If you are setting up an online business or building up an existing one then it can be easy to concentrate only on online marketing. This is a big mistake for most businesses. With all the buzz surrounding online marketing – such as Google Adwords – many of us that operate online here in Australia (myself included) only look at digital marketing. This means we are all missing out on using and profiting from traditional forms of advertising. For some of this article I will use my own experience as an example to show you the ups and downs of digital marketing.

Marketing an online business offline

Online business can always benefit from a little real world promotion.

Digital Marketing is Just One Aspect of your Business Promotion

You should never just use digital marketing as your soul advertising stream. The idea of marketing is to exploit any and all type of promotion within your means. So while you will definitely need to look at your digital marketing for your online business, you should combine this with other advertising. To get you started, follow these simple steps:

  • Make a list of your key products and services
  • If you can, list your target customers or clients
  • Make some targets/goals for your marketing
  • Figure out exactly what you can spend out of your budget for advertising
  • Use this information to create a marketing plan
  • Divide this plan into traditional and online marketing

I won’t go into all the different kinds of marketing opportunities available online in this article but if you want their is lots of information on the rest of Online Business Thought.

Forms of Offline Marketing for Online Businesses

The main point you have to remember about marketing an online business is that the same rules applies as to a traditional business. so all of the following tried and tested methods will work with most online businesses:

Modern Business Cards

I use the term modern business cards here because you want them to stand out from the crowd. This can be done with a unique design or a quirky shape that reflects your business. These are still essential for every business no matter what digital gurus tell you. How unprofessional will you look if you meet a potential client or customer and you don’t have any business cards? If you don’t have even a simple business card this can ring alarm bells to people that you meet as it shows you aren’t serious about your business.

Flyers and Brochures

These are still a cheap and effective way to drum up business either with letter drops or placements in physical locations. Even if they just lead customers to your website, the fact they are looking at your brochure or flyer means that they are looking to buy. Compared to paying for Google Adwords, these are a much better short term way to increase interest and brand recognition.

Newspapers

Yes, people still read the newspaper, especially for locally based businesses and services. Even a simple classified ad or listing under local businesses can let people know about your website. If local people know you are based in their area then they will also trust your website more – which makes them more likely to purchase or inquire about your services.

There are many other various ways to market your online business offline such as bulletin boards and old fashioned face to face networking. If it doesn’t cost you much then at least try it out – then you will know if it works!

Testing Marketing Return on Investment

You have to keep track of your offline marketing costs in order to see if it is actually worth the time and effort. Sometimes, cheap offline methods such as flyer distribution can often be cheaper and more effective than advertising online. It all depends on your market, product and prices as well. Even if some offline marketing methods have a lower conversion rate than pay per click advertising but since they can be much cheaper, the return on investment is often higher. Test out methods such as flyers with smaller batches first before you purchase too many.

Don’t Be a Digital Hermit!

The main thing to remember with your online business is not to isolate yourself by only looking for customers or clients on the Internet. Join your local business centre, network and get to know customers face to face if you can. This will start the ball rolling on the most valuable of offline marketing methods – word of mouth!

Good luck with your online business and I hope this has helped you think about some alternatives to digital marketing. However, if you do want some help with your online marketing and content check out my business website for a free online business analysis.