There are several offline marketing strategies that you do not want to give up on. They are effective in acquiring new leads, prospects and eventually customers. It is vital that you remember that it is always about building relationships. Selling services or products is something that happens down the road.
1. Business cards — Having good business cards is essential to all other forms of marketing your online business offline. Every time you go to a networking event you should hand out your business card. The best way to do this is ask them for their first, then when they give you theirs, give them yours.
If they do not have one, have some blank cards to hand them so they can put their information on it. Make sure your business card has the following information: Your name, Your business, Your URL, and your title. Use both sides if you need to so that you can offer discounts, consulting and more.
2. Press releases — Press releases maximize your exposure, are essentially free unless you hire someone to write it or pay for an expensive distribution service, and will give you a lot of free local coverage. Local press loves a local success story, so make yours interesting and make sure to include the appropriate contact information.
Make sure you find out who a good local contact is with your local media as they are a lot more picky about what they bother reading, so sending it to the right person is imperative. For instance don’t bother sending your press release to the person who writes about education, unless your niche is education related, and don’t spin too much if it’s not related, it’s not related.
There are a few press release sites that I have used with good success:
www.1888pressrelease.com: this site has a free version. I have had better success when I upgraded to at least the $25 press release.
www.prbuzz.com: this site has a flat annual fee of $299. Once you pay the fee you can submit unlimited press releases.
Bizology.Biz goes into depth on press release writing, calendars and distribution.
3. Volunteering — Volunteering is an excellent way to promote your online business offline. Putting your business in a positive light is an excellent way to promote good will, get your name out there, and do something that feels good in the process. If there is any cause you’ve always wanted to help with get started now. There are many boards who do not have enough members, many a parent teacher association who needs more volunteers.
One point to note: Do not join a group that is too politically controversial unless you want to end up working with only people in that group. Also, join something you really care about so that you feel good doing it.
There are many great organizations that you can join:
Habitat for Humanity
4. Joining groups — There are various networking groups off line that you can join, from women’s business groups, to groups like Business Networking International (BNI) that are there to help you promote your business. But, there are also non business networking groups that are good places to network too, take a look around and join something that looks interesting.
Joining many groups offline can be much like joining groups online; They don’t want you to openly and loudly promote your business. Participate in the group, volunteer for events, and when appropriate let people know what you do, but don’t SPAM them.
Look first at your target market. Do they have a group that you can join? The “Association of XYZ Professionals” ie. excavators, massage therapists, lawyers, accountants — they each have professional organizations. If your target has a group it can be an incredible networking resource for you.
Be sure to read our previous post about how to use your business card at these groups.
5. Speakers bureau — Establish yourself as an expert by getting on a speakers list. Prepare yourself with a few different talks about your business, or topic, perhaps a talk teaching others how to do what you do online, and then offer your services. You can speak in classrooms (marketing class is a great one), chambers of commerce, women’s business groups, and more.
You can also set up and offer workshops, training, coaching and consulting on your own, all you need is a venue and great marketing. You can charge for your own venue, but for others you can speak free, then have some products to sell after the event. Once you become better and more sought after, you can start commanding a generous fee plus travel expenses.
I work at a co-working space that provides me with a wonderful office space for hosting workshops and even webinars. It makes it more cost effective.
What other offline marketing strategies are you using in your business?
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