Offline Marketing and Promotional Techniques for Online Businesses

Starting and growing an online business may require a whole mix of skills you've never learned before. The less experience you've had with the Internet, the bigger your learning curve could be. But don't worry! Your offline knowledge will still come in handy...

If you own an online business, you’re probably using some of the “traditional” online business advertisement methods, like pay per click or banners ads or e-zines to help build your business. Online business promotions are good to do and these methods can work well. In fact, you should be doing them.

But there are offline opportunities you don’t want to miss out on. It doesn’t matter if your business is an e-commerce only business or it’s a clicks-and-mortar business (combining both online and offline business), you can market in the offline world to generate online business.

Some online-only companies, like,, and all advertise on television and in print. You may not have the budget or desire to advertise in those media, but if they do it, perhaps you can too.

Put your website on your outgoing material.

Most companies do this already, but many could do a better job. If your website is your primary selling mechanism, then your URL should be front and center on everything that leaves your office: business correspondence, envelopes, etc. If you belong to a local Chamber of Commerce, put your URL on pens and give them out at the next chamber meeting. Or t-shirts. Or golf balls. Or bumper stickers. Or… (the list is endless!)

Put your website on a calendar and mail it out.

People need calendars and look at them for 12 months at a time! This method has traditionally been the mainstay of realtors but if your business works with this kind of media, go for it! They’re generally affordable and you’ve got a riveted audience for an entire year.

Offer seminars and workshops.

This is probably the best way to get your name out there. You’ve got a rapt audience of warm leads who are listening to you and drinking in your expertise on your topic. It’s also a perfectly acceptable place to put in your URL as a place where their related problems can be solved. If you run an online-only business, this might be a good time to consider some offline commerce as well, including books or seminar tapes.


People read classified advertisements for all kinds of products and services. Find the categories that your business applies to and create classified ads to go there: offer a teaser headline and your URL as the way to find the solution.

Why don’t online businesses advertise offline? There’s a concern that the reach is not very great: after all, if you own an online business, you can potentially reach the world; why limit your advertising to a small town somewhere in Nebraska?

However, your current online advertising is reaching a market so broad that you’re only reaching a few people anyway (of the billions out there!). By advertising locally in just a few cities, you’ll be “drilling down” and creating a denser coverage within a limited area.

It’s the difference between misting several plants with water and dumping water onto just one plant. It could be more effective.

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