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15 Traditional Marketing Tips That Are Still Effective [Expert Roundup]

These are the 15 best ways you can use traditional marketing for your small business

One of the most important things you need to do in your small business is make use of both digital and traditional marketing methods.

However, as we are living in an always-online world, the digital marketing strategies always take front and center.

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While they are great (which is why we’ve talked at length about inbound marketing, PPC, social media, marketing automation tools and more), sometimes the old school methods are still effective.

Instead of making your marketing mix purely digital, why not add in some of the most effective traditional marketing methods?

Which are those, you may be asking? Well, that’s what we asked our 15 experts, and they gave their useful answers below.

Chris Allen, Founder of FirmTree |  chriscallen

1. Businesses must understand their customers’ needs and pain points. Once they have these they can cater their marketing messaging on brochures, sales sheets, etc to drive more sales.

For example, a dental office brochure can emphasize an efficiently run office with no wait times and gentle non invasive procedures to minimize patient discomfort.

2. Use targeted marketing efforts; examples include direct mail campaigns to targeted zip codes. The USPS has a good affordable program for this called Every Door Direct Mail.

For example, a new pizza shop wanting to target the zip codes in a 3-mile radius of their shop could use Every Door Direct Mail. They could feature special promotions like free delivery or discounts on weekdays, etc.

3. Stay true to the brand. Businesses need to understand their strengths and communicate these clearly in all branded messaging and materials.

Derek Hines, Internet Marketer at West Coast Self-Storage  @SelfStorageWC

When we open a facility in a new city or neighborhood, one of the first things our store managers do is analyze the business landscape in the neighborhood to identify potential partners.

For instance, we recently opened a storage facility near a retirement center. We met with the center director and set up a deal where their tenants can rent storage from us at reduced rates.

We’ll also market ourselves to other storage facilities by giving a referral fee to the manager if they refer a customer to us.

This would happen if that location didn’t have the size or type of storage unit the customer wanted. Rather than just turning them away, they can send the customer to us and be rewarded monetarily for it.

We push our own customer referral program as well, giving current customers a discount off of their rental when they refer additional customers to us.

Elizabeth Vocke, Evoke Strategy LLC  EvokeStrategy

Our top three for traditional marketing, and more specifically PR, tips are:

1. Start with a plan focused on business objectives. Look at all facets of your marketing plan and make sure they work together to meet your goals.

2. Understand the media, read and watch the news. You must know how to craft a news story – not an ad – if you’re going to have any success in media relations.

3. Create relationships. We’ve spent years successfully building relationships with reporters. If they won’t cover my story, they can tell me who might, or at least give me honest input.

Niki Radisic, Managing Director at Krazy Fish  @krazyfishes

I think one particular form of marketing, for businesses both small and large, is still paramount – networking. And it can’t really be done properly online.

Face-to-face meetings with industry peers or important clients or representing your business at trade shows or conferences is what works and not only is that not fading, it’s growing.

From past presidents to the likes of Richard Branson and Bill Gates – they don’t do live speaking gigs for the payout. They do it to keep their network up, running, and growing.

Owners of small brick-and-mortar businesses know they have to make an appearance at their establishment every once in a while. Restaurant owners make sure to walk the front of the house almost every day, greet their old patrons, meet the new ones, and make sure they’re seen.

Grocery store owners make sure to walk their neighborhood beat and rather shop locally because they know that if you give a buck, you’ll get a buck. Corporate bosses visit their multinational’s largest offices at least once a year, get to know their top staff, and make sure to appear at major industry events.

Nothing beats a live appearance and an after-event cocktail every once in a while. Small business owners know this perhaps better than anyone.

Andrea Hubbert, Principal at Hub+company  andreahubbert

A tried and true tactic that I still rely on as a small business owner is face-to-face networking: be it at professional association events, industry conferences or individual “getting to know you” sessions with potential clients and collaborators.

These opportunities are not about meeting as many people as possible or handing out as many business cards as I possibly can.

For me, it’s about making a connection with one person at a time. It’s about actually enjoying the process of building a relationship by hearing other people’s stories, discussing shared experiences and being inspired by someone new.

People connect with stories; we all enjoy hearing what’s really going on with another person. And, more often than not, we are flattered when asked for help or advice or a new perspective during these discussions.

The value exchanged during these chats is what lingers in our minds… creating an opportunity to meet again in the future to discuss progress or outcomes.

Alec Sears, Communications Specialist at Frontier Business  FrontierSmallBusiness

In college I often heard internship providers say, almost with contempt or disdain, “we don’t make our interns write press releases, or go on coffee runs.”

As if writing a press release were on the same level as fetching coffee.

But even if writing a press release is “old-fashioned” in the eyes of some of the up and coming digital marketing companies, it is still the bread and butter for corporate PR communication.

Knowing how to post on social media is good, but knowing how to write an effective press release should be second nature. The interns who turn their nose up at it find themselves struggling when the time comes to use it.

A good press release, one that is well-written, well-timed and well-placed, can be the spark you need to get the word out about an event, or to bring clarity to a tide of rumors in a crisis.

Charles Goodman, Marketing Manager at Live Prep Nation  liveprepnation

Networking – One of the best things we’ve used here at Live Prep Nation to great success has been just plain and simple networking. While we do invest a lot in digital marketing–social media, Youtube, etc.–we found that nothing really beats the effectiveness of networking.

Especially for a business like ours, where we help small businesses with their media and marketing needs. One step in securing customers is first convincing them that they need your services, as a lot think that video production is only for bigger companies.

And when it comes to getting customers to accept your idea, even before you show them your portfolio, is to talk to them, face-to-face. That’s why we spend a lot of time at conferences and small business events, where we meet plenty of small business owners that may need our services, and it has really paid off.

Scott Wesper, Marketing Strategist at cThru Media  cthrumedia

While the world is shifting to digital formats, traditional marketing strategies still play an important role in reaching customers.

We still take out newspaper ads which results in us receiving calls from qualified customers who need our services. The return on investment is extremely high when you consider the low price of a simple newspaper ad.

We also send out fliers which creates awareness through the mail. We’re able to target who we send to in order to optimize our returns.

Lastly, referral traffic, also known as word of mouth, is very important. When our customers spread information about our services, it helps us build a loyal client base.

Natalie Bidnick Andreas, Digital Strategy Consultant |  nataliebidnickandreas

As a digital strategist, you’d think I’d be the last person to recommend a traditional marketing campaign.

But it still works! Two traditional techniques remain part of regular routine:

1. Direct mail – I’ll send out post cards to my prospects and include a landing page link to my website. This way, I can check the effectiveness of the mailers while still driving traffic to my website.

2. Face-to-face networking – Digital media may reign supreme, but nothing replaces true, authentic conversations. I still attend “old school” networking events. It’s just hard to meet new people in a webinar.

Christine Cummings, VP/Head of Marketing of All Set |  helloallset

In my experience there are a lot of traditional marketing tactics that still work, depending on your audience. One that has worked for me across the board with customers as well as important B2B contacts for marketing purposes is this one:

Delight and surprise customers/potential customers/business partners with a physical gift. It can be something as small as a box of chocolates sent to their home or office.

Very quickly afterwards follow up with a personal phone call or an email asking them to do to you a favor, such as reviewing your product, changing or adding a link to their website, etc.

I think it’s very natural that once a person feels that they are valued, they are much more likely to interact with you, or do something for you especially if they received something from you beforehand.

Eric Anthony, Founder of |  streamingobserver

Our most successful promotions happen in our newsletter.

In fact, our newsletter is a sort of weekly promotion that has consistently served us well. We send out a weekly newsletter, and we see success by filling it with calls to action that lead our readers back to our website.

Our website is where we make money, so the more we can get out newsletter readers back to our website the better.

Danni Lin, CEO of GREAT WINE, Inc. |  greatwineusa

In terms of marketing, events work because they provide experiences, not merely selling a product.

When GREAT WINE, Inc. was founded in 2015, the management team unanimously decided that wines offered would cater to individual taste. This set the direction of production and marketing.

Later, we discovered that clients do not only need a wine that addresses their needs; they were also eager to learn more about wine and about themselves in a stress-free setting. Every client works very closely with our wine specialists to uncover their preferences or needs.

In our experience, leads come from clients who want to share their experiences with their business partners.

We insist on inviting clients to come to our tasting room for the total experience, because this is also gives us a chance to talk about the ideas behind the wine labels.

We also discover that clients introduce business partners to us because they would like to share their enjoyable moments with others.

Aaron Hockel, VP of Digital Marketing at AltaVista Strategic Partners |  @aaronhockel

One traditional marketing tactic we still find successful for our marketing agency is using the regular mail.

There is something about getting your materials directly into the hands of your prospects that goes a long way.

A particularly effective use in our own sales process is sending out presentation decks via FedEx or UPS in advance of a meeting or webinar. It gives the client a chance to familiarize themselves with the presentation.

Our experience is that it increases engagement and allows our clients to prepare great questions.

Mario Serna, Head of Marketing at |  @ceremonysupply

Our products cater to the event planning industry, so we have to resort to traditional marketing methods in order to get the attention of our clients since many are already “locked in” with other suppliers.

Online marketing is not always ideal for us because the people we want to reach are not actively looking for new suppliers. We have successfully employed brochures to get the attention of those prospect clients.

Our company uses direct mail, include them in every order we ship, we hand them out at trade shows and pass them along to other (non-competing) businesses within our network who can refer business back us.

We, of course, do the same for them any chance we get. If you have a niche product or line of products that serve a very closed market, an informative brochure with incentive offers can help you to get the attention of the buyer is who is not looking for you.

A simple brochure with the right pitch can work wonders.

Rhonda Rees, Rhonda Rees Public Relations Company |  @ReesRhonda

Even though we’re immersed in a social media world, the old adage, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, still applies today.

Namely: making use of the tried-and-true press release (which is now optimized to included links to your information and social media) is still very important.

It is much more than a calling card to let the media (and public) know more about you. Coming up with the right angle or “hook” to ignite their interest is still vital.

Also, traditional media relations (telephone follow-up) is very important to help you land coveted exposure on radio, television and in magazines and newspapers. These are all essential “third-party” endorsements about your product, service or cause.

Once your Company is featured in this way, it’s a smart idea to post this exposure to your website, blog and through your social media. There’s nothing like it to help solidify your name, brand and credibility.

Which traditional marketing methods do you use? Let us know in the comments below!

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