To attract new customers, you must advertise your business. The Internet is an important way to reach people as it helps you to do so in ways that can certainly benefit your business. Even so, reaching customers offline should not be discounted. The following are some strategies to win new customers through traditional and contemporary offline means.
Network With Other Professionals
For centuries, merchant associations have advocated on behalf of retailers. The US Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1912 and is one of the best known associations benefiting business owners. Guilds go much further back, to medieval times to be precise. Today, there are other groups that benefit business owners such as Business Network International (BNI), an association that encourages members to make customer referrals to each other.
Whether accomplished formally through an organization or an association, networking will enable you to tell others about your business as well as to help you learn about their own. You should leave behind your store, office or other place of business from time to time to associate with like-minded professionals.
Sponsor a Sports Team
Youth sports is a great way to get the word out about your business. Specifically, you can sponsor a team with your business name featured prominently on uniforms. Essentially, you would pay to put your name out there while generating much goodwill with the community.
Basketball, football, soccer and baseball leagues for boys and girls, typically look for small businesses to support their endeavors. Depending on your business and the products or services you offer, you may prefer to sponsor an adult team. Either way, you have some opportunities to get your name out there and bring in new business.
Direct Mail Campaigns
Email and other online efforts may seem to have killed postal mail. While the usage rate has certainly fallen, it can still be beneficial to your business. Indeed, according to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), the response rate to direct mailings was 4.4 percent in 2012 compared to 0.12 percent for electronic mail.
You can also lower your direct mail costs by bundling your campaign with other businesses. This is a common practice of retail malls where shops include their individual ads as part of a mass mailing campaign.
Teach a Class
Depending on your type of business, teaching a class at an adult evening school can be an effective way to promote what you do. For instance, if you are a baker you might offer a class in making French pastries. Your students would pay for the class and supplies, while you would have opportunities to tell people about your business.
If you do not have time to teach a class or your business model is not conducive to having such a class, you may be able to promote your business by being a guest speaker at a community college, a high school or at some other public event.
Stress Your Expertise
Everyone is an expert at something and your expertise can come in handy when a reporter is doing a story. For instance if you are a bridge engineer and your local television station is doing an exposé on the crumbling infrastructure including bridges, contact the reporter and ask that you be interviewed.
Savvy business owners who make a connection with media folk will often be contacted the next time a story breaks. Your name and place of business will be credited whether you were interviewed on camera or you supplied information off camera. This can be an invaluable way to build your business.
Some of the more traditional ways of advertising such as in newspapers and magazines do not have the reach that they once had. Even so, you may find the online versions of these methods provide more value for you than advertising with them offline alone.
See Also — Analyze Market Position