What? That can’t be right, can it? Well, consider this: In 2014, consumers spent $5 the old fashioned way (in physical stores or brick and mortar locations) for every $1 they spent online. That’s according to the US Department of Commerce. So for all this talk about how you have to market online – the numbers just don’t support it – or do they?
Now consider this: how do you find a business or item you need? My guess is you use a little application called Google. So while you may not be spending online, you are definitely searching online… and depending on the type of service or product – that online search will turn into offline spending (think finding a plumber online, but paying for their services offline). So maybe there is some truth to that adage that you have to market online. More specifically, you certainly have to have a presence online so that you can be found when buyers are searching for what they need.
So if your budget is big or small – start off with what is most important – your website. Make sure it looks great and you use it to help folks find you. Then get yourself listed with as many search engines as possible so that folks can find you. Use a service to do this for you (yes, Constant Contact has a product called Single Platform that will do just that). Using a service like this is the easiest way to help your business get found – and one that doesn’t take much effort or cost much (99 bucks a month). Hey, if you’ve got the time, budget and staff to dive into content marketing and social media and creating ebooks and white papers and all the other things you can do with online marketing – go for it – but most small businesses don’t have much time, money or staff – so do things that will make a difference that don’t need a whole lot of upkeep.
And since we’re talking about non-digital or non-online marketing – here are some other tried and true methods that don’t cost a whole lot, but will make a big difference in your marketing efforts. Even with all you can do with digital marketing, the bottom line is still this: the #1 source of new business for you will come from referrals and recommendations. That means you have to spend time nurturing relationships and the last time I checked, my best friends and customers are the ones I spend time with. This takes dedicated effort and old fashioned networking and engagement – but aren’t we all a bit tired of digital marketing? I’ll give you much more credit if you send me a card in the mail these days then if you just send me a connection request on LinkedIN!
Send a hand written note via MAIL
Surprise your customer LONG after the sale. For my shoe store clients, I have them send a free pair of socks to their customers 4 months after the sale!
Make a referral to your best clients – turnabout is fair play!
Send brownies (or some other small gift) – I guarantee your client will call you and thank you (when was the last time they thanked you for an email?)
Stop by their office with coffee or their favorite treat.
Invite them to an event (or take them to a social event like live theatre!)
Buy from your clients (only from them if you can)!
Send them a book to read
What old fashioned networking or marketing efforts do you use?
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