When you read the mainstream business press, all they ever seem to talk about are the wonders of online marketing. Whether itâ€™s SEO, big data, or social media, it seems the marketing world has changed on a permanent basis. But, is all this discussion a little weighted in favour of the new school ways of thinking? Traditional, offline marketing techniques are just as important as online tactics. And, often, they are more effective. Here are a few old school techniques that can still do the business for your enterprise.
People still like to do business face to face, which is why online marketing will never replace the traditional method of networking. The online world can be an anonymous, bland experience. No matter how many photos of yourself are on your business pages, complete with an intimate history of your life and passions.
Getting out there helps people put a face to your name, and prompts more interesting conversations. Itâ€™s also easier to get introductions to other people who might have need of your services.
Try heading out and getting involved with your local community business events. Start going to charity functions, and meet as many people as you can. You will be limiting yourself a lot by keeping your affairs firmly online.
Launching a new product or service? Then think about holding an event to kick things off in the best possible way. Invite local business people, and get in touch with local journalists to come and cover your event. Local media loves stories about new businesses in their area, and most will do anything to get a free ticket and glass of wine.
Not only will an event be handy for getting local exposure, but it will also help you meet people that you wouldnâ€™t have on an average day. This can lead to more business opportunities, new ideas, and stronger ties with the community.
You should also try trade shows. These events are full of people who have an interest in the industry you serve. There is no better place for getting valuable exposure from journalists and potential customers.
Branding is an essential part of any business, so make sure you have a decent logo, and a catchy and relevant name that encapsulates your business. And, make sure that all that branding is everywhere on your printed marketing materials. Letters, invoices, envelopes – they can all make excellent marketing tools and remind people of your existence.
The more places you put your logo, the more times people will remember you. Letâ€™s say you do some work for someone in the summer of one year. The following April they are doing their tax return, and they see your logo on an invoice. It could well remind them of the great job you did, and prompt them to pick up the phone. Without your headed invoice, though, it will just be another set of numbers that wonâ€™t attract a second glance.
The traditional business card is still an essential part of the business personâ€™s makeup. Always carry them with you as you have no idea where or when something might crop up. Â
Donâ€™t underestimate the impact signage can have on your business, either. Excellent graphics in a shop window will draw the eye, and entice more people into the store. Even a simple â€˜Openâ€™ sign can work – itâ€™s welcoming and gives people confidence to walk in.
Getting signs out and about in a town centre is also an excellent technique to get visitors to your business. How many times have you stopped and read a chalkboard or seen someone carrying an enormous â€˜Massive Sale Now Onâ€™ sign? Take a look over at www.jansen-display.co.uk for some more clever display ideas.
Flyers and brochures work, too. Sure, many people will file them straight into the nearest bin, but they tend to have a greater hit rate than the average social media post.
Billboards, TV spots, and radio ads – they all still work. Itâ€™s why so many of the biggest businesses in the world still use them. They can be expensive to produce, of course – but local radio stations, for example, can be a cost-effective way to get more customers.
If budget is a concern, you could even try some guerilla marketing techniques. Unusual acts tend to attract attention – even if they are shocking. Sure, you will divide an audience, and it may not be suitable if you run an accountancy firm. But, guerilla marketing can work as a cheap way of advertising your business. Take a look here for some inspiration – www.hotfrog.co.uk.
Donâ€™t forget about direct mail, either. Despite the rise of email marketing, direct mail is still a valuable tool for marketers in the offline world. The trick is to limit your leads to the right market. So, if you are selling pairs of old-fashioned slippers, make sure your campaigns go out to senior citizens, rather than teenagers. As long as you are careful with your demographics and segmentation, direct mail will bring you results.
There s a good reason so many companies use telephone cold calling. Despite the negative press, the process still works and gets a lot of leads. Again, itâ€™s important to target the right people – and act in an ethical way, of course. But some of the biggest companies still use cold calling to develop and warm up potential customers. If it can tie into your business, thereâ€™s no reason it canâ€™t work for you, either.
You can also use the door-to-door method, which will give you some great results. You have to hire the right people and train them well, of course. There have been plenty of cases of pushy salespeople damaging brand names by using underhand tactics. But, plenty of successful companies still employ thousands of people to go door to door because it gets them results.
So, as you can see, there are plenty of old school marketing techniques that are still valid – and valuable to businesses. And, it is likely they will be around for some time yet. No matter what sort of business you run, it can benefit from some – or maybe all – of these tactics. Give them a go and let me know how you get on!