Setting up a business and a stunning website is only a first step. To bring in the customers, you should consider a wide range of both online and offline promotion.
If your company is based on the web, like many businesses nowadays, you might have assumed that the only marketing you need to do is online. But no matter how many forms of online marketing you engage in – PPC, SEO, social media, email campaigns – there will always be customers you can’t reach this way. Despite the growth of online marketing, you can gain the edge over your competitors by employing methods they have overlooked.
Offline media isn’t just about buying expensive newspaper, radio and TV adverts, although these can play their part for the right business. There are plenty of effective and imaginative ways to grab the attention.
Word-of mouth is the best advertising there is. Whether you’re doing it yourself or getting friends and family to spread the word, don’t overlook this powerful (and free) form of marketing. People trust a personal recommendation in the way that they won’t appreciate a cold call, web ad or radio slot.
2. Make sure your branding is up to scratch
Every surface you own is a potential advertising opportunity. You can overdo it, of course, but equally it’s easy to miss these chances to communicate with potential customers. For starters, every piece of stationary should have your contact details on it.
Depending on the kind of business you run, this could represent a significant number of opportunities. Letterheads, acknowledgement slips, invoices, business cards – every one of these could be reminding clients of who you are, what you do and where to find you. (In a similar vein, you can place your URL and other details in your personal email signature, as well as your business one.)
Make sure you include your company email and website address, and that your branding is consistent across all of these.
3. Have promotional materials printed
Once the preserve of larger and wealthier companies, high-quality colour promotional material is now available to anyone at very reasonable prices. Advances in digital printing mean that it is fast, cheap and simple to create and produce professional-looking flyers, posters and business cards. Not every business will use all of these, but each of them targets a different niche.
Posters are great for attracting attention at a distance and for passers-by who don’t necessarily have time to engage straight away. Flyer printing is an excellent way to target specific demographics with your message, whether that’s a local population or the readership of a particular publication. And then business cards are perfect reminders to leave people with after you’ve spoken to them in person.
QR codes are one way of adding extra information into a limited space such as a flyer or business card, and giving your material an interesting twist. These are effectively two-dimensional bar-codes that can be read using a smartphone. They typically decode to a URL or physical address, but higher-resolution versions can contain more detailed information.
4. Use giveaways
Coffee coasters and beer mats, key-rings, pens, matchbooks and other common and useful objects – even tasteful clothes and accessories – are all good ways to remind people of your business. These are typically cheap to produce with your details and logo printed on them, and if you pick the right item then they may be seen and used by dozens of people, over and over again.
The ultimate example of this is if you sell a physical product – don’t forget to include your details somewhere visible wherever possible.