10 Traditional Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses in the UK in 2023

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Traditional marketing tactics continue to hold their ground, offering small businesses in the UK valuable opportunities to promote their brand. While online strategies have their place, traditional methods still resonate with many consumers and can provide a competitive advantage. In this article, we will explore ten effective traditional marketing strategies that small businesses can leverage in 2023 to enhance their visibility, connect with their target audience, and drive growth.

Print Advertising
Print advertising remains a powerful tool for reaching local audiences and niche markets. By placing targeted ads in newspapers, magazines, and industry publications, small businesses can capture the attention of their local communities and engage potential customers. According to the News Media Association, the total weekly readership of regional newspapers reached 28.8 million in 20201. This statistic showcases the enduring popularity of print media, making it an excellent avenue for businesses to showcase their products or services.

To make the most of print advertising, small businesses should carefully select publications that align with their target audience. By understanding the demographics and interests of the readers, businesses can craft compelling advertisements that resonate with potential customers and drive conversions.

Direct Mail
Direct mail campaigns offer a tangible and personalized approach to marketing. In the age of digital overload, receiving physical mail stands out and can grab recipients’ attention. According to the Data & Marketing Association, 86% of UK adults engaged with direct mail advertising in 2020. To create successful direct mail campaigns, small businesses should segment their target audience and tailor their messages accordingly. Personalization is key in capturing the recipient’s interest and increasing the chances of a response.

Additionally, incorporating compelling offers, such as exclusive discounts or free trials, can further incentivize recipients to take action. By tracking response rates and analyzing customer data, small businesses can refine their direct mail campaigns and improve their return on investment.

Outdoor Advertising
Outdoor advertising provides excellent exposure to a diverse audience. Billboards, bus stop advertisements, and signage strategically placed in high-traffic areas can generate significant brand visibility. Clear Channel, one of the leading outdoor advertising companies in the UK, states that 78% of adults view roadside advertising at least weekly. This statistic highlights the potential reach and impact of outdoor advertising for small businesses.

To maximize the effectiveness of outdoor advertising, small businesses should carefully select locations that align with their target audience and business goals. Placing ads near shopping centers, busy intersections, or areas where the target demographic frequents can significantly increase brand exposure and create lasting impressions.

Event Sponsorship
Sponsoring local events, trade shows, and conferences provides small businesses with opportunities to engage directly with their target audience. According to Eventbrite, 78% of UK event-goers view brands more positively after experiencing their events. By associating themselves with well-attended and relevant events, small businesses can enhance brand awareness, build relationships, and gain credibility within their industry.

When choosing events to sponsor, small businesses should consider the alignment between the event and their target audience. Sponsoring events that attract individuals who are likely to be interested in their products or services can yield better results. Active participation, such as hosting a booth or speaking at a panel, allows businesses to engage attendees directly, showcase their expertise, and establish meaningful connections.

Promotional Merchandise
Branded merchandise offers a tangible and memorable way to promote a business. The British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) reports that 87% of recipients keep promotional products for more than a year. By distributing items like pens, keychains, or tote bags with their logo or branding, small businesses can increase brand recognition and remain at the forefront of customers’ minds.

To make promotional merchandise effective, small businesses should choose items that align with their target audience’s preferences and needs. Useful and high-quality merchandise has a higher chance of being retained and used, thus keeping the brand visible for an extended period. Additionally, incorporating a call to action or unique discount codes on the merchandise can encourage recipients to engage with the business further.

Face-to-face networking continues to be a valuable strategy for small businesses. The UK Business Network Survey revealed that 85% of businesses believe face-to-face meetings are more likely to lead to successful outcomes. Attending industry-specific events, trade shows, and conferences allows small businesses to establish vital connections, exchange knowledge, and generate potential leads.

To make the most of networking opportunities, small businesses should approach events with a clear purpose and defined goals. Active engagement, such as initiating conversations, listening attentively, and exchanging business cards, can help establish meaningful connections. Following up with contacts after the event through personalized messages or meetings further nurtures relationships and strengthens the potential for collaboration or referrals.

Local Partnerships
Collaborating with other local businesses or organizations can significantly expand a small business’s reach. Research by LinkedIn shows that partnerships can help businesses increase brand awareness by 45%. By joining forces for joint marketing campaigns, referral programs, or hosting events together, small businesses can tap into each other’s customer base and create mutually beneficial relationships.

When forming local partnerships, small businesses should seek out complementary businesses that share a similar target audience or align with their brand values. Collaborative marketing initiatives, such as co-branded campaigns or shared social media promotions, can amplify the reach of both businesses while providing added value to the target audience. Building long-term partnerships fosters a sense of community and loyalty among customers.

Print Collateral
Print collateral, such as business cards, brochures, catalogs, or pamphlets, provides an opportunity to share detailed information about products and services. A study by FedEx Office found that 85% of surveyed customers were more likely to do business with a company if it had professionally printed materials. Creating well-crafted print collateral and distributing them in local businesses, community centers, or industry events can significantly enhance brand credibility.

To create impactful print collateral, small businesses should focus on clear and concise messaging that highlights the unique value proposition of their products or services. Eye-catching design elements, high-quality images, and informative content help engage the reader and leave a lasting impression. Including contact information and calls to action encourages recipients to take the next step and reach out to the business.

Vehicle Branding
Vehicle branding serves as a mobile advertising platform for small businesses. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association, a single vehicle wrap can generate between 30,000 and 70,000 daily impressions. By utilizing vehicle wraps or magnetic signs on company vehicles, small businesses can increase brand visibility as they travel, making a lasting impact on potential customers.

To optimize vehicle branding, small businesses should design visually striking graphics that effectively communicate their brand message. Including contact information and a clear call to action enables interested individuals to reach out or visit the business’s website. Strategic routes that pass through areas where the target audience resides or works can further enhance the visibility and reach of vehicle branding efforts.

Public Relations (PR)
Public relations activities can help small businesses gain media coverage and enhance their brand reputation. According to a survey conducted by Cision, 73% of journalists consider press releases valuable. By crafting compelling press releases, actively engaging with journalists, and sharing business news or industry expertise, small businesses can secure media coverage, boosting brand visibility and credibility.

To make PR efforts successful, small businesses should identify newsworthy stories or angles that resonate with journalists and their target audience. Building relationships with relevant media outlets and journalists can increase the chances of coverage. Additionally, leveraging social media platforms and industry-specific blogs can extend the reach of PR efforts and engage a broader audience.

In conclusion, while digital marketing strategies continue to evolve, traditional marketing tactics remain relevant and effective for small businesses in the UK. By leveraging print advertising, direct mail, outdoor advertising, event sponsorship, promotional merchandise, networking, local partnerships, print collateral, vehicle branding, and public relations, businesses can engage with their target audience and achieve sustainable growth.

Question to Consider: Which traditional marketing tactic are you most excited to implement for your small business, and why? Share your thoughts and experiences below!


  1. News Media Association – https://www.newsmediauk.org/
  2. Data & Marketing Association – https://dma.org.uk/
  3. Clear Channel – https://www.clearchannel.co.uk/
  4. Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/
  5. British Promotional Merchandise Association – https://www.bpma.co.uk/
  6. UK Business Network Survey – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-business-network-survey-report
  7. LinkedIn – https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions
  8. FedEx Office – https://www.fedex.com/en-us/printing/marketing-materials/professional-printing-effectiveness.html
  9. Outdoor Advertising Association – https://www.oaa.org.uk/
  10. Cision – https://www.cision.co.uk/

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