Chances are, if you’ve asked Google for ideas on marketing your small business, you’ve been told a thousand times that social media is where you should be. But, what about offline marketing efforts? Yes, social media is important for marketing a business, but that doesn’t mean you should put all of your attention on Facebook and Twitter. Here are five small business marketing ideas for the offline world:
Don’t wait for the community to come to you, go out and make your business a part of the community! The opportunities for small business owners to get involved are endless. May regional organizations and the local chamber of commerce will usually hold annual awards recognizing small businesses of various sizes. Pitch your business as a winner of this year’s award. It may feel awkward nominating your own business, but don’t let this bother you. Many other business owners do the same thing in order to build a strong name in the community, and there’s no better way to do so than to win an award honoring how great your company is. Another way to get involved in the community is to volunteer for local organizations, like the American Marketing Association or Association for Corporate Growth. Not only will you earn valuable experience that could help you better operate your business, but you’ll also connect with other like-minded professionals.
If you’re not finding many relevant events to attend, try planning your own local event. Partner up with other local businesses for cross-promotion and put together a charity fundraiser or simply a small business networking event. If you do not have a brick and mortar location or yours is not large enough for an event, use websites like VenueViking or Unique Venues to find a space in your price range and desired location. Reach out to past customers, potential customers, and other business owners in the community to attend and spread the word. No matter which type of event you decide to host, use it as a networking opportunity.
Give it away.
Be willing to give products or services away for free or at a discount to attract new customers. Before images of throwing money down the drain flash through your head, remember this isn’t giving away free product for the sake of doing so. This is again helping you get your business’s name out in the community, and tempting new users to try it with a free or discounted offer. Whether this means attending local events like farmer’s markets or charity races and handing out products or discounts, or holding an in-store giveaway contest is up to you. Regardless of how you decide to do it, make the giveaway enticing enough to get people to try your business.
Print with a purpose.
Although you may think printed promotional materials are old-fashioned and ineffective, that is truly not the case. Printed materials such as flyers, brochures and pamphlets offer you an opportunity to make a meaningful impact. Using these materials, be informative, give your brand a personality, and create an eye-catching design. Don’t forget to extend this mindset to your business cards, which should carry as much personality as the rest of your promotional materials. Visit local businesses that could attract similar customers and ask if you can leave some promotional materials on display. Don’t forget to bring these printed materials to any networking event you attend.
Strengthen existing relationships.
Many small businesses rely on referrals through word of mouth marketing to build their business. A great way to increase these referrals is to strengthen your relationship with existing customers. Send hand-written cards to valuable customers around the holidays and close to their birthday if you have that information available. Always follow up after a sale to express your gratitude and check in to see if there are any issues with their purchase. If you’re in a brick and mortar store, spend face time with customers and get to know them instead of rushing them out the door after a sale. It’s these small touches that customers remember long after a sale, and that will lead to higher referrals.
Putting yourself out there can be tough for some people, but it’s essential to succeed as a small business owner. Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are as a leader with this free assessment.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community