Old School Marketing Tactics That Still Work Wonders
So you’re in business now. You’re going to make a living (and if you do it right, maybe more than just a living) from selling your goods or services to the public. Or maybe selling someone’s else’s goods and services and pocketing a nice commission for your trouble. But you don’t make so much as a penny unless you convince a whole lot of strangers to whip out their credit cards and buy what you’re selling.
That requires marketing because even before the first eager customer hands over their hard-earned cash, they need to know about you, what you’re selling and why they need it. In the digital age, marketing means things like SEO, affiliate links, backlinks, Facebook ads, Pinterest pins, Instagram uploads and mastering (or at least, scrabbling your way to some level of competence) the ‘dark arts’ of the internet to bring your business to the attention of people everywhere from Hong Kong to Honolulu. To market online requires skills you need to learn unless you want to pay someone to do it for you but that will cut into your profits, sometimes deeply.
But is there any alternative? Well, actually there is. Since memories are generally short, most people forget that marketing was going on everywhere long before the internet came along. Not only that but the “old school” pre-internet marketing methods still work just as well now as they always have. In fact, if you have a bricks-and-mortar business, these “old school” methods will work far more effectively for you than just about any amount of online marketing.
This marketing idea is as “old school” as it gets. Did you know that prehistoric cavemen gave away a mammoth tooth with every set of shell beads? OK, just kidding but the practice has been around for a
long time and maybe even as long as commerce itself. But there is a reason why promotional gifts are so time-honored and that is because they work.
Having your business name on a coffee mug, a T-shirt, a pen or a mouse-pad that you give away means that your customer has your name around their home every day and that’s a very good way to get it fixed in their memories. Besides, people like free stuff even if they don’t need it and they are more likely to remember you well for giving it to them.
Have you ever had one of those days when you have a particular tune or jingle just going around and around in your mind as if on a loop? How annoying is that? Well, it may be annoying but it also illustrates how effective a good jingle can be. The Nokia ringtone became famous the world-over. Nor is it something expensive to create. If you don’t have any musical gifts yourself you can always look for a jingle-writer on a site like Fiverr for something simple and catchy. If you can come up with something that your customers will sing in the shower, then you have scored a hit.
Again, this is a marketing method which has stood the test of time and for good reason. Take a walk or a drive along any commercial strip in pretty much any city and you will see signs on buildings. Billboards and “sign spinners” doing their thing. These guys are not making a spectacle out of themselves just for the sheer enjoyment of it. They are doing it because it is an effective way of grabbing the attention of passers-by.
A more sedate alternative is hiring a sandwich-board; less spectacular maybe but also more mobile. Those guys can cover miles a day with the added advantage that they can also hand out leaflets for you. Just think of how many people walk or drive past these signs on any given day. If the same person passes your eye-catching sign every day, they’re more than likely to be able to recognize your brand.Putting a virtualnumber on your sign can allow you to track just how many leads you get from the sign alone.
Nothing catches on like a catchy slogan. They have a knack of just sticking in people’s heads. A good, catchy slogan can even make its way into the national lexicon. I once knew an advertising executive who told me that the most successful marketing campaign of all time was AlkaSeltzer’s“Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz” because not only did it catch on but, prior to that campaign, people were usually using only one Alka Seltzer at a time. After the campaign, they started using two at a time and Alka Seltzer sales literally doubled overnight. That’s the power of a slogan.
This method is particularly effective for businesses offering services, for whom it always has been and remains a very reliable source of revenue. Although it has evolved somewhat with the advent of email
marketing, direct mailing is a way that you can target your best potential customers by identifying specific neighborhoods or zip codes.
It’s very inexpensive to get flyers printed and you can also purchase direct mailing lists to kick-start your campaign. If you’re going to market this way, think about offering some sort of coupon or offer on your flyers. For example, 5% off your first order. This is a very solid way of building consumer trust.
Okay, we’re not talking about national events or sports which attract millions in sponsorship money but something more local and modest can do wonders for your business. For example, you might want to offer to sponsor the team shirts of a local sports team. You can do this by simply buying their team shirts and then having your business name or logo emblazoned on the front or back. This not only gets your brand firmly fixed in the mind of all the players and fans but also helps generate a lot of local goodwill.
TV and Radio Commercials
Again, we’re not talking about national networks which would be far too expensive (as well as useless if you’re aiming for local customers) but local TV stations and radio stations need advertising revenue too and it costs less than you might think. Local radio commercials, especially, can generate a lot of awareness of your brand or business among all those people sitting in their cars or doing their ironing at home.
A good radio or local TV campaign goes a long way to building the kind of consumer trust you need for a successful business because it bestows a kind of respectability that can be a lot harder to build by other means. So, there are just a few ideas for you to be getting on with. Just because the internet and SEO came along, doesn’t mean that the old, tried and tested methods of marketing don’t work anymore.
In fact, just the opposite is true: if you do them right, they can work like crazy. They do require some money investment, it’s true but then so does marketing online where you have a choice of either bumbling through it yourself (and probably failing) or paying a professional online marketer to do it for you. This is not to say that you shouldn’t promote your website; you definitely should. But if you want local clients or customers, then the old ways may be your best bet.