Much is made of the ability of small businesses and independent professionals to market themselves for free online. And with good reason – the internet is the great leveler, giving every business, large or small, the same potential to reach its audience. But precisely because online marketing is so often touted as the only way to go, many independent professionals focus entirely on online activities, and neglect to do much of anything offline.
This has created a vacuum that is just crying out to be filled. By applying a percentage of those marketing efforts to the offline world, independent professionals can stand out from the crowd – and believe it or not, there are many ways to harness the power of offline marketing for free, as well. We’ve listed just a few here to get your creativity flowing.
Contact other local businesses to see if they might be amenable to working with you in some way. Maybe you each promote each other’s products or services, if they are complementary. You may even be able to work together on some projects, or refer each other business. Be creative in the way you approach these relationships – you never know what connections like these can result in.
In an introductory call with a PR firm, you can learn a lot about what you should be doing to market your business offline – and all for free. Call several different marketing companies to ask them for advice, being upfront about the fact that you are not in a position to hire them right now. Find out what they normally do for their clients. Most likely they will be willing to give you a few personalized tips, and who knows? You may just find yourself busy enough to hire one of them at some point in the future.
The best way to get free publicity is to create the buzz yourself. Give the press a reason to share your story with their audience. Find the unique angle in your story that will hook their viewers or readers, or that aligns perfectly with a current event. Do some volunteer work for a worthy cause, or organize an event such as a food or toy drive, to bring attention to both the cause and your business. Then spread the word to the media, sending them press releases, or explaining why an interview with you would appeal to their audience.
Whether offline or online, word-of-mouth advertising is still the most effective way to bring in new customers. The more energy and effort you pour into your first customers, the more loyal and devoted to telling others about you they will be. Go above and beyond in your customer service. Add a personal touch to every transaction. Be memorable. By doing so, you will be creating a small army of people who will advertise for you passionately – and for free.
These four tips are just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing your independent consultancy for free offline. Of course, these activities should be accompanied by online marketing efforts, as well, but the more ways you find to promote your business, the more successful you will be.