For those of us into social media, blogging and all the latest online marketing buzz…it can sometimes overshadow the importance of offline marketing. In fact, the best way to get quality business leads is through word of mouth. So I think it’s supremely important to cultivate your marketing efforts both online and offline.
Granted, I live in a little rural Italian town. Are they really going to need web design or illustration…a cute drawing of little girls anytime soon?! Turns out even the local meat shop is interested in some design work. When I finally opened up, letting people know what I was capable of…requests starting coming in. “So and so said you do design work…would it be possible…” and so it begins. It really got me started thinking about more offline marketing ideas.
- Do you include your business info on all communications? You know how important it is to have an email signature with your business information…but what about on snail mail? Something to consider because that mail goes through a lot of hands…hence lots of eyes.
- How about working with partner stores, leaving business card sand/or flyers inside the shopping bags of customers perhaps. If you are able to connect with a store that compliments your services or products…it would really be a win-win. Perhaps your service goes hand in hand, so you would be referring clients to each other. You might have to think a bit creatively, but randomly I thought about illustrators and tattoo parlors. A lot of people would like custom tattoo designs… or am I dreaming? Maybe yarn themed illustrations at your local yarn shop – you probably have the same target demographic. Stationery and graphic designers can partner up with bridal salons or wedding planners. The list goes on…
- Are you providing your services and products to family and friends? I know at times it might seem odd, because getting a similar gift every year might not seem so cool for family…(how many journals can I give to a person?) But to a certain extent it really is great advertising. When you offer something as a gift, there’s no pressure for them to do anything about it. But naturally if they like it or someone mentions a need, your info will be shared to other friends, neighbors or colleagues at work in an organic fashion.
- Do you advertise locally and list yourself in business directories? The newsletter or bulletins, community booklets and journals, sport team flyers, local business listings and kids team fundraisers sponsor lists. There are so many options that are FREE or reasonable priced when it boils down to a local area.
- Consider donating your services or products at charity events. It’s a great way to do good and get some advertising at the same time, whether it be family festival raffles or contest drawings.
- Leaving flyers at events that might relate to your business or general information locations, such as career centers, public libraries, post offices or continuing education centers. Of course you have to get permission, but you’ll be surprised how supportive the community is. The secret is finding a good match and giving them a good reason to provide the information. I started thinking about designers hooking up with print shops, where people might want someone to design a photo book or cover to be printed…
- For those targeting the mom demographic, would day care centers be a perfect place to advertise? Everyone takes a look at those bulletin boards or table of flyers. Maybe even the pediatricians office or similar locations. Or at the hospital new born section…new moms have a lot of needs and would be happy to find useful information on services that pertain to them.
- Networking events. I know, sounds super scary and a bit fake to many people. But honesty, they have been created to get business people together and these events have started the careers of many budding entrepreneurs. This is something I want to try for myself…to get to know the business people in the community and get over the fear of putting myself out there.
- How about offering giveaways to local shops in your community? In the online world there is often talk about guest posting and giveaways…why not do them in real life? When this idea popped up in my brainstorming, I started to think about how all the online tactics could be translated into real life marketing tactics… A whole new world, huh?
Do you have ideas to contribute? The idea is to spread the news about you and your work…to the communities and groups of people you have all around you. I’ve been realizing how odd it is that many folks do business remotely with people all over the world…yet not with their own neighborhood! There are cases where it makes sense, but oftentimes we are simply overlooking good opportunities.
Feel free comment below and share your experiences! I will definitely be trying a few of my ideas, but just pick one if you are feeling shy. Let’s see where it takes us!