Hard to believe I’m actually saying this but when it comes to promoting your business sometimes you have to go ‘backward’ to go forward. Let me explain.
There’s no question we definitely live in the internet age – email, social media and buying stuff online – it’s all an accepted part of what we do everyday. It’s so ingrained now that it impacts on just about everything else, including the way we do promotional marketing.
Obviously, we’re fans of these tools as well and if you’re not currently using these tools to leverage the power of the internet to promote your business then we suggest you do – get in touch and we can answer any questions you might have (like what the chickens is SEO??).
But in the rush to go online we’re potentially leaving behind some important elements of traditional business growth strategies that worked very well in the past, and perhaps surprisingly to some, still work just as well. In fact, they may just work better. Why? Because of something called the purple cow principle discussed by well-known marketer Seth Godin.
The purple cow theory says that if you do something no one else is doing you’ll stand out that much more – in the same way you would take notice of a purple cow standing amongst a herd of regular black and white cows! With everyone migrating their marketing spend to online mediums, if you employ some good ol’ traditional marketing techniques then you’ll stand a good chance of getting noticed.
What is traditional marketing?
So what exactly is traditional marketing? In this context we are basically referring to marketing before the internet became mainstream, the time in the foggy past before the scourge of spam and banner ads. Before a 1-to-many approach was cheap, convenient and accessible to the marketing masses.
What was marketing like back then?
The internet has given us an amazing reach. Never before have we been able to sell to anyone, anywhere at any time. Before then businesses would focus a lot more on their local area, sometimes just their own suburb. Businesses lived or died based on their reputation among the local community – the good businesses that thrived made sure they did right by local residents and earned themselves a reputation that led to life-long customers.
Do you look after your local customers? Are you focused on a good reputation and growing your fanbase?
There’s an old saying that on the internet no one knows you’re a dog. Unfortunately the web has made it easy for ‘dog’ marketing companies to present a slick exterior and con business owners. The personal touch added a significant layer of trust that is hard to imitate online. Dealing with someone face-to-face also meant you could gauge genuineness through body language and tone.
Do you make time to add a personal touch to your business dealings – a visit, a hand-written note or a phone call?
Caring about customers should be obvious but I think most of us have noticed that a lot of the companies we deal with have let it slide in favour of efficiency, economies of scale and outsourced call centres that process people as if they were numbers. The internet has led to globalization and made these sorts of cost savings possible, even if it is at the expense of customers feeling cared for.
While big business might be able to get away with it, small, growing businesses can’t. Treat customers as individuals, be flexible, be understanding and, as much as is practical from a business point of view, be sympathetic to their needs.
How do you make your customers feel like you care about them?
Why not give traditional marketing a go?
So you’ve got some ideas for traditional marketing now – why not think about putting some of them into action. We do our best to practice what we preach, and as far as traditional marketing is concerned we’ve been doing our bit.
In May, we were in Oamaru looking at business opportunities and connecting with some of the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail service providers, one of which is now our client. In August, we visited Wanaka to reach out to businesses there, in person. We reasoned that with so many online scams that business owners sometimes prefer to meet with new service providers in real life.
What traditional marketing techniques are you planning on using?