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Don’t Neglect Your Offline Marketing

By: Mark Krenn

 

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As business owners, we have to consider all marketing strategies that can earn us new business in creative ways. Far too often, business owners will stick to old methods that may be dying, or throw money at new channels that they don’t fully understand.

 
Although most of the attention of marketers in the mainstream media is focused on the newer methods of online marketing, there is definitely something to be said for the tried and true methods of the pre-digital era.
 
For any company that is looking to create a lasting impression with their target market, offline marketing aligned creatively with online marketing is essential. People respond stronger to companies that they interact with in a variety of mediums, and offline mediums still have a strong impression on potential customers. Offline marketing reinforces that the company is a real company in the eyes of the consumer.
 
Below are four creative ways to market your business offline.
 
Use the Original Guerilla Marketing Tactic
 
What attention-gaining tactic can guarantee dozens of eyeballs for your business every minute? How about someone dressed up in a ridiculous outfit waving an arrow sign around promoting your business? For about $10 an hour, when placed on a strategic street corner during the rush hour, you can guarantee that your message will earn lots of attention for a short period of time.
 
Although this is an old-school tactic, it is tried and true under the right circumstances. Consider using this strategy when your business is offering excellent discounts or introductory offers, in order to encourage that initial action.
 
The online business environment is quickly becoming saturated with competing ads and message everywhere you browse. In order to stand out, a business must create a solid offline presence. This is done primarily through creative displays and signs placed in strategic locations.
 
Properly placed, a sign can bring foot traffic into a store that normally would not be there. It can capitalize on impulse buyers and it can also accentuate the effects of television and radio marketing by solidifying the brand name in the mind of the customer. Pair that with a real human being waving the sign like crazy on the street corner, and customers are naturally curious about your company.
 
Sponsor Local Youth Sports Teams
 
When you sponsor a local youth sports team, not only are you doing good for the team and the league, but you can promote your business strategically. In addition to another opportunity for potential customers to see your message, you’re also showing customers that your business cares about the health of the community by supporting the youth.
 
Generally, businesses choose to support teams that their children or neighbors are a member of, but if you have the option to be strategic, choose the team wisely. Often, the sports team will display a banner with your business name on it where they play their games such as on the fences bordering the soccer or softball field. Survey where these playing fields are and if you have the choice, opt to support the team that plays on a field on the side of a busy road rather than a team that plays on a field tucked away in the corner of a community park.
 
Use Custom Vehicle Wraps 
 
Custom vehicle wraps printed with your company’s logo and other images representing your company can be a smart investment of your advertising dollars. Whether you wrap your work truck or family mini-van in a custom vehicle wrap, it can be a very effective way to advertise your business to bored commuters throughout the day.
 
For an initial up front cost, for the remaining life of the vehicle you have a free rolling billboard with your company message. A lot of brands get creative with their vehicle wraps and go the extra step to draw attention to the display. Some companies go as far as paying non-affiliated citizens to add a vehicle wrap to their own car for a monthly payment, so this is another option if you don’t want to wrap your own.
 
With the increasing adoption of smartphones by almost ever demographic in society, if you craft the perfect viral-worthy vehicle wrap, you can count on a few smartphone owners to snap a picture of your car and post it online for an extra bump.
 
Retain Customers with Digital Loyalty Programs
 
Some businesses are looking for better ways to retain customers and gather more customer data. Digital loyalty programs are becoming more prevalent and customers are becoming more comfortable sharing their information with businesses they trust. These types of programs work best for consumer-facing businesses, especially in food or retails shops. According to Bloomberg, as of late 2012, companies in this space have attracted upwards of 155 million dollars in venture capital, and that number continues to grow.
 
Some of the well-known companies competing for customer loyalty programs are Square, Foursquare, Mogl, and Belly, although there are dozens of smaller players. Businesses should be aware of what loyalty programs are popular in their region so they can capitalize on programs that customers already use. 
 
Be Creative Always
 
These are only four creative ideas that your business can test out in addition to what is already working for you. With the surge of online advertising in the last decade still leaving small business owners confused, it’s comforting to know there are still viable offline tactics that will help you earn and retain loyal customers, as long as you remain creative.
 
What are some creative offline marketing strategies you’ve used in the past?
 
Published: October 8, 2013
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Mark Krenn

Mark Krenn is the founder of Coastal Creative Reprographics based in San Diego, CA. Founded in 2012, Coastal Creative Reprographics specializes in wide format printing including signs, tradeshow displays, banners, and vehicle graphics. Mark enjoys keeping active outdoors, and traveling in his free time. Connect on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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