• 3 Ways to Modernize Old-School Marketing Tactics


The world of marketing is evolving faster than most of us can keep up with. In our digital world, many of the most popular old-school marketing tactics are no longer being used—people now frown upon selling from door to door and few companies can afford to have a brick-and-mortar storefront. However, some of the tactics used by hardworking old-school salesmen are still effective, especially when modified to appeal to modern, digital consumers. It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes, coming up with new and innovative ways to improve your marketing efforts requires stepping back to the basics. Here are 3 old-school marketing tactics that you can modernize to drive leads, improve engagement, and create happy customers.

3 Ways to Modernize Old-School Marketing Tactics

Old-School Tactic: Knocking on Doors
Modification: Email Marketing with Video

Many veteran business owners share the story of Sam Meenasin, Director of Operations for USA Business Insurance: “I started out with small personal lines sales, writing auto insurance for local clients. I have been through the insurance transition starting with door-to-door sales to putting flyers on cars in the hopes of getting one call out of the hundreds of flyers passed out,” explains Meenasin.

Luckily, you can reach the same amount of people in much less time with a variety of modern marketing tactics. The one that allows you to closely replicate the personal interaction you might get when knocking on doors, is email marketing. Most software now allows you to segment down to the city, gender, most recent purchase, birthday, and more. With these details, you can craft highly personal emails that speak directly to your customer or subscriber.

In our over-advertised world, however, segmenting may still not be enough. Step up the personal feel with an embedded video: 76 percent of marketers say video in email helped them increase sales and 72 percent of consumers would rather learn about a product or service via video (Source: WyzOwl).

How to Do It

So get started with this post: How to Create Marketing Videos on a Budget. Create your personalized video and then test. Test the topic, format, length, and location within the email. Remember: you can customize your video based on segment, in addition to the time of year (back-to-school), holidays (St. Paddy’s Day) and more.

For a calendar of holidays and observances throughout the year, download our free Marketing Calendar.

Old-School Tactic: Storefront Sign
Modification: Cover Photos and Digital Signage

In the old-school marketing days, signage was the main tactic for attracting customers. “Signage may be one of the oldest forms of marketing still in existence. From a 15th-century blacksmith hanging a picture of an anvil outside his shop to a flashy sign promoting your new auto body repair business, signs show people where you are—whether they’re looking for you or not,” suggests Dave Kerpen, founder and CEO of Likable Local (Source: Inc).

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, you likely have a sign over your storefront. If you’re a digital company, the online world is your storefront and you need creative ways to “hang your sign.” The good news is, our digital world provides us with a chance to share more than just our name. Social media cover photos, for example, are an important location for your “digital sign.”

Not only can you get creative—testing wording, colors, format and more—but also, many of your followers may not be customers. In a sense, they’re the same as passersby of the storefront. Your cover photo is a chance to attract them to your “store” and convert them into leads or paying customers. Also, a great cover photo makes a strong first impression, even for those who haven’t made it to your website just yet.

How to Do it

The cover photo for your Facebook business page and other social media profiles should appeal to your audience. You’ll want to adhere to your branding and messaging, but make sure that your messaging focuses on the people who frequent your page. On Facebook, for example, head to the People tab within Insights and look for age, gender, country, city, and language, suggests Neil Patel. Look for same data in your YouTube, Twitter and Instagram Insights. Then ask yourself, “How can we cater our branding to that specific audience?”

For help with Facebook Page Insights, check out this post.


Old-School Tactic: Promotional Items
Modernization: Digital Freebies

Branded items like buttons and keychains are still valuable at conferences and events, but in your everyday marketing efforts, you’re likely not handing out buttons, keychains, and lanyards. That doesn’t mean freebies aren’t still valuable. Everyone likes getting something for free, and a free eBook or resource download is a smart way to show your value. If you require people to provide their phone number or email address in exchange for the content, you can then collect new subscribers and generate leads for your business.

There are dozens of freebie ideas you can use as lead drivers and subscriber magnets, from eBooks to one-page guides, infographics and printable checklists. The goal is figuring out what your target audience wants most, and then putting it in front of them. When completed, link to it in your social media posts, share it in your email newsletters, and promote it with a pop-up on your website to increase conversion.

How to Do It

Start by asking yourself: what do we already have, that we can repurpose into a freebie. If you’re new to repurposing, get some examples and ideas with this post. If you have assets to use already, start creating your digital freebie. If not, ask yourself questions like: What questions do our salespeople get asked the most? What would provide true value to our target customer?

This type of inquiry will lead you to an idea, then you just have to put it into action and promote it.

Modernize Old School Tactics

It can feel like we need to reinvent the wheel to stand out in our digital world. Instead, go back to foundational ideas, like giving away freebies or staking your place with a sign. Use the modern version of these old school marketing tactics to reach new customers, cater your messaging to the right audience, and personalize your interactions. You may be surprised at how well the “basics” still work for your business.


For more ways to get leads for your business—online and off—download our lead generation guide below. It’s free!
Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels
Jessica Thiefels is a social media coach and organic marketing consultant. She’s been writing for 10 years and you can find her work on more than 500 websites worldwide, including Virgin, Forbes, MarTech, Score.org and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.

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