April 24, 2014

Get creative by thinking outside the online box

When you sponsor youth sports, your business becomes the star of the team.

4 ways to promote your company — other than social media

Target audience: Marketing professionals, PR pros, SEO specialists, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaSocial marketing through sites such as Twitter and Facebook is an essential part of modern business marketing strategy. But digital advertising and promotion isn’t the end of the road. Before the Internet, business owners had to be creative and think outside the box to make an impact with their publicity campaigns – and the smart ones still do.

Here are some tips to getting creative with marketing in ways that will have a big offline impact.

Sponsor a team

1When you sponsor a community youth sports team, not only do you get your name on T-shirts, hats and uniforms, but you get your name or logo to walk around town, advertising for you. When a gaggle of kids in soccer uniforms (or football or baseball or any sport) barge into the local ice cream spot after a game – wearing clothes with your business’s name on them – your business enters the community consciousness in a positive way. You’re establishing brand familiarity while promoting your business as a conscientious part of the community by supporting local athletics.

Custom mats

2As discussed in “8 Ways to Use Custom Mats as a Marketing Tool,” custom mats outside of businesses are superior to a traditional sign on a lot of levels. First, pedestrians are more likely to notice it because a mat does not get lost in the sea of other signs that reside on commercial strips. Also, unlike other outside-of-business signs, you don’t need any sort of approval for a mat. They are sturdier and hold up better than traditional signs, and – of course – they direct customers to your business’s entrance.

Even social media marketing can’t do that.

Make pizza pay

3Call your local pizza shop and make a deal. Make stickers with your business’s name, logo, information and a “mention this ad for a discount” deal. Pay the pizza place to slap one on every box they deliver. They earn revenue by doing virtually nothing – other than supporting another local, non-competitor business. You, on the other hand, have your message sent far and wide on packages containing an item that brings joy.

Nightclub stamps

4When people enter clubs or bars or concert venues that charge a cover, the doorman often stamps their hand with a unique emblem that lets patrons come and go without having to show ID or pay a second time. Strike a deal to make that unique emblem your business’s name and number. You’ll have to be brief and concise in your wording, but your message will literally follow customers home with them. Virtually every singe one of them will look at it at some point – even if it’s just to wash it off the next morning. This is a version of real life social media marketing.

When the bouncer stamps a club patron, your business could get a handful of publicity.

Social marketing is so easy that instead of become an addition to business marketing, in many cases, it has become a replacement. For businesses trying to get ahead, however, there is still no substitute for old-fashioned creativity. Making your business stand out requires some ingenuity, but bold, actionable marketing campaigns can take a thoughtful entrepreneur a lot farther than 140 characters ever could.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer who covers small business marketing and public relations. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewscottlisa.
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