With millions upon millions of people using the internet every single day, it’s very easy to get caught up in how to market your business online through the strategies we are all more familiar with these days. But having your offline marketing plan in place is of equal importance for your business success and shouldn’t be ignored. The two factions really must work hand in hand for you to experience the ultimate success with your goals for your business.
Build Those Relationships by Marketing Offline
Marketing your online business in real life isn’t much different than doing it online except you’re not hiding behind a computer screen. This idea can be extremely intimidating, especially for introverts, but the more you practice your real life interactions, the easier it becomes.
One tip to remember: Marketing does not equal sales. Marketing is about building relationships or planting seeds about your business so when the time is right, a prospect will remember your name and contact you. You do not need to be in a constant state of selling; answer questions about your business but also ask questions to learn more about your contact’s businesses. You won’t truly know if you can help each other without listening to what they do.
My background as a classroom teacher and also as a real estate broker and residential appraiser for a period of twenty years made me more familiar with the world of offline marketing. However, as an introvert I believed that coming online in 2006 to start my new business from the comfort and isolation of my home office meant I would never have to spend time with people in person in order to build and grow my business. I was wrong. But I’ve learned so much over the years and have grown personally, as well as professionally as a result.
Local Networking Events
Begin searching for local networking groups or events. Many groups, such as BNI, allow visitors to attend meetings free of charge so ask about that option. After one or two visits, you’ll know if the group will be beneficial to you; if so, join up.
If not, search for your local Chamber of Commerce, small business meetups, or other professional networking groups. Use the same criteria for joining local groups as you would for joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups: who is in the group; how you can contribute in a meaningful way; and how will the group benefit you?
Also, consider forming your own local group, based on your interests and the people you want to attract. I belong to two private clubs where I am able to network with the hundreds of other members on a more personal basis. Many excellent relationships have come from these interactions, and it all began when I invited members to have coffee and a discussion around a topic of my choosing.
Find Local Sponsorship Opportunities
Many local organizations or charities look for sponsors to keep their programs running. Check out your Little League, soccer, basketball, or other youth sporting clubs to sponsor a team or purchase an ad in their outfield. Look for youth theater groups – or even drama clubs in different schools – and pay for an ad in their playbills.
Ask if your local places of worship have a weekly bulletin that accepts advertisements. Be smart with your choices; ultimately you still want to target your ideal clients but paying it forward in your community will also bring about some name recognition.
Participate in Community Events and Service Organizations
Does your town or those surrounding you have Community Days or Home and Garden shows? Ask about setting up a booth to showcase your business. Print some pamphlets and business cards to hand out. Better yet, create an inexpensive swag bag with your printed material inside, along with a treat for those who stop by your booth.
Remember to visit the other vendors and introduce yourself, much like you would at a networking event. Sometimes vendors will become your clients, all because they met you at a local event. And in turn, you could find the exact person and company for something you have an interest in pursuing in the near future.
In the end, interacting with your local community and business owners is much like interacting with online followers. Be helpful, be attentive, and be visible to naturally attract clients.
I was not familiar with any service organizations before I left teaching and real estate to start a business from my home computer. That’s when I found Rotary and my life would be forever changed in new and amazing ways. The story of how I began with Rotary is an interesting one, I believe.
Sitting in front of my computer in my new home office, in a new house, and in a community located about 30 miles from where I had been living for the previous twenty years, I realized my life had changed overnight with my choice to start an online business and live in a city that was new to me. In an effort to find something to do that would get me out of the house, I Googled for volunteer opportunities.
One of the SERPs – search engine results – was the Rotary website and I clicked on the link to find out more. I had seen the Rotary logo – it’s a wheel with spokes on a dark blue background – while driving all over the country, but up until that time I had never met anyone personally who was a part of the Rotary international service organizations. I saw that they were meeting every Wednesday at noon at a local restaurant, and the following week I showed up. This one action opened me up to a world I did not know existed, and I have now traveled all over the world with this group!
Refine Your Marketing Message for Your Offline Marketing Plan
Knowing your ideal audience is important but knowing what they struggle with will help you refine your marketing message even further. Now you can narrow your market even more by telling them how you can help, once you identify those pain points. Think about your offline marketing plan as a way to further your reach and grow your business exponentially.
I’m bestselling Wall Street Journal and USA Today author, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I would love to connect further with you to help you to achieve your goals. If you are interested in learning how to optimize the syndication of your content, please take a look at my popular Syndication Optimization training course (Use Discount Code INDEPENDENCE) and consider coming aboard to increase your visibility, credibility, and profitability.