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Social media may be the hottest way of marketing a business, but it’s not completely necessary. Here are some ways you can build your business without it.
If you ask anyone for tips on getting a business off the ground, you’re almost always going to get an answer that includes something along the lines of “make use of social media.” Social media can be a great tool, true, but utilizing these websites and apps for a business is not the same as using them for personal profiles. There’s a learning curve here that does require more research and planning than most people expect. Because of this, many business owners either misuse social media or don’t make the most of it because they don’t have time to understand it.
So can you start and run a business without social media? Some people may say no, but the truth is that yes, you can. There are a number of ways you can promote your business offline that are still quite effective. In fact, some businesses may actually do much better with these methods than they would with social media. Let’s look at some ways you can be competitive in your industry without worrying about social media.
Put Up Posters and Flyers
One of the oldest forms of marketing is still quite relevant today. You can make use of posters and flyers to draw people to your business as long as you do some research and put them in the right place. Take a look at where people in your area tend to gather or pass through, and place your flyers there if you can. Coffee shops, bars, and other places make great locations for flyers. Also put up large posters in your windows or on the outside of your building so people know where you are and what you provide.
Give Out Business Cards
Business cards are another classic marketing method, and they do work. Always have some cards in your wallet or purse to give out to people who are interested in your business. Try to create a card that fits with your overall company branding and stands out rather than a plain, boring one that looks like just about every other business card out there.
Talk to People
You know what your business is about, and you’re passionate about it. When you talk to people about your company, that passion is going to come through. Whenever you get a chance with someone who seems interested in what you offer, talk to them about your company. This opens the door to giving them a business card, too.
In addition to talking about your business to others, you should also let others talk to you about how to run and market a company. You can learn many things from those who have owned their own companies. You can also take the help of conference speakers. These experts often provide great tips for marketing, motivating your team, and much more. Never pass up any advice, especially if you know you don’t have much knowledge or experience in certain areas.
Offer Referral Incentives to Customers
One of the best ways of bringing in new customers is word of mouth. When a customer refers someone else to you, this new customer is going to already feel as if you’re a name to be trusted because a friend or family member trusts you. This means they’re much more likely to buy from you or use your service.
Creating word of mouth or getting others to refer friends isn’t always easy. Even though your customers may love what you provide, they may not feel the need to go out of their way to discuss your company with others. One way of increasing your referrals, then, is to give customers a reason to talk about you. Creating a referral program where you provide the customer with a coupon or a free item for referring others gives them this reason. The more people they refer to you, the more they get, providing incentive.
Attend Trade Shows
Trade shows are a great place to meet others in your industry and to introduce attendees to what you have to offer. Not all industries have trade shows, but most do. You’ll also have the chance to see some of the newest technologies in action and learn about how your industry is changing while you market yourself to potential new customers. Even if you don’t have a booth at a trade show, it’s worth attending just to see what your competition is doing.
Offer Branded Free Stuff
How many free pens, rulers, and other items have you picked up that have company names and other information on them? These free items are a great way of keeping your name in front of customers. Every time someone picks up a pen with your brand name on it, they will think of your company. These items are often available for very little money, especially if you buy them in bulk. Don’t limit yourself to pens, either. You’ll find many different marketing items that you can personalize, so look for one that fits with what you offer or is unique.
Use Email Marketing
Just because you’re avoiding social media doesn’t mean you have to avoid all types of internet marketing. Email marketing is more straightforward than social media. You can ask customers if they would like to be on your email list and send them information about new products, keep them up-to-date about what your company is doing, and provide them with coupons and other specials. Just remember not to overdo it. An email every couple of weeks is likely enough. Any more than that and you risk alienating customers by spamming them.
Work with Bloggers
Another way of taking advantage of online marketing without learning social media is to take advantage of bloggers. You can find a blogger or two who will write about your business. Some will do it simply for content. Others may ask for a few free products to review or for a discount code for their readers. You do want to make certain the blog’s audience is made up of people who will be interested in what you offer. For example, having a blogger who mostly blogs about legal matters write a blog about your flower shop may not get the best results.
Create Useful Content
Another great way of marketing yourself online without dealing with social media is to write articles for various websites. By creating useful content that potential customers may find interesting and informative, you can establish yourself as an expert in the field. You can use this content to drive people to your business by tying in how your products or services are of use to customers.
Change Things Up
Finally, if you find that some of your traditional marketing methods aren’t getting as much attention, try changing things up. Redo your logo, change the colors on your flyers, and try something different. Fresh content is a great way of getting more attention.
As you can see, you don’t need to use social media to reach your audience. While it’s true that it can help, it’s not the be-all, end-all of marketing, and there’s nothing wrong with using other methods. If done right, these other methods can bring in many more customers than Facebook or Twitter could.
Author’s Bio: Being a senior business associate, Peter Davidson strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Twitter.