Social media is an important and powerful tool of communication – but not always the best one for small businesses. This is how you know if social media is carrying too much weight on your marketing and what to do instead.

What was the first marketing project you set up when you launched your business or your latest product?

Let me guess: probably setting up a website or a landing page and some social media profiles to support the project?

Then hoping to grow your following and maybe adding some email sequences to the mix?

Those are good reflexes, but for many small businesses they are far from being enough.

The alternative for social media marketing

If you started on this digital marketing route and just waited for the sales to rush in, perhaps you made the same remark that many other small businesses have made: the results didn’t quite match your expectations.

What do you do next?

Start nudging your contacts to like your pages and share your content? 

Look for Google ads and Facebook promotions to save you and your business?

Let’s look in a different direction today!

While social media presence and content marketing are a good part of your promotion mix, for local small businesses or service-based businesses they don’t often yield rapid results, especially if you are starting from scratch and don’t yet have a big following. 

To kick off your business with success, pair your digital strategies with some offline and in-person alternatives.

Try these five offline promotion strategies

Here are five strategies that improve your business’ visibility and speed up your growth:

  1. Join a networking event

Join a networking event to meet other professionals and make new friends. Networking can happen in person or online. Either way, you get to interact in real time with other business owners, potential customers and like-minded people. 

Networking often makes people uncomfortable, because they feel they have to be selling their services right away. Instead of having this mindset, you can look at networking as a way to build relationships and meet new people who might become your clients later or refer you to someone else. Be authentic and follow up to build long-lasting relationships.

  1. Join forces with another local business

Collaborate with another local business, ideally with someone who has a complementary but not directly competing service. If you sell food supplements and other health-related products, join forces with a local yoga studio. You can do joint promotions or offer special discounts to each others’ clients, for example. 

This works for service-based businesses as well. If you offer accounting services and your neighbour does business coaching, there is a good chance that your clients need their services too, and you can refer your clients to each other.

  1. Speak in a professional event

Becoming a guest speaker in events in your field is a great way to position yourself as a thought-leader in your industry. You get visibility to your project and make valuable connections.

Like networking, guest speaking isn’t always a shortcut to sales. It’s about building your expert brand in the long term. Leverage the situation to grow your email list and keep following up with your connections.

  1. Pitch articles to local media

You can also build your expert brand by being featured on local media. Pitch article ideas, your story or your products to your town’s newspaper or a local blog, for example. Many cities also have newsletters and magazines where they feature local businesses. 

To improve your chances to get featured, lead with an interesting story. Could you share how your business has handled the Covid crisis or does your product have a unique background story? Brainstorm angles and remember to package your message with an impactful and attractive media kit.

  1. Promote on local coffee shops and coworking spaces

The abundance of digital media has led to printed brochures and business cards feeling a bit outdated and old-fashioned. They can still have their place, when used strategically.

Draft a flyer or a business card presenting one of your products or offers and share it on local coffee shops, boutiques or coworking spaces, where your ideal client hangs out. Make a special offer, like a free trial or a special discount to encourage them to get in touch with you.

Don’t delete your social media profiles!

Pick one or two of these strategies and try them out. And don’t delete your social media accounts!

Keep growing your audience and publishing content, because it will get you in front of new people, all the while you’re also building your local relationships through offline events. 

The combination of both offline and online will boost your business and let you realise your vision more quickly.

Don’t know where to start?

If you’re struggling with getting your ideas in order and want some help, schedule a 45-minute Strategy Mapping Session with me. During this call, we can sort out your best ideas and map out a path to success.

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