Offline marketing is still a significant contributor to sales of a small and medium business. Developing techniques for offline marketing is a bit more precise than doing so for online situations.
Small businesses, such as contractors or retail stores, are likely to find better growth through offline means, especially if the business is one that's in-demand within the area. Coming up with ways to promote a business offline doesn't have to be hard, and a lot of businesses have already broken ground with established methods for reaching out to customers. Here are some of the most ingenious marketing methods to grow a business without having to set foot in cyberspace.
1. Leverage Human Interest Stories in the Local Paper
Local papers are always looking for news, and they are among the best ways for small businesses to reach out to a receptive audience. Getting features in a small newspaper might even catapult you to more prominence regionally. Human interest stories like how you grow your business makes for great newspaper articles. Pitching them on the idea is a good place to start. Small Biz Trends advises businesses that are looking at this method of advertising to consider their local newspaper to be a local small-distribution paper and not the local city metro.
2. Using Radio and Local TV
In smaller districts, it might be a viable method of advertising to get in touch with local media such as radio and television. Obviously, pitching national networks would be way outside of the small business' budget, but small area radio stations might be just the right fit. Sponsoring segments on the radio or TV can get ads out to the public, but using the medium to fund giveaways and call-in sessions can be priceless in brand marketing. Chron notes that giveaways tend to build goodwill with a community, and small businesses benefit heavily from remaining on good terms with local consumers.
3. Branded Useful Items
Brand recognition is something even large businesses crave, but smaller businesses benefit more from branded merchandise. However, most business cards usually end up in the bin, and so to keep the message around, businesses should focus more on printing branded merchandise that has a new use. Branded merchandise could be anything from a pen to a scratchpad, to even a bottle opener or keychain. Consumers tend to keep those items around, and the brand image registers on their subconscious because of it.
Coupons could be issued in combination with the local paper as mentioned above, or through individually distributed flyers. Depending on what the company offers, having coupons can increase the rate at which customers employ your business. Most Americans are happy to save money, and having a coupon is still a valid marketing strategy. Offline coupon collection is still a bit of a hobby among some members of the public.
5. Visit Trade Shows
Even if the business doesn't intend to take a booth in a trade show, just its attendance can make a difference. Some small businesses might be interested in splitting booth fees. Smaller companies don't need a massive amount of space to show off their products and services, so this suits them just fine. Trade shows are among the best ways to market because the audience is already looking for something that your business is offering.
6. Leverage Community Engagement
Shopkeep mentions that small businesses tend to give back to the local community, but that only happens if the community is engaged. Raising engagement with the people in the neighborhood doesn't require massive amounts of investment. Offering funding for a small community enhancement project can start a rapport between the business and the wider community and will help to spread the company's image around.
7. Offer Teaching for your Profession
Most professionals can testify that the average layman knows next to nothing about what they do daily. For small businesses, this can be a godsend, as it opens the door for engagement with the community through education. Teaching a little bit about what the profession does and how it does it can help inform consumers so that they can, in turn, make better decisions. It also demonstrates expertise and sets the professional up as a local expert in a certain area.
8. Direct Mail
Marketing tools like direct mail advertisements aren't dead just yet. While most direct mail marketing has moved into the electronic sphere, it can still be a critical method of interacting with potential clients in this day and age. Direct mail advertisements don't even need to be written professionally and can be distributed by local teenagers for a few cents per letter. They can open a dialogue with a potential client and offer details to contact the business should they want to find out more.
9. Cross-Promotional Campaigns
Small businesses do better helping each other out and finding other companies that want to partner up for a promotion or two can raise the level of exposure for both. While it's recommended that your company partner up with another that offers a similar or related service, even unrelated businesses could benefit from cross-promotion. It's all about getting the word out to more customers, and by leveraging cross-promotion, it can almost double the number of people that see either brand.
Offline Marketing is About Creating Connection
The twenty-first-century market isn't about convincing consumers of the superiority of a product anymore. It's about showing off how genuine a brand is and how much it cares about its customers. In this way, small businesses that focus on community marketing have a massive advantage over impersonal chain brands that cover the entire country. Appealing to a community and building bonds with them offers a ready market and repeat customers for a business. All of the mentioned offline marketing techniques strive to create or build connections with customers. That's how small businesses will survive even though they don't have the reach or advertising budget of large corporations.