In the age of the Internet and social media, old school or traditional advertising practices remain effective. Small businesses thrive on the patronage of local communities, and old school methods are a great way of reaching out and making your business known.
In every business, visibility is vital. Stick your brand and logo into anything you can get your hand on. Set up clear signage on your location and prepare your business cards and brochures. Make sure your products are marked, including the packaging. If you can’t find a supplier for custom packaging, get rubber stamps made with your logo. Get them in different sizes and enhance them with a few decorative embellishments. Mark plain paper bags and boxes with your logo and your customers become walking advertising platforms. Create merchandise that you can sell to your loyal patrons. Shirts, mugs, caps, and other souvenir items give you additional revenue while also advertising your brand. Give freebies at special events, especially things that can display your brand prominently. A massive logo on a bag or umbrella won’t matter to someone who got it for free.
Giving freebies or sponsoring a local event is one way to get in touch with the local community. Charities are some of the best activities to participate in, especially since your contributions (cash or kind) will be tax-deductible. People get to sample your product and get to know your business at practically no cost to you. Local events are also more personal. They can give you a glimpse of the community and give you a chance to interact with potential patrons. Participating in local events produces goodwill and tells the community that you are one of them.
Tie-ups allow you to partner up with one or several non-competing businesses in the community. They can range from simply putting a good word if anyone asks to actual tie-ins with incentives for people to patronize both businesses. Membership cards that list certain establishments and provide 5-10 percent discounts are quite popular in small communities, particularly younger ones. Tie-ups add avenue of advertising and serve as a good endorsement. Just make sure your partners are as dedicated to their businesses as you are to yours and make sure you won’t be disappointing your patrons.
Special events and seasonal discounts can get your patrons somewhat excited and drive purchases up. Discounts, paired products, two-for-one promos – they all allow you to move product at marked discounts but still turn a profit. Increased sales will more than makeup for the lowered prices. Special events also drive interest and can introduce your business to first-time customers attracted by the great deals. The clear success of Thanksgiving’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are clear testaments to the popularity of special events and discounted items.
Businesses require marketing in both the real world and the virtual. While social media and online shops are great online advertising platforms, advertising in the real world requires time-tested old school practices.