You can drive a full court press digital marketing strategy all you want, but every small town entrepreneur knows that if you aren’t out there shaking hands and kissing babies (as they say), you’re missing out on part of the pie. But relax, your online and offline marketing strategies no longer have to live in separate worlds. You can beautifully blend both in a way that strategically leverages your business, while maintaining your community charm. Here’s how to integrate your online and offline into one killer marketing plan.
1. Printers and Print Shops
Hitting the pavement and stuffing mailboxes with business cards and fliers was once a rite of passage for small town entrepreneurs. And despite the deluge of all things digital, this practice is not obsolete. These days, however, your email and Website addresses, along with your social media tags might be more important than your phone number. Include it all, big and bold, on any printed promotional materials you hand out. A quick tip: giving free stickers out that just lists your social media handles to your current customers is a great way to grow your followers.
2. The Chamber of Commerce
This is a group that represents businesses in the local community. It can help you promote your company to locals. The members also hold events that can help you get to know other business owners in the area and improve your products and services. Most local Chambers of Commerce list member Websites on their site, which gives your digital marketing efforts (and digital store if you have one) greater visibility. Of course, the events and partnerships with fellow business owners make for great photo ops and posts on your social media pages and Website.
3. Community Events
Why limit yourself to the Chamber of Commerce? Your town and the ones surrounding it probably have a calendar full of events in which you and your business can participate. There are feasts, hay rides, fairs, plays, dinner dances, carnivals, and all sorts of other happenings in every town in the United States. Participating in the events – or sponsoring them – is a great way to get your name out there. Again, you can pass out free labels and fliers featuring all the ways you can be reached in the traditional and digital worlds. Of course, you can share all this community spirit with consumers, who follow you on social media and your Website.
4. Opportunities for Sponsorship
Small towns need sponsors for all sorts of stuff, including events and sports teams. Think Little League, cheerleading, or pee-wee basketball or football. The benefit of sponsoring a sports team is that your company name and logo is often on the T-shirts players wear at every game. It shows your allegiance to young people and their athletic pursuits and can really make you a meaningful part of the community. Of course, this is a great opportunity for social media posts and email updates about how your team is doing, games, and practices. If the team pictures include little kids, just check with parents before posting them on Websites and Facebook.
5. Digital Marketing
While traditional marketing is alive and well, digital marketing is definitely here to stay, too. True, some of the over 40 crowd will miss you if you’re only online. But some of the younger generation will miss you if you aren’t. As a result, you have to cover both bases. Yodle clients, for example, have a professional and eye-catching Website, presence on Facebook and review sites, easy access to email marketing, and their own charm in the community to fall back on. Small businesses always have to think about marketing themselves. Now, they just have to broaden their definition of marketing to cast a wider net.
How are you integrating your traditional and digital marketing efforts? Share your tips in the comments below.