At bOnline we spend a lot of time encouraging people to market their businesses online, as many small business owners have still not realised the importance of a digital strategy.
But as much as it’s vital to get your business online, it’s also important not to neglect more traditional marketing channels. For most types of business, a good mixture of online and offline marketing tactics will ensure success.
Here are just a few of the more traditional marketing tactics you can use alongside your small business’ website and social media channels:
When searching for a business, your first instinct may not be to reach for a certain yellow book - but for some people it’s the best place to look for local businesses. If you take out a directory listing and ensure you include your website URL, your potential customers will be able to check you out even if they're not ready to call or visit you.
Flyers and business cards
Handing out flyers is good for local businesses, as it can help draw people in as they’re passing nearby - especially if you include an offer on there. Business cards are also a personal approach, and it’s handy to carry them with you as you never know when you might strike up a conversation with someone who’s interested in your business. They’re less common these days, so most people will remember you for this personal touch.
Car or van decals may not be the first marketing tactic that comes to mind for your business, particularly if your vehicle isn’t strictly for commercial use. However, they act as a moving advert, and surveys have shown that customers respond well to them, as we reported recently. In fact, over half of UK consumers refer to signage on vans when looking for a service, and businesses that do use vehicle signage claim it brings in just under 30% of their business. But as with all offline forms of marketing, it’s important to include your URL - The survey found that consumers would rather see a website than a phone number, despite the fact most business owners neglect their web address in their vehicle signage.
Word of mouth
Old fashioned word of mouth still brings in a lot of customers for small businesses. There is no way to ensure guaranteed word of mouth recommendations, but there are many ways to encourage them. Start off by providing great services or products, and customers will want to tell their friends about you. Also make sure you encourage your customers to review you online - the power of social proof means people are more likely to trust your company if they’ve heard or read positive testimonials from real customers.
The key to successful marketing is to be where your customers are - the more channels they see you mentioned on and the more familiar they are with your business name, the more likely they will be to remember your business and come to you when they need the product or service you are offering.