I’d like to share my thoughts on a topic that’s rarely discussed: offline tactics for driving online business success. Many internet marketers who promote the so-called “internet lifestyle” fail to mention that much of their online success is the result of actions they took offline. In some cases, focusing on the right offline activities can give you more ROI than online marketing. Here are seven activities you can take that will boost your online business.
1. Invest in quality business cards
Business cards may seem low-tech and old-fashioned but they are still as effective as ever. In fact, new research has found that business card distribution has actually increased over the past five years, particularly among small business owners. Studies have also shown that handing out 100 business cards could generate $5,000 or more in revenue. If you want to drive traffic, make sure you include your URL.
2. Attend the right offline networking events
If you want to fish, you head where the fish are. Marketing is no different. Find out where your prospects network and go there. Meeting people face-to-face leaves a more lasting and personal impression than many online marketing activities.
In the words of one of America’s top copywriters and marketing consultant Bob Bly, “The best places to network are local chapters of professional or trade associations whose members are your prospects. The worst places to network are groups formed specifically for networking purposes and that attract local business owners, often one-person businesses… because you will get leads to other tiny businesses with no money – and no sense of the value of professional services.”
3. Teach a class
Teaching a class is a “secret” form of marketing that many people overlook. If you’re knowledgeable enough about a particular topic to teach people, you’ll be viewed as an expert. Authority is authority, offline or on. There are plenty of professional associations, civic groups, schools, and other organizations that may be in need of your expertise.
4. Public speaking
Public speaking is a great vehicle for establishing authority, or expert status in a particular niche. It’s also great for building confidence. Speaking in front of groups is good practice, especially if you’re using video, or even audio, in your online business.
5. Read and visit your local library
Successful marketing requires a constant stream of new ideas. One of the best places to go for inspiration is your local library. Most librarians are very helpful and they may even direct you to some helpful resources that aren’t available online. Read different types of materials—everything from newspapers and industry magazines to blogs and short stories—to stay well-informed and come up with fresh ideas that you can use in your online marketing.
There is lots of data available showing the benefits of regular exercise. Exercise promotes overall fitness, health, and disease prevention. Exercise will also release endorphins that will make you feel energized and help you do more work. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.”
7. Spend time away from the computer and relax
One of the most important things any marketer can do is take time to relax and recharge. This quiet time is critical for ideation. Sometimes your greatest ideas can come when you aren’t actively thinking about business.
Another activity you can do offline while you’re away from the computer is to go somewhere people are buying or selling like an auction, shopping mall, or flea market. Observe what’s happening. What can you learn? Often, you will gain insights into human behavior that may not be as evident in the online world.
Online marketers can boost their marketing success by using some, or all of these seven offline activities.