Last month we introduced the idea of crowdfunding, whereby a startup or small business can collect funding through a number of online donations. Offline crowdfunding can be an excellent testing ground for those startup ventures or small businesses that need to refine their strategies before hitting the web. What’s the best way to do this? Well, in order to collect funding offline, your small business or startup needs to develop a presence in the local community. There are three ways to do this: print advertising, increasing offline incentives, and attending plenty of events and workshops.
A very traditional method of marketing and fundraising is through print advertising. Some companies choose to design and distribute business cards, flyers, pamphlets, and posters in order to raise awareness locally. These forms of print advertising should provide all relevant information about the company, including website URLs and any other online profiles the company may have so that locals can access the company if they are interested. If your business has a larger budget, you may consider advertising your business in the local newspaper, local radio station or even putting your business’ name on a billboard. This not only allows your businesses to essentially have an advertising campaign, but it allows you to build brand recognition offline.
Providing Offline Incentives
In order to spread your brand, your business should distribute “freebies,” such as free samples of your product or small gifts that advertise your company logo. These freebies don’t need to be too big or expensive. The idea here is to be creative and think small. Good examples of commonly distributed freebies are Frisbees, key chains, magnets, etc., which display your company logo. What’s neat about giving out free items at events or conferences is that every time a person uses an item with your company logo, whether it may be a pen or a mouse pad for their computer, they are reminded of your company.
You should also make sure to always be doing your research. Find out if there are any crowdfunding events or workshops in your local community and always try your best to attend them. This will allow you to network with other entrepreneurs and small (or medium/large) business owners and increase your number of contacts. Doing so will give you the opportunity to scope out how other companies are implementing their marketing strategies and gathering funding. This will also eventually help you when you do chose to move your crowdfunding efforts online.
Interested in strengthening your fundraising efforts before moving things to the web? Think small and locally! Start brainstorming how you might be able to start crowdfunding offline before hitting the Internet and utilizing all sorts of social media outlets!
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