Today’s marketing is often digital-based — such as email newsletters or cheeky Instagram posts — but sometimes, leaning toward the unexpected can win more attention (and more customers) for a small or medium-sized business.
If you’re looking for new ways to attract customers, think back to the tactics or custom marketing materials of your childhood (or your parents’ childhood). In some cases, throwback marketing techniques that have been updated for today’s audiences can be an ideal way to reach new customers and reel in more business. Here are a few ideas from years past that still work today:
Hand out Bumper Stickers
For decades, politicians have relied on bumper stickers to help them get elected. But stickers don’t have to make political statements, and they don’t have to be found only on car bumpers, either. Many people also plaster stickers on their notebooks, backpacks, computers and other items. Why not have your own branded stickers printed and available as a gift for customers? If the sticker looks good, many customers are likely to display it.
Host a Contest or Challenge
Contests and challenges are a great way to engage customers. In the past, this would require a large advertising campaign, but today, contests and challenges can be done on social media, at little to no cost. You could send your products to the first group of users who respond to a post asking for customers and fans to participate, and then have customers blindly try your product and that of a competitor. If you own a nursery, for example, you could offer a prize to the customer who answers specific gardening questions correctly on Facebook and have the winners collect their prizes in-store (or even hold the event on-location in real time!). On Instagram, you could ask fans and customers to post a picture of themselves using your brand or visiting your store — the winners can collect coupons, products and more.
Prioritize Face Time
Before the advent of social media, nobody could build a network without meeting people in person. Rather than holing up in their offices and relying on Facebook to build relationships with potential customers, business owners joined the local Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and their respective industry associations. Additionally, many professionals would serve on nonprofit boards, attend networking meetings in person, shake hands with potential customers, look them in the eye and have serendipitous discussions about the weather, their families and business.
While social networking may be a powerful component of your current marketing strategy, there’s no substitute for face time with the people around you, especially if yours is a local business. Host a meet and greet during some of your slower months to get to know your customers, or consider partnering with a local charity to host a fundraiser. When you take the time to prioritize face time, your business is bound to reap the benefits. Just remember to send out thank-you notes to your participants!
While newfangled marketing tactics may be effective, sometimes unexpected strategies make the biggest impression. Try getting creative and finding new ways to succeed with old-fashioned marketing techniques.
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