by Donna Toothaker
Most online businesses naturally focus on online marketing and social media to drive their business. However, traditional “offline” marketing methods are invaluable. They are still some of the most effective ways to growing your business, and should not be overlooked.
First, are you using your mailing list effectively? A good mailing list is the foundation for your business. This is not just an e-mail list. Having a database of names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and other personal information gives you the tools to connect personally with current and potential clients, business associates and even competitors.
Are you launching a new service or product, or presenting at a local event? Send a postcard announcement to clients, potential clients and area businesses with whom you do business. Do mailings every other month or so, including something valuable and new each time.
Send personal notes to clients thanking them for choosing you, thanking them for a referral, and upon completion of a big project. Including a personal sentiment shows care and attention to detail. Put birthdays on your calendar and send cards to your clients – your kindness will be remembered, and so will you when the opportunity comes up for a client to refer somebody to your company. A good way to keep track of client birthdays and send out cards automatically is to use an online service like SendOutCards.com.
Many newspapers and local radio and cable television stations will gladly print listings or run PSAs for offerings that are free and serve the public. Offer to do a free class or workshop at your local library, women’s business network, or community center, and send press releases to local papers, radio, television, and local business newsletters, such as those sent out by the chamber of commerce. Ask whatever group who is hosting you to send it to their membership and contacts as well. Whether a small business owner is curious about hiring a Virtual Assistant, or a local unemployed professional is looking to start her own VA business, marketing yourself face to face is a highly effective way to promote your business, and the VA industry in your area, while adding new prospective clients to your mailing list.
Where do your local entrepreneurs do business or hang out? Bring yourself to potential customers. Places like copy centers, local cafes with Wi-Fi, and health clubs are populated with your target market, and often have community bulletin boards or places to leave business cards. Get to know the managers or owners of these businesses. Ask to hang fliers with any new business offerings, upcoming events, coupons or special offers.
Advertising is also effective – but only if you are able to do so on a regular basis, and to the right audience. If major newspapers or industry magazines are out of your reach financially, consider pitching a weekly column and ad placement in a local community paper, an ad on a local am radio talk station, or sponsoring arts and community events throughout the year.
Work these ideas into your yearly marketing plan, and see where they can dovetail with your online marketing. You may repurpose your online article submissions as those community newspaper columns, for example, or send a postcard to contacts as you launch your new services or specials online. Whatever offline marketing route you choose to travel, utilizing those good ol’ fashioned, tried-and-true methods can put you on the road to growth and success!
Donna Toothaker is CEO, founder and coach of Step It Up VA Coaching, and the creator of the 6 Steps to 6-Figure VA Success System. These highly sought-after VA coaching programs have been created for established, successful VAs who wish to create the 6-figure business of their dreams. Visithttp://www.stepitupva.com to receive the free report, Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Creating a 6-Figure VA Business.