In a world where there are more and more online-only businesses, offline marketing’s influence is seemingly waning. However, innovative offline marketing ideas can still pack a punch if your marketing team is creative enough. From old-school marketing tactics used for centuries to daring guerilla marketing, advertising offline can actually improve your online business.
“Warm calls” vs. spam e-mails
As the 1990s rolled in, people got received fewer and fewer unwanted calls from marketers but their spam folders on PCs started filling up. However, picking up the phone to call your customers has dramatically changed at the beginning of the 21st century.
These “warm calls” are trying to establish a good rapport with customers and users by focusing on the positive aspects of online trade. A discount or a special available for all sounds nice but what if the management of a shipping website called you and personally offered you a better deal? You would certainly be more inclined to say “yes!”
People still read newspapers
Some estimates show that at least a third of people over 65 have never used the Internet. They have noticed the online buzz but they still prefer to learn about the latest development by watching TV and reading the newspapers. The latter seems like an age-old medium but were that true, media corporations would cease their printing altogether, which is not the case.
Whether old or young, people still read the daily papers and magazines. Paperback advertising niche is still very much topical, so you could insert an “offline link” in the form of an ad in the local papers. Your competitors have probably abandoned this form of advertisement, so readers will only have your web address for a particular product or service they require.
Tell your success story
If you have a thriving online business but don’t feel as if you have “clicked” with shoppers in the real world, then it’s time to go on air. There are countless radio and TV show you or your members of staff can appear on to talk about the success story of your company.
Such appearances will raise your brand awareness among customers national or in particular parts of the country, depending on the network’s coverage. You can stream the interview on social media to further increase its outreach by fusing offline and online marketing.
How you address the public
Speaking of the media, you will need to be on good terms with them, as they will advertise your business for free. The local news crews will turn up for any press conferences you organize to address consumers and the public. You don’t have to advertise your company overtly like mentioning the web address; just repeat the company’s names multiple times and let the host do the same.
These addresses are going to be broadcasted live, so it’s worth investing in a media wall with the company logo printed on it. Once you create media tensioned banners and portable backdrops, you will be ready to address the consumers any time, any place. You will use these rollups more than you expected for all sorts of offline promotional activities.
Yes, business cards are still a thing
The media wall is part of your brand’s visual identity offline. In this sense, no method of advertising is considered outdated, not even giving out business cards. Back in the day, a business card served as contact info but nowadays, this piece of laminated cardboard has a different purpose.
Apart from the usual data (the address, phone number, fax, e-mail, website, etc.), a business card has your online business’ logo. This helps business partners recognize your brand online, as humans are visual beings. For this reason, the business card’s design needs to be representative and printed on quality paper.
Use promo products whenever possible
A promotional product is an ad banner’s real-life equivalent. In fact, product samples and freebies have been around for ages, ever since barter started in the year 6,000 BC. The fact is, people love free stuff and they will rarely refuse a free shirt or a lighter, even if it has a brand logo printed on it.
Just because you run your business online, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t organize giveaways. A trade fair or a conference is an ideal opportunity to present potential shoppers with a line of promotional products with your company’s name on them.
The range of products that can be branded is endless and it includes pens, notepads, mugs, bags, mousepads, cutting boards, hats, sweatshirts; you name it! A short online poll will determine what it is your customers want and then it’s time to start branding.
Use handouts to increase reach
Every person on the planet can open your online shopping platform, browse it, and hopefully order something. However, they first have to find you on Google, which can be problematic for companies that have many competitors, so their website is displayed on the second page of search results.
A great way to make up for poor SEO is to hand out flyers and discount coupons. For example, if you run an online hardware store, you can hire a promoter to hand out flyers near large DIY centers. This will increase the outreach of your online enterprise, as shoppers find it hard to resist that “25% off” coupon.
There is such a thing as a free lunch
Handouts are ideal for increasing traffic on your website but you’ll need more to attract business partners. Your online business needs to constantly grow, either in volume or in the range of goods you offer.
If you meet a potential business partner at an industry event and hand them your business card, don’t hesitate to invite them for a quick drink or even better, an informal lunch. They will probably jump at the opportunity and you’ll have a chance to layout your business model after the dessert. For an online entrepreneur, there actually is such a thing as a free lunch but perhaps it’s called differently: an offline lunch.
Offline marketing might be slowly giving way to online advertising but it’s valuable, even for an online business. A good offline marketing strategy ensures your brand’s awareness in the real world, increasing its outreach and building you a reputation.