You might show your age if you bring this up at parties but there was a time when businesses were able to grow WITHOUT the Internet.
Who knew, right? A long time ago, in a land far, far away social media didn’t exist. There was no such thing as a Google ad or even the Internet.
There’s no doubt that the Internet changed how businesses reach people. In the early days of what was commonly known as the World Wide Web, reaching millions and later billions of people was not only easy, it was cheap.
Then came Facebook, a company that became the third largest company in the world. Businesses scrambled to make their presence known because Facebook was the next big portal to a large amount of people at very little cost.
But everybody knows what happens when they place their eggs in one basket. The basket notices that everybody relies on it and begins charging. The basket gets so full that it’s hard for a business to stand out from every other business.
Facebook now charges and that has prompted many business owners to cry foul. “Why are they charging me for what took so long to build all by myself?” asks many a business owner.
The problem isn’t so much with Facebook, Twitter and all of the free advertising vehicles that are no longer free. The problem is that business owners abandoned what has worked for centuries and placed all of their advertising eggs in one basket.
But take heart—we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at the past and rekindle advertising strategies that don’t involve the Internet.
1. Direct Mail- You thought email marketing killed direct mail but you’re wrong. Take a look in your mailbox on any given day and you still see a ton of advertising. You might not respond to such strategies but many customers do.
The secret, according to the pros, is to purchase qualified leads. In other words, if you sell products geared towards seniors, sending your mailer to the 20-something demographic isn’t the best use of your money. Just like you would with email marketing, get super targeted with your list and you’ll be happy with the ROI.
2. The commercial- Again, don’t let your own opinion sway you. Smart businesses don’t invest time and financial resources into something that doesn’t work. Local media advertising is still a fantastic way to raise brand awareness but you have to put the new spin on an old-school technique.
On the Internet, content marketing is simply giving the customer something valuable while interweaving your brand into it. For example, a plumbing company may write a blog post about how to keep drains from clogging.
If you’re advertising on television, create valuable content that isn’t hard-core advertising. Set out to entertain or inform while working your brand into the spot. You probably don’t have the budget of Apple but the company has mastered this concept. Take a look at this spot and notice how the company entertained while still inserting their brand.
3. The Sign Spinner- You’re driving down the road and see somebody standing on the street corner wearing a superman costume doing crazy acrobatic moves with a sign that says, “HUGE SALE TODAY!!” “Live advertising” works and it’s not expensive. Never thought you would try it? Sometimes moving out of your comfort zone results in big profit.
4. Cold Calling- If the Internet were a person, business owners would line up to hug him or her for this simple reason: They didn’t have to cold-call anymore. But here’s the reality: Cold calling works and successful businesses still do it. Just like mailings, don’t waste time calling the wrong people. Make sure your call list is highly targeted.
5. Sales Calls- The stories of the old-school salesman like Dale Carnegie who traveled the nation selling to people in the early twentieth century are nostalgic but certainly not dead.
Today, pharmaceutical companies, and so many others, still employ massive armies of people to make sales calls. If it works for them, it can work for you.
6. Networking- Do you attend conferences and seminars? How about teaching a class at a community college or other venue? Get yourself out and network with your potential customers.
7. Relationship Building- Nothing has changed—people still do business with people they trust and like. Going back to Dale Carnegie, he said in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” “Talk to someone about themselves and they'll listen for hours.” Building genuine relationships is tough on the Internet but easy face-to-face and its those relationships that will produce great results in a much shorter period of time.
Have you come to rely so much on online efforts that you’ve abandoned what has worked in the past? Incorporating online efforts is vitally important but diversify your marketing strategy to utilize multiple channels.
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