The following is a guest post by Alice Jenkins. Her bio is at the end of the article.
Unless the latest ‘viral video cat’ is on your payroll, you probably spend a fair amount of time coming up with creative ways to get your message and brand in front of a wider audience. Naturally, there are advantages and drawbacks of conducting your business exclusively online. Finding a way to infuse the two worlds, even without a storefront or fixed office, is one of the best tools in the box.
For the past decade, the low cost structure, mobility and availability of web-based businesses have made them inherently more desirable than a brick-and-mortar (more like plastic-and-plywood) base of operations. That being said, implementing a marketing plan that incorporates both on- and off-line strategies is ideal.
These days, companies of every stripe simply aren’t considered competitive if they don’t have the whole rainbow of social media profiles. I won’t say you need them all, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. As a side-note, social media tends to work most efficiently not as a form of advertising, but as a tool for networking.
Online networking is paramount, but don’t forget there are many ways to connect with people in the ‘real world’. Face-to-face interactions are among the best ways to score sincere contacts and shape public perception. Turn it into a working vacation and hit all the conventions and tradeshows that pertain to your field.
Promotional items are one of the quickest, and most clever, ways to literally get your message and brand into a potential customer or client’s hands. Marketing freebies are favored by everyone from international Fortune 500 companies to the new brewery around the corner from your house. Items people actually carry around on their person, like sunglasses, custom pens or lip balm are going to be more useful than, say, a novelty umbrella.
Your company might be in the global realm, but people still generally operate from somewhere stationary. Teaming up with non-profits in your region for fundraisers or other community service projects, or even becoming a sponsor for a high-publicity local event, can drastically improve both your visibility and public prominence.
Are you an expert in your industry? If you’ve got the goods, consider spreading the word by creating a weekly podcast, giving classes and workshops or contributing to high-authority blogs and publications related to your line of business. Using your industry clout to push your business forward is the most natural form of growth possible.
Alice Jenkins is a graphic designer and marketing consultant who blogs for PensXpress about all things business-related but still has time to get a little ink on her fingertips. In case you’re under the age of 20, that means reading newspapers.