Everyone in the known world uses the Internet right? Wrong. There are still people who are not necessarily connected in that way when it comes to commerce. As a home business owner, there are still ways to tap into this portion of your market successfully. Here are a few ideas to get you started in the right direction.
1. Your sphere of influence – Discuss your product or service with family, friends, coworkers (your “day” job) and acquaintances. For those who are well-known in their local area, don’t be afraid to chat it up to local businesses that you frequent who could benefit from using your service or product.
2. Mailers – This type of direct marketing still works but it often requires you to put more into it than you get out. Still, it is an option. Use online research to try and find out who would make good candidates for mailings.
3. Community presentations – The local chamber of commerce and even the local college can offer a venue to present your product or service to local businesses and consumers, respectively.
4. Business cards – They don’t work unless you give them out. Always carry several. Offer to friends, fellow business owners (at conventions and workshops), medical offices (some of your personal providers may allow you to advertise) and people you meet through networking.
5. Advertise locally – Mobile marketing is a great way to reach offline clients. Even if they don’t surf the Internet, most people of all age groups own a cellular phone with Internet capabilities. Register for local searches with Bing Places, Google+ Local, Yelp and Yahoo Local to make sure that anyone looking for a business like yours will find all the information they need from their phone.
6. Create a website – Just because you are offline, doesn’t mean that an online presence isn’t a way to open an entirely new revenue stream. Even the most basic website can begin the process of drawing clients to your offline store and/or connecting offline customers with your website. Include telephone number, directions and store hours for easy communication.
7. Ask for email addresses – Provide discount coupons or dollars off services at checkout in exchange or an email address. If you have an e-commerce site, provide a coupon code as well as a barcode for online or offline shopping.
8. Existing client base – Do you already have a loyal client base? Offer them discounts and incentives to provide the names of friends and family members who may benefit from your business offerings.
9. Complementary businesses – It’s similar to partnering with online businesses. Find a business in your local area that would benefit from a symbiotic relationship with you. If they can benefit from your products, offer a huge price break in exchange for their advertising your business to their clientele.
10. Support community events – The name of the game is exposure. Sign up to host a table at community events that interest you and/or complement your business niche. Provide funds for local kid’s sports teams and get your name on t-shirts, pennants, commemorative mugs and the like.
11. Get on the radio – This is not free, but for a business that has the advertising budget, buying air time on the local radio station puts your name and your product in everyone’s ears on a daily basis.
12. Optimize your website for mobile viewing – Many people use their phones as their Internet link. If they find you using a local search, make sure that when they click on the blue link for your website, that they can see what they need without having to twist their phone all around to make the content fit.
13. Social media – How do people stay connected with family and friends? Some use Facebook for photos and continuing conversations with family members far away. Since they are already there, creating a business page here encourages offline customers to check you out and stay connected to what’s new. The same goes for other social media sites. Just about all of them provide ideas for business marketing.
14. Encourage reviews – With the great number of people using e-commerce sites these days, it’s important for consumers to know that they are not getting duped. Provide links for your customers to use to offer their feedback on your services and products for the benefit of future potential customers.
Can you think of any more ways to get local clients for your business? Let me know in the comments!
To your success,
~ Carrie A Medford
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