If you have a brick-and-mortar business, say a store that sells products or an office that offers services, should you rely on online or offline marketing? The short answer is that you should do both. While digital marketing may be a cost-effective and measurable way to get the name of your business in the public eye, it should not be the only way that you promote your business.
The reason why offline marketing is often considered expendable is that it is often difficult to get metrics on your promotions. While many online marketing methods can be tracked with remarkable precision, many offline marketing costs are hard to measure. For instance, if you go to a paid business seminar and network with a large number of people in your industry, you can't quantify the value of your new contacts. It's hard to measure your ROI by comparing how much you paid for the seminar with the number of new relationships you established.
While there is plenty of information available on digital marketing, many business owners are a little confused about what steps to take to develop their offline marketing campaigns. With that in mind, let's take a look at three simple ways to improve your offline marketing.
First, attend trade shows.
At trade shows, you can introduce your products to a large number of people. It's always a good idea to invest in custom tents for your business and plenty of high-quality signage to attract people to your booth. You should also spend some of your marketing dollars on getting promotional giveaways, as well as having plenty of flyers, brochures, and business cards available to hand out.
Besides offering you the chance to personally introduce a large number of people in a short amount of time to your products or services, trade shows also give you an opportunity to develop deeper insights into the attitude, opinions, and buying behavior of your target audience.
Second, network with others as much as possible.
You can network by going to trade shows, signing up for seminars, showing up at county fairs, and being a regular attendee at business meetups. You can also join the local chamber of commerce, community organizations, and international service clubs.
Although definitely old school, networking is far better than social media when it comes to building business relationships. There is a huge difference between chatting with someone on Facebook via comments or instant messenger and meeting them in person.
While it's fun to meet people who share similar interests, networking isn't easy. For one thing, it requires a huge time commitment; and for another, there is no instant gratification. It's hard to assess whether an event you attended was worth the time and cost. Sometimes it's possible to enjoy a quick rapport with someone who can help you grow your business and sometimes you need to run into them a few times to develop a friendship. Sometimes you might meet the owner of a big business who doesn't send you a single lead and sometimes you can meet someone who is just starting out who refers a large number of customers to you.
When networking, it's important to create an elevator pitch. Since the average person usually has an attention span of fewer than 10 seconds, you need to introduce yourself, your business, and the value your business offers in a few sentences.
Third, print out your marketing message whenever possible.
Finally, if you deliver merchandise to customers, then you should spend some time learning about package printing. Don't simply send out plain packages or brown boxes with shipping labels. A few well-chosen words on your boxes can make a huge difference in improving the customer experience and stimulating return business.
In conclusion, when you run a small business, you might be tempted to cut all your costs across the board if your budget gets tight. You might also want to spend more time at work rather than spending a large amount of your precious time traveling to trade shows or attending networking events. However, one aspect of your business that you want to be generous with is your marketing. In fact, you should allocate as much time as possible and whatever funds you can afford to market your business. Here's the thing: unless you are constantly marketing your business, you are reducing your revenues. It's simple logic--if people don't know about your business, they can't buy your products. You have to go out of your way to inform them about your business through marketing