While times are definitely changing when it comes to advertising, local businesses often make the mistake of assuming the times have changed too much. The urge to focus your advertising efforts on internet promotion is understandable given that you can usually reach a large amount of people for little to no money.
Nevertheless, although traditional marketing techniques such as print ads are down about 25%, studies have shown that the most effective way of marketing your business is to combine online and offline promotion.
While 97% of customers are Googling local businesses, over half of these searches are a result of offline brand exposure. Plus, traditional advertising helps you build partnerships in your community that the internet can’t duplicate. Don’t abandon it altogether.
1. Offline Banner Advertising
The idea that offline advertising has to take up a large amount of your budget is a myth. There are plenty of cost-effective ways to promote your business without relying on Facebook alone, and the results will be worth it. After all, there’s a reason why online companies like Yahoo and eBay actually spend more money on offline than online ads. Many of these ads take the same format used in website banners, which are designed to drive traffic to your site, and apply it to actual banners and signs which list your website or Facebook page on them.
Portable banners can be displayed in high traffic areas, and magnets and decals for your car can serve as mobile advertising. A driver who is passing one of your outdoor ads will likely remember the name of your company or even the website address and be able to look you up online at home, and they are more likely to become a repeat customer. In that way, these methods can be symbiotic.
2. The Power of Print
Print advertising includes much more than newspaper or weekly shopper ads. Print includes business cards, flyers, door hangers, and even coupons – anything you can think of that customers can hold in their hands which will bring exposure to your business and your website. Print advertising has a certain kind of credibility and permanence that online ads still haven’t been able to replicate. Some customers still associate online advertising with scams and spammers, so having genuine print ads available to consumers brings the perceived quality of your business to a new level.
They’re also highly successful. According to Chron Magazine, 79 percent of consumers actively engage with the ads they read, whether it’s clipping coupons or visiting a business website. When it comes to a return on your investment, print ads, especially magazine ads, outperform both television and online advertising.
3. Radio isn’t Dead
Like print advertising, the reports of the demise of radio have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, around 85 percent of people in the world still listen to the radio daily. A 30 second radio ad has its own specific advantages. It’s usually much more affordable than other mediums, and it offers you the chance to target your demographic based on the station you choose. It’s a very functional form of advertising because customers don’t necessarily have to be at home in front of the television or the computer to be exposed to your message.
Just like passing by a banner or car magnet, radio ads exemplify that important advantage offline advertising always maintains. A partnership with a local radio station will be of long-term significance to your brand and give you the kind of permanent credibility that relying on Facebook promotion will not. But it’s also easy to direct listeners to your online sites, where you can supply them with so much more information. Online ads suffer from the problem of impermanence, and radio ads are similar, but the fact that they can be heard everywhere instead of read actually makes a big difference.
It’s tempting to take shortcuts when you’re thinking about how to advertise your business, but like most aspects of running a company, you need to think long-term. Free social media promotion is great for getting your brand off the ground, but you’ll need the tangible, permanent world of offline advertising to back it up and compliment it.
No matter how many sites and magazines are insisting traditional advertising is dead, it’s simply not true. If you invest in these tried and true techniques, they are guaranteed to increase sales and visibility and keep you in business for a long time to come.