In London, businesses are competing for people’s attention every minute of everyday.
A small business that is not spending its advertising budget efficiently will inevitably lose in this landscape.
In this article we’re going to talk about the different offline methods small businesses can use to market themselves.
We’ll talk about how to get the most out of your marketing budget and how to dominate in the offline world.
Offline vs online
Any serious marketing strategy for a small business in London is going to have to include both offline and online marketings.
In this blog we’ll focus exclusively on offline advertising, but we can answer a few common questions about the differences between these approaches first.
What are the benefits of online marketing?
Online advertising is great at targeting specific demographics to a very granular level.
What are the benefits of offline marketing?
Offline marketing is the ultimate way to build brand recognition and mind share in local areas of London.
What are the downsides of online marketing?
Many online marketing channels are very crowded nowadays. If your campaigns are not setup perfectly, you can burn through a lot of money with no impact.
What are the downsides of offline marketing?
The entry cost into offline marketing is often higher than online. A/B testing and other testing methods therefore become more difficult and expensive to implement.
Local area engagement
One common theme that will keep coming up in our discussion of offline marketing is that much of it should be focused on local London areas.
This is in reference to the local area around your business, areas you service or London neighbourhoods and postcodes that map onto your ideal client demographics.
If you pay attention you will see that each London postcode breaks down into smaller communities and areas. These could be larger parts of London like West Hampstead or smaller neighbourhoods located close to a particular park.
These local areas tend to have a specific character to them and a specific rhythm of life.
This is very relevant to our marketing conversations. For example the designs of your flyers should be made with the target demographics and local area character in mind.
This will apply to campaigns of all kinds ranging from roofing and building companies, locksmiths and other household focused businesses, charities to political campaigns.
You might want to use a different looking leaflet in South Kensington to the ones you use in Wembley. Different design cues work better in different places.
If you mostly service the local area around your business you want to be engaging with local events and life in general.
You can sponsor a 10k run in your local park. You can be present in your local farmer’s market or other events.
Being visible in these places and events ultimately makes you a part of your local community. Whether you approach this idea as just common sense, the way the world should work or a form of marketing doesn’t matter.
See if you can find local events and think about how you can participate, sponsor or help facilitate them.
We’ve already touched on flyers in this blog. Leaflets are one of the most effective forms of offline marketing.
If you are interested in the statistics relating to flyer drops, please feel free to have a read through our article dedicated to this topic.
Leaflet distribution can be really impactful due to the fact that it allows you to reach every single household in your local area.
No other form of marketing whether offline or online can do this for you. As long as the home has a letterbox and is within your selected area, it can receive your flyers.
The effects of this multiply when we start running repeated deliveries.
In repeated drop campaigns you can have your leaflets come through each door in your local area multiple times with pre-planned rest periods between each delivery.
To find out more about the importance of repetition in leaflet distribution you can have a look at our blog dedicated to the topic.
What should your leaflets look like?
You want to make sure to keep your flyers simple where possible. Try to use high quality photos or graphics and include only necessary information.
Always discuss the details of your design with your leaflet distributor as they might be able to share tips on how to improve your leaflets.
If you feel like you have much more to communicate to your clients than can comfortably fit on a single flyer include a prominently featured URL link to your website.
Your flyer should be working as a brand building tool or as a trigger for a client to call you or look up more information about your services.
Don’t feel like you have to cover every possible question a potential client might have on a single flyer.
When it comes to the format of your flyers you want to keep things simple. We generally recommend sticking to an A5, single-page flyer. Paper somewhere between 200-300gsm is ideal.
How do you know where to deliver?
You should base the areas you are picking for your flyer drops based on a cross section of your service areas and the demographics you are after.
This selection will vary based on the type of small business you are running.
If you are a local restaurant you should run leaflet distribution campaigns in your delivery area.
If you are an estate agent you should be running your drops in all the places you are looking to develop a presence in.
If you are a private tutor you should focus on the parts of London you are happy to travel to and the areas where people are likely to be happy to pay your fees.
How to pick the right leaflet distribution company?
When picking the right company to handle your leaflet distribution you should be looking for a few basic things.
You want to make sure that you can talk to real people within the company that can help you plan your campaigns.
Don’t go with automated systems if you can avoid it. Being able to speak to a person that is an expert in their field, explain your business and goals for your campaigns to them is something you can’t replace.
Getting tailored advice from an expert for your specific situation is what you want.
You also want to look for a company that can help you with the print and storage of your flyers. You don’t want to be looking for print quotes and places to store your 80,000 freshly printed leaflets.
Try to find a company that can get you good competitive print prices and handle all your stock in-house.
Staying in touch with existing clients
Sending physical seasonal greetings or small gifts to your existing clients is a slightly more targeted approach. It can, however, be very effective.
Your existing clients are people that you’ve already gotten over the hurdle of spending money with you. Re-engaging with them can yield great results.
Sending seasonal greetings without a clear effort to sell to your existing or past clients is a great way to keep yourself at the forefront of people’s minds.
If you are giving away branded items to your clients try to make them as useful as possible. To get some ideas about the types of branded items you can use for your business have a look at this article.
Developing partnerships with other local businesses that might have some minor overlap with yours can be very beneficial.
The opportunities for developing the kinds of relationship that can lead into cross promotion will vary based on the type of business you are operating.
If you are a personal trainer, you can work and cross promote with a local health food store.
If you are a piano teacher, you can work with a local music shop by recommending their piano tuning services while they keep your posters up in their showroom.
On the other hand, if you are running a health food store, you can search for local personal trainers and work with multiple people in this way.
This idea ultimately comes down to how well you know your area and how good you are at developing partnerships with other small businesses. Make sure that you are transparent about these arrangements with your clients.
The success in your local market will largely depend on your reputation. Make sure therefore to be careful about which companies and businesses you go into a partnership with.
Make sure that they are reliable as any issue they might cause will inevitably have an impact on the way people see you as well.
On the other hand gaining support from a local established business that has some overlap with your services can have a huge impact.