Most talk today about marketing tends to focus on digital and online marketing, but offline marketing tactics are still incredibly effective. Offline marketing may not be sexy or cool, but it works.
Don't get me wrong, online channels are indeed essential for a cohesive marketing plan, but you can't forget about offline marketing tactics.
Remember that most successful brands out there started with offline marketing tactics. A lot of them began with referrals, tradeshows, and direct mailers.
In today's article, we'll talk about the best offline marketing channels that can help grow your small business.
Let's jump to it!
Almost all of us, 92% to be exact, trust referrals from the people we know personally.
Here are some of the great attributes of referrals:
- Referrals from ideal clients tend to yield more ideal clients.
- They have a high conversion rate (compared to other leads).
- They tend to be less expensive than other lead generation channels.
Referrals trigger word-of-mouth that spreads like wildfire. Having a strong referral marketing strategy in place to bring in new customers to your business is a must.
Referral Partners (Centers of Influence)
What are referral partners?
Referral partners are people who are working with your customers but don't compete with you. They complement your work and are already working with your ideal clients. They can send you new customers consistently.
People will also refer to referral partners as centers of influence and strategic partners.
Take some time to think about who is working with your clients that doesn't compete with you and start reaching out to people. It takes time to build these relationships, but if you find the right 3-5 referral partners, they can be a significant source of new business.
We've all heard of business networking.
Networking is the process of getting out and meeting people face to face.
We've all run into the guy at our local chamber event who's running around handing out business cards, that' s not networking.
I'd encourage you to get very strategic about your networking. Find events, associations, or groups that have a lot of your ideal clients or a lot of your ideal referral partners.
Rather than "spraying and praying," take the sniper approach and be much more strategic about where you choose to network.
The idea of speaking or public speaking in marketing to grow your business is simple - when you talk, people listen.
I know that the idea of speaking in public is scary, but it is an excellent way to build new business connections.
The primary goals of speaking to generate new business are:
- Educate and engage your target market.
- Build trust and credibility.
- Nurture relationships that can later turn into sales.
When speaking, my goal is to focus on providing as much value as I can. I take the last few minutes to provide an irresistible offer that supports my speaking topic. The offer is always something to help the audience implement or support what I covered.
Your goals may vary, and that's OK. I would just urge you to know what you want to accomplish by speaking and have a way to track your effectiveness.
Speaking in public will take some time to perfect. Heroic Public Speaking has some great content to help mold you into an amazing speaker.
Sending direct mail may be the oldest trick in the book, but it has still proven to be very effective.
Direct mail is not a dead offline marketing channel!
For local businesses, Every Door Direct from USPS can be a great way to use direct mail to generate leads cost-effectively.
If you choose to use direct mail, make sure you have a way to track its effectiveness so you can compare it to your other marketing.
Using call tracking or setting up UTM Codes are simple ways to track your direct mail results.
Trade Shows or Events
Another way to refill your sales funnel, boost sales, bring in new clients, and build an email list is by exhibiting at trade shows or events.
I know that exhibiting at trade shows or events is not cheap, so it's critical to be prepared and have a plan of attack for what you want to accomplish.
Check out our article about how to generate leads from trade shows and conferences to learn how to prepare, execute, and follow up at a trade show.
If you like watching television, listening to the radio, or attending a trade show, then you've encountered sponsorships.
Sponsorship is a form of offline marketing, often considered PR, where a business provides support, either monetary or other resources, for an event, venture, organization, person, or charity to obtain favorable publicity or recognition.
A business may display a company logo and brand name, with specific mention that it has provided support.
Here are some benefits of sponsorship marketing:
- It helps increase brand awareness.
- It generates public interest, heightens brand exposure, and positive publicity.
- It helps generate more qualified leads and drives sales.
- It creates competitor differentiation.
- It promotes corporate social responsibility.
- It enhances business, consumer, and VIP Relations.
Co-branding or Cross-promotions
Cobranding or cross-promotions is a type of offline marketing that uses a partnership between at least two different businesses, which are independent providers of goods or services.
For example, as I write this article, I have an email in my inbox from Redbox that offers a cross-promotion from T-Mobile. As a Redbox customer, I can reach out to T-Mobile and get a Visa gift card of $150 per line if I sign up.
Think about this for a minute. Redbox and T-Mobile are in two completely different industries, but this still works. Every Redbox customer has a mobile phone, so it's still a good market for T-Mobile. Rebox is probably making some money if I sign up through this offer, but they look good to their customers either way by offering them something of value.
If you are seriously considering co-branding as an offline marketing channel, then it's important to note both its advantages and disadvantages:
- Shared resources.
- Lower costs mean higher margins.
- Boost in brand awareness, especially if both brands are popular.
- Shared risks.
- More sales and better customer relations
- Easier financing.
- Both brands are affected if anything goes wrong.
- Co-branding might be positive or negative in the consumer's mind, which results in a lower result.
- If one brand co-brands with multiple brands, it reduces itself, which damages the other brand's image as well.
- Consumers may prefer the bundling instead of the individual brand, which can result in value decline when the co-branding ends.
- Consumers may not pay attention to the individual brand collectively, which can result in failed co-branding efforts.
Canvassing (or door knocking) can be an effective offline marketing tactic to attract potential customers.
It's not uncommon for political groups, charitable institutions, and religious groups to spend time and resources canvassing to achieve their goals. I see realtors and home service businesses take advantage of it too.
The great thing about canvassing is it provides you the ability to have a face to face conversation with someone. Face to face is still one of the most effective ways to build relationships with people.
Print advertising can still be an effective channel for certain businesses. You've got to pick very carefully though because print can be expensive.
Having said that, if you can find a targeted publication that reaches your ideal clients, then it's something to consider.
Similar to direct mail, I think it's critical you implement ways to track the effectiveness of your print ads. Otherwise, it will be challenging to determine whether it's a viable marketing channel for your business.
And those are the offline marketing channels that you can use to grow your small business.
I want to remind you that both online and offline marketing can help your business. There are things that online marketing can’t do, and there are things that offline marketing can’t do.
For the best results, combine both online and offline marketing tactics to achieve your goals.
To learn more about offline marketing tactics, check out the recommended resources below.
Recommended Offline Marketing Resources
Offline Marketing: Still Beneficial, Still Relevant
25 Ingenious Offline Marketing Examples
35 of the Best Offline Marketing Ideas
So what do you think about this article? Are you ready to launch an offline marketing campaign?
Drop a comment below and let's discuss.
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