Using Traditional Marketing to Promote Your Business in a Digital World

The goal of marketing is to understand your customers—what they want, why they want it, when they want it, etc. Although it might seem like digital marketing has made traditional marketing an archaic art form, if it helps you learn more about your customers and the industry you work in, traditional marketing is still relevant. In fact, the best approach to marketing is to integrate the aspects of both traditional and digital marketing that best serve your market and help you establish the services or the products your customers require.

Use Traditional Marketing to Build Personal Relationships

Your clients are not spending all of their time online; in both their personal and professional life, they are seeking out meaningful connections with others. The most obvious limitation of digital marketing is there is little to no interaction between the customers and the medium used for marketing. Thus, the biggest advantage of traditional marketing is it can help you build a personal relationship with prospective clients.

One way to build a personal relationship with prospective clients is to offer to meet them for lunch or coffee. In this setting, you can delve deeper into their needs and develop a stronger pitch for having a business solution for their problem. Plus, once someone has put a face to your name, they are more likely to remember you. So, even if they don’t decide to use one of your services or buy one of your products, it’s more likely your name will come up in a conversation they have with a friend, family member or colleague in the future, which could lead to a successful referral.

Non-Digital Marketing Is Still Effective

After you’ve met with a prospective client, consider mailing them a handwritten note. Because most people are not used to receiving personalized cards from someone they’ve done business with, this simple gesture can go a long way. And it doesn’t have to take you any longer than writing a follow-up email.

Studies have shown paper marketing is easier for consumers to comprehend and remember than digital ads. Keeping this in mind, potential clients may recall your business’s logo and name longer if they see a physical representation of it on a pop-up tent at a community event than if they scroll past it on Instagram.

Not only will they be able to see a tangible representation of your business, but they can also make face-to-face contact with you and get any questions they have answered in real-time. Paying to have a booth at a community event also demonstrates that you see your business as a part of the community and that you are paying attention to what your customers care about outside of their professional lives.

Public Relations

PR is one facet of marketing that can easily be overlooked in the transition from traditional marketing to digital marketing. However, PR can actually be an inexpensive way to promote your business as long as you are being tactical about reaching the right demographic. Good PR is pretty straightforward: Earn people’s trust and gain free publicity at the same time. If you can get local newspapers, influential people in your community, happy customers and even your employees to talk about your business, those word-of-mouth recommendations will undoubtedly grow your business in the long-term. Earned publicity is more effective than any kind of advertising.

If you are a business that relies on word-of-mouth recommendations to get new business or has any kind of presence on digital platforms with user-generated reviews, one unhappy customer can do a lot of damage to your credibility. One of the advantages of having part of your marketing efforts focused on PR is you are tuned in to what is being said about your business at all times and you can actively influence the conversation. When you are developing a PR plan—no matter what the scale is—it should include a way to respond to any misinformation.

An additional advantage of PR and traditional marketing is that they have a longer shelf life than digital marketing. After one day, your social media post will likely be shoved to the bottom of the feed. However, a write up in an online community newsletter will be searchable on the Internet indefinitely.

Getting Started

To start, set aside 30-60 minutes to engage in PR activities. For a business just starting out, this can mean writing a story about something unique your business does and then pitching that story. Does your business make a special point to hire women? Are you taking steps to become more eco-friendly? You can also establish yourself as an expert in your industry by creating a list of tips for other businesses in your industry and sending it to finance and business reporters at local newspapers.

At the end of the day, the most effective way to build trust with someone is to spend time with them. Even if it’s just a 30-minute coffee meeting, it’s easier to establish a relationship with someone when you can show them your human side.