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Why Small Businesses Still Need Old School Marketing Tactics

direct mail small business marketing mail boxes

Create a website and a few social media profiles for your small business and BLAM--customers will find you everywhere.

All you need to do is just sit back, relax, and watch your business grow from the comfort of your laptop, tablet, or iPhone.

That all sounds totally awesome, right? Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy. 

When online marketing first started to take off, there weren’t a lot of fish in the sea. Fewer businesses meant less competition and a greater chance you would be seen by prospective customers.

You can’t just rely on Google and Facebook to automatically drive traffic to your website and grow your business

Here’s the thing—search engines and social media are getting super-saturated with eager entrepreneurs. Every time I deliver a workshop to a crowd full of small business owners and ask them how many have a website, every hand goes up. 

The same holds true when I ask about Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. And that’s just in one room. Imagine how many other small businesses are jockeying for the first page of search results or more “Likes” “Shares” and “Retweets.”

There are no magic elixirs or easy peasy one-size-fits-all marketing solutions

Web marketing can be an incredibly powerful and cost effective tool for small businesses, but it can’t be the only tool.

Right now, everyone is so focused on the web that they’re totally forgetting about old school marketing tactics—tactics that can be just as effective as anything they’re doing online.

Just think about direct mail. No I’m not talking about canvassing every house in a 500 mile radius with a flyer that might look “handwritten” but was really just mass produced using a fancy font and a color laser printer. That’s what helped to give direct mail such a bad rap in the first place.

Take the time to identify a specific neighborhood or target audience, purchase a mailing list, create a personalized message, and actually sign your name. You can even point them back to a unique page on your website to access a special offer so you can track the effectiveness of your campaign.

I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve received one piece of direct mail like that in the past 12 months. But if I did, I know it would definitely stand out.

There are also a ton of email marketing statistics that can make a really compelling case.  Just stop and think about this one from for a minute—“44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.”

Now compare that to the percentage of people who make a purchase when they visit your website or engage with your small business via social media.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say you don’t see a similar conversion rate.

Why old school marketing still works

We’re always looking for the “next big thing”—that cool new way to reach thousands of customers for pennies on the dollar. But so is everyone else.

You definitely need to build an online presence for your small business, you just can’t do it at the expense of other marketing tactics like direct mail, email, flyers, daily deals, and even picking up the phone.

Are you using old school marketing tactics?

 Share your thoughts in the comments below.


[Image: Flickr user Jonny Hughes]

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