Start Up Superpowers: Offline Branding & Marketing

Online interactions may reign supreme in today’s marketplace, but it doesn’t hurt to unplug the digital umbilical cord to promote start-ups.

Customers may submerse themselves in social media, online videos and ecommerce, but they live beyond the computer screen. This means the poster in the storefront window or brochure in the local coffee shop hold exclusive opportunities for a captive audience to your brand.

Printed marketing materials remain a valuable asset to attract and promote a target audience. They extend the reach of your business, expand your creativity and generate interest from new areas.

An iProspect study revealed two-thirds of online users are motivated to search by offline messages. Before you rely solely on the web to keep your start-up afloat, consider how offline branding can take you to the next level.

Why Offline Marketing Can Excel

Offline branding opportunities include posters, brochures, flyers, newsletters, magazines and booklet printing. These methods can be a critical tier of visibility to your business that you can’t get online. They are a tangible and personal way to reach out to potential clients.

Casting a wide customer net can fall short on bottom-line impact when compared to fishing for the right customer. While you may not be guaranteed a search engine query will lead a customer to a first-page Google result of your business, a brochure or business card in the right location provides localized, high-quality traffic.

These mediums engage audiences in a way that boosts your start-up’s credibility. They give people something tangible, with a physical address and phone number rather than just another unknown page in an infinite cyberspace.

If you integrate your branding into the fabric of the community through local team sponsorships or exposure in other trusted, established businesses, you increase brand awareness beyond your website.

Creative Offline Inspiration

For offline branding to thrive, promote where and how other competing start-ups fall short, and how your company can do better. Printed marketing materials can be creative, multi-dimensional and interactive.

Guest posts, startups,startup tips, marketing for startups

Photo by Sashi Bellamkonda via Flickr

This unique business card distributed at South by South West adds a new element to the traditional format. The promotional material provides a sample of the product along with a quirky message. This business can stand out among other cards because it provides a memorable experience to associate with the brand. You won’t soon forget this marketing tactic— that is, unless you have too many of these “business cards.”

Photo by Alan Levine via Flickr

The actual business card can be multipurpose. This USB business card offers a tongue-in-cheek approach to technology expertise while doubling as a means of digital storage. A user has a subtle brand reminder every time it’s plugged into a computer, which benefits the business.

Takeaway Tips for Offline Branding

Before starting an offline branding campaign, consider these tips that are applicable to any print platform:

  • Consistency is key. Be sure that logos, typeface and colors match your website as well as the products and services offered.
  • Maximize space by keeping things simple. Don’t clutter offline branding with too much information to confuse the audience, since you have finite space to work with. Don’t let verbose copy or convoluted design get in the way of what you’re trying to sell and how you can be contacted.
  • Offer a discount. Nothing works better than an incentive to walk through your doors or visit your site. Discounts are also a great way to generate word-of-mouth.

Offline marketing may seem like the older, less cool sibling of online branding. But never dismiss a medium that still has the ability to reach people and create impact.

About the author:

Catherine Draper

Cath has been working in SEO and Social Media since before Twitter was invented, although she loves the great outdoors just as much as surfing the net. Writing is just one of her many passions.

Want more on communicating for startups? Check out: When it comes to communications, startups need the whole package.


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One comment

  1. 1

    Nice! Couldn’t agree more. We’ve had unbelievable success with direct mail, as another example… mostly because it’s not hard to stand out from the junk. :)

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