We live in a digital world, so it’s easy to get wrapped up in liking, sharing, tweeting, and pinning. But it’s also important to get back to the basics because, though it feels like it sometimes, not everyone is online.
Most of the information we need is only a Google search away, but there’s something to be said about seeing and experiencing things in the real world. This is part of the reason things like billboards, posters and flyers are still commonplace.
In some ways, offline marketing can be more important than online marketing, because it brings your brand to people in a tangible way that’s easy for them to remember and more fun for them to interact with than just clicking on a screen. It’s time to take your brand to the people! And, I’ve got a few ideas to help you do just that.
- Direct mail
The best way to reach people is by getting in their homes. Not in a creepy way, though—I’m talking about using direct mailing. With direct mailing, you can get your brand information in the people’s hands.
It lets you reach pretty much anyone because almost every consumer has an address. I don’t know about you, but I tend to keep mail for future reference, which extends the shelf life of the message. Plus, I am more likely to check out something I received in the mail over my e-mail, because things get lost easier in the sea of electronic messages I receive. Best of all, this is a super versatile marketing tactic. You can invite people to events, send them coupons, or ask them to connect with you on social media—all through direct mail!
- Press release
The best marketing is the free, word of mouth variety. But people can’t talk about you if they don’t know you exist. It’s important to alert people about all the cool things your brand is doing.
For instance, do you have a unique startup story? Are you raising awareness for a special cause? What about that upcoming promotional event—are you donating part of the proceeds to a local charity? Write a press release to contact local newspapers, television stations, and radio stations to help spread the word.
- Promotional events
Just because you sent out flyers and issued a press release about your brand doesn’t mean you’re done. Go to a conference or trade show; have an in-store promotion, community cookout, or neighborhood block party. Now that you’ve got people in front of you, talk to as many of them as you can. Set a goal to increase sales by a certain amount, signing up more people for your service, or gathering more contact information for your newsletter. Letting people get to know you will make them feel connected to you and your brand.
Make sure they have something to remember you by when they leave. Pass out key chains, pens, or pencils at the conference or trade show. For community events, set up a photo backdrop, print out photos and put them in a customized frame with your logo on them. Or, give out buttons, cups, or hats as prizes to fun games. People will remember the fun they had when they see their swag at home later.
- Mobile billboard
Instead of going to people’s homes, you can go everywhere else by turning your vehicle into a mobile billboard. Get signs and decals to put on your vehicle advertising your business or brand, and hit the road.
Think of all of those people traveling to and from work at the same time you do, and imagine all of the bumper stickers, vanity plates, and window decals you notice in traffic. I can’t even count how many of those stick families I’ve seen on the back of people’s cars! Now, picture how much exposure you would get with a rear window design or custom paint job. I know I would notice a unique design on someone’s rear window if I were stuck behind it in traffic. Be sure to have matching signs and decals at your business to have a consistent message.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good discount. It’s a sweet feeling to look at your receipt to see how much you could have paid versus how much you actually paid. Offering a discount could convince new customers to take a chance on you and reward existing customers, too.
Still, there’s a wrong and right way to do discounts. Never make the customer feel pressured, and don’t bring up a discount as a last ditch effort to save the sale. It will make the customer lose trust in your business and your brand. Instead, you can build trust by explaining the sale prior to negotiations, and letting the customer know you are available to help without hovering.
As you can see, there is value to offline marketing. In today’s multimedia world, people are receiving information through so many avenues.
Offline marketing is another way to touch customers you ordinarily wouldn’t have reached. And, if done properly, it can link customers to your online marketing, too, such as your website and social media accounts. Building a brand takes time, but hopefully I’ve given you a few more tools to add to your toolbox.