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6 Offline marketing strategies for the online business


Jul 19, 2022
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Offline marketing strategies may seem old school in the digital age. After all, how often do you write down a business phone number from a car decal or magnet? With smartphones in our pockets, it’s almost comical to imagine a knowledge creator or any online business owner taking out a newspaper ad to promote their online course. The simple fact is - not everyone is online.

There will always be value in the offline promotional channel. What’s the value? Brand awareness. Read on for strategies to try and tips specifically for knowledge creators to maximize those channels for their online businesses!

Why online businesses should use offline advertising

Why should primarily online businesses use offline advertising strategies? In general, it’s a best practice to diversify promotional channels. As we said in our article on online marketing strategies and channels to try, “The important thing is to avoid limiting yourself. You don't want to discount an opportunity that might lead you to your audience.” But here’s another more time-sensitive reason - with the rise of more user privacy-centered regulations and changes, marketers and online business owners are having to rethink their strategies.

With the launch of iOS 15 in the fall of 2021, Apple included a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection. This gives consumers the ability to hide their activity when opening emails by hiding their IP address and loading content remotely. For marketers, that means you now have less insight into the performance of your marketing emails because you can’t track those who use this feature. 

In January 2022, Meta updated their policies regarding Detailed Targeting on Facebook advertising. Now, advertisers cannot target based on sensitive topics including, “referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.” This could be a big blow for a knowledge creator in the health and fitness space, which is one of the top industry categories for Kajabi heroes

Even if the Meta changes or Apple changes don’t impact your unique business, it represents the beginning of a trend. Platforms are implementing new changes that can make it harder for marketers to connect with their intended audiences.

6 offline marketing strategies

Once you’ve decided to explore offline marketing, you’ll need to research and hone in on your specific strategies. We’ve compiled these six different tactics and how knowledge creators and online business owners can make the most of them.

Trade shows

Trade shows come from a time when meeting in person was essential to learning about industry updates. They are still important for industries where professionals want to see the latest trends and newest products, or for those in which professionals must keep up with continuing education.

But knowledge creators, you can skip hosting a trade show booth. Instead, seek out speaking opportunities in educational panels. By presenting at a trade show, you can position yourself as an industry expert, bringing awareness to your brand and potentially growing your audience. Trade shows can be the perfect networking opportunity, whether in the exposition hall or at the show-sponsored happy hours!

The key is to connect with the show organizers and pitch your presentation. Some of the trade shows will have inquiry forms directly on their website where you can submit your topic.

Print advertising

Print media was where advertising began - but even though it’s historic, it’s still plenty effective when used strategically. That’s right - print is not dead.

Print advertising metrics can be nearly impossible to track. Unsurprisingly, that’s part of why it’s lost favor as a marketing method. The broad approach of print advertising works better for brands that are simply reminding you that they exist - like a global automobile brand.

It’s different for online businesses and small businesses. These types of business owners don’t have millions of dollars to spend on brand-building advertisements. And, they really need to be efficient with their marketing budgets.

So how can small businesses, like knowledge creators, leverage print advertising? The key is to find niche publications that align with your ideal audience. These magazines have a smaller but more dedicated audience. 

For example, if you sell online courses about surfing, you may want to advertise in a niche publication like The Surfer’s Journal, because the reader's interest aligns with what you have to offer. You wouldn’t necessarily find a good audience fit if you took out an ad for your surfing course in a national publication like Good Housekeeping.

Another option is to look for regional business journals or magazines. For instance, Stroll is a publisher that creates magazines for upscale residential neighborhoods. The content of these publications may not exactly align with your niche. But, if you can find a local publication for your area, you can connect with readers who value supporting smaller, local businesses. And, the advertising costs can be lower!

How do you prepare to take out a print ad? First, read some of the publication’s content to see if their brand and audience align with yours. Look for the magazine or newspaper’s media kit to get an idea of the pricing and the circulation. Some publishers will share their editorial calendar with themed issues so you can plan accordingly. Check out The Biz Journals as an example:

One specific option within print advertising is to create sponsored content or an “advertorial” - which is an advertisement designed to look like editorial content. This way you can tell a story and demonstrate your expertise, which knowledge creators already know is key!

Direct mail

You may think of direct mail as the junk mail you recycle before even bringing it inside your house. But, gone are the days of the “batch and blast” method like the grocery store circular or fast food coupons. Savvy marketers are taking a new approach. 

In Lob’s 2022 State of Direct Mail report (which surveyed enterprise marketers), they asked marketers how they use direct mail for acquisition. Here’s how it broke out:

  • 29% - existing customers
  • 27% - new customer acquisition
  • 22% - advocacy or referrals
  • 21% - dormant customers or win back

For knowledge creators, the two most relevant buckets will be new customer acquisition, then a combination of existing customers and dormant customers.

For new customers, instead of sending out postcards to people who have never heard of you, consider leveraging direct mail as physical retargeting. You can accomplish this by only mailing it out to your existing lead base. Postie is one such tool you can use. They send direct mail to your existing customers or website visitors - even if you don’t have their mailing address. 

Marketers will commonly retarget those leads with digital ads if someone visits your website but doesn’t convert. But, with ad blockers and people opting out of social media, leveraging direct mail as another retargeting tool can help recapture their attention.

For your existing customer base or dormant customers, you’ve already earned a conversion from them in the past. So, direct mail can be a way to remind them to continue to support your business - especially if you have a new knowledge product available. 

You’ll want to segment these audiences and tailor the message to reflect their needs and where they are on their customer journey. And you’ll be in good company - in Lob’s report, over 50% of marketers surveyed reported they personalize their direct mail pieces.

Investing in direct mail might be an especially great fit for knowledge creators with a high-ticket offer. If you’re selling a flagship course with a price point of $1,000 or more, there’s a good chance you can see a positive ROI with a direct mail campaign.

Donating your products for fundraisers

Another creative offline marketing strategy is to donate goods or services to charitable or nonprofit organizations. Many of these organizations will then use these donated goods and services to fundraise for their mission. 

By donating access to your digital product or service, you'll expose your brand to a new audience, which could lead to more brand awareness and possible sales. People love to support business owners whose values align with their own!

To get started, reach out to organizations that align with your industry or whose supporters could benefit from your products or services. In the nonprofit world, the department of development is who you’ll target. Research to see if they have any fundraising events, and send an email to their team mentioning that you’d love to support their next fundraiser with a digital product donation. 

In Kajabi, you can manually grant someone access with their email address, or you could create a limited quantity offer especially for the donation. 

You’ll simultaneously give back to the community and generate awareness for your business - with absolutely no cost to you!

Hosting events

Online business owners can leverage this strategy commonly used by brick-and-mortar businesses - hosting events. While brick-and-mortar businesses often host events to drive traffic to their storefronts, online business owners can use the same strategy to foster a community. 

Hosting an event is essentially like an in-person lead magnet; you give away some of your knowledge for free in exchange for the attendee’s contact information. Or, if you plan to offer a lot of value or expect a large turnout, you could charge for admission. 

Regardless of if the event is free to attend or not, you’ll want to keep the cost low to help improve the chances that you see a return on investment. Partner with other small businesses or community organizations to secure what you need to produce the event - a venue, decor, equipment rentals, and refreshments. 

To make an event effective as a marketing strategy, it’s important to hone in on your niche. For knowledge creators, hosting workshops or classes about a topic in your expertise can help you gather a captive audience. For example:

  • A music instructor could teach an introductory lesson on an instrument.
  • A parenting coach could host a communication workshop for parents and children.
  • A foreign language course creator could host a gathering for people to practice speaking.

And, you’ll need to work hard to get the word out about the event. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Create a ghost offer on Kajabi to capture email addresses from RSVPs.
  • Create a Facebook event and include the link to the Kajabi offer.
  • Share the Facebook event in local and relevant industry groups.
  • Post about the event on Nextdoor to inform people in your area.
  • Post the event on your social media accounts.
  • Tell your friends and family to directly invite others that may be interested.
  • Segment your contact list by location and email those in the region.

You can get more mileage out of the event, too. Be sure to record the event and repurpose the content on your marketing channels. Write it up on your blog, share photos on Instagram, and share video clips on YouTube and TikTok. And, if you have a question-and-answer session in the event, pay attention to common themes in questions - you may uncover your next digital product topic!

Business cards

Business cards are a classic marketing method. They are easy and affordable to create and a tangible way to impart your information with someone that you meet. If you attend a trade show like we mentioned above, bring some with you!

Take time to design business cards that are consistent with your brand. It’s important that when people visit your website from your business card, they instantly recognize they are on the correct website. Look at the fonts and hex color code of your website and use those on your business card.

What should a digital product seller put on their business card? You can likely skip a phone number. But be sure to include your name, a title that reflects your niche, website, email address, and one or two social media handles with the largest followings.

Another option to consider is to use a QR code on your business card. A quick scan can take a potential patron straight to your website! 

Kajabi is the best way to turn your knowledge into income

At Kajabi, we’re working to build a world where everyone can build a life and business around their income. With Kajabi, you can sell your expertise online. Create online courses, establish membership sites, offer coaching programs, host a podcast, and sell other digital products. 

Plus, you'll get a suite of online marketing tools like a website, CRM, email marketing, landing page templates, and insightful analytics to help you spread the word about your products and earn more revenue.

Fully explore what Kajabi has to offer, and start building your business during a free 14-day trial of Kajabi!

Still researching? Check out Kajabi’s free downloadable ebook guides on launching and growing a knowledge commerce online business!

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6 Offline marketing strategies for the online business
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