Traditional vs. digital marketing: Find what fits your small business best

By Henry Brown

It’s easy to assume that digital marketing methods such as video marketing and blogger outreach have completely overtaken more traditional marketing tactics, but that is not the case. In certain instances, older’ methods are still incredibly effective, if you’re the type of business that only sells in the local area (florists, bakeries, cafes, launderettes) working to build a huge internet following of people beyond your area would be pointless. If you sell products that require a demonstration or explanation, then face-to-face or visual methods are can also be highly effective.

Here are some examples of non-digital, tried-and-true marketing methods that could be useful for your business, depending on what you do.

TV and radio ads

Advertising on TV and radio can essentially allow your business to become a household name. While we all spend significant amounts of time on the internet, television and radio are still widely used. The right kind of ad will stick in people’s heads, and constant exposure to your business name creates familiarity and therefore more trust.

Trade shows

Want to market your small business to hundreds, even thousands of potential new clients? If so, why not attend a trade show? Those attending will actively be looking for businesses like yours, and it can be a fantastic way to secure new customers and clients. Book yourself space at the expo, and use a company like Exhibits NW to design and create your exhibit stand. Brief your staff on how to go about their pitch, and make your booth fun. Games, competitions and other lighthearted tactics will be better received than boring presentations.

Host an event

Another way to gain new customers and clients is to host your own event. Something like a family day with food and drinks, music and entertainment would attract people down, and from there you can chat about your products, hand out samples or give demonstrations of products depending on what you do. Set up a photo booth and encourage people to take pictures and use your event or company hashtag. It builds up familiarity and a positive brand image. Participate in neighborhood wide events such as summer sidewalk sales and Small Business Saturday.

Flyers and leaflets

This is one of the oldest forms of marketing, but still highly effective for some kinds of business. If, for example, you’re a local takeaway, flyering the streets nearby will let people know about your store and get your brand name into their minds. When they come to order food (even if they order online) it will be your brand that they think of. This is an example of where internet marketing is less effective because chances are it will only be your very local area who ever buy from you. So there’s no point advertising far and wide. Put up posters, and see if other (non competing) local businesses will put your flyer in their window or billboard. You could do the same for them.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

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