I understand that social media is great way to market your business, but does anyone have any fresh ideas for offline marketing? -- Ross of Oregon
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council. Founded by Scott Gerber, the Y.E.C. is a nonprofit organization that provides young entrepreneurs with access to tools, mentorship, community and educational resources that support each stage of their business’s development and growth. The organization promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to youth unemployment and underemployment. E-mail your questions about best practices for starting up and/or managing a small business to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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No. 1: Give, Give, Give
From Colin Wright of Ebookling
Give value to everyone you meet, everyday. It's a simple concept, but I'm blown away by how few people actually put it into practice in their day-to-day life. Be that helpful person everyone wants to know and introduce around, and you'll never have trouble marketing anything; people will line up to help you out, online or offline.
No. 2: Take Your Show on the Road
From Steph Auteri of Career Coaching for Word Nerds
Face time can be integral in establishing a connection with clients and customers. People are more likely to spend money on someone they know and trust. So take things offline and throw an event: a panel, a networking event, a meetup. This will allow you to establish yourself as an expert and will also allow you to establish an authentic connection with your intended audience.
No. 3: Set Up Support Groups for Local Business Owners
From Lea Woodward of Kinetiva
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Running your own business can be lonely; one thing we've been doing is setting up local support groups and encouraging other business owners to attend in a purely supportive (not networking) capacity. It's a great way to unwind and get to know other entrepreneurs in the same area, as well as automatically raising your profile in the local community and spreading the word about what you do.
No. 4: Focus on High Return Trade Shows and Events
From Erica Nicole of YFS Magazine: Young, Fabulous & Self Employed
Start with opportunities that will provide the highest return on your marketing investment. Make your budget work harder offline by attending industry trade shows and partnering with local charities and causes to promote your brand. Integrate these tactics with your online presence to drive a holistic and surround sound message.
No. 5: Speaking Engagements
From Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group
Speaking engagements are the best possible opportunity for offline marketing. If done correctly, the engagement is a way to differentiate yourself as an opinion leader and expert in your industry,and to begin building a solid following and fan base. Make the goal of your engagement to distribute knowledge so that when people walk away, they will think of you as a valued resource to return to.
No. 6: Saturate the Media
From Danny Wong of Blank Label Group, Inc.
Saturate the media space of your audience. Cover the billboards, posters, sidewalks and streets with your marketing message. When you do this (without being annoying), you're improving credibility and legitimacy with your stakeholders so when they're further down the conversion funnel, you'll have sold them!
No. 7: Should I Still be doing Offline Marketing?
From Jason Sadler of IWearYourShirt.com
The reason social media marketing is so hot right now is because you can reach so many people so quickly. When you buy a billboard ad, magazine ad or even a banner ad all you know is that it might have XYZ amount of "eyeballs" on it. I'd rather use social media to actively reach potential customers, talk to them, learn things about them and develop long lasting relationships.
No. 8: Integrate Offline and Online
From Shama Kabani of Marketing Zen
Don't think of social media or marketing as being just online or offline. The best way to succeed at offline marketing is to fully leverage online marketing. I recently read a case study on Naked Pizza which grew to 450 stores in less than two years. One innovative technique? They switched out their store signs for "Follow Us on Twitter" signs. It doesn't have to be either or.
No. 9: Find Mavens
From Vanessa Van Petten of Science of People
Every industry has mavens--people who know a lot about your niche and have a huge community of followers. Spend some time trying to find the offline mavens in your space--hairdressers, local small business owners and office clerks in the county are often the people who can literally get hundreds of others to opt in to what you are trying to do. Find five mavens and get 500 customers.
No. 10: Offer a Takeaway
From Thursday Bram of Hyper Modern Consulting
The only real difference between online and offline marketing is that you have the opportunity to actually put something into the hands of prospective customers — so do it! Think about what's relevant and useful to your business. Don't stick to brochures and branded pens here. You can do something memorable that clearly connects to your business if you're willing to invest the time and thought.