Even though the internet can open up global opportunities, many businesses are essentially still very much local, and even if you’d like to go global eventually, it’s often easiest to start local and work your way up from there.
One of the advantages of being (or starting) local, is that it makes it possible to forge strong, real-world connections with your community, using tried-and-tested (and very affordable), offline marketing strategies.
Here are some offline marketing tips you can follow to grow your business.
1. Create an annual marketing calendar
You probably set your budget and financial targets per year, quarter, and month (and possibly even per week), so it makes sense to do the same with your marketing strategy.
Depending on your approach, you may want to spread your marketing budget evenly throughout the year or focus on a few key events. Either way, you will want to have a plan to ensure your marketing budget is spent effectively.
2. Avoid random acts of content
Per the above point, it’s fine to ring in the changes, in fact, it’s highly recommended to introduce some variety into your marketing content, but you should always create content mindfully, rather than just doing whatever enters your head at any given point in time.
3. Link your offline and online marketing
For many startups and small businesses, part of their reason for using offline marketing will be to encourage people to visit their online store or website. If this is the case, make it easy for people to do so and make sure your company’s online details are easily visible in your offline marketing content. A simple and high-tech way to do this is to use QR codes. A low-tech way is to list your online details.
4. Use promotional merchandise strategically
Promotional merchandise is a great way to connect with existing and potential customers, but it only works if it is chosen strategically. It needs to be something the recipients will either use or love (or preferably both).
These days, consumable gifts are often the way to go since their nature means they are likely to be used and enjoyed rather than put away somewhere (or passed straight on to someone else).
The most popular consumable gift, by far, is promotional confectionery, especially chocolate, and there’s a good reason for this. It’s a safe bet for most people, at most times of the year, and even if you give it to someone who doesn’t want it themselves, the chances are they will happily gift it on to someone else.
5. Make friends with your local media
If you own a local business, you may already advertise in your local media. If not, you may want to investigate this option as this can be a very budget-friendly way to get your brand in front of potential customers regularly.
In addition to this, you may want to see if you can make the headlines yourself, at least from time to time. This means that you’ll need to do something your local media thinks is worth their attention, but the barrier to entry here is likely to be massively lower than it would be for the national media.
Adele Thomas is the owner of Distinctive Confectionery; a corporate confectionery company that’s been supplying businesses with high quality personalised biscuits, sweets and chocolates for over 20 years.
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