How Offline Marketing Can (Still) Help Small Businesses

Despite the rise of the digital world and the tech sphere, businesses should not discount offline marketing as a great way to get themselves noticed. According to, 40% of consumers make buying decisions after being influenced offline.

Jan Horst direct mail campaign

photo credit: Jan Horst / Behance

If you’re a growing business, you can’t afford to miss out. However, offline marketing can be more expensive than online methods like social media – so how can a small business make maximum gains without a costly budget?

Be careful with ads

One of the first things people think of when it comes to offline marketing are advertisements. Whether they’re in print publications or broadcast, you need to be careful with ads. They’re costly and often inefficient. Roughly 90% of TV viewers skip ads, according to a YouGov survey.

Any offline ads you place should appeal to your target audience. A younger, more tech-focused company should place ads in magazines they’d like to read themselves. More traditional businesses with an older target audience may see better ROI from offline ads, where their audience spend more time compared to online.

Direct mail marketing

Think email is the epitome of outreaching to customers? So does everyone else – that’s why users suffer an influx of emails that they ignore every single day. The average businessperson receives 121 emails each day, which will rise to 140 by 2018.

This means direct mail can differentiate you from competitors and even net better results – after all, direct mail achieves a 3.4% response rate compared to email’s 0.12% rate. However, you need to be aware of the costs associated. Email has a lower cost per acquisition overall, so you’ll need to experiment with budget and methods to see which works best for you.

LinkedIn local event participation

photo credit: smi23le / Flickr


Online networking with tools like LinkedIn is very important, but offline events are when you get a chance to make an impression and build up your network. In a world where who you know can get you far, it pays to master networking. Some of the best ways to network inexpensively are:

  • Sponsorship: adding your business’s name to an event is a great way to get noticed and create a talking point. It helps you build up brand recognition in the same way as banner ads.
  • Physical impressions: one of the most effective ways to market yourself and your business offline is to create lasting impressions. Creative business cards can be a good way to do this, but they have to break the mould and be memorable. At some events, wearing custom name badges is a good way to advertise your brand but also to save any awkward moments when someone forgets your name mid-chat.
  • Follow-up: linking online with offline, once you’ve made a contact at an event, it can be good to invite them to your LinkedIn network and then invite them out for a coffee to further solidify your business relationship.

Offline content marketing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have witnessed content marketing. The most common form of online marketing, there are 27 million pieces of content shared daily. 9 in 10 organisations use content for their marketing efforts – whether these are blog articles, infographics or videos.

Offline content is useful too, with printed guides, gifts and keepsakes all great ideas to bundle in with purchases or send out as free promotional material. More memorable than an email or letter, this type of marketing can pay off in droves – especially when first starting out. As an example, a drinks brand sending out bottle openers is a handy stunt that will build brand awareness and recognition.

Offline techniques can blend in effectively with online ones to create an integrated digital strategy. Newer businesses should not discount offline techniques and older businesses should embrace online in order to excel. Only by mastering both will your business truly stand out.



2 Comments How Offline Marketing Can (Still) Help Small Businesses

    1. Ivan Widjaya

      Well said, Martin 🙂 Marketing tactics come and go, but referral marketing will always be the key!


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