So many marketers focus on promoting brands online: Twitter, Facebook, mailing lists, etc. It’s not difficult to see why–it doesn’t cost extra to post to Twitter or Tumblr, and there is the distinct possibility that one of your posts can go viral and bring worldwide attention to your business or brand.
However, there’s also the distinct possibility that your social media posts will go unnoticed and that your carefully-crafted mailing list emails will go unread. Think about this: how many tweets do you skim past, and how many brand emails do you skip without reading? It gets worse: if you’ve got Gmail, Google automatically filters those emails out of your inbox into a separate folder called Promotions. This all spells disaster for people who base their entire marketing strategy on online communications.
Instead, it’s time to think IRL. Here are five ways to get your brand out there in real life — five tangible ways to make sure people can’t leave your message unread or hit delete on your branding.
Want to start small? Look for high-quality vinyl cling stickers, and give them out to loyal fans and new customers. Consider a sticker designed to fit around the Apple logo on a standard MacBook (you’ve probably seen the sticker of Snow White “eating” the Mac Apple, and here are 25 more clever MacBook cling stickers). When you make stickers, the goal is to design something so cool that other people will comment on it. That’s how your brand will spread, one conversation at a time.
2. Personalized tote bags
It’s time to take your brand to the streets. Start by looking for good deals on quality personalized tote bags wholesale suppliers offer online. Pick the big ones, the ones that have a nice square bottom and are sturdy enough to hold 40 pounds of groceries. Add your logo, and a clever tagline, like “Let us carry the load!” Then have your tote bags made up and start giving them out at every opportunity.
The trick to making the tote bag work is to pick a bag that’s easy to carry and sturdy enough to handle weight. Too many tote bags are flimsy, or don’t have handles long enough to carry over the shoulder. If your tote bag is strong enough to handle everyday work, people will use it every day — and think of your brand every time they carry home a load of fresh groceries.
Want to get to know people? Time to throw a party. This works especially well if your business is predominantly local, but companies like Kickstarter and AirBed and Breakfast also regularly throw brand parties, where fans meet up with brand employees and discuss strategies like “how to have a successful Kickstarter campaign,” or simply enjoy the drinks and conversation. If you want to expand your reach in a single evening, try throwing a party.
4. Local news
Who pays attention to local news? A lot more people than you think. Getting an interview on a local television or radio station gives you a huge brand boost, as does getting a feature article in a local newspaper or arts paper. Talk to local media about your brand and see if you can arrange an interview or feature. A well-placed local news interview is worth six months of unread Facebook posts.
If it exists, there’s a convention for it. Buy a booth at the convention that most closely reflects your brand, whether you want to sell Sherlock meets My Little Pony art at a comic convention or advertise your handcrafted furniture at a real estate convention. Then talk to everyone who walks by.
Once you start looking for IRL ways of spreading your brand, you’ll start seeing opportunities all over the place. Remember: it’s not about the meme, it’s about being remembered — and sometimes that has to be done face-to-face.