Since the turn of the century and the rise of the smartphone, digital marketing has taken over at breakneck speed. From email campaigns to website pop-ups, digital approaches take up a lot of space in today's marketing toolbox, with marketers often abandoning traditional methods they believe are outdated.

Depending on your business, however, these newer approaches may not always prove fruitful.

According to a 2016 survey by Econsultancy, only 22 percent of businesses are seeing satisfactory conversion rates from their marketing efforts. This disparity between campaigns and conversions illustrates that digital marketing, the foundation of most lead generation today, has its limitations.

Drowning in Digital Noise

Email campaigns -- often hailed as the reigning ROI champions of digital marketing -- only work if they have an audience, and 78 percent of consumers have unsubscribed from an email list because they were tired of receiving too many messages.

Relying on pop-ups and banner ads can be ineffective as well; HubSpot found that an overwhelming majority of customers -- 91 percent -- are finding today's ads more intrusive than they were just two years ago. Customers want their attention to be earned instead of demanded, and marketers are having a difficult time living up to these expectations. Eighty percent of marketers see room for improvement in their lead generation, reporting that their current efforts are between "slightly" and "somewhat" effective -- not very confidence-inspiring, is it?

To not only reach their audience but also generate conversions, marketers might want to go back to their roots. These tried-and-true tricks are still around because they work, and modern marketers just need a little refresher.

1. Signage

Signage may be one of the oldest forms of marketing still in existence. From a 15th-century blacksmith hanging a picture of an anvil outside his shop to a flashy sign promoting your new auto body repair business, signs show people where you are -- whether they're looking for you or not. Signage can last for years, so it's a good idea to go with an experienced company to make the most of your investment.

National companies such as bluemedia will be able to take on signs, vehicle wraps, and other projects in addition to event planning and brand activations. Shop around for a signage company that's committed to attracting the right kind of attention to your brand at a price within your budget.

2. Sign Spinners

Everyone can think of a local establishment with a college kid standing outside in some kind of thematic costume who's gotten shockingly good at spinning around a cardboard sign. Sign spinning is still a gig because it works -- spinners are hard to ignore, especially when you're stopped at a red light next to them, and the thousands of looks they'll get throughout the day are well worth the hourly wage you're investing.

3. Promotional Items

Consider letting shoppers walk away with their purchases in a branded tote or bag. Many brands have wisely cultivated a premium image that makes being seen with their shopping bags a kind of status symbol. Your business may not be as well-known as the robin's-egg blue of a Tiffany's bag, but a little free advertising never hurt anyone.

4. Direct Mail

Reaching out to your customers directly and offering them discounts on products or services can be a great way to let them know you're around. Offering introductory rates costs you upfront profit, but if your customers are very happy, they can generate repeat business and priceless referrals for life. According to the Data & Marketing Association, more than 100 million Americans made catalog purchases in 2016, illustrating a market that's alive and well.

5. Flyers

If the majority of your business is done locally, leaving flyers around town is a virtually free way to drum up awareness. Handing them out in person is even better, and it gives you an opportunity to tell people about your company and give them a face to connect it with. Flyers are especially important if your business is new and you know the market exists, but you're having trouble tapping into it.

Whether you're inviting customers to come to you with attention-grabbing signage, enlisting their help as walking advertisements with branded totes, or taking your business to them with direct mail offers and flyers, traditional marketing methods aren't going anywhere. As the digital marketing space is overrun with messaging, these tried-and-true methods will provide reliable ways to generate revenue without breaking the bank.

Published on: Oct 23, 2017