Let's face it, marketing has changed significantly over the years. As people spend more of their time online and connected to their smartphones, it appears everything we do is strictly digital from an advertising point of view. While there's nothing wrong with using the online world to your advantage and building your own websites and social pages to deliver valuable traffic, it's important to make sure that there's more to marketing than being active online.
While it is important to take the time, and make sure that you get noticed on the web, it's also worth thinking about the things that you can do offline to generate awareness. In fact, you might find that the tactics you use away from the digital world have more of an impact on customers who are constantly overwhelmed with too many advertisements on their social media pages and search engine results.
To help you start making more of a "traditional" connection with your customers, we've put together this list of "offline" advertising types you might not have considered in the past, to ensure that you're having the best all-around impact on your audience.
1. Use Business Cards
There's a good reason why business cards still exist today in a world full of LinkedIn and social media - they work. Business cards are a cheap and effective way to advertise yourself and your business offline. You can easily pass these pieces of information over to businesses and customers that might be interested in your services, as well as pinning them to public bulletin boards or slipping them into relevant magazines and books wherever you go. Business cards might not be the most exciting company resources in the world, but they have a lot of value for such little assets.
2. Visit Events
Events are networking hubs for people who want to expand awareness for their company and their skills. Find an event that's related to your industry in some way, and make sure that you have valuable information to offer the people around you. This will help you to leave a lasting impression on peers in your industry while offering a more visual representation of your business. If you feel as though you want to make the most out of networking events, but you don't have enough authority to speak at these experiences yet, don't worry, there are still plenty of benefits to simply making an appearance.
3. Take Part in Trade Shows
A trade show is a great way to show off the value of your product while doing a little bit of competitive analysis. Since you'll be under the same roof as some of the major competitors in your space, you'll have an unparalleled opportunity to check out their marketing materials, study their pitch, and gain a real insight into their strategy. Of course, tradeshows are also amazing opportunities for you to showcase your product and show off your services to the world.
4. Offer Sponsoring to a Local Event
If you can afford to make an investment in your brand reputation, then sponsoring a community event can be a powerful way to really get your name out there. Rather than just setting up a table at a local event, take the initiative and sponsor one yourself. You could team up with non-profits that are important to your target customers so that you can host a fundraiser and start earning some real money. While you're at it, give out some pamphlets, coupons, and branded goods to build a positive image that people will both respect, and remember.
5. Collaborate with Print Publications
Although online media is growing increasingly popular, print still has a role to play in standard advertising. Try pitching a press release to a local newspaper or magazine that might target your key audience. This will be a great way for you to show off an important milestone or event for your business. What's more, the right publication gives you access to a whole new audience for your company. Try to form as many relationships with different press publications as possible, as these will be handy over time.
6. Host a Giveaway
Who doesn't love getting something for nothing? Try hosting your own event at your local store or site, and let people know that if they turn up and get involved, then they could earn the chance to win something valuable. Make sure that you benefit from this giveaway too by asking people to give you their contact details in exchange for a chance to win the prize. These details may include phone numbers and email addresses that you can use to get in touch with potential prospects at a later date.
7. Use Snail Mail
As email becomes more common and inboxes grow more crowded, snail mail still remains to be an effective way of marketing products and services. You'd be surprised how many of your customers would prefer a physical offer over an email to their accounts. Though the snail mail route means that you won't get the data you would obtain from email campaigns, it could help you to stand out from some of your competitors. Try sending out newsletters, product updates, or coupons to help better promote your business.
8. Try Cold-Calling
While a lot of businesses prefer to stay away from cold-calling because it's generally disapproved of by the public, that doesn't mean that you can't give you a try. Make sure you that you establish a strategy for cold-calling before you get started, and tailor the conversations you have to the customer in question. Cold-calling can help you to start building relationships with people that matter, but you need to make sure you do it right.
9. Try Television and Radio
There may not be as much call for television and radio today as there was a few years ago, but that doesn't mean that it's no longer effective. If you can capture the attention of your target audience while they're driving to work, or sitting down with their friends to watch their favourite show, then you could still earn some valuable sales. Think about where you can place an ad to get it in front of your customers as quickly and effectively as possible.
10. Use Word of Mouth
Finally, the most underestimated, yet effective form of marketing out there, has to be word of mouth. Make sure that you talk about your product and business whenever you can, and encourage friends, customers, and colleagues to spread the word too. To give yourself the best coverage, ensure that you're constantly doing things to provoke a conversation, like giving away free items, offering exceptional customer service, and updating the benefits of your product.