Old school marketing ideas that still work

We’re continuing our series about building your business for next year. Recent blogs have covered email marketing strategies, lead generation, networking, and rebranding. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to have an effective marketing campaign. There are some favorite marketing techniques that can still be effective today, and some are pretty low cost or free. Incorporate your favorites into a comprehensive campaign for maximum impact.

Become a Columnist. Showcase your local knowledge by writing a regular column for a local paper, social media group, online news site or blog, or local magazine. There are a lot of outlets that are looking for content. Make sure the one you pick is local to your market area. Keep in mind that your column shouldn’t be a sales piece. Instead, write about what’s trending in the market and sprinkle in articles about what’s going on in your town. Industry articles could be about new design trends, tips for sellers, or general market conditions. When thinking about local happenings, write a review of a new restaurant or a column about a local citizen who is doing something interesting (think about local artists, a local team that won a competition, or a community service project that a local elementary school is conducting). Always include information about how the reader can participate.

Host Free Seminars. It doesn’t have to cost much to offer useful information to a lot of people. If you hold a series of seminars on a regular basis, you can establish yourself as a local expert. You might be able to secure a municipal community room (check your town’s website) or ask a lender or title company to borrow a meeting room. In your seminar, have one or two basic branded handouts that outline your main points. Topics might include things like the how to manage credit, the steps to buying or selling a home, staging tips, top design trends, or home maintenance. Ask your friends in related industries to present from time to time as well. Lenders, inspectors, appraisers can have added insight and can take the pressure off if you’re running low on ideas. If you’ve got a visual presentation or a friend with a good camera, you can double up on the utility of your seminar by turning it into a webinar or shareable video. Remember to use this opportunity to collect email addresses for your database.

Advertise IRL. Online ads can be easy to slip into a small marketing budget, but if you’re willing to invest a little more into your business you’ll find that traditional advertising still works and can be affordable. Local papers and magazines are a good place to start, but you can also consider more creative options like asking at local businesses if you can sponsor them. For instance, print your logo and slogan on coffee cups or paper placemats for a local coffee shop, or advertise on golf carts at a local course. Make sure to measure the effectiveness of each effort by creating a unique website or landing page for each campaign and measure the traffic. 

Use newsletters. There are two ways to use newsletters: advertise in someone else’s or send out your own. Advertise in local newsletters for civic groups, neighborhoods, schools and other groups that reflect your brand strategy. You can often advertise in both print and online versions. If you have your own newsletter, advertise listings with striking photos, and local content. Remember that this isn’t just a copy of the online listing. Here you have much more leeway to use as much copy as you like, so add details. Make sure to include hyperlinks to your landing page.

Keep watching this column for more tips on building your business in 2017. We’ll look at leveraging social media and online content, and great ways to stay connected with your leads.