Updated: Jun 9, 2020
Authored by Tyler Smith
If there's one thing that the digital era has brought small business owners, it's the wide variety of choice when it comes to marketing channels. It's no secret that marketing can be costly, especially for entrepreneurs who are still working on growing their businesses. Luckily, with the cultural shift brought on by the Internet and technology, small businesses can now rely on relatively cheaper methods such as email marketing and social media in order to reach their markets.
However, just because a marketing method is affordable doesn't necessarily mean it's effective. Many startups might fall into the trap of relying too much on these digital methods without taking into account other techniques that might serve their businesses better in the long run. In a previous post on the blog, we discussed 'The Myth About Cold Calling'.
Traditional methods like cold calling have been brushed aside in the rush to take advantage of digital marketing, but these traditional strategies can be beneficial if done correctly. Rather than simply relying on one channel or the other, effective entrepreneurs will be able to maximize online and offline techniques in order to create the best and most effective marketing mix for their business. If you're looking to expand your reach beyond online and digital marketing, then here are a few traditional marketing methods that might be worth looking into.
It might be tempting to dismiss print advertising as a thing of the past, especially when you compare costs with far cheaper digital ads. However, print advertising can be an especially useful tool for small businesses, as long as you know how to use it effectively. Business Know-How has a list of six tips you need to keep in mind when approaching print advertising. Key points include picking a relevant platform such as a magazine or newspaper with a specific readership, picking publications that produce content and not just advertisements, and tracking your responses.
DIRECT MAIL MARKETING
Another often forgotten about traditional marketing method is direct mail marketing. Everyone's gone through the experience of rifling through mail to find coupons and pamphlets at least once in their life, but it would surprise many entrepreneurs to discover that direct mail marketing has some of the highest ROI among all marketing techniques. According to Triadex Services, a leading marketing solutions company, it can be especially effective for certain industries. These industries include restaurants, real estate, furniture, appliances, service industries, and more. If your business falls into one of these categories, it might be time to take a closer look at direct mail and see if it's a good fit for you.
One avenue that can help increase customer satisfaction and set your business apart from the competition is value additions. These value additions can include point cards, referral rewards, or discounts for repeat customers. While on the surface these might seem like additional costs or drains on revenue, these can actually deepen engagement and loyalty with existing customers and attract new ones.
Entrepreneur has an article on the marketing power of rewards programs that goes into a little more depth on how these programs are so effective. Customers are looking for strong offers and an experience that can make them feel valued, and value additions are the perfect way to do that.
Referral networks and building connections are essential for the continued survival of a small business. These don't just end at customer referrals— they can include business-to-business networking as well. Competition isn't always a bad thing; if you find yourself referring a customer to another business down the road, a strong network will see that favor returned eventually.
If you aren't sure how to approach this marketing method, The Balance Small Business has a short list of tips to help small businesses start networking. These tips cover how to construct an elevator pitch, where to start making connections, and why business cards are so essential to the networking game.