According to a recent post from HubSpot, it’s estimated that a little more than 3/4 of the US population will be online by the end of 2012. It doesn’t matter if you run a small brick-and-mortar store, or a strictly-online company – that’s good news for all of us.
But before you refocus all of your effort and money into guest posting or Google ads, think about those numbers again. If 3/4 of the population is online, that means that 1/4 of the population isn’t. No matter how many Facebook ads you buy, you’ll never reach them.
So between that 1/4 of the population, and the rest of us who just need to take breaks from our computers, you can miss promotional opportunities if you only focus on online marketing tactics.
While I’m not downplaying the importance of social media and blogging, I’d also like to give you some offline marketing tips.
1. Equip you and your employees with business cards
Yes, business cards are still relevant. And no, not just for you to win a sandwich at Potbelly’s. You just never know when you might run into a potential client.
Conversations happen everywhere: the coffee shop, the grocery store, the mall. But if you leave a conversation by saying, “You definitely need to check out my company: Google us!” I can guarantee that your conversion rate is lousy.
Handing someone a business card, though, guarantees that they will look at your name at least once more. May they toss the card? Sure. But most will stick it in their wallet or pocket to glance at later.
Even if you run an online only business or blog, connections can (and will) be forged and fostered in the real world. Going to some kind of convention? You need a business card.
2. Turn your physical property into advertisements
Own or rent an entire building? Make sure that you place a sign outside so that everyone who drives by knows what company resides there. Frequent passersby will soon have you company engrained in their minds and be quick to recommend you to others.
Many of us have cars. You could turn your entire car into an advertisement, but for those of us that want to choose a tamer route, you can equip yourself with car magnets or bumper stickers with your logo, website, and other contact information.
Bootstrapping a startup or just running a blog? Buy yourself some custom stickers and slap them on your laptop and bags. The next time that you’re coding away in a coffee shop, or writing at a diner, everyone that passes by your table will see your logo.
3. Hand out customized promotional products
Attending local community fairs, festivals, trade shows, or conventions is awesome for networking. If you’ve signed yourself up for a booth, make sure that you have plenty of branded items with you.
The simple fact is that people love free stuff. It doesn’t matter if they need it or not: if it’s free, they’ll take it. Practical items like pens, tote bags, and water bottles get picked up quickly, and you can exchange them for an email address or listening to your sales pitch.
Even if potential customers don’t bite immediately, they’ll still take your brand home with them. Consistently using these items will familiarize them with your company, and when they’re in the market for your products…well, you can guess who they are going to call.
Until every single man, woman, and child is online and nobody ever leaves their homes, we can’t abandon offline marketing. After all, if the mediums were no longer relevant, they wouldn’t continue to exist. In fact, as growing online marketing explodes, businesses that opt for additional offline marketing might be the ones that stay on top.
Do you still use offline marketing? If so, what techniques?