You might feel like me and be hesitant about advertising yourself in the real world. Online marketing allows us creatives to market from the comfort of our creative spaces without actually coming face to face with potential customers. But we web-based entrepreneurs have to remember that there are times when we have to reach out to real people in real, not virtual, situations. While it’s fair to say that most people spend a portion of each day online, there is still a considerable amount of time each day that most people spend offline (hopefully). Offline promotion can catch the attention of customers in the real world and bring them to the online one.
Here are 20 simple and cheap ways to promote your business offline. These ideas are intended to be less about taking out a full page ad or standing out on the street in order to force a flyer into the hands of every passerby and more about simple, enjoyable, non pushy and inexpensive tactics to get the word out about your business.
- Put URLs on everything. Suggestions include: weekly shoppers, classified ads, flyers, Yellow Pages, magazine ads, newsletters, local TV guides, coupons, billboards, hanging ads on doorknobs, company letterhead, business cards. If there’s paper involved, brand it and add a url.
- Put your brand and url on a couple of your t-shirt’s , gift a couple out to friends and family too.
- Brand and URL your everyday accessories. My suggestions are: Coffee Mugs, Phone Case, Pens, folders, notebooks, Water Bottles, Bags, caps, and anything and everything else you can think of.
- Sneaky Library – Bookmark Promotion. Create a branded bookmark with your URL. Then head over to the public library. Ask your local librarian if they can hand out a free bookmark with every book checked out. Or just sneak them into one or two random books now and again!
- Change your personal WiFi/Bluetooth names to your website URL. This is a simple, one-time change that will have a lasting impact. You never know who might be in the area and searching for a connection.
- Leave your business card everywhere you go. Restaurants, public bathrooms, coffee shops, public pay stations. Everywhere.
- Sneaky change the homepage tactic. If your comfortable doing so and are on a computer that’s not your own change homepage to your shop url.
- Create a Mobile Billboard – inexpensive and easy. Just place your large branded sticker design on the side of your vehicle
- Tell the story of your shop and your designs to people you meet.
- Set up shop at your local market or craft fair and display your branded banner that includes your URL.
- Sponsor a local event.
- Hand out branded freebies to everyone.
- Be social and become a familiar face in your community. Join groups and clubs.
- Create a press release and send it to your local free newspapers and other free publications
- Donate your products or services to a charity or charity events being held in your area.
- Partner with local bricks and mortar shops
- Create and mail a postcard to everyone on your Christmas list and everyone else you know. Be careful not to be spammy and make it fun not majorly sale pitchy.
- Increase conversation with friends and family about your business and your work.
- List your business in every local directory you can find. There are many that are free.
- Enlist the people who love you. Organise a high tea or a champagne night for your friends and family to come to your creative space and see for themselves what you’ve been working on.
Be creative in thinking of ways you can get the word out. Evaluate what strategies work for you and what doesn’t and hone your focus on successful strategies and throw in a novel strategy every now and then.