Going old school with your marketing

Making paper cool again, and more!


In an age where so much promotion happens online, it’s important to remember everything that can still be done to market a business offline.

This week, I experimented with this, printing paper flyers and hanging them on local bulletin boards to promote this newsletter.

I look forward to seeing what my old school flyers produce in the coming months. The idea has already generated a surprising response on social media, as you’ll see below.

Let’s dive into this and some old-school ideas in this week’s issue.



Ready to get financially independent? Get 10 quick gems on money and investing delivered every Sunday


I shared a photo on Twitter of some simple flyers I printed to promote the No Budget Marketing newsletter, and I was a little blown away by the response.

Almost 50 likes and close to 20 replies came in, including some from marketers with large followings whom I admire.

I didn’t expect nearly this many people to find my idea of using flyers so enjoyable. It seemed like such a basic way to promote.

But doing something old-school like this in a digital world stands out. People found it exciting and refreshing.

Check out the Twitter post below, and then next, we’ll talk about some other old-school tactics you can use to help your business stand out.


Looking for visuals and charts, rather than words, to understand the daily news?

Bay Area Times is a visual-based newsletter on business and tech, with 250,000+ subscribers.


So many old-school marketing tactics don’t get talked about nearly enough. Have you thought about these for your business?

  • Reinvent the business card - they don’t get handed out nearly as much as they used to because everyone saves contacts on their phone, Googles things, or connects on LinkedIn. What if your business cards had a unique design that made people want to look at them? What can you do with a QR code on your card?

  • Convert paper into video - QR codes provide a unique opportunity to convert old-school into something modern. Someone on Reddit asked for ideas on how to make the most of a job fair. I suggested they hand out flyers with a QR code that takes people to a video where they talk about their skills and why they should be hired. What else can you do to use paper to drive people online?

  • Wear your brand - You’ll get fantastic mileage from a $20 t-shirt or hat with your company’s logo. It’s a great conversation starter, even in a small crowd. This approach works exceptionally well at conferences and other networking events. If you can wear it somewhere crowded, you generate many impressions, even beyond those who ask about it. If you want to connect with an experienced merch professional who reads this newsletter, check out this guy on Twitter.


Check out a brand new newsletter I just launched. If you’re a bootstrapped startup, send me your news. Beginning March 5, I’ll highlight startups making things happen without venture funding each Tuesday.

Bootstrapped TechDelivering news on tech startups that aren't funded.


Have you heard of Marlins Man? He’s a Florida attorney famous for showing up on TV seated behind home plate at baseball games wearing an orange Miami Marlins jersey.

What about Beatle Bob, who went to see 10,000-plus bands play over multiple decades and was known for his signature look and dancing?

There’s also Matthew Lesko, who you might know as the “free money guy” who wears suits with question marks all over them.

These people have become famous without being famous for something else first. They weren’t actors or in huge bands. They just had the same consistent look and did the same thing repeatedly. They built a brand.

You could do the same thing for your business. You could brand your vehicle so people start to spot it around town. You could wear a signature hat, become known for a particular jingle or tagline, or place some unique sign on your business if it has a physical address.

A carpet store near me has a statue rolling out a carpet on its roof. Throughout the year, the statue is dressed for the season. He wears a ski cap in winter, has Christmas lights draped over himself around the holidays, and wears an Uncle Sam hat for the Fourth of July.

When we pass that carpet store, one of my kids often yells about how the statue’s outfit has changed. We’re all very aware of this carpet store because they’re doing something that stands out.

What can you do like this for your business?


  • In last week’s issue, we talked about newsjacking, and a PR agency showed us all an excellent example of it this week, as they generated over 100 links for a Vegas-based client by capitalizing on Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s visit to Sin City this weekend.

  • Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to ask for something on social media. A big fan of Jack Links Jerky, Nolan Gore landed some free products with his tweets about the brand. This is also an excellent example of how a brand can engage with fans.

  • This doesn’t count as no-budget marketing, but it is creative and might spark a fun idea for your business. Taco Bell held an Apple-style event to announce their new menu items—way to think outside the bun, Bell.

Thanks for reading! Hit reply on this email if you want to reach me directly with questions or feedback. See you next week!