It's often said by digital marketers that traditional advertising is dead. By this, they mean that old-school methods such as print and broadcast advertising, leaflet distribution, direct mail, cold calling and many others have been superseded by online marketing methods such as Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, SEO, social media marketing, cold emailing, retargeting and many others.
In general, we believe this to be true. The fact is, most online marketing methods allow you to show your ads to your specific target audience with a much, much higher degree of accuracy than old-school advertising methods can ever hope to achieve.
For example, with Facebook ads, you can target your ads at people who live in a specific area of a specific city, and no-one else. You can then further narrow your audience so that you're only reaching people with certain interests, jobs, qualifications, behavioural habits or demographic characteristics within this specific area of a specific city.
Also, if you decide to run an ad, but it fails to make you money, you can then literally click a button and it will stop being shown, allowing you to stop the money-burning ad in an instant. This stands in stark contrast to old school methods such as print and broadcast advertising, where if you create an ad and pay for a placement either in a newspaper or a televised advertising slot, then notice a mistake in your ad that may cost you money or bring in the wrong kind of customer, there's nothing you can do. You simply have to wait for your ad to be shown to your audience, cross your fingers, hope for the best and pray you've not thrown a big chunk of money away.
Another huge advantage of online advertising compared to traditional advertising, is cost. With Facebook, Adwords and retargeting platforms such as Adroll and Perfect Audience, you can show your ads and expose your brand to thousands of people in your exact target audience for just a few pounds, whereas achieving similar exposure through print or broadcast ads would cost many hundreds of pounds at a minimum, and even tens of thousands of pounds at the upper scale of the market.
It is for these reasons then, among many others, that we firmly believe online marketing, including but not limited to website design and development, will soon vastly outnumber traditional advertising in terms of both the amount of money spent on it, and the amount of money the different approaches make for those who use them.
We do however, think the blanket statement of 'traditional advertising is dead' to be untrue, and believe that it always will be untrue. It is likely that some of the more ineffective, untargeted traditional methods of advertising will die out in future, but there are some others that are effective today, and will likely remain effective for a very long time to come.
In particular, we have picked out two traditional advertising methods which we currently use with great success to get new clients for our digital marketing services, and which we think will still offer huge potential for digital marketers to get new clients, for decades to come.
Method 1: Printing and Distributing Business Cards To People You Meet And Already Know
Old-school, but still super useful and super effective, good business cards will contain your business name, full contact details and a quick summary of what you do, all wrapped up in an attractive, eye-catching design.
Think of how many people you meet, or how many people you know, who you end up discussing work with. Imagine if you gave them all a business card or two, and think of how many people in your area would immediately be exposed to your brand and your business. Also, imagine those people talking to their friends and mentioning you, perhaps passing on one of your business cards to them. All of a sudden, there are a lot of people who know about you, and are aware of your services. Meanwhile, you've created a small (or perhaps even large) group of people who are spreading word of you throughout their social circles, effectively promoting your business so that you don't have to.
It can be difficult for digital marketers to buy into the continuing worth of business cards, but they are actually some of the people who can benefit most from them, as many of the people who we might consider perfect clients (i.e. business owners who know little about online marketing, but want to modernise) will likely be much more familiar with contacting people as a result of receiving their business card, than they will be by using a more modern form of lead generation, such as filling in an online contact form, or scheduling an appointment through an online portal.
In fact, we were skeptical of business cards too for a long while, but then we found ourselves speaking to a number of people who showed an interest in our services, but who didn't seem comfortable getting in touch with us via an email or through our website - they needed some extra reassurance in the form of a business card to convince them that we are a legitimate, professional outfit with genuine expertise and skill.
For a long time, we could not provide this, but now we can, and since getting a big load of business cards printed and handing them out to everyone we meet, we have seen a big increase in inquiries from interested business owners in our local area, with many of them converting into paying clients.
Our business card design
Business cards will not be going away anytime soon, so you'd better get yourself a decent set printed. Seeing as how cheap they can be to get designed, printed and delivered these days, there really is no reason not to have a handful on you at all times, ready for any opportunities that may come your way.
Method 2: Networking
Yes, networking is a traditional advertising method. It's traditional because it's been going on since the dawn of time, and it's advertising because the dictionary definition of advertising is 'to announce or praise (a product, service, etc.) in some public medium of communication in order to induce people to buy or use it,' and this sums up networking perfectly, if we assume that the product or service being announced in a public medium of communication, is in fact the networkers themselves.
Some forms of networking are expensive (some industry conferences can cost thousands of pounds to attend), so these will be out of reach to many, but our two favourite methods of networking are both very cheap to do.
The first of these networking methods is attending business focused meetups. Through Meetup.com you can find meetups groups in your area that are full of local business owners. This sounds like a great place to meet potential clients, don't you think? Just remember not to be too salesy, but instead focus on giving people genuine value, and you'll soon become recognised as an expert in your field, and have many of these business owners coming to you and asking if you can help them make money with your digital marketing methods.
BONUS TIP: Be sure to bring along those business cards we mentioned earlier, and hand them out to anyone who will take one :)
Our second preferred method of networking is through your local chamber of commerce. By joining, you'll usually have immediate access to a range of benefits, such as free networking events and workshops.
Joining a chamber of commerce is a bigger investment than joining a meetup group (which is free), but the extra cost can pay off handsomely. This is because fellow members of a chamber of commerce tend to be highly placed local businesspeople who are wealthier than the general population. These people also tend to be decision makers in the businesses they work for, meaning that if they're interested in the products and services you provide, they're much more able to make the decision to hire you than almost anyone else in their organisation who you happen to meet.
Again, don't be too salesy at a chambers of commerce networking event or workshop, just provide genuine value to people, and be sure to bring business cards along which you can hand out to everyone who'll take one.
So, we've explained why we think traditional advertising is a dying industry, although we don't agree that every facet of it will decline into insignificance. We drew such conclusions from analysing the sheer number and scale of advantages that modern, digital marketing methods have over their traditional counterparts, but we also identified some resolutely old-school advertising methods that we believe digital marketers should still be investing their time and capital into, due to the potential they offer digital marketers with regards to getting new clients for their services.
The particular methods we've outlined (i.e. business cards and networking) are very simple and inexpensive to do, yet can lead to outstanding results, particularly when they are combined, as is best practice.
Simply by getting out there, meeting local business owners and providing them with genuine value, you'll make a lot of exciting new contacts, who, if you can successfully position yourself as an expert in your field, are likely to inquire about your products and services. Furthermore, by giving your business card to as many people as you can, you'll create a small army of people who know about you, your business and the value you provide, and who may then either contact you with an offer of work, or spread the word about what you do to other people who they meet and interact with, thereby effectively promoting your business to a new audience for you.
Seeing as how significant these benefits are, we therefore thoroughly recommend that digital marketers utilise the traditional advertising methods of printing and distributing high quality business cards to everyone they meet, and of joining business-focused meetup groups and local chambers of commerce, if they're trying to secure new clients for their digital marketing services.