Offline Marketing an Online Business

Online marketing techniques such as PPC, list marketing and affiliate selling are highly saturated. The profit margin on the majority of adwords based businesses is very small. For this reason it is necessary to sell a lot of units to make a reasonable profit on any individual venture. Unfortunately many of the products that are available to small businessmen don't have markets large enough to sustain the levels of sales required to make them profitable. For this reason it is essential to consider offline marketing techniques to support your online ventures. Often businessmen fail to consider traditional methods of promotion as suitable for online businesses as there are several downsides:

  1. Harder to track: All hits from offline marketing streams will record as direct hits in analytics or a similar tracking system.
  2. Less immediate: If someone sees a tv advert or hears a radio advert they need to remember your url and type it in; hyperlinks are not an option.
  3. Larger outlays: You can't pay per click with TV, radio or newspapers.

Despite the drawbacks you would be remiss to discount offlne methods. Products that are most popular online such as electronics, educational media and hobby materials have moved on mass to online advertising methods. This has left an opening for small businesses to take advantage of offline methods.

Television

Television advertising ranges in price depending on the channel and time you want to run your advert. However a television advert can potentially reach millions of people and will greatly increase public awareness of your brand. With satellite and cable programming now widely available you have many more options to choose from. Make sure to pick a channel whose typical target markets is similar to your own. For example, the latest consumer electronics would be best advertised on the SciFi channel or Virgin 1 where as household goods would be best advertised on Living.

Radio

Like television radio adverts range in price depending on the station and time you run your adverts on. Radio however reaches a smaller audience and are considerably less expensive than TV. With radio advertising the key to success is to run your advert several times during the same show. This reinforces the viewers awareness of your brand and key selling points in a way that isn't possible with TV adverts. During rush hour is the best time to run radio adverts. If you can afford to run your advert three times between 8am and 9am or 5pm and 6pm then market awareness of your products and your reasons for them to purchase it will increase greatly. Commuters tend to be fairly loyal to their chosen morning program so if you run your advert three times during their commute for 2 to 4 weeks your product or service will be the first in the market they will think of when they decide they need it. This kind of positibe reinforcement will also likely outlast your advertising run by a long time. 

Newspaper Adverts

Newspaper advertising is an ideal method for reaching a lot of local customers. If your business offers a local service such as repairs or home services then newspaper advertising is the best means at your disposal for reaching a large number of them for a reasonable price. The local free paper is still the first place people look for such services such as trade work or rental goods. A local paper adverts costs typically varies from £100 per month for the smallest advert to £2000 for the largest. You have several options available such as positioning, size, text/images and greyscale/colour. It costs more to appear sooner in the paper, images cost more than text and colour cost more than greyscale. However you can create a good eye catching advert even if all you can afford only a small text advert. I prefer to use a greyscale image advert as this allows a great deal of flexibility for a reasonable price. When choosing a size for your advert it is not important to get the biggest one, just make sure you can a bigger ad than companies in your industry. Some takeaway companies also offer advertising space on their leaflets. Most take aways distribute a great deal of leaflets regularly.

Leaflets

Leaflets are cheap and effective. Two choice that affect your outlay when designing a leaflet are size and whether to have a greyscale or colour leaflet. A larger colour leaflet will get more attention. I tend to use an A5 colour leaflet as this is large enough to convey a great deal of information, attractive if designed well and not so large as to be cumbersome for people to keep on the fridge or in a leaflet drawer. Once you have your leaflets designed and printed they will need to be distributed. Keep a printed map of the area you plan to cover and mark off streets once you've delivered to them to avoid repeating ground too quicky. You can distribute your leaflets personally or find a local distribution service to distribute for you. Typicall you should expect to pay about £25 per 1000 leaflets. In addition to door to door delivery you can also arrange for your leaflets to be distributed in the local free papers. Some take away restaurants also offer advertising space on their food carton lids. This hasd the potential to reach many people cheaply.

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