A big part of making a successful business these days is knowing exactly how to market yourself and getting people to purchase your products/services over your competitors. It doesn't matter what industry you're operating in, it's likely that you have a lot of competitors who are all competing for a slice of the same market and the size of the slice you obtain will almost solely come down to your marketing efforts.
While it might be hugely beneficial to market your business online, you have to remember that offline marketing can still bring great results for almost any business, you just have to know how to market yourself in this environment. Clearly, a big part of offline marketing is through the use of printed marketing materials of some sort; many of which a lot of businesses fail to ever utilise.
Although it's highly likely that you'll have business cards, you need to remember that there's a tonne of other printed marketing options out there that will really help you to market your business (and without costing the earth too). In my opinion, all businesses need to be utilising these, but what exactly are they?
#1 - Banners
Most businesses never really utilise banners as part of their marketing strategy but my opinion is that this is a big mistake. When you say banner advertising to people these days, they immediately think of those long banners that you get at the top of many websites but we have to remember, banner advertising started in the offline world and it's still a hugely effective marketing tactic.
We also have to remember that banners are pretty cheap to produce, especially considering the amount of business that they can bring in for most companies. Banners usually cost around £100 - £200 to have produced (PVC banners that is) and can literally be used in any number of ways,
A lot of businesses will display banners at their premises to display an offer (something that a lot of restaurants usually do) or even to let people know about an opening evening/launch event (such as the banner pictured above).
If you can place your banner in a location where your target market will see it and you also have a well designed, eye-catching banner, then you're likely going to see a huge return on your investment.
#2 - Flyers
Flyers are another underutilised printed marketing method I feel, as they're only usually used by certain types of businesses (namely takeaways etc). The best way to think about flyers is that they're basically a bigger form of a business card. A business card is created as a pocket sized card that gives people all of the basic information about your business (e.g. phone number, website address etc). The reason there isn't more information on a business card is a) because you can't really fit it on and b) because you actually hand them out in person.
However, chances are that you aren't going to have the chance to meet everyone that might be a potential customer/client face to face and this is where flyers can come in very handy.
Not only can flyers contain more information than business cards but because of this, they can introduce your business to people without you having to meet them in person.
Flyers are particularly useful for telling people about a special offer or even just introducing them to a business in the early days. You can post them through hundreds of letterboxes in just a few hours too.
#3 - Discount Coupons
We live in a world where people are absolutely in love with discounts, hence the reason that many of the online daily deal websites are thriving. People's love for discounts has no doubt been driven by the recent economic situation and the fact that people have less disposable income than ever before (in most parts of the western world at least).
By printing and offering discount coupons, you can attract a lot more customers to your business. The good thing about discount coupons is that they give you the opportunity to entice people into trying your businesses products/services for a discounted rate, thus attracting many long term clients/customers if you can impress them.
Plus, they're pretty cheap to print too thanks to the fact that they're small; so you're probably looking at no more than a penny per coupon, depending the quality of course.
#4 - Stickers
Again, hardly any business that I know of (especially the smaller ones) use stickers are an integral part of their marketing efforts and my thought is always the same; why? Stickers almost always increase brand awareness for companies by a huge amount and you have to remember that stickers are also extremely cheap to produce (especially if you're ordering a lot of them).
If you think back a few years, you'll remember that one of the world's biggest and most recognised companies (Apple) used to include stickers with every product they shipped. Why was this? Because they knew that people loved their brand and that they'd be proud to show off their stickers by sticking them to a number of their personal items.
Obviously, this isn't the reason that Apple has been so successful on its own, but there's no doubt that it helped as I still know people that have these Apple stickers today.
Living in the digital world, it's easy to forget about printed marketing materials and opt for a solely online based approach to marketing your business. I'm certainly not saying that a lot of the online marketing solutions aren't powerful and won't lead towards a huge return on your investment, but I am saying that you shouldn't forget about the offline stuff.
All of the marketing materials presented in this post are low cost and also, likely to lead to a high ROI.
Author Bio: Josh is a marketer with years of experience marketing businesses through innovative solutions. He currently works for Discount Banner Printing; a banner printing company in the UK.