensive and gets your name out in the community. Be sure to keep the message brief and include a way for people to get in touch, such as a phone number or website. The average wrap lasts three to six years, so a one-time investment of under $3,000 results in long-term advertising.
Look at this gorgeous wrap advertising for a local learning academy. The colors are bright and eye-catching. The text is large and easy to read, even when driving past the vehicle. The telephone number is on the back end, so those who are interested can call for more information. The wrap is an excellent example of branding and grabbing attention offline.
4. Buy Billboard Space
You might wonder if billboards are still worth your time and effort. Studies show that 7 out of 10 drivers make decisions about shopping while driving. About 3 out of the 10 stated they visited a business because they saw a billboard. If you haven’t tried this tactic to drive traffic to a brick-and-mortar store, you may be missing out on a large part of your local audience.
You’ll pay for the space based on where it is, so think about the most likely traffic patterns for your target audience. If you wish to reach busy professionals, the route from the suburbs to the city is the best choice. On the other hand, if your target is stay-at-home moms, you might want your campaign close to local shopping areas.
5. Make Local News
Develop a relationship with local newspapers and radio stations. You might have zero budget, but if you have time on your hands, you can create a press release and send it out to reporters. One or more could pick up the story. Write the press statement so that it reads like a polished piece and has all the elements needed to put together a solid 500-word article.
Another option is to send an already written article to a free weekly paper. These publications often have tight budgets and are hungry for fresh material.
6. Create a Brochure
Summarize what you do and why you’re the best in a tri-fold brochure. Thanks to places such as Vistaprint, you can create a couple dozen brochures utilizing templates. Pass out folded fliers to those you feel would be interested in your product or service. Ask doctors and dentists if you can put a few in their waiting rooms. Make a list of most likely customers and mail them a brochure or put one in their newspaper box.
7. Attend Trade Shows
In the United States, trade shows are one of the top offline business to business (B2B) strategies. Trade shows generate around $13.2 billion per year, with around 25% made via exhibits. Start small at a local event and then work your way up to national or even international ones.
Think about what message you want to get out there about your product and how best to gain new customers from the endeavor. It might take you a while to get into the groove with your exhibit booth, so refine your displays and message with each one you attend.
8. Hang Up Posters
Posters or flyers are a great way to get the word out in your local community. You’ve probably noticed signs hanging in various places and maybe even stopped to read them yourself. Study your local ordinances to see if you can attach a few on telephone poles. Local libraries, post offices, and laundry mats are popular locations for placing signs, and it only costs you the charge of creating the posters in the first place.
9. Plan a Party
Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful offline — and online — methods of advertising there is. How can you get your loyal customers to tell others about what you do? Host a party, of course. Invite your regular customers and offer a gift if they bring someone with them who hasn’t heard of you before.
At the party, provide samples of your products, a show displaying what the item does and other information. Offer food, fun, and information so that people who are just hearing about you want to come back and buy.
10. Give Expert Talks
Book speaking engagements related to your industry and share your expertise. This tactic is an excellent way to drive new leads to your business, so get out there and show that you’re an authority in the field. It might not be the fastest way of building your brand, but it’s a solid effort that picks up steam along the way.
Look for Opportunities to Market Offline
Chances to talk up your brand are all around. Pay attention to networking opportunities and ways you can team up with other small business owners in your area. With a little focus and determination, your offline strategies will be highly effective. Don’t ignore digital marketing, but don’t forget the benefits of real-world promotions, either.
blank billboard – DepositPhotos