Small business marketing is rife with tactics that have been used for quite some time. A number of strategies seem as effective today as they were years ago, while others have gone a little stale. Some of these methods, however, are still highly capable of generating interest — they may simply need a refresher.


For a globally expanding small business, updating some of these classic methods can be a springboard toward success. With that in mind, here are three time-honored marketing techniques that business owners can revamp with some fine-tuning:


1. Trade Shows


The trade show is a classic marketing tool that is still influential today. In fact, 78 percent of trade show attendees travel more than 400 miles to attend an exhibition, according to research from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR). This is great news for the internationally expanding business looking to connect to a more expansive market. For some trade show added value, consider the following ideas:


  • Place social media front and center by integrating social aspects into the lead up, during, and after the show. For example, showcase a live feed of real-time tweets from show attendants or use social media as a way to drive traffic to your booth.
  • Create a “show-specific” or company hashtag to ensure you are at the center of the social media conversation.
  • Find out if you are able to present multimedia information outside your booth. Standees and sales sheets still work, but video and other multimedia presentations can attract the eye of potential customers.


2. Outbound Calling


The term “outbound calling” is sometimes used interchangeably with cold calling. But in this day and age, calls should rarely, if ever, be completely cold. When making a call — especially overseas — it is imperative that agents understand the culture of the prospect on the other end of the line. Additionally, knowledge about previous communications with the target is crucial to giving your representatives the best chance at success.


There are a number of technologies and tactics that can be leveraged to more effectively target callers and increase your response rate. One such technology is customer relationship management (CRM) software — a market that Gartner forecasts will increase to $36.5 billion worldwide by 2017. With most CRM software, you can:


  • Access instant call logging and storage at the push of a button.
  • Add notes to logged calls so that agents can create the best approach for a particular contact, even before the phone is picked up.
  • Create more personalized service by storing information about previous communications. For example, agents can discover which products or services customer have or have not used yet, enabling them to offer pre-approved discounts.


You can also integrate your CRM with social data, something only six percent of companies currently do, according to data from a SalesLoft infographic.


Also be sure to tie your outbound calling to other campaigns. Ask for a preferred method of contact and make sure to use it, whether it is standard e-mail or even a private Facebook message.


3. Direct Mail


Direct mail is another tried and true marketing method with room for improvement. Some countries have better postal rates and deliverability than others, so it is important to understand how direct mail works in the countries you are targeting. Here are a couple of ways internationally expanding businesses can improve the effectiveness of direct mail campaigns:


  • If you are marking in the United States, consider using Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the U.S. Postal Service to reach customers, even if you don’t know names or street addresses. With EDDM you can select neighborhoods to focus on and your mail is delivered to every active address in your target area. (And even better, EDDM now includes demographic filters as well, meaning your mailings can be micro-targeted to a specific population).
  • Consider using QR Codes on direct mail items, such as postcards, as a way to drive the conversation online to a marketing landing page or a lead generation form. The great thing about QR codes is that they tie the experience directly to a mobile device that can then be used to purchase a product or service from you or to start a conversation.


Have any additional ideas we didn’t touch on? Let us know in the comment section below.