7 Old-School Marketing Tools that Cut Through the Clutter Today

Megy Karydes

For all the bells and whistles digital marketing ideas afford, old-school marketing ideas can be just as, if not, more effective. Here are seven analog ideas that you can put into practice today.

Digital marketing may be fast, easy and cheap, but it is the most effective way to market your business? I've often found that high tech misses that high-touch mark. Using email versus a thank you card, for example, or sharing a vCard instead of a business card. When you're trying to make an impression with a client or customer, you want to be memorable. Consider all of the senses when you're trying to make a mark.

With everyone testing the latest digital gadgets, here are seven analog options that can help you cut through the clutter, make an impact, and are easy enough that you can put to use today.

1. Business Card

A well-designed and memorable business card can cement a relationship soon after you meet someone. Unlike a vCard, the tactile marketing tool reinforces your skills long after a meeting. For service or business with a physical location, it allows customers to take your card so they can pass it along to someone else or remind them to return.

2. Thank You Card

Emails are quick and easy but since so few people bother to write and mail a thank you card, it quickly becomes an effective marketing tool since the recipient is likely to open a handwritten envelope and appreciate the gesture. Buy packets of high-quality thank you cards and sheets of Forever postage stamps so you're ready to send your thanks after a meeting.

3. Postcard

Similar to a thank you card, few people receive snail mail they welcome these days which makes postcards with a compelling call-to-action particularly attractive. To extend your reach, partner with a complementary business and send your postcard to both of your mailing lists for double the impact for half the price.

4. Print Ads

Depending on your business, print ads in local or regional media outlets may be a useful way to get your name out and set you apart from competitors. Similar to the postcard idea, partnering with another business might allow you to secure a larger-sized ad or increase your frequency to make this marketing option more cost-effective than placing an ad on your own.

5. Recycle Old Magazines

If you subscribe to print magazine that might be of interest to others after you've read them, print labels with your business name and call-to-action, stick them on the cover of the mailing label area and give them to local doctor offices, assisted living centers or auto body shops.

Since these are areas where people have time to read the magazines and see your label, readers will appreciate the gesture, complementary businesses will appreciate the copies, and you've re-used your magazines in a way that can help your business rather than throwing them out.

6. Bus Shelter Ads

Depending on the size of the market, bus stop and bus shelter ads can range from $150-600 for small-to-medium markets and $3,000-$6,500 for high-income areas for a four-week period. Bus interior ads can range from $25-400, based on market size for that same time period. While this might be a more costly option for some businesses, if one ad can generate a $1,000 or long-term client, it may prove to be a strong return on your investment.

7. Telephone

For all its conveniences, email and other forms of written communication have its drawbacks. Don't forget this reliable technology. Just yesterday I received a call from a colleague who missed a deadline. Instead of emailing me an apology, he called. We had a lovely chat, caught up, and I re-arranged my schedule to accommodate him because I learned he needed to fly out unexpectedly.

He could have emailed, but a telephone call was a much nicer way to share his unexpected news and I really appreciated the gesture. It's easy to use the phone for marketing purposes, too. Even better, so few people bother to use it anymore, you have a higher chance of reaching someone!

As is the case with any marketing outreach efforts, having a solid strategy in place will help a business owner determine if one approach is better than another. While many businesses favor digital for its cost and ease, it's important to remember print still packs a powerful marketing punch and shouldn't be overlooked.