In today’s digital age, Internet marketing is paramount to your success as a freelancer. As a web writer, you know better than anybody the power of a solid content marketing strategy, consistent social media presence, and good SEO.
Compared to traditional marketing strategies like TV ad placement, billboards, magazine ads, or radio spots, online marketing offers tremendous benefits. It is less expensive, provides greater exposure to your prospects, boosts brand development, and the results are much easier to measure and evaluate.
So this begs the question — is traditional, offline marketing still effective?
Answer — You betcha!
In fact, a study conducted by Jupiter Research and iProspect concluded that two-thirds of online searches were influenced by offline marketing, and 39% of those searches resulted in a purchase. That’s a pretty impressive conversion rate, don’t you think?
Having a blended online and offline marketing approach can be very beneficial.
So what offline strategies should you use?
There are four great offline self-promotion strategies that will bring you online work and help you build your business.
“Lunch ‘n Learn” Sessions
As a web writer, you have a wealth of knowledge that can be shared with your prospects. Many of your prospects know that marketing on the Web is crucial for their success. However, they are overwhelmed by the Internet world and have no idea where to start.
You can develop your brand and credibility as an expert by teaching them marketing strategies that can attract leads, increase sales, and grow their businesses.
What are you most passionate about? What do you have expertise in? What can you teach your target market that will bring them value?
Let’s say you’re an expert in blogging or social media. Develop a one-hour “Lunch ‘n Learn” workshop and offer it to your prospects.
Where could you offer your workshop?
First, start with your target market. Find local prospects in the area, tell them you’re offering a free workshop about your topic and how they can benefit. To ramp it up a bit, why not bring in lunch for the group? A pizza or sub and chips can go a long way in helping you build rapport. In fact, some sandwich shops have “meeting space” attached. Your local Library may allow workshops, and hotels normally have conference rooms of various sizes available.
Another good resource is your local small business center. For instance, in my community, there is a Small Business Development Center. On a monthly basis, they offer workshops on a variety of topics such as business finance, business management, brand development, and online and offline marketing. This is the perfect venue for your workshop and they are always looking for guest speakers and presenters.
Master Copywriter Steve Slaunwhite used Virtual “Lunch ‘n Learn” sessions to promote his copywriting services to an unfamiliar niche market. He offered this summary of his experiences, “The Virtual Lunch ‘n Learns would get me in front of my target audience and position me as an expert at what I do.Of those who attended the teleconferences, some would decide to give my services a try. These were small numbers of prospects, but they were high quality. I got several leads and referrals and some very good clients by doing these sessions.”
Event Sponsorship in Your Local Community
Sponsoring an event in your local community is a great way to promote yourself offline. Sponsorship is done by providing financial or in-kind support to a specific business, organization, or event. A sponsorship can enhance your credibility, develop your brand, and increase visibility.
With a little investigation and observation, you’ll discover all kinds of sponsorship opportunities in your local community. Here are some ideas:
School sports teams: This usually requires a minimal investment and you get your business name on the player’s T-shirts. When they play their games, parents, coaches, and other community members will see it and, if they don’t know who you are already, they will in a jiffy!
Nonprofit events: Donate a gift basket for their next auction, provide a phone-charging station or Wi-Fi for the event, or simply supply napkins and cups. One other potential benefit here is that your expenses may be tax-deductible.
Cultural events: You can provide wine at an art gallery event, commission a painting, or donate to a museum. You’ll get your name on the promotional materials, which can be great exposure.
There are so many other possibilities, such as carnivals, county fairs, beauty pageants, cook-offs, flea markets, walks/runs, concerts, business associations, and trade shows.
Not only do these sponsorships help get your name out there, you’ll also be building your referral network as you make connections within the organization or group you’re helping.
In most communities, there are venture associations where venture-funded entrepreneurs and start-ups meet with investors, financial advisors, and business executives to get advice and guidance from “those that have walked before them.”
Usually they meet monthly, and during the meetings, there are business presentations and panel discussions. This is typically followed by a meet-and-greet lunch.
This is a great place to connect with early stage businesses that that could benefit from your expertise and services. You can join the association or go the non-member route. Either way, the fee is fairly reasonable.
This strategy has been around for a long time and for good reason — it is extremely effective when it’s done well. In fact, according to the CMO Council (Chief Marketing Officer), 79% of consumers will respond to direct-mail marketing immediately versus 45% when it’s received by email.
There are three key components to a good direct-mail campaign — a well-compiled list, strong copy, and a solid offer.
Where do you get a list of qualified, targeted prospects?
To find companies you’re interested in working with, you can look at the exhibitor lists of trade shows, membership directories of industry associations, trade publications, niche-related magazines, or local business chronicles … to name a few places to start your research.
Once you find the companies, you’ll need to find the right person to contact. One great way to do this is with LinkedIn. Use the advanced search function and search by title, company, and location. This will give you a great list of potential prospects. One caution, though — it will give you a list of people, past and present, that had that job. So, you will need to do a bit of digging to find out who is currently in that role.
Another resource you can go to is Jigsaw.com, which is a user-maintained business directory that provides business and contact information for over 29 million contacts at four million companies.
Okay, you’ve got your list. Now what do you mail?
Let’s start with the basics. The key is to stand out from the crowd. Send your letter in a standard #10 envelope, handwrite everything on the front, and use a standard first-class stamp. No address labels, no bulk postage.
For the letter itself, consider a problem-solution approach. What problem is your prospect having that you can help them solve?
Use the letter to show off your great copywriting skills by including an attention-grabbing headline, strong lead, and call-to-action. Consider leading them to your website to download a freebie like a report or newsletter. This way, you can capture and nurture your new lead.
Finally, personalize it. You have their name so use it. You don’t want your letter to seem like a bulk campaign.
So, there you have it — four offline strategies you can use to build your online business. The key is to develop a blended marketing plan, take action, and stick to it. Eventually, your prospects will become clients and your business will be booming!
What offline strategies have worked for you?