Many brick and mortar businesses are expanding digital marketing efforts to build their brand and reach new customers. As a result offline marketing has slowly fallen by the wayside.
Overlooking the benefits of offline marketing is a grave mistake. Now rest assured, this is not a condemnation of online marketing; it is a simple appeal to ensure the benefits of traditional marketing are fully realized by your business.
The secret to an effective offline marketing strategy is to include an element of social awareness. If you are able to successfully combine your offline marketing strategy with a social cause, you will find it to be more valuable to your brand than any tweet or Facebook post.
Below are 3 simple and inexpensive offline marketing ideas that combine offline marketing with a social cause.
Sponsor Local Events
Local events are a really easy way to connect with your community. Most towns and cities hold a variety of events year-round. The key is to find events that your target customers are most likely to attend.
For instance, I recently advised a lawn care business that they would benefit from participating in their local annual lawn and garden festival. This festival draws over 100,000 people annually. Better yet, attendees are almost all gardening enthusiasts and the perfect customers for a lawn care company.
For less than $300 they purchased a booth and shared tips on new environmental-friendly gardening techniques. The owners also distributed over 1,000 seedlings to attendants to plant in their own gardens. This event was hugely successful as it allowed the business owners to connect with the community on a personal level and put a face to their brand name.
Lend a Hand with Community Service
A growing marketing trend is building trust with your customers. People want to be shop with companies that care about more than just their bottom line. Businesses need to become more socially conscious and engaged in contributing to the solution.
I was happy to read about a pizza shop that feeds the homeless by allowing patrons to buy a $1 pizza slice for their local homeless community. In just over a year patrons have purchased 8,400 slices for the homeless, but that’s not all. When members of the homeless community receive their pizza they are given the option to leave a Post–It note expressing their gratitude. As you can imagine, a year later the restaurants’ walls are covered in Post-Its.
Community service programs like these can help you build an emotional connection with your customers. It also creates a partnership between your business and customers as you work together to positively impact the local community.
A few community service ideas to get your creative juice flowing include: canned food/coat/toy drives, paint and repair a neighborhood, park or playground cleanup, used book sale and donation, supplies donations for an orphanage, shovel driveways for the elderly, etc.
Sponsor a Local Sports Team
Are you a sports enthusiast? If so, you can sponsor a local sports team and get a huge boost in brand awareness. Sponsorships can also be quite inexpensive ranging from $100 to $1000.
A family friend who owns a local deli sponsors a baseball team every year. His company’s logo is posted on signage, uniforms, and even the website. However, a team sponsorship is more than just advertising; it’s about investing in your community. You become more than just a business; you become a valuable member of society.
After 5 years of sponsoring his city’s local team, the deli owner has built up so much goodwill with locals that when his name is mentioned in social circles it instantly provokes smiles. This is a priceless commodity and should be a goal for every business.
What are you waiting for? Stop making excuses and hit the pavement. Create an offline marketing campaign that will truly impact your community.
Now in order to hit your marketing “sweet spot” you will have to leverage your offline campaigns through your online initiatives, but that’s a topic for another discussion.
Have any ideas to add to the list? Let me know in the comments section below.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Taylor Johnson is a serial entrepreneur and business plan expert at BusinessPlanToday, and the leading provider of business plan software and free business plan templates. He possesses an MA in Business Finance, and was involved in the founding of three businesses — Uncle Chen’s Cuisine, Christina’s Design, and Kids and Co. He is happily married to his lovely wife Andrea, with three “above average” children. Connect with @TheOfficialBPT on Twitter.
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