All businesses large and small must have a vibrant online presence these days, including social media and content marketing. But your business can benefit as well from a variety of offline marketing efforts—tactics and maneuvers that don’t cost a lot of money, but help keep brand awareness high within your business community.
Here are six tips for luring customers to your business and boosting awareness of your brand that complement your online marketing strategy:
1. Scatter your business cards far and wide. Even in our digital era, printed business cards are useful for keeping your business top-of-mind. The trick is distributing them with greater frequency and in locations that might not appear at first blush as promising venues.
Planning to dine out at a prestigious local restaurant this week? Leave a business card along with your tip. Ask your employees to pin a business card up on bulletin boards located in the various businesses they frequent. Be sure to generously distribute them at any trade shows you attend.
2. Get actively involved in trade shows and associations. Business still thrives on relationships. Whether you’re promoting a product or simply attending, trade shows are a great place to forge new partnerships, attract prospective customers and just generally get more people aware of your brand.
Many trade associations distribute publications offering industry updates and insights. Contact the editors of these publications and see if they’re looking for short, insightful articles about new trends and activities (most are). Then try your hand at writing an article, submitting it and (if it’s accepted) politely insist on including your byline and title.
3. Build a reputation as an industry thought leader. With a few publications and/or speaking engagements under your belt, you’re well on the way to becoming a thought leader in your particular industry. Granted, as a CEO or business owner, you don’t have a lot of free time—but landing one or two speaking gigs at a high-profile industry event is worth its weight in marketing gold.
This works even on a more modest scale. Always “be on the lookout for offline opportunities such as local radios and seminars,” advises content marketer Christopher Jan Benitez. “You can also offer a free consultation day at your office or leave bits of useful information in flyers, posters, and your branded merchandise.”
4. Explore giving your product away for free. It’s not a business practice that should be adopted on a daily basis, but anytime you find an opportunity to offer your product as a top prize in a community contest—or donate your services for a worthy cause—you’re generating goodwill within the community and increasing awareness of your brand.
Additionally, look into cross-promotional opportunities with businesses that complement your own. It’s another way of getting prospective customers to think about your business differently, and to establish a presence in an unexpected way.
5. Leverage your expertise to appear on local media. Local and regional media—print, TV, radio, electronic—needs a constant infusion of new stories. As you build your reputation, reach out to local columnists, news anchors and others you admire, offering your expertise to give a local slant to national or international business news.
Building such a relationship doesn’t happen overnight; it requires persistence and an ability to frame yourself as a credible and persuasive source. The good news is—once you’re in, requests for appearances will likely multiply, expanding the range of awareness of both you and your company.
6. Track your company’s events in photographs and video. Images remain a very powerful marketing tool. So while guest speaking engagements, community activities and other events happen offline (that is, in real life), sharing photos and videos of them are often wildly popular on social media. “Real-life photos [and video] from the offline world show the personality of your company and increase online user engagement,” notes marketing strategist Jayson DeMers.
Given the right amount of effort and persistence, offline activities can spur greater momentum for your overall marketing strategies.
Want more advice on sales and marketing or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!