Having built several web sites, I know the pains involved in spending weeks of web building and tweaking and finally getting everything online. To take the pain one level higher, a webmaster needs to spend several more weeks doing online promotions. The usual practice is to do what the manual says - submit to search engines, purchase banner impressions, advertise on e-zines and newsletters, trade links, and so on. The pain reaches is peak when after several weeks of building and promoting, the web site is till not generating the anticipated number of visitors. Sure, there may be some hits from all those online promo work, but you know you could get more.
Many webmasters, novice and professional alike, often take for granted that there is an offline world that exists out there. Almost always, this is overlooked. Offline advertising is an equally important method to bring online success. If you stop and think about it, online advertising is only one method. Offline advertising offers several more methods - newspaper, magazines, radio, television, brochures, mail and billboards.
Start With The Basic
Have some business cards printed and make sure you have your web site URL in there. I know of an individual who started a small ISP business offering dial-up access. When I asked for a business card, the guy had none and just wrote down his number on a small piece of paper. Nothing can be more careless than that. The importance of having business cards cannot be emphasized enough. You can forego having a cell phone or a pager but a business card should never be off the check list.
Along with business cards, you can also include your web site URL on all other printed office supplies you use. These include stationery, brochures, invoices, receipts, etc. One of our local pizza delivery places even had their URL on their sachets of hot sauce and ketchup. That may seem innocuous to some people but it sure caught my attention.
Use The Phone Line Offline
Recorded messages can be a good way to promote your online presence. Instead of piped-in music, why not make customers on hold listen to a brief spiel about your web site? To encourage people to visit, you may even promote an online contest where you reward people with prizes.
Another way to use the phone line offline is to send out fax brochures. Most companies have fax numbers listed in the phone book. It may be a good way to deliver your message across. Just make sure you have their permission to send the brochure before faxing away. Many companies frown on unsolicited fax messages.
Start with sending press releases to your local newspaper or magazines. Most of them accept press releases from companies who have legitimate announcements to make.
If you have the budget for it, consider placing a print ad on a publication that caters to your same set of audience. If your manufacture and sell fishing equipment on your web site, it may be worth it to place an ad on a magazine dedicated to fishing.
Conquer The Airwaves
Contact some of your local radio stations and inquire about cold plugs. These are usually more affordable than 30-second canned radio ads. Some stations even accept ex-deals or swap-deals where you can offer your products or services in exchange for plugs.
Give away some promotional ware like t-shirts, stickers, pens, caps, mugs or mousepads. People love getting freebies and without know it, they are advertising on your behalf. Just make sure you don't forget to print your web site URL on them.
Track Your Results
Finally, ask your customers how they found you or your web site. This way, you can get an idea which of your promo activities were the most effective.
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About the Author:
Peter Go owns and operates Icthus.Net Communications. CGI City is one of several web sites developed by Icthus.Net Communications.
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