We all like to work with and buy from people we like, so being able to interact with your potential and existing clients in person is a great way to build long term relationships and business opportunities. Even if online marketing communication is what more and more businesses are focused on, interacting offline is still an effective way to promote your business and get closer to your customers.
Here a few ideas if you are looking to market your small business offline:
1. Tell everyone
When you are starting with a blank client list, the best place to start is to contact those who already know you. Even better if they know your work. The more people are aware of your business the more business opportunities. Ask them for feedback too so you can see things from a different perspective. Having a great network of friends around you is also essential to keep your sanity when the going gets tough and to celebrate those great successes as your little business grows!
2. Attend networking events
Go and talk to others. Talk less and listen more. Learn from others, exchange ideas and build relationships with like minded professionals and your potential clients. Nothing is more important in business than building and maintaining great relationships and listening out for what’s important to your potential and existing clients.
3. Reward repeat business
No doubt your clients are extremely important to you – and so they should know. Doing a great job is what makes them come back to you repeatedly, and when they do, give them something extra so they know how valued they are. Little things can make a big difference so anything complimentary you can offer will be noticed and appreciated.
4. Recommend others
It’s a nice thing to do and will hopefully help those who you are recommending. In a same way, it gets your name out there. The ones who asked for recommendations are also very likely to recommend you back.
5. Partner up with other small businesses
Working with other small businesses and freelancers is a great way to promote your services and products. Be selective to ensure your values and focus align and start cross marketing each others services and products.
6. Pick up the phone
Nothing is more effective than picking up the phone and having an actual conversation. Follow up on your campaigns and ask for meetings – in worst case you will get a NO which isn’t any worse than not knowing at all!
7. Attend a trade show
Have a wander around relevant trade shows and see what’s out there. The likelihood is that you will have conversations with delegates and exhibitors and you will learn something new.
8. Join a business meet up group
Become part of a regular meet up group and regularly connect with those who are in a similar situation as you. It will help you understand what you are doing well and what could be improved.
9. Host events
If you have the time and enthusiasm, events are a great way to bring together a group of people you want to connect with. They are not as expensive as you might think and people will remember them. Great way to mix fun with business and getting to know your clients better.
10. Attend awards
Awards are the place to be if you want to connect with those who matter in your industry. They are one big party – mostly with a lot of fizz and people celebrating their wins which makes networking much more fun. It’s a great way to learn about what success looks like and could be a great inspiration for your business to enter awards one day.
11. Do something good for the community
Pick a cause that you care about and do something good. It will make you feel good but also help to show others that you care. Others you will choose to support will also surely tell others about what you did and so can you.
12. Write for your local newspaper
If you have something interesting to write about, contact your local newspapers and pitch your ideas or alternatively get ideas on future topics from the local journalists.
13. Speak at local and industry events
If you are a confident public speaker, consider speaking at an event attended by your target audience – it’s an effective way to raise your profile as a subject matter expert and to let others know about your business. Speaking at an event also comes with additional promotions run by the event organisers reaching new audiences you wouldn’t normally have access to.
14. Drop a leaflet in your local cafes and co-working spaces
Old school, but still works very well, especially if your business is B2C focused. Focus on simplicity and clear messaging, with all your relevant contact details – you might be able to create something yourself and get a few copies printed locally. Canva is a good place to start with if you are not a design pro.
15. Carry business cards
Invest in high quality business cards that reflect your branding and always carry a few with you. The more unusual and interesting, the better. If money allows, get yourself a nice card holder too.