How do you market your business without social media? It’s a question I’ve gone back to for years when all I wanted to do was get off of social and take control back of the content I consume. It’s also been a question I’ve been exploring in-depth for the last 3 weeks as I navigate my new life off the grid.
How to Market Without Social
I’ll admit that I don’t have 100% of the answers right now. It has only been three weeks. But there are things that I’m finding by talking to other business owners and seeing for myself within my small business. So here are the tactics I’m focusing on right now.
Between not getting to be around people for over a year and wanting to see ways I can add more value, networking has become my new favorite way to market. It’s slow, it’s small, and it takes time to build, but that’s true with all the best things in life.
I’ve found a couple of events in my city that meet up once a month. At these events, my goal is to always hand out at least 2-3 business cards as well as collect a few myself and reach out the following day. More often than not, I’ll make a 1:1 coffee date with these people so we can get to know each other and learn more about each other’s lives and businesses.
Here’s the trick with networking, it’s the long game. I look at it like dating. I’m not at an event to get married. I’m here to see if anyone piques my interest. If they do, we continue to groom the relationship and see where it leads. The person you meet might become a great friend or a contact for when you need support. They might also become an amazing referral or even better, a customer themselves. There are so many different roles they could play and each one will help your business in some way. Don’t walk away if you don’t land a sale with them, they could be so much more valuable than that!
We often think that we don’t talk about brands all that often, but we’re wrong. In any given conversation 3-4 businesses can be brought up without thinking about it. It’s a social currency we love to use to show that we’re in the know. It’s even better if we can provide something free or discounted to a friend so they can try it out.
I have friends that tell me they need to bring a notebook with them whenever we hang out because I always have new podcasts, books, shows, or brands that they need to check out. I love telling people about resources I think will add value and I’m sure that your customers feel the same way.
You can approach referrals in a few different ways. Just ask your loyal customers to keep referring you. That you can always use the business and you’re trying to serve more people. You can also offer referral benefits. For example, when one of my photography clients refers me, they get $50 off their next photoshoot. They can wrack up as many $50 off as they want so that they earn a free shoot! It’s a great benefit for them and the added business is well worth the discounted shoots for me.
My favorite way to market is with email marketing. Growing your email list is a slow process. You need to be intentional with what you send and respect people’s inboxes (which is why I send one email a week and try to keep it valuable for you!) But it’s also the place where you’ll end up seeing the highest conversion rate, especially when you use drip campaigns.
Drip campaigns are automated emails that go out based on an action. Like when you sign up for a newsletter and you get specific emails for a few weeks highlighting the best products or giving you tutorials on a specific software. These campaigns still need to be value-driven, but they can also ask for a sale. Learn how to make a powerful drip campaign in 4 simple steps over on the blog.
This is a strategy I’m diving headfirst into right now. Content marketing is about building valuable content and sharing it online. While I do this for my own website with a blog, I want to expand my reach faster so I’m now sending out proposals for writing on other platforms. Places like Forbes and Buzzfeed or small more local publications that my audience reads.
It takes time and a lot of effort but it’s a great way to prove your knowledge and get in front of someone else’s audience. Another form of doing this is with podcasts. Reach out to local podcasts that fit within your industry and see if you can provide value for their audience. Most hosts are always looking for someone new to interview so give them an idea of what you have to offer and see if you can’t collaborate.
The old-school way of advertising doesn’t provide as many analytics but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Growing up, my father owned 5 golf stores in Colorado. I always saw his ads in the newspaper and heard them on the radio. This was the best way for him to get to his audience and let them know about tent sales or special events happening with the business.
While we’ve all been sucked into PPC ads, that doesn’t mean that working with radio stations and print advertising is a bad idea. Think about who your audience is and where they go to consume. Find the right radio or publication to print an add-in and offer a promo code so you can track how many sales come from that source. It might not be a huge success after one ad so ask about discounts for running multiple times so that you can continue to get in front of your audience.
I personally haven’t done this for my business, yet. But if I found the right publication, I’m totally up for trying some ads and seeing what I can accomplish.
Social media was never meant to replace all the old ways of marketing even though, in many ways, it has. The old-school marketing tactics still work and often they work better than social is currently working for you. If you’re trying to run a business off of social hit reply and tell me what tactics and tools you’re using. I’d love to learn something new!