Small businesses and startups have borne the brunt of the current global catastrophe. Apart from the obvious economic downfall, this pandemic has laid waste to the future marketing plans of such businesses and scope of growth has almost diminished. Nevertheless, these businesses have started turning around. With a proper 360-degree marketing plan, there are strong hopes for the revival of these small businesses. Practically, a robust marketing plan involving a 360-degree approach acts as a roadmap to success for startups. In the case of small businesses, it is still viable in 2021, to go for both online and offline mediums for marketing, which of course needs to be strategic and well-planned.
Despite existing in the digital age, offline marketing should not be discounted by businesses as being too costly with a low return on investment (ROI), as it is still quite functional in getting new businesses noticed. A number of offline marketing tactics have stood the test of time and should be integrated into the marketing strategy of a small business or startup. Though digital marketing continues to be economically more feasible, the realm of offline marketing still operates well for increasing the sales and customer base of a business. In fact, utilizing single campaign initiatives across multiple channels increases brand exposure to a great extent and has the potential to drive a greater ROI. So here are some economically viable offline tactics that a business can incorporate alongside its digital campaigns.
Even a small business can network its way to success if it is done correctly. There are numerous networking opportunities in any area, where you get a chance to make an impression and build up your business network. You can join clubs, business groups and associations in your particular area which are attended by business leaders. Face-to-face connections still continue to play a pivotal part in networking. So make sure to create a lasting impression of your business on potential new customers.
Local community gatherings such as showcases and festivals are a huge networking opportunity as well, as these are surefire ways to meet potential new customers, get the word out about your products and services, and very importantly, show the face behind your company. Also, you can engage in various community services and care for your community via donations and volunteer work.
- Business Cards
In order to create a lasting impression during networking, it is strongly advised to invest in a well-crafted and unique business card. A tangible physical business card in the midst of a digital world makes a lasting impression. Make sure to be both professional and creative while making a business card. The card should have all the necessary information on it, while the design should express your brand identity clearly and stand out at the same time. Business cards are a versatile offline marketing package with tons of potential.
- Press releases and newspaper ads
Favorable coverage from local media channels that are relevant to your targeted demographic, can go a long way in spreading the word about your brand. You can also invite people from your local media channels for a tour of your business.
Newspaper ads are comparatively costlier than their digital editions and one has to be careful while placing them. Researching the audience demographics of your business thoroughly before placing an ad is a good way to go through. Businesses with an older target audience have high chances of witnessing better ROI with offline ads.
- Conferences, Trade Shows
Attending association conferences and trade shows can result in a lot of exposure for your business and open up avenues for networking with prospective buyers and other industry leaders. Your promotional materials should be well-suited to the objectives you have in mind and several genuine quality leads can be generated within days.
- Handouts, brochures and flyers
Another time-tested offline marketing tactic is print publishing. Hire someone to design professional brochures, flyers and handouts, and if you want to up the game, include coupons. Then distribute them from your place of business, trade shows, storefronts, and community events. If you are not keen about physically distributing these, you can mail them straight to your current and potential customers. If you think that to be obsolete in marketing, consider that direct mail achieves a 3.4% response rate compared to email’s 0.12% rate.
The importance of Digital Marketing in the growth of small businesses is already proven. That importance grew manifold in the pandemic, and now there is an urgent need for startups and small businesses to adopt and implement new online marketing strategies that will help them get back on their feet. Digital Marketing can be described as a host of marketing strategies that incorporate brands’ awareness to target their potential client base and convert them into loyal customers. It can help to increase the visibility of the brand among its targeted audience and acts as a vital promoter of growth for startups and small businesses around the globe. Here’s how.
This is one of the most cost-effective marketing tactics which provides measurable, long-term benefits, along with a substantial increase in brand visibility and organic website traffic. When any user searches for information similar to something on your website’s blog, good SEO will make your site rank higher thus enabling the user to find it effortlessly. As websites can reach anyone sitting anywhere in the world, the overall visibility of your brand increases considerably with SEO.
- Social media marketing
Social Media Marketing is the best marketing choice if one wants to reach a large number of potential customers who fall in your targeted demographic, in a cost-effective way. It also increases the overall visibility of your brand, as it’s accessible from multiple devices and has a colossal active user base. As of 2021, the population of social media is over 3.96 billion worldwide, with the average user having 8.6 accounts on multiple sites. This makes social media marketing to be the platform with one of the highest ROIs. Digital Marketing influences social media proof and testimonials from existing customers who have availed of a product or service marketed by your business. The more dependable these signals are, the higher credibility they can generate from the targeted audience.
Picking the platform that is best suited for your business, from among Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram, and deciding your target demographics, are the two most important factors behind success of small businesses and startups on this marketing platform.
- Email marketing
Apart from SEO and Social Media, Email Marketing is the most cost-effective and customizable marketing platform, with the highest ROI. Email almost has three times as many active user accounts as that of Facebook and Twitter combined. So, you can reach and interact with an audience of any size in any part of the world. Setting up an email marketing campaign is extremely easy now, with self-help service providers like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, Aweber and Amazon SES. You just have to decide on your targeted audience, and a lot of time, money and effort spent in marketing can be saved.
- Content marketing
Creating and presenting brand-specific content generates more website traffic, more leads, and builds brand awareness. Qualitative and relevant content, published via blogs, infographics, articles, e-books, and whitepapers, makes your customers consider you as a thought-leader in your industry. That improves the credibility of your brand from the perspectives of your current and prospective clients and also improves the brand-customer relationship.
- Web Analytics
Last, but not least, Web/Digital Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that Digital Marketing provides us. One can view the website traffic, its sources and the searches performed. This tool immensely helps the small business owners and startups know what people are looking for and how they are interacting with their businesses. They can also check out their performance in the search engine rankings. Needless to say, this is highly effective in zeroing down and targeting the right audience and also evaluating if their current marketing strategy is working.
Whatever media channel or marketing tactic you choose from all of the above options, please keep in mind that both online and digital campaigns should be merged to create a good marketing strategy, which is all the more important during current times.