I came across this article not too long ago called 3 old-school marketing activities that still work, and needless to say I was a bit disappointed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider online keyword research, link building or using Google to plan your media mix to be particularly “old school.” In fact, they seem very “new school” to me.

The internet has seemingly taken over the marketing and advertising world, but there’s still so much more to drumming up business than slapping up a webpage and a few Google ads. There are tried-and true traditional marketing methods that can potentially be just as good or even better than all the keyword research you could ever perform.  I thought I might take this opportunity to discuss some truly old-school marketing methods that are still popular and effective today.

1. Flyers & Pamphlets. You would never guess how long flyers and pamphlets (folded flyers) have been used to spread information. Stumped? Since the 13th century or so! The word came about due a poem, “Pamphilus: or, Concerning Love”, written in the 12th century, which became very popular because people created copies and circulated them around to other people. Later, similar circulated papers were called pamphlets until the 19th century when the word “flyer” was introduced.

2. Business Cards. The origins of business cards can be traced to 15th century China. Then they were called “visiting cards” and were used as a calling card to announce one’s intention to meet with another individual. Sound familiar? The practice of exchanging cards gained more popularity in Europe during the 17th century, especially during the reign of Louis XIV, when an individual’s success or failure in society itself often depended on strong personal promotion.

3. Catalogs. Catalog printing can also be traced to the 15th century. It’s believed that publisher Aldus Manutius of Venice created a catalogue of the books he was printing in 1498. An English gardener named William Lucas published a seed catalogue in 1667, which he mailed to his customers to inform them of his prices. Benjamin Franklin himself may have been the first person to publish a catalog in British America in 1744, when he produced a catalogue of scientific and academic books that he was selling.

The marketing methods listed above are still quite popular today – and very effective. It’s hard to find a single professional who doesn’t have a business card to share with people they meet. Americans on average still spend about $850 a year on catalog purchases. Flyers and pamphlets are seemingly circulated everywhere these days, letting you know where the local sales are or even offering a coupon discount for your visit.

And honestly, nowadays with email boxes that are bursting at the seems with offers and advertisements, getting a business card, catalog or flyer is often more memorable to the recipient. When your messaging sticks with people, they’re more likely to investigate or even buy your products or services. Take that, link building!

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