By Emily Wilson
As a small business, you have to do everything in your power to get ahead. You are, after all, facing conglomerates, multinational corporations, they are all vying for the attention of your customers. That’s why you need to utilize your strengths. You have flexibility, you can focus on one point more easily, and you have more control, and fewer bureaucratic issues. So, with all that being said, today we will focus on the marketing aspect of this issue.
Namely, large corporations have greater resources to expend on marketing. What they lack, as we’ve said, is flexibility. This is where you come in. Sure, SEO, setting up social media, these are all useful strategies that can help to reach out to more customers. However, you should not forget about offline marketing (or, regular marketing). It seems this avenue of advertisement has fallen out of favor with people, and now it’s up to you to bring them back. In a way, it’s good they are not as popular as before since that means you have less competition on that front. But, without further ado, let’s get to the best offline marketing strategies for your small business.
Conferences and seminars
One of the best ways you can get yourself out there is by attending conferences, seminars, and trade shows. There are a couple of added benefits besides marketing with these, making them a great choice.
First, you get the amazing opportunity to network. Know that networking gets your name out there, it helps you meet the right people, move in the right circles, it helps you become part of a certain business community. It allows you to meet potential business partners, great suppliers, and big clients. So, there may come a time where somebody sends some extra work your way, just because they liked you and they already have too much on their plate. Or they may get you out of a bind if you get in trouble.
Another great benefit of conferences and seminars is, of course, you actually improving your skills and building your knowledge base. No matter if you yourself go to these events, or if you send one of your employees, the results will be the same.
Offer free stuff
Everybody likes free stuff, it’s part of human nature. So, if you’re a new business, or if you have a new line of products or services to offer, perhaps handing out some freebies may get you some attention. Here is what you should do. First, choose a high-traffic, popular location. Then, see if there are any licenses and paperwork you need to get in order to set up an event there. Once you get that out of the way, think of an interesting booth design, and just set up shop at your desired location. Once you’re there, hand out free stuff.
Hand out products that you make, be it small cups of coffee, plastic cups of artisanal beer (remember the licensing stuff), the clothing you make… If you offer services, like tax and financial advice for example, offer free five-minute one on one session right then and there. On the other hand, if you truly can’t offer your goods or services in this manner, maybe just offer free stuff with your company logo on them. T-shirts, coffee cups, muffins that have your logo on the wrapper…
Old-school offline marketing
It seems marketing is completely online now, and everything we considered real marketing is gone. Of course, that is not exactly true, it just seems that way since we all seem to live our lives exclusively online. Trust us, the days of banners, signs, TV-adverts, business cards, they are still here. They are just…underrepresented. Don’t neglect regular kinds of marketing, they offer line of advertising that is still very valid.
So, hand out things like business cards, or get a sign made. If you can afford it, get a commercial running on TV, or take out an ad in the paper. Contact the pros at Bannamesh, and get quality banners and signs made, it’s important to get your name out there in every way you can.
Finally, we have guerrilla marketing on our list. Now, guerrilla marketing is a very special and specific kind of marketing. Namely, it’s like guerrilla warfare – fast, efficient, unique, and cheap. By cheap, we mean you have a limited amount of resources, and you want to create the greatest amount of impact you can. What makes guerrilla marketing special is that you don’t really need money, what you do need is an imagination.
So, for example, guerrilla marketing encompasses street art, offline and online scavenger hunts, piquing people’s curiosity… There are many unique ideas and styles, one of them being stealth marketing. This is a special “product placement” all around your area. Stickers, graffiti, placement of your company logo in certain (legal) areas that may attract the attention of people.
And there you have it folks, a couple of ways you can boost the marketing efforts of your small business. Just because everybody switched to online marketing doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to only that avenue of advertising. Utilize other aspects, learn how to network, attend conferences and seminars, visit trade shows, met the right people. Try your luck with guerrilla marketing, hand out free stuff and attract attention, and dip your toes into old, pre-internet era advertisement.
About the Author
Emily is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing. Researching, exploring and writing are her favorite things to do. Besides that, she loves animals, music and traveling.”