Is Online Marketing and Social Networking All You Need to Grow Your Business?
Lately, it seems like every client I talk to wants to put all their marketing eggs in the online basket. While it's true the Internet offers entrepreneurs a bazillion low-cost ways to reach thousands of prospects-and pretty much any business can benefit from using it properly-it's really not the be-all end-all when it comes to growing your business.
In fact, there are loads of low-cost, highly-effective marketing options out there that aren't Internet based. While some might consider them old-school, don't be fooled into thinking they're passé. I've found the best way to market any business is by using a combination of online and offline tactics. So today I'm going to share a few of my favorite old-school offline tactics as well as how you can combine them with new-school online techniques to catapult results through the roof.
1) The lowly, oft-maligned phone call.
Old-school: In this day and age people are craving deeper, more personal connections. So pick up the phone and follow up with past clients or customers. Not only will they appreciate and remember the follow-up, they may even decide to hire you-or buy from you-again on the spot.
New school: Call people who purchase your product online to follow-up and make sure they don't have any questions. Or, use an email marketing campaign to promote a new event or program, then set up telephone Strategy Sessions to see if they're a good fit. You can even take credit cards right then and there and process them online using PayPal or another provider.
2) Good old direct mail.
Old school: Send out a postcard or sales letter campaign promoting a product, service or event and ask them to call for more info or to buy or register.
New school: Send out a postcard or sales letter promoting a product, service or event that asks them to visit a Webpage for more info or to take action. Or, even better, send out a mailing promoting a freebie they can download from your Website, then follow up with them using an email autoresponder campaign.
3) The venerable print newsletter.
Old school: A printed newsletter-whether it's an oversized postcard, a single sheet, or a multi-pager-is still a highly effective way to keep your name in front of prospects and clients while reinforcing how helpful you are.
The beauty of it is that it doesn't end up in anyone's spam folder or already overfull Inbox. So it tends to get noticed and read. Plus, you don't need people to give you permission to mail it like you do with email newsletters and ezines.
New school: Use articles you write for your ezine or blog as content for your print newsletter so you don't have to recreate that wheel. And include a URL to send people to your Website or blog from your newsletter so they can access even more terrific articles from you-and ideally sign up for ezine or blog feed.
4) Your basic business card.
Old school: Create business cards with your business name, logo, and your contact info. Then hand them out to everyone you meet. To get more marketing oomph out of your business card, be sure to use the back. You can list your services, include a helpful tip, or anything else that fits and promotes your business.
New school: In addition to the usual info, include your social networking info so prospects can find and connect with you on Twitter, Facebook etc. And take it one step further on the back of your card by promoting a free download and the Web address where they can get it. Then collect their name and email online in exchange, and keep following up via email.
5) Traditional networking.
Old school: Live, in-person networking is still a great way to grow a business, test new promotions, product and services and hone your pitch. Just remember that it's all about building relationships and helping others first, and selling your stuff second (no different from social networking online, really).
New School: Use this as an opportunity to grow your email list by offering your helpful freebie. Just have interested prospects give you their business card with a star drawn on it, then you can add them to your list when you get back to the office.