8 Ways To Market Without Social Media

8 Ways To Market Your Business Without Social Media

This year has certainly been challenging for small businesses.  First, you had to deal with the Coronavirus Pandemic and all the ever-changing government mandates. 

But, you still need to run and grow your business, right?  Marketing is tough, even in the best of times.

So, when Facebook and Instagram went down this year for the better part of a day, marketers and business owners were left to wonder, “How can I market my business without social media?”

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram eventually came back, and for me, it left the lingering question.  What do we do in those worst-case scenarios?

And recently, luxury cosmetic brand, Lush, has announced that they are giving up on social media (for the most part) in response to the platforms’ inability or unwillingness to fix apparent flaws that promote body shaming and teen mental health harms.

So, I came up with 8 ways that you can market your business without social media.

Marketing To Similar Audiences

Person Making a purchase
Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

This one requires a bit of investigative digging and, as such, probably not going to be a popular option.

Speak to your customers. (I know…Groan)  A lot of this can also be done online with a Google Form.  Perhaps make it an offer, if they fill out the survey, they get a free cup of coffee or something equivalent in your business.

Ask them, where they live, what places they shop, where they hang out, etc.  You will begin to amass some very interesting information. You can take this information and plot it on a Google Map.

You may find that many people are coming from this one area of town, or college, or business.  Perfect!  Now you know where you need to go and focus your energy.  

If they are coming from one place, go to that place and deploy other marketing strategies to lure new customers to your business.

Hoofing It

Overhead shot of people walking on a white stripe crosswalk
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

Yes, a favorite of any business owner…not!

This is where you take flyers, menus or other collateral and hand them out on the street.  You go where the people are.  Maybe they are on their way to or from a subway station or grocery store?

Unless your business is located directly on a busy pedestrian street, you would be advised to go somewhere nearby that cannot be seen from your business.

Alternatively, you can place fliers and menus in apartment building mail rooms, laundry rooms, mailboxes, front doors, etc.

Just make sure you keep track of where you go and when, so you don’t duplicate your efforts.

Remember what I said about finding similar audiences?  Good!  So each flyer or menu should have some sort of special code that a caller or visitor can mention when they call or visit.

When done right, you will be able to collect information about the effectiveness of your efforts.  Which locations work best and at what time.

Take Samples to Local Organizations and Businesses

A selection of canapes
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

This may work for every type of business, if you get creative.

Basically, call up a business, and offer to take some free samples over to them.  The samples can be a tasting of your menu, free short massages, free group workouts, etc.  

Find something that you can offer for free to a business or organization to get yourself in the door. 

Many businesses welcome free activities, because they can say to their team, “Hey, look, we got this for you.”

Remember to take along those flyers, brochures, and business cards to hand out to the participants and leave behind.

Again, they should be marked, notated so you can track which businesses and organizations brought you the most business.

Also, be ready to take orders while you are there.  You may not get one, but you don’t want to be caught flat-footed and create a hurdle to a potential customer placing their order.

Marketing at Trade Shows & Public Events

Step and Repeat from Small Business Expo
Small Business Expo Step and Repeat

Again, take brochures, fliers, and business cards with you to hand out to people you meet.  You don’t need to rent a booth, just being there and introducing yourself to people may be enough….though, a booth is always better.

You can also offer something free for the event organizer or offer to volunteer at the event if the budget is tight, in exchange for some kind of prominent mention.

Pro Tip: Keep a record of every name, address, phone number, and email address you encounter…or better yet, have people sign up for your newsletter right from your phone or tablet.

Then, after the event is over, you can send a followup email campaign, “Hey! It was really great meeting you today.  I wanted to thank you for spending some time talking about [insert whatever you talked about] with a free [insert free thing].”

Not only did you make a personal connection, you also grew your marketing list.

A Win, Win.

Create an Event

Business Owner Planning Their Week
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Ok, so there aren’t any upcoming events that you can attend.  Why not create an event yourself?  

Reach out and get 5 or 6 more businesses to join you in hosting a small community event.

Think street fair.  Depending on the laws in your town, you may be able to just set up shop right on your sidewalk or in a local park for a few hours.

Events like this tend to get picked up by local traditional media and may get some free air time.

Then simply follow the advice from the trade show section of this post.

If successful, other business owners may treat you as a business leader and organizer in the community. 

And this can lead to a lot more potential business.

Marketing With Traditional Media

Collections of Newspapers
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

An honorable mention goes to traditional media.  The old, tried-and-true method for getting your name out there.

If you have the funds, you can advertise in your local newspapers, tv stations, and radio stations. 

You can also have signs and billboards printed and displayed throughout the community.

Website & SEO

If you don’t have a website, regardless of your business, you need to get one…yesterday.

Your website doesn’t have to be anything special.  It just needs to tell who you are and what you do in an engaging way.

Should you decide to level up, you can post pictures and blog posts.  Just make sure you are posting on a somewhat regular schedule.

Your website SEO (Search Engine Optimization)  needs to be on point to make it more search engine friendly.  Some search engines will reduce your rank, if you do not have the necessary tags in your website.

Install Google Analytics or other website analytics tool.

Remember what I said in the first section about finding similar audiences?  Your website analytics, when monitored and optimized, can provide you with a huge amount of data to further help define your audiences.

Email & Text Message Lists

Collect emails, names, address, ages, phone numbers directly from everyone who shows interest in your business.

When they visit your website, there needs to be a place to opt-in to your newsletter.

When they visit your physical business, there needs to be a form on the counter that customers can fill out.

Once you have this information, you can target these people directly with your marketing messages.

Make sure to give them an offer to forward to their friends and family members. This will help grow your list and your business.

Depending on how savvy your sales trackers are, you can find out which customers spend the most money and merge that information to create a special super-customer list.

This list is pure gold and will help inform where to find similar audiences.


Even though social media can be a necessary evil, keeping your finger on the pulse of other methods of marketing is crucial.

As the world and the values of your customers change, making sure you are able to reach them on or offline is vital.

You never know when the next social media blackout may hit or you may decide social media marketing isn’t the best path for your business.

Make sure you test these methods to optimize them for your business.  You don’t want to be caught in the dark looking for a match to light your candle.

What types of marketing do you use other than social media?

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