The world today is in what historians a while down the road will probably be called the digital age. A great part of our life is spent online, we get our information there, we laugh, we socialize, but the fact remains that we are still just creatures of flesh and blood that need to roam the physical world. Until we are able to download our brains into a computer we will need to socialize with other people and move around, so online advertising strategies, as effective as they can be, can’t be relied upon as a sole means of raising brand awareness and reaching out to the broader public. There are a few offline advertising strategies that are very old school, but still remain in wide use, because they simply work. No matter how sophisticated our technology gets, these simple strategies will still be around because they rely on basic human nature and are basically timeless. They are a great tool for small businesses and major companies alike.
This is a relatively low key, yet pretty effective marketing strategy for raising brand awareness in local communities. It’s one thing to see a commercial on TV or an ad on the internet where you expect to be bombarded with aggressive marketing slogans and pop ups, but it’s an entirely different game when you are riding around town , minding your own business and a big, colorful car pulls up next to you or drives down the street. You can be pretty basic about it and just have your logo and slogan on a car or you can be very adventurous and have a specially modified car, like the old Red Bull cars with a huge fake soda can attach to it. Your promoters or employees can drive around town and down their job and the car is there as an additional marketing tool.
Small tokens like key chains, pens, water bottles, T-shirts, hats and even free samples won’t make a huge, game-changing difference, but they are a decent way of spreading the word about your company among the people. They help you brand name always remain close to people’s eyes, and although everyone jumps on pretty much any opportunity to get something for free and may amass a large number of pens and other material from various companies, this marketing strategy is still giving some results. All modern major companies still use this strategy, and while it’s not the greatest attention grabber on its own, when combined with other strategies it becomes a powerful tool in your arsenal. The best thing about it is that it is very cheap and easy to implement, and no one says no to free stuff.
Billboard signs, posters, banners and flyers
You need to be in the public eye, and like gangs marking their territory with graffiti, big companies will try to put their mark on pretty much anything they can get their hands on, just as long as people get to see it. A couple of pretty young ladies, wearing t shirts with your company’s logo, coming out of the big logo- mobile and handing out flyers, promotional material and samples of your product will build up a curious crowd around them pretty quickly. Billboards are tactically placed and pretty hard to miss, while banners and other signs are a one-time investment that will sit there and promote your company for quite some time, and can be reused and easily transported to a different location. Seeing is believing as they say, and seeing your company logo all over town will make people believe that, yes, you actually are a pretty big deal.
A great way to make sure that a lot of people see your company logo and associate it with something good is to sponsor a local event. Charities, sporting and cultural events bring out a crowd and usually get some media coverage. Sponsoring one of these events means that people start viewing your company in a positive light and that your company name will be thrown around for days on local TV stations, newspapers and online publications and blogs.
Lets do these
- Television Advertising. Advertising on television can be an extremely powerful tool for building a small business's brand. Although television can be cost prohibitive, reaching small, local markets that make up a small business's target market is not completely out of reach, as television audiences are extremely fragmented.
- Ads in your local newspapers. Some places have free newspapers that are cheaper to advertise in than the other newspapers.
- Radio station ads. Sometimes you can get a promotion deal where it's cheaper to advertise for a set period of time on multiple radio stations at once. Check with your local radio stations and see who is handling their ads. You can ask them to keep you updated the next time there is a promotion if you are looking to save money and gain multiple exposure.
- Make up advertising filler packs and pass them out every where you go, every event that you attend and swap them with other home business owners.
- When you travel and stay in hotels, leave your catalog, business card, business coupon behind in your room, lobbies and other places that people congregate.
- Local welcome packets. Your main local newspaper's head office might handle these. Check around. You can place an ad inside the welcome packets for new residents.
- Local golf clubs, festivals, other recreation & local events. Sometimes you can advertise on their tickets, flyers, and/or their paper.
- Bumper stickers. Use your local copy place if applicable, vistaprint.com, cafepress.com, etc. to create some bumper stickers. Place one on the back of your vehicle and ask friends and family to do the same.
- Car magnets. Now, in some cases you must be a licensed business to do this. Check your local laws first. You can get some car magnets from places like vistaprint.com or a local business. Place these on both sides and the back of your vehicle. Enlist friends and family to do the same, if legal in your area.
- Get a vehicle banner made for your automobile. Use the vinyl clings so that you can easily remove them when it comes time to wash your vehicle.
- Business cards. Again, use places like vistaprint.com or a local business. You can also create these yourself. Pass these out every chance you can. Especially at local events. You can also ask local business to swap. You leave some business cards and in return you will advertise their business on your website.
- Flyers. Create a flyer and take it down to your local copy place. It's cheaper to let them copy hundreds of copies rather than using up your own ink. Pass these out. Be careful because some places do not allow you to pass flyers around. You could be charged with littering if you put these on cars in some places since people will throw them on the ground. Alternatively, you could ask local business to swap as decribed above for business cards.
- T-shirts. Check some local business for prices. If all else fails, go to cafepress.com or spreadshirt.com or another place online. Get some t-shirts made up advertising your community. Wear these everywhere you go. Especially local events. Give some to your friends and family. Give some away to members of your forum community as prizes for a contest or something. Pass them out to a few friends and ask them to use them when they are out and about in the community attending events or running errands.
- Phone book. If you are already a listed business in the phonebook, you could add your website address to the listing. Usually costs extra. Otherwise, you could pay to advertise inside the phonebook in some cases. Might be costly, though.
- Schools. Some schools look for sponsors for special events like concerts, dances, etc. You can donate some money and get your ad listed.
- College Campuses: College Students are always looking to spend money and they are usually on the hunt for a business opportunity to help pay for their school expenses so you can target them for sales and for recruting into your business opportunity. Most schools have a student center, so that is where you would want to leave your business cards and flyers.
- Donate a prize or a gift certificate to your local radio station for their numerous prize giveaways and contests. This gets you free business exposure. Often times, they will also list you as a prize sponsor on their website too.
- Coupons. Some local areas have coupons that are sent out to local residents. Check to see who is sending the packet and see how much it would be to place a coupon in there to join your community for free or a discounted fee using a IP.Nexus coupon. You could also use the coupon idea for your local newspapers ads, radio station ads, welcome packet, etc.
- Call your local Chamber of Commerce to find out when there will be local job fairs in your area and get a booth at one or at the very least attend one so you can make some new contacts in your local area.
- If your city has a travel guide that tourists request, make sure you place a business ad in that travel guide. This is a great way to get your business information into the hands of non-local customers.
- Local City Maps! These days you can find all kinds of small business advertising printed on the sides and backs of those city maps! You can get really good economically priced ads placed onto those maps.
- Contact local area hotels, motels and bed and breakfast inns in your local area. Ask them if you can leave your business information with them for their guests to peruse when they are in the lobby.
- Get your business information printed up onto balloons. Give these ballons to local sporting events, charity events etc. A great way to get more business exposure.
- Local Area Magazines! Contact them about placing some advertising in their magazine.
These are pretty effective marketing strategies that will help you get some good results, but they are not stand-alone measures and are best when combined with each other and some online marketing.