With the rise of online marketing, many businesses have come to rely heavily on the internet for generating leads. This strategy may be enough for some companies. However, it can also mean you aren’t securing the full range of leads available. There may be potential customers you’ll only connect with through an offline lead generation strategy.
Offline lead generation is the art of building interest in your business without using the internet. It can take many forms and occur in different environments — meaning almost any business can benefit. Here are 11 strategies your organization can use to support its offline lead generation:
1. Attend an Event
Attending an event can be a great way to network with potential customers and work on offline lead generation. Local or community events can be excellent for building connections with people who live near your business. Industry events allow you to touch base with potential clients who are likely to be interested in your business’s products.
2. Participate in a Convention Panel
You can also go one step further than just running a booth. Hosting or participating in a conference or event panel helps you display your knowledge and experience. Paneling can also enable you or your team members to network with other industry professionals, building potential contacts. These connections can prove incredibly helpful as you expand your business and collaborate with other organizations.
3. Host an Event
If no events nearby seem like a good fit, you can always host one yourself. Product demonstrations, expert talks and community nights are all great ways to bring people to your business. These festivities can encourage offline lead generation by providing a physical space to talk with potential customers. You’ll also get to show off your business’s products or services.
Hosting an event lets you hand out business cards and merchandise with your company’s contact information. You can also collect contact info from potential customers.
4. Sponsor Community Engagements
You can get a lot of offline lead generation from sponsoring an event. Depending on your business, you may know of a local affair that’s a perfect fit. For example, a store that sells running shoes and athletic wear may sponsor a marathon. Your business will likely benefit from you sponsoring any large event because you’ll get to showcase your branding, logo and name.
Often, you’ll be able to run a booth or stand at a sponsored event and interact with guests. Doing this can help you further generate leads.
5. Consider Print Ads
Print ads may seem a little outdated or old-fashioned, but they remain a powerful tool for offline lead generation. You can run ads in local newspapers or newsletters, as well as industry publications and magazines. These ads can go a long way in helping you find and reach out to potential customers and clients.
6. Create Relevant Articles
You can create and pitch shareable articles to relevant publications. Like hosting a panel, publishing a feature can be an excellent way to display your business’s expertise. You’ll also demonstrate to others what kinds of services you offer.
For example, a company that produces HVAC systems may get a lot of mileage out of pitching articles to HVAC industry publications. These write-ups can prove the author’s know-how and subtly advertise their business.
7. Utilize Phone-Based Communication
Encourage potential customers to call your business by displaying your phone number on various advertising channels. These can include print ads, car wraps, brochures and merchandise.
You can also call to follow up on existing leads. Cold calling potential leads is a possibility. However, it isn’t the best method — it can come across as intrusive and doesn’t have a high average conversion rate. Following up with potential customers you’ve spoken to before — especially if you’ve met in person — will likely provide better results.
Calling leads multiple times is also a good idea if you want to secure conversions. According to research from Velocify, you should aim for six calls before looking elsewhere.
8. Send Direct Mail
There is a large number of factors you should consider when trying to generate leads. Personalization can be one of the more important. Most customers expect some degree of personalization from businesses, and less personal advertising can often be less effective.
Because email has become the preferred method for most business communications, physical letters can feel a lot more personal than they used to. Direct mail can be an effective offline lead generation strategy, especially if you customize letters for each customer.
9. Ask for Referrals, Testimonials and Recommendations
A referral or recommendation from a trusted source can be highly effective at building new leads. Encourage existing customers to refer your business to their contacts, using incentives if possible.
If you receive glowing praise from a client, ask them for permission to print their testimonial. You can publish these recommendations as part of print ads or include them with other marketing materials. These can boost your business’s credibility, especially if the review comes from a well-known figure in your industry or community.
10. Design Branded Items
Branded items keep your company in customer’s minds and get your brand’s contact information out in the world. You can hand these items — like pens, mugs, stickers and other merchandise — out as freebies at events. You can also stock them at your front desk and provide them to customers.
11. Combine Online and Offline Lead Generation
You can also combine your online and offline lead generation strategies for better results from both.
Follow up on leads collected in person using digital channels. Customers typically need more than one exposure to your brand before they make a purchase. Just talking with them at an event may not be enough to secure a conversion. Use social media, email blasts or any other digital marketing tool at your disposal to follow leads.
Find New Customers With Offline Lead Generation
Offline lead generation can be a powerful tool to help you reach customers you may not have found otherwise. There are various strategies you can use to support your offline lead generation — like attending events, running ads and creating branded merchandise.
You can use any of these methods to cultivate new leads and reach out to potential customers. When combined with online lead generation, these strategies become even more effective.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.