Market Your Business: Unplugged

Everyone’s pushing online marketing today — and with good reason, since being seen online is a crucial part of any effective marketing strategy today. There’s just one problem with this online focus: unless it’s paired with other offline strategies, it’s not as effective as it could be. See, here’s the thing: sometimes in the name of search marketing, email marketing, social media and the like, companies lose sight of offline marketing opportunities that can be just as effective, particularly locally. Does this sound familiar to you? Is your company all about online marketing but neglecting offline methods? Are you effectively tapping into the market right in your area, or are you missing out?

Whether or not you’re already utilizing offline marketing strategies, here are some key ways to consider promoting your business off the Web. To get the word out about your company and draw new clients, here are some ideas to try:

Hand Out Business Cards

Sure, they seem old school, but business cards are still useful for this: they give you a fast and easy way to hand out your contact info. Ways you can use business cards are only limited by your imagination: leave one with a tip at a restaurant, stick them on community bulletin boards or give one to someone any time your profession comes up in conversation. Pick an eye-catching design that stands out in order to make the most of this marketing tool.

Attend and Speak at Events

Whether it’s at a trade show or a local business networking event, meeting more people in your community can be a powerful way to build business relationships. Likewise, speaking publicly is a great way to address a new audience and gain authority in your field.

Partner with Other Companies

Find sister companies in your area that agree with your company philosophy and/or supplement what you do. If you’re a fitness center targeting health-conscious professionals, you could partner with a juice bar down the street. If you’re an accounting firm working with small-business owners, partner with a marketing business in your town. Finding other companies you can direct clients to and that will direct their clients to you expands both of your businesses.

Hold Events

Make your events informative, fun or otherwise beneficial for attendees and encourage them to bring their friends. Local events can be great for building community with your client base, not to mention great for bringing in referrals.

Use Promotional Products

Give your prospects branded promotional products, and you leave them with a positive impression of your business — not to mention an easy way to remember you every time they use that item. To be most effective, promotional products should be legitimately useful (think shirts, bags, USB cords and drinkware), attractive and branded with your logo/name front and center.

Use Direct Mail

Target a certain demographic through good old snail mail, whether that means coupons for your home décor shop to new homeowners or newsletters about your daycare to families with small children.

Sponsor a Local Team

Become a recognized name in the community by sponsoring a local sports team like a little league baseball team or an adolescent football team. When you sponsor the team, you often get to put your logo on the team’s jerseys and/or in signage at games.

Contribute to a Fundraiser

The next time there’s a fundraiser for a local school or nonprofit, donate a gift certificate for some of your products or services as a reward. Not only does this build goodwill in the community, but it also can expose your business to new prospects as they look up your business to learn what they could win.

Offer a Local Discount

Whether you give 10 percent off to all college students or a buy-one-get-one-free option for members of the armed forces, when you offer a discount to some local group, you can bet word will spread.

Practice Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing, also known as unconventional marketing, is all about using outside-the-box ways to promote your company. So beyond the specific ideas already outlined in this post, think bigger and bolder to identify other, nontraditional ways. Think flash mobs and publicity stunts. Imagine scavenger hunts and undercover marketing. The name of the game with guerrilla marketing is creativity, so get together with your team and brainstorm like the sky’s the limit.

Do the ideas listed above get your mental wheels turning? There’s never been a better time to start boosting business than right now — so begin implementing some of these ideas as soon as you can! With a little creativity and strategy, you can build an offline marketing strategy to complement your online efforts powerfully and effectively.