I’m totally a digital person. Right now I’m writing at my kitchen table while my kids watch some TV. I’ve spent months travelling to see family for Christmas or spent the summer in other parts of the country, with no real change in my business. I’m able to keep my business going because most of the time, my only real requirement is an internet connection.

Like you, I far too often default to the amazing digital tools I have at my fingertips. The problem is, though, for all the awesomeness digital tools bring us, they’re not always the best.

Despite the fact that by using digital tools like Facebook ads, we can reach people all over the world, I think the most effective marketing is offline.

[Tweet “Offline marketing is the king and not in danger of losing its throne”]

The big reason offline marketing is king is that it has the highest trust factor. When you shake hands with someone and talk about what you do, they instantly trust you more than if they visit your site.

Here are the four ways you should be taking your marketing offline to build big trust with your prospects and clients.

Network well

Yeah, I had the same thoughts you did about networking at one point. It felt sleazy and like a waste of time. The reason it feels like that is because you don’t go in with a plan. Without that plan you end up standing around like Baby in the corner, not talking to anyone.

Instead, the next time you attend a networking event, look at the list of people attending the event (assuming you’re able) and pick out three to five you’d like to connect with. Make a point of connecting with them before the event via their social media profiles so that when you introduce yourself it’s not the first time they’ve heard your name.

Then, as you talk to them, write something down that you learn about them. I do this right on the back of the business card I get from them. When I go home I send them a card that references our talk and tell them it was great to meet them.

By having a plan, you can make a networking event provide benefit to your business and you can stand out from the crowd, because no one else is going to send a card.

Speak well

The second thing you should be doing is to speak at local meetups and conferences. You don’t have to be the keynote speaker–often, a ten-minute ‘flash’ presentation would be great for the organizers to have.

If you’re going to speak, make sure you over prepare. Don’t just practice a few times, but practice enough that you don’t need your script as security.

When you know the material that well you can run off on tangents and still hit the high points you need to for your effective presentation.

Make sure you leave time before and after your presentation to walk around the room and talk to the attendees. Even if you give a sub-par presentation, people will likely have questions for you afterward, so stick around and answer them.

Don’t eat alone

Your best source of quality leads is always going to be referrals, and you only get referrals by building relationships. One of the best ways to build relationships with the business people in your area is to have lunch with them.

[Tweet “Your best source for leads is referrals, and you only get referrals by building relationships.”]

When you sit down to have lunch you’re less rushed than with a quick coffee meeting. You order and then wait fifteen to twenty minutes for the meal to come. During that wait time, you get a chance to begin building rapport with the person across the table. As the meal progresses you can really get to the heart of their needs.

In any good marketing plan you should be trying to have lunch with someone at least once a month, but once a week is better. You don’t have to focus solely on solid leads. Many times you’ll be surprised by the leads that come in from unexpected sources.

Get gifting

I’ve already said that I send cards after networking events, but I also send cards to my current clients and the key past clients I’ve especially loved working with.

I’ve also sent an AeroPress, local coffee beans, custom Lego figures, a Trackr, and robust waterproof batteries to prospects and clients.

There is so much transformation possible in your business by bringing your follow-up offline and giving gifts. None of the gifts I’ve given have cost more than $50, shipped to whomever was getting it, and you can be sure I was one of the very few that sent a gift of any type to that client.

When you’re out at a conference, pay attention to what those you meet are interested in. If they love coffee and don’t have an AeroPress, get them one. If they love Lego, send them a custom Lego mini that looks like them.

You will be the only one that took that step and the next time they think about work in your field, you are the name they’ll come to.

If you can start to implement even one of these offline marketing strategies in your business this year you’re going to see more referrals and prospects becoming clients.

So which one are you going to do?

This was based off my upcoming book Finding and Marketing to Your Niche. Get on the email list to hear about it first.

photo credit: nanagyei cc