According to NAWBO ( the National Association of Women Business Owners), who conducted an online poll asking “Does your business have an online component?”
75.5% said they have a website but they also do business offline.
Do you do business offline too? Many sources say you ‘must’ have a website to be in business. Which I completely agree with, a website is a great way to “always be open” to your customers. A potential client can read about you, see your work with before and after photos, and learn a little bit about your training and experience. Your presence can be a multi-page website, or just a simple one page presence (depending on the image you wish to portray or the realism of a startup budget).
But what I think can be missing from your marketing plan is the coordination of online, as well as offline, marketing strategies. What is your strategy for gaining clients, other than having a web presence?
As you may have already realized, just because you build it, does not mean they will come. Sure there is always talk of Search Engine Optimization and picking appropriate keywords etc but in truth, those are still part of your online strategy.
Offline strategies could include
• Conducting presentations/seminars.
• Participating in Charity Auctions,
• Postcard mailing campaigns
• Developing partnerships with companies who also share your target market. (Target marketing, I think, is one of the best ways to market on a tight budget. It allows you to focus your limited budget in the most cost effective way. To learn more about target marketing, and other marketing issues facing small businesses, subscribe to my newsletter.)
• Direct Mail campaigns
• Word Of Mouth – join an organization!
• Advertising – though this can get expensive
• Business Basics – business cards, brochures, flyers
Knowing your target market, the goals you want to accomplish this year, and overall budget, along with your own creativity are essential to customizing these offline strategies for your particular business.
But the key to on and offline strategies, in general, is to make them work together. For example, all your printed materials must have your website address on them, at a minimum. (You will also want an email address, so people can contact you when ‘they’ are ready to.) In addition, your website should have a listing of all the seminars you may be giving or more information about the Charity Auction you’re participating in. You have the ability to get the most out of each strategy by using both together.
You see, professional service businesses are services which truly need an online AND offline strategy to succeed. In this case, the sum IS more than the parts.