10 Ways to Promote Your Startup Offline

Promote Your Business Offline

There's no argument about the fact that more and more people spend time online. As a direct consequence of this, many companies have turned to social media and the internet to promote their businesses. It seems as if though no one even questions this marketing strategy these days - it has become an axiom that you need to promote your brand or services online if you want to have any success and gain profit.

Although there's no denying that the internet and social media have conquered other marketing strategies by a storm, it's still highly questionable if this type of method should be the only game in town. In this article, we're going to provide you with 10 ways to promote your startup offline.

We're going to try to give you some convincing reasons why you don't want to back off from this strategy, even though it's strongly advisable to actually combine both of these marketing methods. In other words, you should promote your business both online and offline, and we're going to show you why the latter strategy is still so important.

Not Everyone's Online (at Least Not All the Time)

Before we begin our countdown of 10 ways to promote your startup, we're going to give you a simple answer to the question of why you should use offline marketing strategy as an effective promotional tool in the first place.

First of all, not everyone's online. There's a growing tendency and the trend definitely moves towards that everyone spends at least some time surfing the World Wide Web. But even if or when this happens, people are still going to spend a significant amount of time offline. We'll still have to go to our jobs regularly, go for walks, go to the movies, meet friends, etc. This proves that we're not exactly online all the time, and creates a huge opportunity to promote your startup offline. Without further ado, let's begin our list of 10 ways to promote your startup using this (still highly effective) marketing strategy.

1. Offer to Tell Your Story

Tell Your Story

One of the most powerful and convincing ways to present and introduce your startup to others is by telling your story. A good way to do this is through local TV, newspaper, or radio station. These media are always in the hunt for a good story because it also increases their ratings.

So, if you have an interesting story to tell about your startup, we'd strongly advise you to get in touch with the local media and ask them if they're interested in giving you space to promote your business.

2. Don't Shy Away From Local Newspaper Ads

In case you get turned down by these media and they're not particularly interested in hearing and broadcasting your story, you can still take advantage of them. Place an ad in a local newspaper if your product appeals to this demographic. You should also consider putting an ad in a high school or college newspaper, in case younger people are your primary target audience.

3. Organize Media Giveaways

This can be regarded as a 'Plan C' if the local newspaper, TV, or radio station isn't all that interested in sharing your story. The important thing is not to give up. If they’ve turned down your first offer (to go out and publicly talk about your startup), chances are that they won't say no to free products or services.

This is how you can play this out: journalists also want to 'attain' new viewers, readers, or listeners. One way to take advantage of this fact is to offer them to endorse your product or services by giving these for free to their viewers, readers, or listeners. That way you're getting (almost) free publicity, and they get to retain or gain more viewers, readers, or listeners.

4. Ask For Public Endorsements

Ask for Endorsements

Speaking of public endorsements, you can also endorse your product, services, or brand by giving your product for free to prominent local (or even better - regional and national) people.

Another great way to gain the attention of the public is to give these prominent individuals stuff like hats or t-shirts that they can wear. Just visit the custom t-shirt shop and get your brand promoted in no time. What's so good about this method is that you don't even have to specifically ask for public endorsement. Most people will simply wear the t-shirt that you gave them if they feel that your startup is worthwhile.

5. It's All About Networking

The next way we consider to be effective for promoting your startup offline is to go out and get in touch with as many people as you can. These days, it's truly all about networking. If you already know certain prominent people and business leaders personally, we advise you to take advantage of that.

One way to do this is to ask these individuals to mention their names when you start making calls to potential customers. People like to hear that you're in some way associated with some notable and acclaimed figures and are more likely to trust your brand or a company.

6. Organize Free Dinners/Lunches

Who doesn't like a free meal? You can introduce potential customers to your brand or services without spending a fortune by inviting them to a free dinner or lunch. This is a win-win situation for both parties - they get to eat and drink for free, and you get to present them your product. In case they like their meal and your product (and presentation), a lot of good things can come out of the experience. You can even find potential associates and partners that are going to help you further extend your business.

7. Seriously Consider Attending Vendor Trade Shows

Attend Vendor Trade Shows

You simply have to have this mindset of using every opportunity there is. This includes attending vendor trade shows. Now, you might be thinking: 'How am I going to attend a vendor trade show if I can't even afford a booth?'. But this is something that you simply can't let get in your way. For example, you can ask around and see if another company is interested in splitting a booth with you. That way you'll be able to save money and still have enough visibility in places such as these.

8. Distribute Coupons, Handouts, and Flyers in Your Area

We simply can't stress this enough, the importance of being present everywhere. When you try to promote your startup, you have to do whatever is in your power to reach people and show them that your company is worth their time and money.

That's why you need to consider things like distributing coupons, handouts, and flyers all around your area. And if you think that these are outmoded marketing methods, we strongly encourage you to think again. Try this offline strategy (as well as others that we've already mentioned) and you'll realize pretty soon just how effective these ways of promoting your business can be.

9. Consider Cross-Promotions

While it is true that cross-promotions are predominantly popular in retailing, it is also true that they can be used in any type of business. Here's how to do this: find companies that are interested in collaborating with your startup and talk about the ways to promote each other's services or products. That way you'll be able to reach their customers and vice versa. This simple strategy really works like a charm in some scenarios, so you should definitely explore the idea further.

10. Target Specific Groups with Direct Mail

A good thing about this strategy is that you can cover the costs of the entire campaign with just 2-3% response rate. And if you target the specific demographic market the right way, you'll probably feel like you've hit the jackpot. Sometimes people get so lucky with these campaigns that they regret not implementing this method earlier.

The Bottom Line

In today's day and age, people spend more and more time online. This creates a unique situation for a lot of companies: they tend to move away from some of the more regular marketing strategies and promote their business, service, brand, or product strictly online.

But this can be wrong on so many levels. Firstly, people still find the time and have to to go outside regularly. This only means that there are many opportunities to promote your startup offline. For this reason, in this article, we gave you a list of 10 ways to promote your startup offline.

These include offering to tell your story through local media, placing an ad in a local newspaper, organizing media giveaways, asking for public endorsements, networking, organizing free dinners/lunches, attending vendor trade shows, distributing coupons, flyers, or handouts, doing cross-promotions, and targeting specific groups with direct mail. Implement all these strategies and your startup will definitely be on the verge of becoming a successful company.

Guest Author

Nick Brown

Nick Brown is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.