Entrepreneurs and small businesses tend to make many of the same mistakes when it comes to offline marketing. Often they’ll fail to reach their target demographic and end up wasting time and money on strategies that have a low return on investment. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what sounds like a good idea without looking at the downsides. Stop wasting time and money with these gimmicky tactics.
I remember hearing about these ten years ago and thinking, wow – what a great idea! Who isn’t going to pick up something that looks like cash? Sure, if you’re using drop cards in the right places people will pick them up which means the cards are doing their job, but your efforts are better spent elsewhere. Searching for the term “drop cards” brings up thousands of sites praising this offline marketing strategy, and YouTube is host to countless videos showing them working. However, most of these sites look like one of the hundreds of pieces of spam I delete from my email every week. With drop cards, you have no target market, just the public and whoever happens to walk by. Not only can you not control who picks them up, but you’re usually only going to reach 1-2 people per card. The time involved to place drop cards can be extensive with little chance for return. Remember, the best thing drop cards sell are themselves – not the business featured on them.
Placing Business Cards
I’ve come across this tactic with money drop cards and typical business cards alike. Hopeful entrepreneurs place their business cards in key locations like magazine racks, book stores, pamphlets, and other target areas. This offers a better ROI than drop cards because you can at least target your niche. However, this is a shadier practice because you’re piggybacking off of a publication’s branding and identity in order to get your own brand featured. Advertisers pay good money to be featured in magazines or pamphlets, and attaching yourself to an author without consent is deceitful. I’m not a lawyer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were legal implications to this practice.
Mailing out postcards seems like a great idea since you can reach thousands of people in a local area, but it’s basically just real world email spam. I rarely, if ever, give these glossy pieces of paper a second look and they wind up in trash bins and fireplaces across the country. To improve your chances of driving people towards your business is to offer a great deal on the postcard, especially if you have a new business in the area. But if you’re looking to drive quality customers to your business then your money is better spent on radio advertisements or billboards rather than annoying people with junk mail.
Instead of wasting time with spammy tactics, use your resources to either invest in a worthwhile marketing strategy – like local ads – or improve your business somehow. A fresh coat of paint and some new wallpaper might be enough to draw in quality potential customers instead of unrelated people picking up a business card in a department store parking lot.
Chris Garrett is a large format printing expert and freelance writer for the custom printed wallpaper expert Megaprint.com. He hates bad design and spam almost as much as he hates pickled beets.