The majority of marketing advice you'll find online focuses on online promotions. I'm guilty of putting my focus there as well as a blogger. I mean, blogging is an online endeavor, so it makes sense to promote on the Internet.
However, while there is great value in continuing your online promotions and trying new ones, there are still promotions that you can and should be doing offline as well.
List of Blog Promotions for the Real World
When it comes to promoting in the real world, you can stick with tried and true tactics that involve networking and good, old fashioned hitting the pavement type work. However, there are also a lot of creative things you can do to reach out to new readers that you might not have thought of.
- Trade Shows: Whatever your niche topic is, you can be almost certain there is an industry trade show for that niche. Trade shows offer small booths for a reasonable fee. Have a nice vinyl banner printed, prepare some brochures, and figure out how to interact with attendees and make your presentation memorable. The goal is to drive them to your blog. If you do have a product to sell at your booth, even better.
- Business Cards: You can purchase hundreds of business cards for $20 or $30 on sites like Vista Print, or have them printed locally. It might sound simple, but just handing out a card when you meet someone new can encourage that person to later visit your website (you'll have the address on the business card, of course). If you are in a waiting room and strike up a conversation, give the person your card and tell them you write a blog they'd enjoy. If you meet someone at a party, share your card. It is one of the least expensive advertising tactics on the planet. Even though you are reaching only one person at a time, it is so personal that most of them will visit your site.
- Postcards: Order postcards that promote some aspect of your site and mail them to your mailing list. Did I mention that you need to start a mailing list when you attend trade shows and other events? Obviously you want your mailing list to be very targeted to the demographic you are trying to reach. You can also purchase mailing lists of particular demographics, but building your own is more powerful. You could also try a combination of the two. With the rising cost of postage, this isn't as inexpensive of a promotion as it used to be, but if you target your list and make it very narrow, it can be effective.
- Paper Place Mats: Have you ever sat in a restaurant and noticed they had a paper place mat with local businesses advertised around the edges? If your website has any local aspect at all, this is an excellent way to reach people in your community. Don't know of any restaurants with these place mats? You can easily create one and sell the ads to other businesses in your area and then give the mats to the restaurant for free. Just make sure you only sell to non-competing businesses to keep your ad as the only one featuring your niche.
- Give Talks: Contact libraries, organizations, and schools. Offer to give talks on your topic. Be sure to mention there are more resources on your website.
- Framed Posters: I saw a great idea on Pixel77 that I never would have thought of. They advise making a poster that features your artwork or work in some way. For example, if you create infographics for clients, create a beautiful infographic. Print it, frame it, ask your client to hang it up. People will see the poster and ask about it and, in theory, you'll get referrals.
- Create a Team: One thing I have done in the past with my most loyal readers is to create a team of people to help me promote my books. I call mine Troop Lori, but you can name your team anything you'd like. I have one client who calls her team “Warriorettes.” The idea is to have an inner group that loves what you're doing and wants to tell others about you. You provide this team with updates, special T-shirts, and materials to hand out to their family and friends. They get special prizes and perks and you get promoters. It is a win-win for everyone.
- Join a Networking Group: There are networking groups in just about every corner of the country. Even my very small town area has a couple different ones. Join one of these groups and you'll not only gain new readers who want to visit your site (the other members of the group), but you'll gain valuable ideas for how to promote your business.
- Sponsor Someone: There are so many ways to get involved in your local community and get your business name out there. For example, my daughter used to do competitive cheer and they would sell sponsorships for fundraising. The sponsor (business) name went on a T-shirt and banner. You could also sponsor your local high school yearbook by purchasing an ad. This helps the school cover the cost of producing the yearbook and gets your name in front of school staff, students and parents. There are little leagues, businesses, nonprofits, and even libraries that sometimes seek out sponsors. Figure out which ones are most likely to have your target audience and go from there.
- Offer Free Drawings: Create contests (be sure you understand the rules and laws around sweepstakes) by putting up sign-up boxes at local businesses. This allows you to gather emails and get your name out there. Don't rule out venues such as local health clubs, the library, the local pizza joint, and even utility offices, which are often overlooked.
- Deck Out Your Car: You can purchase inexpensive magnetic signs on Vista Print that will allow you to advertise your business without permanently wrapping your vehicle. This can be a cost effective way to get your brand out there. Do you want to reach more college students? Drive through the university parking lot during peak times when students are leaving or going to classes with your signs in clear sight. Drive your car where your ideal audience is most likely to be.
- Flyers: This is an age-old way to get the word out to a lot of people. Key places to hang a flyer include laundromats, post offices, libraries, and grocery stores. You may even want to offer little tear offs that include your website address to further encourage those who see the flyer to visit your website.
Small Steps Lead to Big Success
It's the small things you do that add up over time and lead to success. If you want to successfully promote offline, you need to learn how to talk to people and speak up about what you do and what you have to offer. If you aren't comfortable talking to strangers, try taking a Dale Carnegie course to learn to come out of your shell, or join Toastmasters. You never know when that person you tell about your site will tell someone else who then reports on it and drives hundreds of people to your blog. Be bold, take small steps, and watch them add up over time.