To promote a business can be a draining full time job. You’ve probably been inundated with the good old “promote your brand on Facebook, it’ll be easy!” shtick in the past. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and so on are obvious resources for promoting your brand, but if you don’t have the right footprint in social media, you might as well step outside, find the nearest wall, and yell your message as loud as you can at it.
So how do you promote your brand without social media? Well, it’s a good thing you are reading this, isn’t it?
Be in the news
First of all, you need to determine your brand’s story. What makes your brand unique and why is it the best alternative to the competition? Once you have a solid sense of your brand’s story, it’s time to pitch it to relevant publications for coverage. That doesn’t mean you need to find a way to make it on the 8 o’clock news. Think about local blogs and news sites. Think about newspapers. Move up the chain and focus your efforts on local reporters for TV and radio. Focus on what ultimately makes your business interesting and use that to leverage an attention-getting story. Remember, the best pitches are short and to the point, but they still have enough room to make your idea intriguing to the recipient.
A great example for a small business focusing in product distribution could go something like this:
Hello John Smith of Metropolitan News,
Here at Joe’s Snacks, we want to be able to provide affordable snacks for our customers while making an impact in the community. When we set out to do this, we decided that we’d set up our business to be an opportunity for former convicts, so they can get back on their feet while learning about operating a business. We’d love to talk to you more about this if you’d like. Feel free to contact us at 777-777-7777 and.
Promote your Content
If you are a brand owner, then you have valuable knowledge to share with others in your field. Think about it: you always hear on TV about how a business owner reached out to help teach high school kids about how to launch a new venture, or someone who helped a company in hard times get back on its feet. Make sure that your brand becomes synonymous with the product that it represents. Remember that Content marketing is always strategic. That means that if you are sharing your knowledge, it must be consistent, and relevant to your audience. If you can’t clearly define your audience and be transparent about who the message is for, then you need to try again.
If you are selling a product, you should already have an email marketing strategy. Effective email marketing is really the name of the game in staying in touch with your customers while simultaneously offering them deals to incentivize their return to your store. As an email is easily forwardable, your subscribers can easily become your evangelists when you put effort into your email communiques; give them something interesting to forward to a friend.
How often do you get an email that’s advertising something only to immediately delete it or send it to spam? Think about the last time you opened up an email and read about a brand’s products. I’d be willing to bet that the email had a great subject line, something along the lines of “Check out our great products!” or “Read this email!” Don’t do this.
Instead, make sure your title leaves an impression as the reader skims their mail, something along the line of “Our new online store will Blow. Your. Mind!” Think outside the box; there is no box.
Once you’ve picked a great subject line as a hook, focus on the email’s content. Don’t spam the readers with needless information. It will eventually get caught in filters that keep it out of people’s inboxes, and it will be ignored by everyone else long before that. Instead, make sure your email content is human, make sure that readers find the content useful and informative.
If you sold home decor, you could send people ideas on how they could incorporate a product of yours into their home. Whenever in doubt, you can always fall back on the standard tactic of telling a compelling story about how the item you’re offering for sale uniquely serves its purpose and will change its owner’s life.
Sponsor events and community affairs
One of the easiest ways to get your brand’s name out in the community is to be a part of the community in the first place. Help sponsor local events and get your brand’s name on event flyers. Looking into sponsorship opportunities for local junior sports teams. If the opportunity presents itself, host a community event yourself. It’s a great idea to publicly support non-controversial charities, as it helps tell the story of your company’s values..
Philanthropy is the future of marketing; it is the way that brands are going to win. Work to advocate for non-controversial issues. A great example of this would be to offer a percentage of your site’s online proceeds each week to a specific charity of your choosing. For example, for each order this week, you will donate a percentage of proceeds to cancer research. There are plenty of charities out there, it’s just a matter of finding which ones are represented well by your brand.
Partner with other high-value entities
Individual companies don’t have to be an island. Visit other companies in your area and do so with a spirit of finding new ways to team up. It’s an incredibly cheap and efficient way to generate referrals and create awareness for your brand. Many family-owned businesses have business card boards where you can leave information, but working with the business owner may make you their direct recommendation whenever a need for your product comes up.
A great example would be to visit the local ice cream truck and offer to promote them at your next local event, or on your online shop, in exchange for their putting out your fliers by their menus.
Place outdoor ads
Outside of social media, traditional outdoor ads are one of the best forms of marketing that you can use. Of course it’s “location, location, location” that matters most here. If you offer catering or deserts, finding an outdoor ad opportunity close to the local business park will help you build toward becoming the go-to storefront whenever an office worker needs a a problem solved. It’s also incredibly important to focus on making sure your message is delivered creatively, while ensuring that contact information for your brand is easily located and identifiable.
Print ads too
Everyone has print publications in their area. Reach out to the local papers for available ad space for a quick and easy way to guarantee that your brand name gets further into the heads of at least a few more people.
Unfortunately it is hard to payoff or yield of print ads. A surefire way to make sure that your print ads are effectively working for you is to offer a discount based off of the outlet the customer saw the ad in. Have you ever wonder why Just Flowers has a large number of unique keywords that will save you money? They are testing the waters to see where they are getting the most traffic from. Make that tactic work for you.
Start a pop-up shop
There are lots of reasons why it’s a good idea to open a pop-up shop. You get to re-imagine your business as a temporary store in a new or unusual space, interact with real people face-to-face, and better serve as a missionary for your brand. Many brands of consequence have a pop-up shop strategy they implement throughout the year. What’s your strategy?
Vehicles are waiting to be branded
We’ve already established that if you are here, you already own a brand. You’ve probably put quite a bit into already as well. Why not take your vehicle and turn it into an ad on wheels for you too? All it takes is a visit to your local auto detailer; get some advice on who offers the best vehicle wraps, then offer to promote their business in return for you to do the same.
Using a vehicle wrap, your car will become a billboard that goes to work for you every time you turn the key in the ignition. Make sure to retain a professional look that also displays the contact info for your brand on both the front and rear of your vehicle. After all, what is the point of covering your vehicle in a giant sticker if no one knows what it’s for?
Give away swag and promotional items
One of the last techniques to marketing without social media is to put a physical item in someone’s hands. It shouldn’t be too big, and you should be able to use it to meet a direct need in that immediate moment. At an event for a little league sporting event? Hand out branded water bottles. Swing by the local farmer’s market and drop off a box of pens, everyone always needs pens. Visit a convention center and hand out branded bottle openers. Promotional items also make great gifts to people who have given you money for your products!
Take a few surplus items and throw them in with customer orders as well. Include it as a thank you gift for their patronage. It helps promote your brand a little bit, while also building brand loyalty.
The strength of your brand’s identity depends entirely on the effort you put into it. While we’ve touched on a few different methods to promote your brand without social media at all, no single idea by itself is the silver bullet to cure your marketing worries. The best plan is a holistic one that incorporates a little bit of everything until you have enough data on where to refocus your efforts. With a little practice, you’ll be able to find an perfect sweet spot and make your offline efforts work for your online brand.