Offline Branding for the Small Business
We all hear every day about ways to market your small business online. The implication seems to be that there is no reason for a business to use offline branding techniques and no way to build a customer base this way. However, most small businesses deal with people in their communities every day, people who may or may not be online at all. Obviously there is quite a market to be tapped offline, more so depending on your target customer. Here are a few ways to brand your business offline.
Make sure your brand really stands out, that it is different from anything else your customers are being offered. This will ensure that your customers have a good reason to choose you, regardless of the place in which you are presenting your brand. A unique logo design looks just as good on paper as it does on the computer screen.
Become an Expert
If you make a habit of contacting your local media, you will be surprised at how often they need an expert opinion. You can also contribute your knowledge to a local newspaper via letters to the editor, or even by printing your own newsletter. Just make sure you don’t advise yourself out of a job! Offer tips and advice, but nothing groundbreaking. Give customers just enough to whet their interest, and then let them pay you for anything more.
Keep Your Logo Out There
Make sure your signage is completely up to par: bright, unfaded, and prominent in the community. You should also make sure that your stints as an “expert” prominently involve your logo design and business name being displayed. Just as you make effort to keep your logo out there on the internet, you should try your hardest to get exposure for it in the brick and mortar world.
Track What Works
The only way to see what branding avenues work for you and which aren’t worth the effort at all is to develop a system of tracking the varying rates of success from each campaign. This can be accomplished by offering a coupon that has a tracking code, by offering slightly different packages in different formats, or by simply asking the customer how they head of you. Note that a certain method’s lack of success may not be due to the method itself, but due to the way the marketing and branding were executed.
Stay in Sync with Your Online Branding
While it is important to brand your business both offline and online, both media should be presenting approximately the same brand to your customers. The reasons for this are simple. First, many customers will be interacting with your business in both formats. Second, once you have a professionally crafted brand that perfectly represents your business, there is no reason to divert from it in any context. The whole point is to build your brand—the same brand, no matter where you happen to be doing it at that moment.