As much as I love social media, not everybody does. For reasons varied and complex, some business owners just don’t want to play. Oftentimes, this is because they’re cautious about the possibility of attracting trolls and escalating fights about nothing.

Other times, they’re philosophically opposed to social media.

Or perhaps they have a love-hate relationship with social media which they’re keen to break free from.

Whatever the reason, if you want to do business marketing without using social media, you have plenty of options.

Other people’s audiences

One of the quickest and most effective ways of growing your audience and building your professional reputation is through other people’s audiences. If an organisation or business owner brings you in to talk on your topic of expertise several things are happening:

  • You’re being endorsed by the organisation or owner
  • You’re able to access many more people than you may otherwise be able to do
  • Typically, you don’t spend any time beyond your own presentation or seminar preparation.

In an ideal scenario, the audience would be paying to attend (thereby showing their seriousness and commitment), the organisation would actively market your involvement, share with you the email list of event attendees, and film your talk or allow you to film it, so that you can use this footage. Do your best to negotiate for at least two of these.

Pick up the phone

If you’re hiding from your prospects and you want to do marketing without social media, you’re making business very hard for yourself.

If you don’t have a ready list of prospect phone numbers to call, consider running a collaborative promotional campaign or competition. You could also create a high-value lead magnet that is given away in exchange for prospects filling out a form, which includes their phone number. You’ll likely receive some fake numbers, but if the lead magnet is sufficiently positioned as useful, valuable and relevant, you’re more likely to attract quality people.

Of course, without using social media to market or advertise your lead magnet you’ll have to get creative – most likely through forming several collaborations with like-minded organisations who offer complementary services and serve a similar ideal client as you do.

Pound the pavements

Despite being a digital marketing trainer and coach, I regularly advise clients to pound the pavements and meet people. This is particularly relevant to local bricks-and-mortar businesses but also applies to online businesses. The old adage “people do business with people” isn’t contradicted by internet marketing – it just means that online businesses need to work harder to bring in the human element.

First up in your neighbourhood walk: cafes, hairdressers and real estate agents. Cafes and hairdressers spend all day every day talking with local people. Consider giving them a free coupon or a special deal to try your services so that they’re better informed to speak about them. Real estate agents want to meet and know as many local people as possible so these guys can be great advocates for you, especially if your business has broad appeal.

Blogging for business

It’s not enough to have a great-looking website if you offer no regular incentive for people to visit. Blogging for business is a great option for those keen on marketing without social media.

Think about your blogs as online conversations with people. When done well, business blogging should help you reduce the number of one-to-one emails and phone calls with people as you answer questions definitively and provide all the information (and then some) that they want and need. (Here’s a great post on how to start business blogging.)

Done well, your business blogs should take people from cold to warm to hot – with content carefully crafted for each step along the path to purchase. Blogs are also fabulous at improving your Google ranking and attracting publicity (journalists Google too).

Ranking on Google

Every person on Google is seeking a solution to a problem – and many of these relate to your business. Google is getting far better at understanding keywords and content so you don’t need to exactly match search queries to words on your site.

Google uses algorithms to understand topics and key phrase variations so you need to cover your topic – not just once but multiple times. Use your website to position yourself as a subject matter expert, picking five-to-seven topics relevant to your business. Ensure you’ve got quality web pages on these topics in your main menu, plus a regular publishing schedule of relevant blogs pertaining to these topics, smartly interlinked.

Printed marketing materials: brochures, flyers and cards

The best marketing – regardless of the medium – is creative, relevant, useful and valuable. Headlines count. A good quality brochure can be a great thing to leave behind at meetings or events or to post to people you’ve spoken with, accompanied by a hand-written note or card (good manners never go out of style).

Use your headline to challenge a common assumption, call out the elephant in the room or ask a thoughtful, relevant question. You want your printed materials to be memorable if they’re to be effective (this is relevant to ALL marketing).

Your marketing, done

There are two final caveats which are really important – regardless of the particulars of what you do, you absolutely must do these two things if your marketing is to work.

First, you must be regular. Whatever mix of marketing activities you do, and you can most definitely experiment, you should do these activities repeatedly over time. One letterbox drop or one event appearance is not going to cut it. Measure inputs versus outputs – the time, money and effort you put in should be commensurate (or outperformed!) by the new clients that result.

Second, you need to follow up. 99 per cent of people won’t buy the first time they come across you. The reward is in the follow-up – so make notes, put people into your diary for follow-up, and keep doing so. You’re not hassling – you’re demonstrating enthusiasm and interest in other people – and who doesn’t want that? Marketing without social media is absolutely possible and make sure you’re not using your avoidance of social media to avoid marketing, too.