Before we begin, let s pause for a moment of self-reflection. Take a quick look at the below video and see if you can relate to this man:

An extreme example, of course, but sometimes working from home as a Virtual Assistant or online professional can become lonely and isolating, and we need to find opportunities to get out of the house. Furthermore, as virtual business owners, we need to be intentional in seeking out strategic opportunities to connect and network with like-minded professionals in our respective industries. There is a lot you can do through the Internet and Social Media, of course, but in order to be effective in marketing your business, it takes both offline and online marketing strategies to reach your potential.

So, here are some ways you can step away from the computer, get out of the house, and win new clients through offline and word-of-mouth marketing strategies:

1. Be visible in your local community and industry

• Join your local chamber of commerce.

• Approach your local Rotary Club or community college.

• Join a Meetup group in your area.

2. Ask for referrals from your current clients.

• Thank them for the referral with lunch, flowers or a gift certificate.

• Give both your current and potential clients more than one business card – one to keep and two to give away.

3. Attend industry events.

• Network at events like the annual IVAA Live Summit.

• Volunteer to help coordinate a local business organization s event.

• Set up a vendor booth at an event and promote your business.

4. Develop your own branded promotional materials.

• Create brochures, fliers, special reports, and business cards to give away.

• Make sure all materials, including presentations, are branded with your website URL, logo and contact information.

• When marketing at a vendor s booth, have a poster designed to promote your business and consider handing out some kind of inexpensive branded gift.

5. Find creative ways to talk about your business.

• Practice a great 30-second elevator speech.

• Share presentations with various networking groups.

• Place an ad or start a column in the business section of your local newspaper.

Now, depending on where you find yourself, you may experience success either offline or online; however, we hope that the above tips can help you broaden the horizons of your marketing scope. While those of us involved in the Virtual Assistant industry may spend a lot of time in our online marketing strategies, participating in offline events has a viral word-of-mouth effect that some online strategies don t.

The following quote from a blog post entitled “Bring Your Online Social Networking to Offline Success” provides some further food for thought:

Body language is very important, especially in business. Online networking lacks body language. You may not realize it, but people use body language a lot. It can often say more than the actually words that are being spoken. Body language can reflect attitude, emotion and true feelings. Many aspects of communication come through body language and when you are only communicating online you lose that dimension of communication.

Both of those indisputable benefits allow offline networking to deepen and reinforce relationships while adding credibility to your reputation.

So be creative, spend some time away from your computer (or cat), and let us know what strategies have or have not worked for you in your offline marketing endeavors. You can connect with us in the comment box below or on our Facebook Page.