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Marketing Online AND Offline: Goin’ Old-School

marketing at trade shows by exhibiting. Collect information via your own mobile app

Marketing has seen a paradigm shift with the rise of all things online and mobile. Creating a business Facebook page, tweeting about industry news, sending sale push notifications to customers… the channels we use to talk to leads and customers are evolving every day. While these platforms are effective, successful businesses practice a combination of online and offline marketing strategies to generate leads and boost sales.

Sidewalk ads, branded swag (like pens, bags, or shirts), and local donations are all examples of offline marketing tactics. These are some simple and easy ways to spread your business name in subtle but effective ways. Below we overview some old-school marketing strategies that still do the work today.

Hand Out Business Cards Regularly

This is perhaps the easiest and cheapest option, which is why it tops the list. You can pass business cards out to neighbors and businesses, pin them to public bulletin boards, slip them into relevant books or magazines at the doctor’s office, and do just about anything else you want with them. For such a tiny object, business cards hold a lot of potential.

Donate Gift Certificates or Products as Prizes for Other Organizations

Is the town high school holding a silent auction? Is there a charity event that offers prizes? Donate. This is a simple way to establish a personal connection with the public while participating in a good cause. At the very least, others will put your product or service to use, and you might even get referrals out of it.

Speak at Local Events

Search for an event related to your industry, secure a speaking spot, and prepare an educational and meaningful speech. This leaves a lasting impression with peers who share a position in your industry and creates a visual representation of your business. If you don’t feel you have enough industry authority to deliver a speech to peers, it’s still helpful to attend the events. Introduce yourself and network with others. The relationships you build could help move the marketing dial elsewhere.

offline marketing by speaking at local events.

Communicate with Local Print Publications

Despite the consistent rise in online media, print is still effective. Pitch a press release to a magazine or newspaper that targets your audience. Press releases are a simple way to showcase an important event or milestone for your business, and the right publication could land you valuable attention. Stay active and form as many relationships with the press as possible—they’ll come in handy.

Send Snail Mail – No Really!

Even in the age of email, snail mail is still an acceptable marketing method. You’d be surprised how many people prefer physical offers. It’s more costly and you miss out on the data you get from email campaigns, but you’ll stand out among your email-only competitors. Send coupons or new product updates, product samples, newsletters, or anything you think might promote your business the best. This is a more personalized approach to marketing.

Make Cold Calls

Put together a list of potential customers and call them up. Well, first establish a cold-calling strategy, then call them up. Tailor the conversation to each customer and be mindful of their time and needs. Though it’s typically more of a sales move, cold-calling can help you build collaborative relationships with other businesses and potentially gain some new customers along the way. Tip - just be yourself.

Participate in Trade Shows!

Trade shows put you under the same roof as the competition. You can study their pitch, check out their marketing materials, and generally gain real insight into their strategy. Of course, trade shows are also awesome opportunities to showcase your product and market your company. Most importantly, and very underrated when it comes to marketing. Those face to face interactions build trust and almost always a result in a higher closing ratio or longer-term customer.

Celebrate Successes

Host a party, business gathering, or some form of celebratory event to share your success. Maybe you reached you landed a big partnership or launched a new service. Take the opportunity to acknowledge your team and encourage future successes. Any reason to have a party is a good reason!

Reach out to the local press to spread the word. You can ask other local businesses to donate items to be raffled off too. This gives them exposure and makes your event more appealing. Your celebrations are bound to catch the attention of your target audience and secure you some future business. (Remember to create that Facebook Event Page)

Sponsor a Community Event

This is a phenomenal way to spread your name far and wide. Instead of just tabling at an event, take the lead and sponsor one. Plan a 5K or team up with a non-profit to host a fundraiser. Give out branded goods, coupons and pamphlets, and discount cards. This builds a positive brand image that people respect. It’s also an under appreciated ROI.


These tips range widely in cost and effort, but they can each impact your bottom line and mix up your marketing efforts. So welcome new technology and strategies like mobile apps, social media ads, and online ordering, but don’t forget their offline roots! You can have quite a lot of fun along the way as well!

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