When you’re promoting an online business, whether it’s a shopify e-commerce store, SAAS business or blog it’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of SEO and online promotion and forget about traditional, real-world methods of promotion.
These can be effective though, and worth considering when marketing your business. Not everybody is online 24/7 and reaching a broad audience offline can represent great value for money when compared with the increasingly competitive world of Google and Facebook advertising.
To help you find customers your online competitors are missing here are some ideas for offline promotion methods that could help take your online company to the next level.
- Leaflet drops
If you offer a mainstream or localised service or product a leaflet drop can provide great exposure. There’s lots of companies out there that will design and distribute your leaflets or flyers for you at a competitive price. Just make sure the design is bold and eye-catching with a clear call to action. When ordering your print it’s important to understand the difference between leaflets and flyers – leaflets are typically folded (like takeaway menus) whilst flyers are a single A5 or A6 paper or card sheet. If you can’t fit your proposition onto a double sided flyer it might be worth reviewing your messaging; this kind of promotion works best when it’s clear, concise and direct.
2. Direct mail
Direct mail (or junk mail, if you prefer!) is far less prevalent than in its heyday, when dozens of circulars could land on your doormat daily. This means there’s less direct mail fatigue and getting your materials in front of potential customers is easier than ever. Similarly, to a leaflet drop, there’s lots of direct mail companies (known as mailing houses) that can organise the whole campaign for you, or you can buy targeted lists and manage the campaign yourself. Direct mail allows you to be super targeted – if you offer home improvement services buy a list of recent house purchases, or if your product or service is super high-end (for example, luxury car hire) buy a list of recipients in an affluent postcode. It’s worth including a discount code in your sales literature so you can track the success of the campaign, and tweak and repeat if necessary.
3. Print stickers
Everybody loves stickers! They can be great marketing as people stick them to laptops, bags and cases or even cars, resulting in an army of moving billboards continually promoting your product or service. Make sure you create a design that people are going to love and be happy to stick everywhere. Slogans and eye-catching graphics work well! There’s lots of sticker printing companies online that will turn your vision into reality, for surprisingly low prices. When it comes to stickers, you’re best giving them away – include them with orders, or give them out at events, trade fairs and conferences. Reddit used stickers heavily to promote their website in the early days with huge success, so why not emulate them.
4. Posters and signs
If you have a customer facing premises or office why not take advantage of the real estate at your disposal to promote your company. This works best on high-streets or roads with heavy pedestrian or vehicle traffic but is low cost so worth trying regardless of your location. Install some permanent signage with your website URL, or simply print posters or window stickers to display in your windows. You can easily and cheaply change these to keep up with branding changes, trends, or sales promotions. You might be surprised how many customers it will bring you.
5. Vehicle graphics
If you drive for work you’d be mad not to take advantage of this with vehicle graphics. Vans provide the most marketing real estate, but cars can be great as well, and are less in your face. Lots of companies offer full graphic wraps for vans and cars, which you can design yourself or delegate to a professional. Full wraps are eye-catching (and have the dual purpose of protecting your paintwork), but can be expensive, and may not be a great solution if the vehicle is your primary form of transport (will your kids be embarrassed being picked up from school in a fully sign written car?). A subtler or cheaper alternative is a rear window sticker with your website url, or social media profile. You can also purchase magnetic signs, which are great if you’d like the option of removing the sign as and when you please.
6. Business cards
Business cards are an old-school way of giving out your company details, but still have a place today. Make sure your business cards are high-quality, and nicely designed with your target audience in mind. Some more memorable cards include special custom shaped designs, or high-tech cards with NFC technology. Gimmick or not, it’s a good idea to always keep a handful of business cards with you – you never know when you’re going to bump into a potentially valuable contact. Many of the most lucrative connections have been made in the doctors waiting room or picking up the kids from school. Business cards get cheaper with volume so don’t be shy – it’s worth printing a VOIP number though, in case you move premises and end up with an inactive phone line.
7. Magazine advertising
Though magazine circulation isn’t what it was ten years ago, there’s still a healthy demographic of people who prefer to relax with a paper publication rather than browsing on a phone or tablet. This means that magazine readership, especially in smaller niches, are extremely engaged – perfect for marketing to! The drop in print media circulation means that ad pricing is at an all-time low, and the publication may even include a digital version of the ad with a valuable SEO link, or include you in their next email campaign. Print buying is highly negotiable, so never accept ‘rate card’ – haggle for a discount, or try and get additional online exposure thrown in.