Free / Cheap Offline Marketing Methods
- Word of mouth – referrals by friends, family members, collections, etc.
- Handouts -flyers, newsletters, brochures, business cards, etc.
- Branding – putting your website URL on clothes, household necessities, your car, etc.
- Telecommunication – talking to clients over the phone
- Direct mail – deliver handouts, thank you letters, important documents, etc.
Paid Offline Marketing Methods
- TV advertising – commercials, infomercials, etc.
- Radio advertising – mainly done through talk shows (specified for local areas such as cities or towns)
- Billboards -supersize your ad on freeways and high traffic areas
- Print Media – newspapers, journals, and magazines.
- Joint ventures – partner up with other offline businesses
- Press releases -newsworthy stories about your business that are sent to the media
A Quick Outlook
With the power of the internet and the fact that several businesses are now moving online, some people are probably wondering, "Why even bother with traditional marketing anymore?" Well that's the question I'm about to answer as I show you the advantages & disadvantages of traditional marketing and tips on how to bypass the downsides.
Advantages of Traditional Marketing
Many forms of internet marketing, such as search engine optimization and banner ads, can take several weeks before any real results start to happen. You are just not going to get that top 5 website ranking from SEO overnight or within the first month even. Furthermore, banner ads are reportedly becoming less effective now-a-days and can also take some time to produce sufficient exit. Traditional marketing however, can produce much faster and more effective results with well-placed ads that are suitable to a particular audience. You can expect a stronger impact in lesser time with traditional marketing.
The truth is many websites are deleted, moved, or abandoned all the time and search engine results also change periodically. Advertising offline has no uncertainties in that nature in any way. You can give someone your business card and that same reference can be good 10 or 20 years later. The same bears true for flyers and posters, although handouts have a slightly lower life expectancy than business cards. The point is that business is more durable offline than it is online.
This might be the number one advantage of offline marketing. Trust is a huge factor of any business, regardless of how it is promoted. Many people are more comfortable with buying products from offline ads than on the internet. The reason is that you get to see the people or company you are interested in buying from and get to know them a little before you actually purchase. More times than not, many online ads and websites do not provide that same trust aspect. The lingering of endless scam sites over the internet just makes that problem even worse. So most certainly, trust is more established in traditional marketing than on the internet.
Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing
Cost & Expenses
Marketing in print media or live broadcasting, such as TV and radio advertising, is not cheap at all. The larger the geographical area you want to embrace and the more popular the company you advertise with, the more money you will be spending. What makes it more dreadful is that if you do not place and promote the ad well enough then you can find your self on the bad end of the cost / reward ratio and actually lose money.
Advice: It's always better to use the marketing methods that are within your budget and begin to use the more expensive ones once you start acquiring more sales for your business. So if you can not afford the high costs of print media as well as TV and radio advertising, then stick to the free & low cost methods for now, like handouts and word of mouth.
Time constraint is probably the largest traditional marketing disadvantage. Online websites function 24/7 while many offline businesses usually operate in between 6-12 hours a day and only 5 days a week. If you were to do the math and calculate the difference in time between the two you would get an approximate answer of 2 whole days and an additional 12-18 hours a day which is equal to about 4 1/2 days total a week lost to Online websites. That's A LOT of time that could be used to gain more potential customers and make more sales.
Besides having less time to market an offline business, you are also presented with the problem of customers being able to contact you when they want. Most offline businesses do not provide email which means that customers have to wait to the next business day that you are open or have to leave a voicemail on your phone and wait until you contact them back. To many people, this can be very annoying.
Advice: While you can not do anything about the internet operating 24/7, you should make it your best effort to be available as much as possible, even at night. That's why it's VERY important to have an email and phone number provided in your contact information so that you can get back to your clients right away or the very next morning.
Most offline businesses require some kind of work force to maintain them while the internet provides enough tools and support for individuals to usually reserve their business on their own online. Not to mention the added stress and responsibility of having to keep an eye on your workers' attendance and overall performance. The wider demographic area you are trying to cover, the more of a need there is to have personnel. That means that more money comes out of your business revenue and into the pockets of your employees.
Advice: If you want more people to buy your product or service over a larger region, then you are going to need a much larger personnel to help sustain your business. It is better to focus more on recognition and sales before a wider distribution comes into play.
As you can see, there are many offline marketing methods that you can use to successfully promote your business off the internet. Along with the advantages and disadvantages of traditional marketing in general, it's clear to see why you should participate offline marketing in your business.