Old School Marketing Tactics That Still Work

What is sometimes lost in all of the new e-hoopla is that old school ideas work too, and in some ways, can work even better as there is less competition for those eyeballs these days.

Here then are a few old school marketing ideas that are worth a second look:


A newspaper, magazine, or online article about your business or a radio or television segment can do more than almost anything to market and build your business. If you want to know how small businesses become big businesses, here is a trait they all have in common: at a critical moment in the growth of the company, the business invests in public relations and gets a lot of publicity. That publicity is then parlayed into additional business and more publicity, and a boom is born.


When you leave a new car showroom, what do you leave with? A beautiful, glossy brochure. For the right business, a brochure can be the most important marketing method. It is a chance to put your best foot forward, proudly display who you are, what you offer, why it is unique, and why people should buy from you. If a customer asks for a brochure, it is a rare chance to proffer present your best offer, so be sure that you create a top-notch one.


Networking is not just something done online you know. Networking the old-fashioned way can be very effective because you actually meet face-to-face with local people who need what you sell.

Whether it is at a chamber of commerce social, joining a group, or some other social situation, networking also works. Here are three tips for making your networking easier:

Use your elevator pitch.

Having a quick, interesting, powerful pitch is the simplest of marketing tools, yet one of the most powerful; it may lead to opportunities that you did not even know existed. As they say, you only have one chance to make a good first impression. What you want is a pitch that will spark someone’s interest and have him or her saying, “Tell me more.”

Pretend you are the host.

Rather than sitting back, waiting for something to happen at the event, flip the situation around and pretend you are the host. How would you act? That’s right – gregarious, self-assured and positive.

Play with your nametag.

Put it on upside down. Write “Make more money now, ask me how!” under your name. Any silly thing you do to your nametag can spark a conversation.

Direct Mail

The important thing when sending out a direct mail piece is getting people to open the letter. The best way to do that is

  1. If possible, hand address the envelopes (they get opened), or
  2. Insert something chunky into the envelope (like a pen or keychain). Chunky envelopes get opened too.

Have a Sale

What will you be announcing in your direct mail piece? Often it is a sale. A sale is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing tool chest. It reinforces your good name with old customers, helps attract new customers, gets rid of unwanted inventory, and creates a buzz, all at once. Not bad!


If you can come up with a unique contest that you can sponsor which would be of interest to people in your community, then getting publicity for the contest, and the results, and your business, should not be difficult.


You know what they say: Word of mouth advertising is the best type of advertising. Testimonials are just that.

Making old school new again – that’s the ticket too.

By Steve Strauss Steve Strauss is a senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible.

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