With most companies finding it easier, quicker and cheaper to market themselves online, and mostly finding a vast and responsive audience awaiting them in cyberspace, it is quite hard to know how to promote a business that is predominately offline and out in the ‘real world’ but it is definitely still a viable method of promoting a business. There are several hints and tips which can help with this.
First of all, and quite paradoxically, get yourself known online! Even if you do not have your own company website, register with online directories, such as yell.com or 192.com; or even an industry-specific directory if they are available in your area of expertise. Even if these links do no more than provide contact information for the company it is information available 24/7 to everyone who cares to look for it. A slightly stronger web-presence is achievable by joining a web-affiliate site that will carry contact information, brief details about the company and maybe even an email link funnelling queries directly to the company. Affiliates earn revenue from this service according to the number of successful “click-throughs” achieved or even by the number of successful leads generated to a company, meaning that they only make money when their service has been of benefit to you. These online services will maintain themselves, requiring little input from the business after the initial set-up process.
Get your company name and logo everywhere that a potential customer could be looking. From billboards to company vans, people do notice signs and logos that they see every day and when they have need of that particular service the information comes to the fore. On a smaller level, hand out pens, calendars and even diaries, all emblazoned with the company logo. Pass out business cards to every new contact you meet; potential customers may not remember one person in a big crowd at an event, but coming across the card later, when they are back in the tranquillity of their home is sure to mean you being remembered for longer.
Attend and sponsor events to ensure that the company name is seen and heard by all who attend the event. Networking events are held often, in most major cities and are a useful way for small businesses to find complementary services to the ones they offer, in order to present customers with a more complete package service. Attend these events and be on ‘best behaviour’ to make a good impression, so that other companies will recommend you and your service or product over others. Collect business cards and information in order to help your customers with other needs that they may have, which will help to keep them loyal to you.
Reward customer loyalty appropriately. Birthday cards, personalised discount letters and telephone calls after orders to make sure that everything is satisfactory, leave the customer with the idea that they are important to you and your business and that they will continue to be well looked after. If such a customer recommends your company to their friends they will do all the promoting and advertising you could desire – for free!
Other tips for maximising your offline business potential include advertising in the traditional print media; putting out a press release describing what the company is all about; and direct mailing shots to target areas. Consider producing a leaflet to be distributed with free newspapers as they give much greater control over where the information is disseminated, allowing you to choose precise areas, even down to street level, of where you would like the information targeted.
Marketing your business offline is a useful way to ensure that all possible target customers have access to your information. Not everyone is online, although the number of those who are is growing exponentially, and it is a clever strategy to target those who are missed by the bulk of promotional material. Following these tips as well as offering a superlative service to customers is sure to see your business grow.
Sources: instantshift.com; businessknowhow.com; smashingbuzz.com
This article is brought to you by Transport Innovation, the transport marketing specialists offering taxi freephone installations in retail enviroments, on behalf of local cab companies throughout the UK.