Should Small Businesses Participate in In-Person Marketing?
In the digital age, there is an understandably a big push for small businesses to utilize digital marketing. Whether it is using social media platforms such as Facebook to connect to customers or using an online blog to increase your SEO, there are plenty of tips and tricks out there that can help small businesses make smart decisions when it comes to reaching customers online.
With so much emphasis on digital marketing, some business owners might wonder if there is any reason to continue participating in in-person marketing. The answer is YES! Small businesses should never underestimate the power of in-person marketing.
Why market in-person?
Marketing in-person builds relationships in ways that online marketing cannot. Meeting people in-person gives your brand a face and a personality. Social connection is a basic human need. Communicating with people face-to-face can help develop more meaningful relationships with customers and business partners.
It can also result in more genuine, deeper conversations than the slow back and forth that sometimes happens through email. In-person marketing can also be a valuable tool when directing people to your online presence. After chatting, hand them a business card and encourage them to connect with you through social media.
Get involved with the local community
One way to utilize in-person marketing is reaching out to your local Chamber of Commerce. The main function of a Chamber of Commerce is to support local businesses. Attending meetings allows you to connect with other business owners and learn more about the local clientele.
This gives you a chance to talk about marketing strategies that are working for them, as well as the chance to develop partnerships that could grow your client base. Not to mention, a Chamber of Commerce will host events where local businesses can donate their time in exchange for networking opportunities.
Host networking events
It’s also a good idea to host a few of your own networking events to continue forming new relationships. You’ll want to decide if you want to host other business owners or potential customers.
If you want to network with potential customers, hold an open house so they can stop by your business. However, you’ll need an initiative for them to stop by, such as free promotional items. When hosting business owners, reach out to owners who have similar businesses to yours. Try to go beyond your local community and tap into other nearby towns.
Offer in-store promotions
While there is value in holding online promotions, make sure to offer in-store promotions as well. Offer promotions that encourage customers to come into the store, where you can then use other marketing techniques to increase sales.
Consider coupons for a free product. Of course, this will have to be adjusted to meet the needs of your business and should be done in a way that promotes sales. For example, a spa might offer a coupon for a free haircut. Ideally, customers that come in will enjoy the service and opt to come back again.
Attend trade shows
Trade shows are both great for networking and introducing products to new customers. Trade shows are industry-specific and bring new customers to you. Part of being successful as a trade show is having the right equipment, such as events & exhibition trailers that are branded for your business. You’ll also want to have promotional items available. Try to think of something creative that goes beyond pens.
Before attending a trade show, make sure to practice your elevator pitch. Also, practice making small talk. Successful marketers form a relationship with their clients before jumping into a sale.
Make time for in-person meetings
Email and social media make it easy to communicate with people, but you should also make time for in-person meetings. If you’re working with a potential new partner, don’t stick to email. Take the time to go out to coffee for them or go out to dinner.
Not only does this give you that personal connection you can’t get through virtual communication, but it also gives you a reason to get out into the local community. Hosting meetings in local restaurants or cafes provides you the opportunity to run into potential customers — just make sure to give them your business card!
Small businesses should find a balance between digital marketing and in-person marketing if they want their business to reach its full potential.
All businesses, regardless of size, should have a clear marketing plan that outlines various marketing techniques. They should also take the time to analyze how marketing is going and make adjustments as needed.