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5 Valuable Ways to Stretch a Small Budget with Offline Advertising

5 Valuable Ways to Advertise Offline with a Small Budget

Online marketing strategies are a necessity for any growing business. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect offline advertising and marketing techniques altogether. In fact, with everyone focused on online strategies, using old school marketing techniques, can help you gain an edge over your competitors – especially if you’re trying to expand locally.

Write for Trade Publications

Writing for publications which circulate offline, like trade publications or newsletters published by professional organizations, is one of the best ways to gain brand exposure and elevate your brand’s name recognition without breaking your budget.

It doesn’t cost you anything to write something (unless you outsource it to a ghostwriter) and many publications may even pay you for valuable content and expertise. In that case, not only will you get your company’s name out there with a byline, you may also get paid to do so. It may also be more effective than purchasing an ad because you end up showing people what your business can do rather than just telling them your business exists.

Research publications that are in line with your industry and send query letters with article or content ideas you could write. You can also check out Writer’s Market for a list of trade publications, editor contact info and pay rates.

Buy Ads in Small Newspapers and Coupon Guides

There are a few problems with buying print ads in large newspapers. First, they are expensive. Second, your ad competes in a large market, which makes it harder to get traction. Third, as of 2010, more people get their news online than in print.

You may be better off looking into smaller publications like community newspapers, community guides or coupon booklets. While the market may be much smaller, chances are it’s also more concentrated and loyal. The Prana Yoga studio in the Miami area implements this strategy with roaring success every time they announce themselves in the local coupon guide.

Teach a Local Class

Community centers, organizations and local event organizers are always on the lookout for people to teach classes that provide valuable skills. This is a solid and cost-effective way to get your name out in the local community and once again show people what it is your business does.

For example, maybe you’re a financial advisor and you can teach a class on basic financial literacy for the local community. By teaching this class you align yourself with respectable organizations, get in front of potential paying clients and start making a name for yourself around your community. Speaking at events also helps you position yourself as an authority in your field.

Wrap Your Car

Wrap advertising refers to either partially or completely covering a vehicle in marketing and advertisement material. This can work very well if you live in a densely populated area. With a vehicle wrap you only have to pay for the wrap once at an average of $1500 to $4000, whereas if you do radio or TV advertising, you’d have to pay every time your commercial airs.

Create a Customer Referral Program

If you want more business, just ask for it! Better yet, have your current customers do your selling for you by creating a customer referral program where you give current customers an incentive to bring new customers your way. For instance, create “referral cards” people can pick up at your place of business which state “Refer a friend and get $100 off your service.”

Referrals and word-of-mouth advertising are probably the oldest, yet most effective, trick in the book. The reality is people would rather work with people they already know or at least know of. If a friend who they trust refers them to a service or product, then they are more likely to try it.

Additionally, there’s a good chance that your current customers know and associate with people who are just like them. By tapping into this, you increase your chances of loyalty among current customers and open the doors for a wave of new customers to come in. Besides, your current customers are the best salespeople you could ever hope for.

The key points here are that you must create an experience, service or product that your customers would be happy to share with their friends. You also have to make sure to let your customers know about your referral program. They aren’t mind readers so at the end of the day you may just have to ask them to refer you to their friends.

Final Thoughts

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking offline marketing strategies are irrelevant in the 21st century. The truth is your business could benefit from some in-person touches rather than solely relying on the internet for new business.

Will you give old school marketing a try? Tell us what seems to work best for your business in the comments section below.

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.