5 offbeat print marketing tips for small businesses in 2018


Because not everyone hits up social media or the Internet, it’s important to have an offline marketing strategy, too. There are the staples such as flyers and business cards, but there are some out-of-the-box methods, too.

Check out these five clever tips to market your small business using print in 2018. 

1. Leverage your local newspaper

Plenty of people still read their local newspaper. Chances are, those are the same people who might not see much of your digital advertising. There are a couple of ways you can leverage your local newspaper. The first is to buy some ad space for your business. The size of your ad and how often it runs will depend on your budget. 

A more cost effective way is to become a guest columnist. This will ensure your name (and that of your business) gets in the paper on a regular basis, which could be weekly, monthly, etc. Your column could be topical based on your local news, or it could offer tips based on the type of business you have. You could even answer readers’ questions, depending on your industry. This will establish your expertise in your field and build trust with readers, who could turn into customers.

2. Consider giving out promotional items

Promotional products are an excellent way to get customers to form an emotional connection with your business, and there are plenty to choose from depending on your business and budget. Before you design your items, make sure you have a great logo to put on them. You can make them available to distribute at your business or take them to community events for people to pick up. You could also work with other business owners to see if they would give out some of your items if you return the favour for them. 

The types of products you give away will depend on your budget. Consider a wearable item such as a T-shirt or hat to get the biggest return on your investment, as people will become walking billboards for your business when they wear them. You also could provide items associated with your business, such as a free comb for a hair salon. This way, people will think of you every time they use the item. 

3. Use direct mail

Introduce your business to new customers by using direct mail. This will allow you to target specific neighborhoods near your business to let people know where you are and what you do. 

Use specially designed envelopes to match your business’s branding for a professional look. Be careful not to make the design too busy, or people will know it’s an ad and toss it in the trash. Company Folders has several sizes and types to use for any occasion, whether it’s an invite to your latest event or a newsletter with a coupon attached. 

Direct mail is a little more personal than an email because it shows extra time was taken to write and deliver it. It also has a better chance of being seen, as people are less likely to receive very much snail mail compared to the truckload of spam email they get every day. People also tend to keep things they receive in the mail for reference, giving direct mail a longer shelf life. 

4. Get your name out there with yard signs

Have some branded signs made for your friends and family to put in their yards. Ask customers if they wouldn’t mind putting one up, too. This will get your name out beyond your local neighborhood, depending on where people live. You also could work with other businesses to cross promote by putting out each other’s signs. On top of encouraging people to stop by your business, the signs will help build name and brand recognition. 

Depending on your location, you’ll want to make sure you design will stand out in every season. For example, a predominately white sign wouldn’t work in an area where there is a lot of snow. You’ll also want to make sure the sign is made from a good material to withstand the elements. It’s also important to check out if there are any city ordinances that would regulate the maximum size of your sign. 

5. Adopt part of your community

Here's a print marketing method that's a little more indirect: adopt a highway or an area park. You’ll be charged with keeping that area clean and maintained, but a sign also will be erected explaining who is responsible for the area. This will not only be a free ad for your business, but it also will show your commitment to the community. 

Unlike a billboard, when people drive by this type of sign, they’ll think of your business’s civic-mindedness and remember it when they are need of a good or service you provide. It also likely will be cheaper than a billboard, as your fee for the billboard is for a limited time, but your sign at the park will remain as long as you are maintaining it. This will only work if you have the time to maintain the park or highway. It will look bad if your area is full of litter and overgrown with weeds. Consider organising cleanup days so that you and your employees can interact with the community to get to know your customer base better. 

Print marketing has been around for decades. The key is to make yours stand out among the noise. Try unconventional ways to get potential customers’ attention. Hopefully, these tips will help you do that. Do you have other suggestions? Leave your tips in the comments below.



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