11 Offline Marketing Strategies to Promote an Online Business6 minute read
Building an online course business is all about being visible online. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't try some offline marketing strategy to promote your business in your local area.
Offline marketing might seem old-fashioned and outdated, but it still works!
Online marketing can help you reach thousands of people from all over the world with relatively little effort. However, consumers nowadays are so used to online advertising that it can be hard to build a rapport with your potential customers and stand out from the crowd.
By promoting your online business offline, you may not reach as many people as with digital marketing, but you will get a chance to be noticed within your local community and create a relationship with your audience based on trust.
Here are some ideas that will help you get started with offline marketing and start promoting an online business with your local audience.
#1: Partner with Local Businesses
A very powerful way to promote your business is to partner with brick-and-mortar businesses in your local area.
With this strategy, you team up with another business and are able to leverage both of your audiences and offer added value to your customers.
For example, if in your online business you are selling fitness courses, you could try to partner with a gym in your local area. The gym could offer its members a great discount on your online course and propose it to people who need more guidance in their training.
This is a win-win situation for both businesses and even for the customers. In return, the gym gets to offer a great deal to its customers and attract more people, while you get to promote your online course directly to your target audience.
This is just an example, and the circumstances might vary depending on what kind of business you own and who you partner with. In some cases, the partner could ask you to pay a flat fee or receive commissions for each new sale they bring you.
The important thing is that you try to find a local business that is not your direct competitor and that could benefit from partnering with you.
#2: Distribute Flyers in Key Locations
An easier way to promote your online business in your local area is to print out flyers and distribute them in key locations where you know that your target customers are hanging out.
For example, if you sell an online course that teaches people how to speak better English, you could distribute your flyer in cafes or places in your town where you know there are a lot of expats.
When distributing flyers, make sure to always ask for permission to leave your promotional materials.
#3: Join a Networking Event
As you would attend an online webinar in your niche, try searching for networking in-person events or trade shows in your area.
You don't necessarily have to sponsor the event or rent a booth to make an impression. Attending these kinds of events is a great way to meet your ideal customers face to face, promote your business and spread the word about your products.
#4: Turn an eBook into a Printed Book
If you have written an eBook, why not turn it into a book to promote your business offline?
This is a great way to get more publicity and show your potential customers that you are an expert in your chosen field.
Publishing a printed book is more challenging than writing an eBook: the cost of designing, printing and distributing a book is greater compared to eBooks; however, printed books can reach a wider audience who prefers hard copy over digital products.
#5: Offer Free In-Person Workshops
Another way to spread the word about your business within your local community is to offer free educational workshops.
This is a great way to offer value to your potential customers and show them first-hand what you are capable of.
People will love learning something new for free, and at the same time, you get to promote your business and start building a connection with your audience.
Your free workshops should teach something valuable to the people who attend, and at the end of the sessions, you can introduce your online business as a way to learn even more about the topic you are teaching.
Even if you don't make a huge amount of sales, these workshops are a way to connect with your local audience, establish your image as an expert and spread the word about your business.
#6: Create Branded Merchandise
Creating branded merchandise or promotional merchandise means offering products branded with a company’s logo, a company name, or a motto.
Generally, the purpose of selling merchandise is not to make a profit but to raise awareness and build a community of people interested in a brand.
You could distribute your merchandise products at events, conferences, and meetings or even offer them as a gift to your existing customers to make sure your business is on top of their minds.
Merchandise products don't necessarily have to be related to your topic of interest, so you could get really creative with them!
While offering branded merchandise is a great way to foster customers' loyalty and raise brand awareness, it can get pretty expensive, and it can be hard to calculate the actual return on investment from this marketing strategy.
#7: Speak at Events
Especially if you are selling online courses, you are an expert in what you are teaching. So why not use your expertise to speak at local events and promote your business this way?
Speaking in front of groups of people that share your same interests can really boost your visibility and help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. This is a great and relatively easy way to provide value and raise awareness about your business.
At the end of your speech or presentation, you can introduce your services to the audience, and if you managed to provide value and communicate your excitement, chances are that people who listened to your will want to learn more.
To do this, do some quick research about upcoming events and conferences in your local area and ask to participate as a speaker for free (if it is your first time doing this, more experienced speakers get to charge for their presentations!).
#8: Sponsor an Event
If you have the financial resources, an even better way to speak at an event is to sponsor it!
When you are sponsoring an event, you get to display your logo everywhere at any stage of the event: generally the organizer will promote the event to their audience before and after the big date, and you might even appear in press releases.
Depending on the size of the event and sponsorship, you might even get the chance to speak and promote your business this way.
#9: Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Your local Chamber of Commerce is designed to help businesses be seen by the local community and even be seen by other businesses who joined.
Depending on where you are located and how many people live in your area, joining the Chamber of Commerce might be more or less beneficial.
One of our creators using Heights Platform to sell online courses is using this offline marketing strategy to promote her online business.
Barb McGrath is a Canadian entrepreneur who sells online courses about marketing and SEO and helps local business owners show up on Google searches. By joining her local Chamber of Commerce, she was able to reach other business owners and worked out a commission deal with them to promote each other's businesses.
Read the full story here: Launch a 6-figure online course in one year - Learn how marketing queen Barb McGrath did it.
#10: Start a Referral Program
This strategy can work both offline and online, and it is great for many reasons.
An example of a referral program can be offering an incentive to your existing customers by promoting your business to others.
So you could say that for each new sale your customers bring you, they'll get a discount on another product you offer or a monetary reward.
This marketing strategy is great because you are leveraging word-of-mouth marketing, which is based on trust and recommendations.
#11: Advertise in Your Local Newspaper, TV or Radio
If you are willing to invest some money into promoting your business online, consider paying for an advertisement in your local newspaper or airing a tv or radio commercial.
Depending on the channel you choose, these ads can be more or less expensive.
If you are considering this offline marketing strategy, make sure to do your market research first and ask the channel or newspaper for an overview of their audience demographics and behaviors.
For example, if your target audience is teenagers, newspaper ads might not be your ideal choice.
Conclusion: Mix Online and Offline Marketing
Both online and offline marketing are important when promoting a business: the key is to find the strategies that work best for your brand and your particular audience.
To do this, you might want to mix up online and offline promotion in what is known as omni-channel marketing.
So try out some of these offline marketing strategies described in this article, but don't forget about the online world. Check out this article from our blog to make sure you doing the most to promote your business online:
- A Complete Guide on How to Promote Your Online Course and Boost Sales
- Get Your First $100k Without Paid Ads - How to Grow Your Online Course Business Organically
- 5 Tips to Grow Your Business With Content Creation and Build an Audience Around Your Online Course