The Internet has revolutionized marketing. Now, in a matter of seconds, at very little cost, you can spread your brand message and engage with your market around the world. Online marketing is so affordable and effective that many small businesses, especially those focused online, ignore offline marketing opportunities. But you don’t need a WI-FI connection to spread the word about your business. Here are some great ways to market your business offline.
Live your brand – The reality is, every time you leave your home, you have the opportunity to market your business. But if you look disheveled and unprofessional, your message won’t be heard. That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie or a dress and pumps to grocery shop, but you should look neat and tidy. You never know when you’ll meet someone who needs your service or who knows someone who needs your service.
Be prepared – When I first started my business, I frequently got caught without business cards. I recently attended a writers conference and didn’t have a box of my books in my car. These situations were missed opportunities because while I could tell people about my business and books, I would have had a better chance of getting a new customer or giving off a professional image if I’d had my materials. Every time you leave the house, have a stash of business materials. Keep business cards in your pocket, wallet or purse. Keep brochures, portfolios, media kits, books and other printed items in a crate in your trunk.
Take advantage of publicity – Publicity is still one of the best ways to build your credibility and expand your brand’s message. Best yet, it’s free. The best way to get publicity is to tie your brand message with current news and trends. Using a service like Help a Reporter Out or the Reporter Connection allows you to pitch ideas media sources are looking for.
Network – Long before Facebook and LinkedIn, in-person networking events allowed business owners to connect, network and make referrals. These events still occur, but they aren’t the only source of making professional connections. Seminars, conferences and meetings offer networking opportunities as well.
Share your expertise – Speaking ranks high on the list of most feared and stressful activities, but it’s extremely effective at showing off your expertise, building credibility and gaining clients or customers. It can become another income source, as well. Adult education programs, industry and trade associations, and civic groups have a need for speakers.
Successful businesses strive to reach their market wherever it might be. Focusing on Internet marketing strategies alone can cause you to miss segments of your market. Looking to put together and keeping a stash of business cards doesn’t take much time or effort. Reaching out to your marketing through PR, networking and speaking increases your credibility and expands your brand.
Leslie Truex is a career design expert who has been helping people find or create work that fits their lifestyle goals since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. She is the author of “The Work-At-Home Success Bible” and “Jobs Online: How To Find a Get Hired to a Work-At-Home Job”. She speaks regularly on career-related topics including telecommuting and home business.