Most businesses that succeed, do so because their marketing strategy uses a mixture of online and offline marketing ideas. This is usually called multi-channel marketing. But offline marketing ideas seem to be going the way of the dinosaur–extinct.
Just because you have an online-based marketing strategy, doesn’t mean you should ignore those great offline marketing ideas! It’s especially important because offline marketing falls under one of the letters in The CLICK Technique—“K” for “Keep Going”. Once you’re in the thick of your online marketing, consistency is key, and offline marketing can sometimes fall to the wayside.
Here are the 35 of the Best Offline Marketing Ideas
Check out my list, and see what will work for your business so that you can keep going.
1. Business Cards
This isn’t just one of the great offline marketing ideas; it’s more or less essential for any business. Business cards allow you to quickly and efficiently give someone a compact way to get in touch—not just with you, but with your business as a whole.
In the modern age, fewer people are relying on business cards. They assume that, because they have an online presence, a business card is superfluous. This couldn’t be more wrong. People remember you because of what’s on your business card. This includes details like your website URL.
Get business cards made, and start handing them out wherever you go!
2. Create Pamphlets
Great looking pamphlets can be tough to design, but it’s a great offering in the list of offline marketing ideas. Like any advertisement, the presentation is important; the importance is doubled for pamphlets. The first impression of this item can make or break its effectiveness.
Get a good set of pamphlets done, and then make sure you can leave them in places where they’ll be seen. And not just any place–you want them located places that your customers might go. Other places of business, public parks, washrooms–get creative here!
3. Hold a Contest
Contests have a lot of draw to them. Many of us are compelled to compete, especially when it’s something we know that we’re good at. And if there’s a good prize being offered? Oh yes–people will show up in droves.
Figure out what sort of contest would be interesting for your intended customer base. What sort of skill set would they have? What sort of prizes would they be willing to fight for?
This can be one of the more fun offline marketing ideas on the list, if done right. Have a good time while hosting the event, and you (and your business) will be the shining stars folks remember.
4. Head to a Trade Show
Even if you’re afraid that your business can’t spring for a booth, go to those vendor trade shows. Even if you’re nervous that your product won’t shine when compared with others, get to the trade show. No matter what sort of excuses spring up: Be. At. Trade. Shows.
This one of my offline marketing ideas can be costly and time consuming, but it’s worth the investment. You’ll never know how you’ll fare until you get to the show, but most people see a modest amount of success at minimum. At most, you’ll be wildly popular.
And, hey–if price is really a concern, find another small business who wouldn’t be able to afford the booth on their own and consider splitting a booth with a product that appeals to the same audience. It’s a win-win!
5. Send Seasonal Cards
Here’s a great on of my offline marketing ideas for those of you who love to send out seasonal cards every year. Seasonal cards can build a lot of rapport between the giver and receiver. People love to give them, and they love to get them. Consider how surprised they’ll be when they open their mailbox to find a card from your business!
More businesses used to send out seasonal cards, but it’s becoming less and less common as the years go on. Let your business be one of those that sticks with tradition! A great many people love receiving seasonal cards, and they’ll graciously accept one from you.
6. Community Engagement
How much are you involved in your community, as an individual? Depending on the type of person you are, you might be involved a lot, a little, or not at all. On an individual level, community engagement is one of those things that is a choice. As a business, however, that choice becomes a crucial part of your marketing campaign.
Of all my offline marketing ideas, this one is pretty critical. People love to support local businesses. It’s become the “thing” to do these days. People feel a lot of pride knowing that a successful business runs out of their area. If you can properly engage with your community, that pride will skyrocket. Harness that pride, and turn those people into customers.
7. Put Out Press Releases
Press releases are one of my top offline marketing ideas, due to how well they can spread the word about your business or product. A good press release can spark curiosity in your business. It can provide you with shareable content that can be spread easily. There’s no real downside to putting out regular press releases.
A press release is a one-page summary of something newsworthy that’s going on with your business. It will have your contact information, website, business name, and some basic details on your news. These press releases can be sent directly to any media publication, and they’ll consider publishing it.
Don’t think you have anything newsworthy? A newly released website or product is good material for a press release. Also consider things like events you are hosting, contests, public speaking events, and more. You can make something newsworthy out of just about anything.
8. Leave Branded Items at Key Locations
Ever seen a business name emblazoned on the side of a pen? Or a frisbee? How about a coffee cup? Of course you have! One of the most traditional offline marketing ideas to ever exist is branded items. It’s done so frequently, it’s become commonplace for people to use these branded items in their own homes.
Done the right way, these items can be fantastic advertisements. Make sure that, along with a fantastic logo, you have ways potential customers can find you. In modern days, a link to your website should be included on the item, along with your logo.
Don’t forget to include a line that describes what it is your business offers. People can’t be interested if they don’t know what it is you’re selling!
9. Speak at Events
Practice warming up your voice, because for this one you’re headed to the stage. Speaking in front of groups can really boost your visibility, as well as the visibility of your company. It’s one of the more effective offline marketing ideas, due to it’s relative usefulness to everyone involved.
If you head to an event and speak on topics you know a lot about, chances are you’ll get a lot of people who are willing to listen. Not just willing–excited. It’s easy to harness that excitement and funnel it towards your business. Hand out those business cards or pamphlets at the end of the presentation!
The key to this one of my offline marketing ideas is to find a good location to speak at. Find events where you can speak about the topics you know, and you won’t feel out of place.
Educational workshops can be a place to learn, but they can also be a place to be seen. Head to a workshop, and make sure to bring your business cards. Networking, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a big part of marketing. Being around like-minded individuals can give you a chance to connect with smart, useful people.
Better yet, host your own workshop! Many of my offline marketing ideas involve hosting events, and there’s a good reason for it. People love events, and they love the companies that instigate them. An educational workshop about a relevant topic can boost the visibility of your business.
11. Offer Coupons
Everybody likes coupons, right? Why not incorporate something that everyone likes into your marketing campaign? This one can really draw in new customers. It’s easy to consider buying something you might not otherwise splurge on, if you can get it cheaper.
This one of my offline marketing ideas can really stir up interest in your products. The difficult part is making sure that those one-time customers convert into customers that keep coming back for more. Make sure the coupon is for a service or product that will hook people into wanting more!
12. Paper Emails
In a recent podcast I had with the marketing genius Kevin Donlin, Kevin shared one of the more unique offline marketing ideas I’ve ever stumbled across. He calls them “paper emails”, and you’ll want to incorporate them into your marketing strategy.
How often do you check your email? If you’re anything like me, you check it often… but don’t necessarily get a chance to read it all. You may be flooded with daily emails and end up only checking a few of the more important looking ones. Kevin noticed this trend, so he started snail mailing copies of emails he sent to his customers.
You know what? It worked! Many people who get these “paper emails” are thankful for them, due to the flood of emails they get daily. It’s also fantastic to have a physical copy of pivotal information. So the next time you send out an email promotion, be sure to send out a “paper email” that goes with it!
13. Cross Promotions
Cross promotions are what offline marketing ideas are often built on, and this is because they built rapport between your business and another business. Not only are cross promotions effective, but they give you a chance to work together with a similar business.
Say you know of a small store on the corner. You could reach out to the owners of that store and say that you’d like to do a giveaway. You’d provide them with some free products, and they would draw people to their store with those products. Everyone wins!
This could also work well in reverse. If you know a small business that needs a platform, and you have one, host their products instead. You scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours.
Speaking of scratching backs: another one of my offline marketing ideas builds off the same idea, and that’s donating. Donate products. Donate your time by volunteering to staff an event. Donate whatever it is that people need.
Not only will you be visible to those who see your donating, but you’ll be forever respected by those you donate to. Charity is never a waste of resources. And, hey–you’ll feel good to boot. Can’t lose with this one!
15. Get in the Newspaper
It used to be that reading the newspaper was as pivotal to the morning routine as a cup of coffee. Even as technology advances and more news outlets offer online versions of their publications, many people still read the paper. Those people might just be potential customers.
Run an ad in your local newspaper. Maybe even try reaching out to several of your most local newspapers and asking to get in. They’re generally not too expensive to put an ad in, and you’ll be seen by a lot of local people who will be interested in your business.
16. Cold Calls
Oh, cold calls. The bane of business owners. Selling is difficult, but cold calling can be even more so. There’s something uniquely challenging about picking up the phone and calling a stranger to talk about your business. But you know what? It works.
This is one of the more traditional of my offline marketing ideas, and maybe one of the most difficult for a lot of people. Despite all the humming and hawing people do over it, it still works. Strangers will still convert into customers via a cold call. So pick up that phone, and give it a try!
17. Reconsider Your Businesses Voice
If your business had a voice, what would it sound like? What sort of personality would it have? What’s a phrase that would be quintessential for it?
This is one of my more thought-based offline marketing ideas: developing a voice to go with your business. It may sound a bit corny, but big companies are riding this train all the time. If you think of some big brands, you could probably construct an ad from memory based on the unique voice of the brand.
Is your business hard and to-the-point? Is it relaxed and chill? Maybe it’s quirky and funny? Personify your business, and stick to a voice that really works. You can easily convert the right kind of people by appealing to them with the voice of your business.
18. Sponsor a Community Event
Sponsoring a community event is one of those feel-good offline marketing ideas. Not only do you get seen, you get to make everyone feel good about you being seen.
Community events are often looking for sponsors. You get to put your name all over the event, and they get to afford to host it. The host will be thankful, the attendees will be thankful, and you’ll be thrilled to help out the community.
19. Leave Your Business Cards Elsewhere
Whoops, you dropped your business card on the ground. Sure would be nice if someone else picked it up, wouldn’t it?
Leave your business cards everywhere. On tables at the cafe. On the ground outside of your hairdressers. At the grocery store. Leave a few on railings, counters, tables – you name it, drop a business card there.
Sure, this is one of my more simple offline marketing ideas, but it works. And it couldn’t hurt.
20. Create Speaking Opportunities
Did you enjoy having a chance to speak publicly at an event, due to one of my earlier offline marketing ideas? Why wait until someone else hosts a speaking event? Get proactive, and host your own!
This option is versatile, and all the potential outcomes are great for your marketing model. You could host a speaking event just for yourself. You could host an event that welcomes lots of speakers. Work within what you think you and your business can handle, but don’t be afraid to dream big. Take a chance on a bigger event, and you’ll be able to create a place where you can easily network with others. And you’ll be the host of it all!
Got fliers? Business cards? Pamphlets? Looking for a place to put them? Go classic: go canvassing.
Offline marketing ideas can come in all flavors–if this one was a flavor, it would be a classic, familiar vanilla. We’ve all gotten a flier or two left on our doorstep from a local enterprising business. Now it’s your turn! Get out there and pound the pavement. You don’t even need to knock on any doors–just leave your material there for them to see!
22. Collaborate with Influencers/Brand Ambassadors
An “influencer” can take many forms. In the days of social media, and influencer is someone with an established base of followers that can review products or wear swag. When it comes to offline marketing ideas, however, influencers are often known as brand ambassadors.
Brand ambassadors are hired to be a walking, talking billboard. They’ll wear your logos, use your products, and talk positively about your business. Better than your traditional billboard, right? Some people can be a bit iffy about the concept of hiring a person as a billboard, but it can be great for the right business.
23. Get in the Classified Ads
An oldie, but a goodie! Offline marketing ideas often harness offline media sources–tv, radio, and newspaper. In this case, we want to use that timeless classic, the newspaper classified ads, to get eyes on your business.
People still look to these tried-and-true ad sections on a weekly, or even daily, basis. If you think your business and products would appeal to the age group that often reads these papers, you should go for it. Remember that younger audiences often don’t flock to newspapers, but those in the 40+ category do.
24. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Offline marketing ideas often require you to get involved with your local community, and this one is no different. Your local Chamber of Commerce is designed to get businesses seen and working with each other. If you join, you’ll get a good deal of perks for a generally low cost. The cost, of course, depends on the size of your local area.
Depending on where you live and host your business, this could be just a bit helpful or incredibly helpful. An incredibly small community won’t garner you many new eyes, but the cost for joining the Chamber of Commerce is likely very low. If you live in a big city, however, joining may be pricey but fruitful.
25. Offer a Referral Program
Want to avoid coupons, but still want to draw in potential customers? A basic referral program can have a similar effect as a good sale or coupon.
Try offering already existing customers a chance to refer a friend. If they do it successfully, both they and their friend get a discount. This is another of my win-win offline marketing ideas: everyone comes out happy here. And, because your new customer already knows their friend is buying, they’ll trust the quality of your product/service more inherently.
26. Get a Commercial
Yes, on TV. Offline marketing ideas often include the media, and this time we’re cracking the TV nut.
TV ads aren’t as expensive as many people may think. They can be anywhere form $500 to millions of dollars, depending on where they air and when. The trick, of course, is making a solid ad before focusing on airing it. If your ad is no good, then you’ve wasted time, energy, and funds.
Come up with a good, clever, or funny way of selling your product or introducing your business. TV audiences are more accustomed to wacky ads today, so you can go pretty far out on that kooky limb.
27. Write a Book
Speaking of media-based offline marketing ideas, have you ever considered writing a book? You may have thought wistfully about locking yourself away in some cabin in the mountains to pen a novel, but this should be different. Writing a book isn’t out of your reach, and it isn’t as daunting as it seems.
You can self-publish your book when you’re finished, and the results it will have on your marketing campaign will be the same. People like to see that you know what you’re talking about. Writing a book? Only someone who knows their stuff can write a book. They don’t even need to read it – just knowing it exists boosts your credibility. Those who DO read it will be impressed, and be more tempted to check out your business.
28. Rent a Billboard
Offline marketing ideas in the media don’t stop at TV and books, of course. The billboard is a traditional ad medium, and, when done correctly, can really work wonders.
The trick is to not be bland. Be eye-catching. Be bold. Be funny. Be whatever you need to be to tell people they NEED to check out your business. The most successful billboards make people do a double-take, or at least keep people thinking while they pass by.
When we’re driving, we’re surprisingly open to suggestion. Put your call-to-action out there on a billboard, and drivers will follow it!
29. Redo Your Packaging/Logo
Is your logo working? Do you have a product with specific packaging? Offline marketing ideas are often about your presentation. Have a good, long think about how your business is presenting itself.
A logo can change over the years to match developing trends. You see it with big businesses all the time; a logo change can actually signal an entire brand shift. You don’t necessarily need to shift your brand to redo your logo, of course. Sometimes you just need a change.
If you still have a logo from back in the early days of your business, now may be the time to change.
30. Stick to Your Signage
Now, it may sound like I’m about to give you some conflicting advice, but stick with me here. Stick to your logo and your image.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep the logo you already have. What this means is you should keep your image consistent. Don’t alter your logo once you’ve got it established. It may be tempting to tweak the image her or there, but don’t. Go with a big change, or not at all.
People are drawn to the familiar. You may notice that, when a big company changes their logo, there’s often an initial kickback. We don’t like change! We’re creatures of habit. If your customer base notices your logo has tiny changes to it, they’ll be uncomfortable.
31. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
What are you hoping to achieve with your business? What is your product? Can you explain your product or service in a single sentence?
We often call this summation of your business, product, or service an “elevator pitch”, but it’s very rarely used in elevators anymore. More frequently, you’ll be using this summary to introduce your business to new customers or business colleagues at industry events.
People want to know what you’re selling, and you need to be able to explain it to them quickly. People can lose interest in just a few seconds; make your elevator pitch count!
32. Get a Sign Spinner
Have you ever seen someone standing by the side of the road, spinning a sign with an advertisement on it? Have you ever thought of hiring your own?
I know; it can seem a bit silly at first. But you’d be surprised how eye-catching a person with a sign can be. Plus, hiring someone to spin a sign for you can be incredibly cheap. You can even have them wear a costume, if you like. I’m not saying you SHOULD, but you COULD. Try everything at least once when working on your marketing strategy, right?
Hey—offline marketing ideas come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t knock it until you try it!
33. Play to Your Strengths
We often get caught up in what our business is not. “My business isn’t big.” “My business isn’t very old.” “My business doesn’t have very many employees.” Everything that you criticize about your business can be seen as a strength in thew right light. You just have to spend time finding the right light to shine on it!
This is one of my more idea-based offline marketing ideas, but it’s no less important than the physical ones. If you’re caught up in how small your business is, advertise that you’re a small business. Let people know. There are many people who love small businesses, and prefer to deal with them rather than large ones. Have few employees? Customers will love your one-on-one approach.
Find the right light, and shine on!
34. Get Creative with Guerrilla Marketing
Guerrilla marketing has seen a ton of success in recent years. If you can lead a marketing campaign with a solid guerilla-based approach, you’ll see a huge return on your investment. Of all the offline marketing ideas I’ve listed here, however, this one can be the most challenging. Not because it’s costly, but because it’s so difficult to predict the results.
Originality doesn’t come easily. A genius guerrilla marketing idea doesn’t come out of thin air. You need a good team to brainstorm with, and you need a lot of energy focused into creativity. A business owner generally doesn’t have a lot of time or mental energy left at the end of the day. I’d highly suggest getting a team to help you come up with a unique and creative guerrilla idea, and then spread it everywhere you can.
35. Keep Going!
When it comes to marketing, I often give this advice. It’s simple, but it bears repeating. Keep going. Stick with it. Stay consistent.
Offline marketing ideas are all well and good, but ideas are useless if you can’t execute them. We often start with a lot of energy and commitment to our marketing campaigns, but slowly lose steam after a while. I’ve watched people completely waste fantastic ideas because they didn’t keep consistent with their approach.
Keep plowing ahead. Don’t give up when the going gets tough. When you don’t see results immediately, don’t get disheartened. Don’t slow your roll. If your strategy continues to yield few results, don’t give up on marketing altogether. Try integrating small changes, and see how it affects things.
If you can stick to your guns and keep moving forward, I guarantee that you will eventually see results: more traffic and leads to your website.