According to Aberdeen Research, 84 percent of marketers use some form of social media today. And, the number of businesses that say social channels like Facebook are important to their business has increased by 75 percent.
But in a time before the birth of social media, both marketers and businesses were generating leads by passing out business cards and connecting with customers face to face. It’s time to get back to the literal reality of organic connecting. Here are four ways to successfully promote your business offline:
Seminars are one of the most popular lead generators and they are great for attracting and connecting with customers. Don’t go to a conference or seminar with the assumption that you have to sell yourself and your business to other attendees. Networking at events is all about making connections, not prospecting. Kevin Stirtz, writing for Business Know-How, suggests asking people about their businesses, and says to be friendly and relaxed. Stirtz also advises against giving everyone you meet a business card; instead, he recommends passing out your business cards when others ask or when you make a good connection.
Setting up a booth at a trade show gives you the opportunity to connect with new customers who are interested in what your business has to offer. Companies like Apple Rubber, a leading designer and manufacturer of sealing devices, have found success by attending trade shows. The company sets up booths at trade shows in cities from coast to coast and lists each show’s date and location on their website, merging both offline and digital marketing.
Mark Krenn, founder of Coastal Creative Reprographics, writing for Business 2 Community, says that you need to stand out from the crowd. Your business will be alongside other industry competitors, so you’ll have to get creative when connecting with potential customers and designing your booth.
Why are giveaways so common at trade shows? It’s because they work. It’s impossible to measure ROI on giveaways, so look at these types of incentives as a way to get your brand name out there. Consider using high-quality products like sporty water bottles or phone cases instead of items like t-shirts and pens. These types of items attract consumers and they carry a longer shelf life than cheaper branded goods. Plus, your customers will be using these promotional items often and, with each use, they’re reminded of your brand. To merge digital and offline marketing, consider printing your business Twitter handle or brand hashtag on the promotional products.
Finding your niche customer base and getting out into the community is important to the success of your business. Hang out where they are and attend the events that they visit. One way to do this is by sponsoring an event. At the event, you can hang up your signs and banners and pass out product information or free samples to gain customer interest.
Jeff Johnson, director of brand experience at Cliff Bar & Co., which sells energy bars, gels and other nutritional products, has found success by partnering with running events and expos. At the events, retailers provide the opportunity to sample and purchase the products. Clif Bars have made appearances at events like The Walt Disney World Marathon and Washington D.C.’s Nation’s Triathlon among others.