As a small business owner, you may feel like online advertising is the only route to grow your business in today’s digital world. However, that simply isn’t true! While many online marketing efforts, including paid advertising, can be very effective, you should not discount the power of offline marketing strategies to grow your business. In this post we’ll cover 6 effective offline marketing ideas that work to bring in new customers for small businesses.
Offline marketing is just as it sounds—marketing activities that you perform offline, in the real world. Offline marketing is a great way to tap into your local community and communicate with the people living around your business on a more personal level. Some of the more popular methods of offline marketing and advertising include:
- Offline ads within local newspapers and on radio programs
- Direct mail fliers
- Booths or tables at industry trade shows
Online vs. Offline Marketing Activities
While offline marketing activities are not conducted on the internet, there’s still a strong relationship between online and offline marketing activities. Offline marketing activities can and should be tracked and measured using online tools. The fact that offline marketing takes place offline doesn’t mean that they can’t be tracked, measured, and assessed just like you do for all your online marketing efforts.
Tracking Offline Marketing Activities
So, how do you track and measure offline marketing activities? Just like you do for your online marketing activities. For example, just as you would use tracked links for unique landing pages, you can use tracked phone lines on different print materials. This way you have clear ways to assess the efficacy and success of your all your offline marketing ideas. Tracking your marketing activities ensures that you are most efficiently allocating your precious time and resources.
Here are 6 offline marketing ideas that can be equally as effective in driving growth for your business.
1. Speak at Industry and Community Events
One idea for marketing your business offline is to speak at events relevant to your business. Look into upcoming trade shows and events in your area or industry, and see if there are any opportunities for speaking or leading a seminar or workshop. Some of them may be actively accepting applications for more speakers.
2. Create Speaking Opportunities
If you can’t find any relevant events, make your own! It’s simpler than it sounds. Consider creating a meet-up group on a site like Meetup.com, and creating events that provide speaking opportunities. The activity may be offline, but you may still want to promote your event online. You can speak about changes, trends, or important topics in your industry to solidify your position as an industry expert, and you can potentially talk about your offerings, as well.
You could be the only speaker, or you could make yourself one among many other relevant and/or local industry experts that you reach out to. For example, if you own a 3D printing company, host a local 3D printing meet-up for designers and engineers to share their work and stories, and center the event around a feature speech or presentation.
3. Host Events for Your Community
Your events don’t always have to be directly tied to your industry. Another offline marketing idea is to host events simply for your local community. For example, a periodontist could host an event that allows professionals in the area to network and obtain educational credits. Providing a benefit to those in the community will be sure to get them talking about your business, and will keep you top of mind when it comes to recommending your business to others. Marketing your business is not always about promoting your products and services. It’s also about being a helpful resource and creating value for your network.
4. Cross Promote with Free Giveaways
Giveaway contests aren’t just for online! Ask a popular local business if you can do a cross promotion with them for a giveaway. Sponsor a raffle prize and require people to sign up for both you and your partner’s mailing list to enter. Whether you give away a product or a service, this is a great way to collect email addresses to grow your email list.
For example, if you own a tow company, connect with a mom and pop convenience store to offer a raffle for one plowing service. If you are an acupuncturist, ask the owner of a natural health store if they would host a raffle for one free acupuncture session.
5. Maintain Consistent Branded Signage
Signage for your company is an investment. However, it is one of the most important aspects of creating your brand identity. You want all of your signage, both on and offline, to be consistent. Your logo and business colors should be the same on your website as they are on your business cards, brochures and other print materials, and any outside signage. If you have a storefront, LED sign in a business park, small billboard, street sign, poster, etc., these should all maintain visual consistency so that people are able recognize your brand regardless of where it is represented.
6. Leverage Local and Industry Influencers
Collaborations with bloggers and influencers is another offline marketing idea to get the word out about your business. This strategy leverages influential bloggers in your industry or well-known individuals in your community, such as minor league sports players, other small business owners, heads of prominent organizations, or journalists and newscasters.
Microinfluencers are commonly known to promote products or services across their blog and other online channels. However, influencer marketing campaigns can happen offline as well. They might pass out free samples of your product at community events or during the course of their regular day-to-day activities. Or, you might ask them to wear swag containing your company logo, like t-shirts and baseball caps.
Ultimately, effective marketing must encompass thoughtful strategies both on and offline. So, in conjunction with online efforts, smart and carefully planned offline marketing ideas may hold the key to bringing your small business to the next level.