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There is more to marketing your business than Adwords & Search Engine Optimisation…

With so many people instinctively turning to the internet when they need to find a product or service, it is natural for many businesses to focus their marketing on digital strategies such as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, SEO and social media. But traditional marketing is still important and should not be neglected. It has a particularly important role for small businesses whose customer base consists largely of local consumers. These businesses will benefit from raising their profile within the community and traditional PR can help achieve this.

It’s not really about traditional marketing v digital marketing. A coherent strategy that encompasses both will cover a wide demographic and ensure your “message” reaches as many people as possible.

Below is a summary of some promotional ideas that I like and you may not have considered before. It is very easy to spend large amounts of money on marketing with little return and not all the ideas below will be suitable for every business. The difficult bit is spending your marketing budget wisely but you may find some of the suggestions useful for you.

Exploit Your Location

If you already pay to lease an office space, shop or other building then why not use it to your advantage? Wall space, windows and car park areas can all be used to promote your services to passing traffic. Signs and posters are obvious ideas but how about something a bit more eye catching…

Plymouth Digital Marketing

Inflatable men
No, not that kind that kind of inflatable! I mean high visibility marketing inflatables. These are typically 20ft in height and can be customised with your own colours, slogan and accessories.

People will definitely notice it as they are passing and you could make it even more fun by giving your inflatable man his own Twitter account.

They cost around £500 for the “sleeve” and fan, with replacement sleeve figures costing approximately £200. That might seem a lot but if you want something to make a big impact and get people talking then its not bad value compared to the cost of a printed advert in a local paper, which could be around £200.

Flags & banners
If you have some land outside your office then flags or banners will get the attention of passing traffic. Permanent flag poles would probably need planning permission but there are plenty of alternatives such as these tear drop banners.

Bollard sleeves
If you really want to make use of space and have bollards in front of your shop then bollard sleeves are a low cost idea.

You often see them at supermarkets where they are used to good effect with simple and bright designs.

These cost around £50 and fit over the top of the bollards. There is no need for planning permission and the materials should be hard wearing enough to last a couple of years.

Are you sitting comfortably?
If you like a bit of guerilla marketing then how about getting your own toilet rolls printed? It would certainly get the attention of a captive audience if you replaced the standard rolls with your own!

Get Out and About

Vehicle designs
How do you get to work? If you drive then you should consider sign writing your vehicles. Your car can be a 24/7 advert, promoting your business as you commute, whilst it is parked and even when you are not working. Just be careful how you drive! A road rage incident would not be good publicity…

If you cycle then you could get your business details printed on the back of a high-visibility vest. That would increase your safety as well as advertising your services.

Farmers’ fields
A large, well positioned sign near a busy road is guaranteed to get people’s attention. I always notice advertising boards that are on the side of the dual carriageway when I drive up and down the A38 between Plymouth and Exeter in Devon.

Prices will vary depending on the location, landowner and your negotiating skills but an enquiry costs nothing.

Roundabout sponsorship
Local councils normally let businesses “sponsor” roundabouts. Sponsorship usually starts from £1000 for 12 months and pays for a couple of signs on the roundabout and the upkeep of it e.g. gardening costs, flowers etc.

Like roadside signs, roundabout sponsorship can reach a large number of local people and increase your brand awareness. You will probably have to sign a long-term contract but the right roundabout could drive lots of traffic to your business (pun intended).

Be Part Of The Local Community

If your business depends on the local community then make sure you have a high profile.

Local Events
Fetes, festivals, fayres, sports events and other local events all attract lots of local people to one place and are a good opportunity to link your business with a feel good factor.

There are lots of ways to get involved, including advertising in programmes, giving away prizes for raffles, sponsoring the event, running a stall, handing out free samples or putting up an advertising sign in a prime location.

Local Charities
You could choose an annual charity to work with over the year. The charity would benefit from some much needed fund raising and you would benefit from some great free publicity in the local press.

It can be really good fun organising fund raising activities and gets your business out into the community. If you are smart about it then you can get several pieces of free publicity in the press over the 12 month period. These sorts of stories show your business in a positive light and are an opportunity to show the “human” side of what you do.

Free Stuff

Everyone loves something free and no-one throws away a free pen! Free stuff has an even bigger impact if people don’t expect to receive it, for example when they have finished using your services.

You can get your company’s logo or slogan printed on almost anything from pens and balloons to beer mats, t-shirts, fridge magnets and water bottles. Think about what would appeal to your potential customers and don’t forget to put your web address on it.

If you sell a physical thing then giving away free samples is another way to make people aware of what you do.

Leaflet Drops

Leaflet delivery is unglamorous and has a low response rate compared with other tactics. It is less targeted so you get a small return for the number of leaflets distributed but it’s reasonably low cost. 1000 leaflets may only cost you £100 if you use a professional distribution company. If you provide local services to Plymouth home owners then leaflet distribution is a quick and easy way to promote your business. A professional distribution company should be able to deliver more than you will be able to and provide a checking facility to ensure your leaflets have been delivered.

You can also increase your chances with good content, for example a newsletter with local features or a crossword.

Your Marketing Ideas

What ideas do you like? I’d like to hear your suggestions!

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