With the exploding numbers of on-line businesses, it is increasingly more difficult, and far more expensive, to market your business effectively on-line. Internet businesses are now turning to the off-line world to advertise. Here is what you can do to market your on-line business, in the off-line world, without going broke.
Off-line marketing consists of print, direct mail and TV/Radio advertising. Although TV and Radio are the most effective means of off-line marketing, they are cost prohibitive for most on-line businesses. So for the purposes of this article, we will concentrate only on Print and Direct Mail.
Print ads include everything from simple black & white flyers, distributed by hand at the mall, to a full-page color ad placed in a magazine. If you are a member of an industry organization, you can advertise in their related industry publications. This is the natural first choice when deciding which magazines or periodicals to advertise in.
When placing print ads, you will need to place the largest ad you can reasonably afford. And you will need to run it consistently over several weeks in order for it to be truly effective. Depending on your type of business, you can place ads in local “Penny Savers” magazines and in local and regional newspapers at fairly reasonable rates.
Additionally, posting or handing out flyers at malls, supermarkets, parking lots, etc. is another surprisingly cost-effective method of offline marketing. For example, if your site targets a certain industry, lets say “Arts & Crafts”, you can hand out flyers at the large retail arts and crafts stores, leaving flyers on customer’s cars in the parking lot.
I think if you operate an Internet home business, unless you have a BIG marketing budget, you should stay away from placing ads in large magazines. Even small industry publications tend to be over-priced, and in order for your ad to be effective, once again, you must be consistent and place ads regularly. Just doing one-shots is really a waste of your money.
Probably the most reasonable and, in my opinion, the most cost-effective means of advertising is Direct Mail Marketing. Direct mail ensures that your message gets directly into the hands of your potential customers. All it takes is a simple post card, with your message, mailed every three months and you’re set.
Now compiling a mailing list to mail to is another story. My suggestion is to join professional organizations in your industry. Almost every industry has some sort of professional organization related to its field.
Most of these organizations publish their own newsletters and magazines and maintain member mailing lists. These lists are usually available in printed format, or online; however, if you want them formatted for a database, you will most likely have to pay a rental or buy fee. If that doesn’t work for you can also purchase mailing lists from independent list brokers.
Once you have your list you simply import it into a database, like Microsoft’s Access, and then you will easily be able to spit out letters and/or labels for your marketing materials and off they go right into the hands of your customers…very effective.
Now the “down side” to direct mail is that it is very labor intensive. Someone has got to lick the stamps, place the mailing labels, sort, print, etc. This is where family comes in handy. Put your kids on the payroll and let the little buggers go to work. If not, there are mailing services available that will handle all of that for you for a fee.
Keep in mind, as with all advertising, statistics show that it generally takes 7-8 times for a customer to be exposed to your message before they decide to take action. So needless to say, be sure your marketing budget allows for a long-term plan that includes multiple exposures.
You will need to stay in your customers face constantly over an extended period of time, no matter what your offline marketing campaign may consist of. And using both the Print Ad and Direct Mail methods is important to your overall marketing success.
“U can do it…just dive into it”