I have this graphic I draw for people when I talk about integrated internet marketing. It includes all the tools we pull together to drive traffic and leads to a website – SEO, Social Media, Email Marketing – you know, the usual stuff. And then I put down offline marketing, and oddly enough, this is where I get a puzzled look.
What I have found is many people are surprised that I recommend offline marketing so strongly. Why? It’s simple, yet many companies don’t do it. With all the money spent on a domain name, website, web hosting, and maybe even ongoing paid internet marketing, this is one way to get the most from your website, get an edge on your competitors, and generate more business. You could use some more business, right? We all could!
Here are 5 suggestions for promoting your website offline:
1. Your vehicles. Do you have your website address on your company vehicles? If not you’re missing out. The latest statistic I found (from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey in 2005) says American’s spend about 100 hours per year in commuting. Ask yourself this – how many people are staring at the back of your company car or truck, and is your website address there?
Just for fun, I spent 20 minutes this morning sitting at a busy intersection, counting how many commercial vehicles had their websites listed. Nearly all had their phone number on the vehicle, yet only 35% of the companies that actually had websites (I looked) listed them on their vehicles.
The cost to put your website on your vehicle? $12, according to our client Double T Signs. Talk about low hanging fruit. Go crazy and put it on four sides of your car and you’re still only spending about $50.
2. Anything Printed. This doesn’t just include the “no brainer” items like business cards, brochures, and letterhead, but did you also think of your fax cover sheets? How about hand outs? Your printed newsletter? Shopping bags? Invoices? Menus? Shipping supplies? All of these places are potential great places to promote your website and take almost no effort to add.
3. A small sign in your office, store, or restaurant. Very few people do this, yet it’s a great way to remind people not just that you have a website, but what they can get there. Do you offer coupons on your website? Display a small sign that says “Download money-saving coupons from our website at www.yourcompany.com!” Can patients get helpful medical tips on your website? Put a sign in your waiting room saying “Visit us at www.yourcompany.com for Healthy Eating tips. While you’re there, sign up for our Healthy Living Newsletter!”
4. Postcard website announcements are a low-tech way to announce a new website, a newly re-designed website, or simply to remind folks it’s there. You have plenty of room to highlight all the cool features of your website, and it’s a good way to get a large amount of traffic in a short period of time. Be sure to give people a really good reason to go to the site by offering coupons, useful information, or even make a contest out of it. One idea is a scavenger hunt where you give something away if they answer a question they can only get the answer to on your website.
5. ANY paid advertising you do, like radio, television, newspaper or magazines, yellow pages, direct mail, bus benches…you get the idea. The principle here is again to maximize your money you already spent on your website by using that URL everywhere you possibly can to generate traffic. All of these types of media have reach, but none can engage your potential customers like a website, where people will easily spend a minimum of 2 minutes learning about you and your services. If you are already spending the money, leverage it.
How to tell if it’s working
I believe in measuring the effectiveness of everything, and offline marketing is no exception. The simplest way to do this is to put Google Analytics on your website (or have your website management company do it), and take a look at your Direct Traffic (found under Traffic Sources) on a monthly basis. When you start seeing that number move up, you’ll see your efforts pay off.
These are just a few ideas, but they can make a big difference. The key is to take the opportunities you already have to get traffic to your website and generate more business. The costs are minimal, most take little time, and chances are you’ll get a jump on your competition.
What some creative ways you or someone you know have promoted a website offline? Leave me a comment below – I’d love to hear about it.