When you’re looking for popular marketing trends in 2021, you’re going to find a lot of technology-based options. That doesn’t mean traditional tools like billboards, flyers, and referrals are completely out of the question.
While your marketing plans should still look to the future, a lot of your customers are traveling on the highway system built in the 1950s. That means billboards are still a viable option in your strategy. It’s true many passengers — and some drivers — are distracted by their smartphones on the road, but Paul Suggett of The Balance Careers says billboards and other out-of-home advertising methods showed significant growth through the end of 2018, with big names like Amazon and Apple buying up space.
It’s not enough to just put your normal newspaper ad on a big sign, however. Your billboard advertisement should be easy to see and leave an impression that leads to calls or internet searches later. Most successful billboards use seven words or less in the design to make them easy to read in the few seconds drivers and passengers see it. When you’re designing your advertisement, make sure it’s clever enough to be remembered, but don’t use obscure references or humor that will make it hard to understand.
To test your possible billboard, Suggett recommends you print your draft out and hold it an arm’s length from your eyes to see if you can comprehend it when it’s far away. Don’t blow it up on the piece of paper, either — keep the printed test about as small as a business card.
Junk mail used to give advertising a bad name, but direct mail is making a comeback. Sally Norton of Agility PR Solutions says that mail to your customers, especially personalized mail, is a good way to reach your audience. If you use customer management software, it’s easy to find an audience for direct mail based on what they need. For example, you could send big offers to customers you haven’t seen in a while, or offer relevant accessories for recent purchases.
Besides offers, consider using the mail to add a personal touch to your business. Michael Portman of Birds Barbershop suggests personal thank you notes for your customers, possibly with a coupon for further service. It makes your customers feel special and gives them positive thoughts about your company.
You can put out all the social media ads and commercials you want, but referral marketing remains one of the best methods around. This is especially true if you run a service-oriented business, says Stephanie Dube Dwilson, writer with the Houston Chronicle’s Small Business section. When your clients are happy and they tell their associates and friends, it reinforces your own marketing messages and gives them more credibility.
Instead of just relying on your customers to spread the good word, you can incentivize them. For example, Dwilson suggests if a new customer chooses you based on a referral, you could offer the client who gave it to them a deal on future purchases.
One note of caution, however: many review websites have rules against rewarding users for positive online reviews, so make sure any program you put together abides by those restrictions.
The digital age is here, but that doesn’t mean you should throw out all of the old marketing methods in your arsenal.