Micro Business Therapy™

with Simplicity Expert, A.Michelle Blakeley

20 Real and effective ways to market your online business, offline

success-challengeWith so much attention on social media and SEO marketing, it’s easy to understand how entrepreneurs can forget and neglect the power of offline marketing tactics. Yes, the Internet allows us to stretch far and wide in our never-ending search for clients and exposure, but we must not lay waste to fundamental business practices. Practices that are not only tried and true, but quite effective in directly connecting with our target market. Most of all, these practices are easy and very simple to do; nothing but a little time, energy and marketing collateral.

Savvy entrepreneurs utilize social media as a means for initial contact, but still focus on good old fashioned “face-to-face” marketing techniques that provide them with an opportunity to connect live and in color with prospects. No one and no platform can tell your story better than you.

Attend trade events and seminars

Marketing an online business offline is pretty tricky, the way we do this is to attend as many events (like computex) and seminars as we can. Berrin Sun,@berrinsun

Collaborate with complementary businesses

I have partnered with stores and boutiques in the area to showcase my handcrafted memorial pieces. While you might think that handmade cremation urns, jewelry and keepsakes may not be a good fit for regular stores, if you choose wisely it works out really well (i.e. a specialty pet boutique for my pet urns and a whimsical gifts and accessories place that supports local artisans to show off my urn jewelry). Irinia Jordan, @irinajordan

Participate in local events and distribute marketing collateral

Be a vendor at the local community fair. Make sure you have business cards, flyers and anything else that you can educate your prospects about your business. Tiffany Mason, @_tiffanymason

Flyers are still effective in college market

Fancastle is an online college apparel company. When we move into a new area or test a new product we conduct offline marketing and research through flyers. We have college students glue and hang them everywhere in a particular town. You can still get great online results even through offline marketing. James Pillow, Fancastle

Include offers and/or trial size of new products in packaging

One of the best ways to market offline is to include a promotion in the packaging if it is a consumer item that gets distributed to customers offline. Include clearance items printed on a flyer, a sample or trial size version of a new product, an incentive offer for them to make referrals by providing them with extra business cards, bumper stickers, etc. for friends. Diane Eschenbach, @cheers4startups

Use a #hashtag to drive them back to the Internet

Incorporate a compelling hashtag in your offline marketing efforts, along with a creative reason behind why people should take the time to use it in their online social communications. Use that hashtag on/in everything. Consumers will need to see it a few times before jumping on the bandwagon to use it. Jessica Guida, @lotus823_Jess

Print up some t-shirts and give them away

Online data showed that our customers communicate in clusters. We run a medical education business and so our customers are grouped into medical schools and residency programs. When one person purchases at a program, the others tend to follow. So, we started mailing t-shirts to random individuals at each program. It worked very well, we saw quite a few more clusters show up, and sales jumped 30% within a couple of weeks. Daniel Lambert, @boardvitals

Get in front of live audiences via speaking engagements

As a consultant and healer to individuals and business owners internationally, I service clients virtually over the phone. I complement online marketing with in-person networking as well as use speaking engagements to present my concepts. I joined a couple of different network groups to broaden my reach and also started a network group consisting of my niche market to supply ease of targeted messages and conversation of my topics of interest. Dr. Joy Perdersen, @expresssuccess

Sponsor clients

As the leading print on demand board game publisher, we sponsor game designers from our community who are attending conventions (Comic Cons, gaming conventions, etc.) We sponsor game designers by helping them pay for exhibitor fees and travel costs. Then we send them a bunch of marketing materials so that they can talk about us (and their own game creations) at their booth. This helps us reach people through a grassroots and personal level, without having to pay to have our staff members travel all around the country. Tavis Parker, The Game Crafter

Promote your complementary vendors and include your information

With an online event planning business, I advertise in local newspapers and parent magazines. I promote my vendors business by handing out free samples of their products and include my business card in the package. Marsha Jaramillo, Markets of Sunshine

Get scientific and use emotional triggers

Piggyback on other newsworthy content. Create psychological triggers with your products that keep them in the forefront of customers’ minds and discussions. The sexiest products often are not talked about as much as products and logos that can be associated with psychological triggers that happen on a daily basis. Seth A. Knapp, @I_am_sknapp

Highlight a compelling or new service or product on TV (including public access)

You could reach out to local media professionals, such as the programming manager at a TV or radio station. See if there’s a way you can get an interview or Q & A session scheduled. Try to make it timely and relevant. A tax prep website owner might begin making inquiries in the early spring to get people ready for tax filing. David Bakke, @MoneyCrashers

Attend or create local, regional and national MeetUps

One way we market our company offline is by sponsoring MeetUps across the country. We always sponsor the food/drinks for attendees at our local MeetUp. Taylor Aldredge, @tayloraldredge

A little press can be more effective as big press

We market ourselves indirectly by writing articles about chicken care for niche poultry and homesteading publications. We also pitch news ideas to small and local press, which are more likely to pick up our stories versus trying to pitch to the big boys. Jill Bong, @chickenarmor

Use a mobile app

Merchants who have an online business can create a mobile shopping app and use push notifications to engage their customers. This allows them to send deals, coupons, company updates and other messages directly to a mobile device without the customer having to go online. Chris Belew, @apptive

Have a memorable URL

There are many ways to lure potential customers outside of the world wide web–all revolving around one crucial piece of information: your website’s URL. When people see your website’s URL out in the real world, they’re going to remember it. That’s why we put our URL in the Yellow Pages. We also put it on our company letterhead, our vehicles, etc. Jarred Saba

Business cards are still effective

My business cards specifically tell people about my free opt-in gift and to get it by going to my website and subscribing online. The whole point of my card, which I distribute locally, is to get people online, on my list, let them know about my online consulting business and online information products. Tova Payne, @tovapayne

A well-written direct mail campaign can bring them in

After providing marketing campaigns to 63,691 clients we can say with certainty that direct mail is a great way to drive traffic to someone’s website. Since we track and analyze campaigns we know with the right postcard design (we narrowed down the 10 elements a postcard should have), the right mailing list and right frequency is very effective. Sylvia Heneghan, @postcardmedia

Pop-up shops are can provide great press and presence

I arrange pop-up boutiques all over Southern California with plans to execute more outside of the state. Due to my business being based online, you are robbed of the in-person consumer interaction that brick and mortar stores often take for granted. Fortunately, these pop-up boutiques have been ridiculously valuable to the growth of my business. Consumers are able to speak directly to me about why this boutique is unique and feel/see/touch our products in order to recognize their high quality. Had I not made the decision to take my boutique on the road, I am not all that sure we would have survived simply because not enough of the right people were aware that Vulgar Citizen existed yet. Good old fashion word-of-mouth from the in-store events does a lot of the promotional work for me. Vel Jones, @vulgarcitizen

As a virtual business service with national reach (lower 48 states), we also offer discount codes for our service fee to organizations for their members/employees, if they list us as an affinity partner. So in essence, they do our marketing for us to their members/employees and at no cost to the organization (and possibly additional revenue, as we sometimes consider revenue sharing). Mike Rabkin, @fromcartofinish

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Micro Business Therapist™ and simplicity expert, A.Michelle Blakeley is the curator of the online magazine, Micro Business Therapy. She helps new and seasoned entrepreneurs focus on holistic and sustainable business practices for agile growth. Minding the gap between your personal and professional life™. Connect with her on Twitter at @simplicityinc

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