Ways to Promote a Business Offline for Maximum Profits
WATCH YOUR PROFITS EXPLODE!
Marketing offline is something more online Marketers should be doing more of. Ideally we should all be marketing both offline and online to maximize the synergy of both powerful platforms. Online marketing and offline marketing compliment each other, used properly together they can multiply the amount of exposure gained.
Some of these offline long standing traditional advertising and marketing ideas such as the yellow pages advertising and newspaper classified ads have been performing exceptionally for years. They may seem lame by internet marketing standards but they should not be neglected!
Offline marketing ideas, especially traditional ones like newspaper advertisements and magazine ads, are being used much less than ten years ago, due to the prices and lower return on investment compared to internet marketing. But many analysts feel that is more because offline marketing is not always used as effectively as it could be. Due to all the attention the internet hordes. Direct response marketing and building news worthy publicity are two very effective promotion methods that come to mind.
And then there are some really creative offline ideas that are often overlooked again due to the internet stealing the lime light; valuable joint ventures and strategic alliances to name two. Some of these ideas have the potential to really deliver a lot of leads and sales with minimal “work.”
So dig in and start thinking about how you could apply these ideas to your business today!
Start out with the simplistic and gradually get more creative and complex.
Part I – Traditional Offline Marketing
Don’t think of these methods as too simple or mundane. They are very effective when done right and combined with other techniques in this report.
Classified Ads – This is something everyone should be testing in some form or another. It’s great for lead generations. You should still have a strong benefit-driven headline and a clear call to action. Free reports work very well with classifieds. My local paper, the Hartford Courant even has an ongoing deal of 3 lines for 3 days – for free! Even adding more lines only ends up costing a few bucks. With a price like that, there’s no reason anyone with a website should not be testing ways to draw traffic to the site with classifieds.
Direct Mail – Nothing beats direct response when it comes to results-driven proven advertising. And messages sent directly to your highly targeted market via direct mail can deliver a terrific return on investment (ROI) when tested properly. There’s a wealth of information on direct marketing by Michel Fortin, David Garfinkel, Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, and many more experts. Here are some sites where you can learn more:
http://www.thegaryhalbertletter.com - Home of the Gary Halbert Letter
http://www.dankennedy.com - Dan Kennedy’s site
http://www.srds.com - The Standard Rate & Data (SRDS) List Book, a great resource to locate mailing lists of nearly any type you can imagine. You can also find it in some larger city libraries.
http://www.referenceusa.com - Reference USA is a great place to get compiled lists by industry, SIC, demographics and more. It contains names, addresses and lots of other great information on more than 12 million U.S. businesses, 102 million U.S. residents, 683,000 U.S. health care providers, 1 million Canadian businesses, and 11 million Canadian residents.
http://www.usps.com - The US Postal Service website has a variety of tools and educational materials about direct mail as well.
Postcards – Yes, postcards are a form of direct mail, but it warrants its own category. Postcards are cheaper to produce and mail than full-blown direct mail packages or sales letters, and they are great for generating leads. Like classified ads, a free report or free gift often works well here. Postcards are also a great way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects, and they also work well as part of a sequence of mailings. A good place to go for customized postcards is http://www.usps.com (the US Postal Service website), because the USPS has partnered with a company that will print and mail your postcards for you! Best of all, you only pay for the postage (i.e. FREE printing costs). Hint: be sure to include yourself on the mailing list so you can get your own mailing as well.
Yellow Pages – Another great resource that is often underutilized or used ineffectively. Yellow page ads are great because when someone sees your ad, they are already in the market for your product or service. Yellow page ads need to be benefits-driven, with your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) stated clearly and boldly (remember, this is the one place where your prospects will see your ad alongside all of your competitors). You want your ad to stand out from the clutter. Use a direct response type of ad, and again, free gifts or premiums work well here.
Gary Halbert has written about yellow pages several times in his newsletter. To find them easily, just enter the following search at Google:
site:thegaryhalbertletter.com +”yellow page”
Another great resource that JP Maroney recommends is Alan Saltz’s course on the subject, available at http://www.yellowpagesprofit.com
Space Ads – If you’re going to do a space ad, it will generally get better results if you use the same layout as the editorials. Use the same font styles and sizes for the headline, body, etc. If the newspaper uses 2 columns per article on the page your ad will appear, use 2 columns in your ad. If they use 3 columns, you use 3. The “advertorial” approach almost always does better than traditional space ads that scream “ad.”
A great way to get very low costs space ads is to use what’s known as remnant, or standby advertising. Enter the following search in Google to see what I mean and to learn more:
site:thegaryhalbertletter.com +"Nancy Jones"
And you’ll learn to experiment in many creative ways to find out what works for you. A local advertising paper, the Rare Reminder here in the Hartford area, has classified ads and space ads. But I noticed that one “stone and mulch” company has their space ad featured upside-down in every weekly issue. At first I thought it was a mistake. But after seeing it upside-down week after week, I suspected they found that their upside-down ad stands out from the clutter. People think it’s a mistake and read it. Yes, it’s a gimmick. Would I do it? Only if it tested positively. And maybe it has for these folks. Food for thought.
Radio/TV/Infomercials – You might be surprised how inexpensive you can get these types of slots, especially if you use remnant advertising. Study the best infomercials, for example (the ones you see over and over again…they must be working or they wouldn’t keep airing them), to get some ideas on how they are constructed.
Flyers – Who says you can’t hire a high school student to stuff mailboxes or stick ‘em under windshields? Obviously if you are selling a high-priced financial course, it would be better to target the windshields of a fancy hotel than your local Wal-Mart. And I believe the US Postal Service also prints them for you like they do postcards if you want to mail them. Check out http://www.usps.com
Networking – Your local Chamber of Commerce, trade shows, seminars, and anywhere your prospects hang out are all good opportunities for networking. In many cases, the hotel bar the night before the seminar is the best opportunity for making contacts. It’s usually more effective to try to capture contacts and leads than to try to close a sale on the spot, so get your elevator speech ready and have plenty of business cards on hand.
Telemarketing – Remember the “Do Not Call” list only applies to consumers, so if you do any kind of business to business selling, telemarketing is a viable marketing method you can use effectively. Also, the “Do Not Call” list may not apply to you with your customers or if you already have a relationship with your prospects.
A Trade Show Booth – A great place to capture leads. Again, a free report or gift does wonders. When you get a long line waiting at your booth, many people will stop by just to see what the fuss is about. Make your sales materials and sales people benefit-driven. Remember what your prospects are thinking: “What’s in it for me?”
Blimps, Banners, and Billboards – If it’s zoned for advertising and it’s blank, you have an opportunity.
Door Hangers – Those same high school students can help you with door hangers as well.
Circulars – Again, high school students can also help you hand out circulars, post them on community bulletin boards, on telephone poles, wherever. You can make a donation to your local church and ask them if you can leave a stack at their next bake sale or bingo event. And certainly you can arrange to have your circular included in your local newspaper or community paper. For your money, circulars are very inexpensive to print and distribute.
Card Decks – These stacks of index cards are mailed to targeted audiences. Each deck can contain anywhere from 50 to 200 cards or so, each with an advertisement or coupon. They may also double as a business reply card on back. Since your ad is mixed in with tons of others, it’s especially important to have a great headline and layout that will stand out from the clutter.
Card decks are inexpensive because all of the advertisers are sharing the cost of the mailing. They can cost as little as three cents a prospect for large mailings. Even for smaller mailings, they are generally cheap, which is good for testing.
Make sure you choose your audience wisely. Card decks are great for targeting a niche. Free reports or books work especially well here, because the person flipping through the cards will be attracted to the word “FREE.” As always, make sure there is a clear call to action. Multiple methods of response usually work better than a single method. For example, they can drop the card in the mail, call a free recorded message, go to your website, etc. And you may have some options with remnant space, so always try to negotiate a lower price (how hard is it for them to stick another card in their mailing…their costs are incremental and their profit is high even on remnant rates).
A couple other tips: When you see repeat advertisers in a deck, you have a pretty good idea that the deck is working for that ad. If that ad also targets your niche market, it may be a good one to test in. Also, test with copy that you already know works.
Value-Paks – Similar to card decks, “value-paks” are little booklets with multiple ads. They are mostly used with coupons, rather than business reply cards.
Ad Magazines – You’ve seen them. Magazines that are little more than a collection of space ads. They are usually local, and the ads in them usually aren’t direct response. By putting your direct response ad there, you stand out over all the other ads. But the downside is that these magazines tend to be less niche-focused (although there are certainly exceptions, with the real estate and automobile-themed magazines and newspapers).
Catalogues – Your catalog doesn’t have to look like L.L. Bean or the like to be effective. A good one to study with respect to the ads themselves is the J. Peterman catalogue (check out http://www.jpeterman.com).
Here’s a good way to start small and work up from there in developing a good catalogue:
Try a simple double-sided flyer first and test response.
Make sure you locate highly targeted lists, as the wasted cost of mailings is going to be your biggest expense.
Continue to expand, test, and tweak. Test everything—your layout, your copy, your prices—until you find the best combination.
Stay tuned for more Offline Marketing Strategies