Most people think that to effectively promote their new business website, they need to do all the marketing work online.
In fact, that’s only half the story. Yes, driving traffic online is easier, as people are already using the medium. But there’s a lot of clutter online and standing out is hard. Promotional activity in the real world can be just as beneficial for publicising your new business website.
Here are seven proven offline ways to publicise your website.
1. Take out adverts
Display advertising could be considered a little old fashioned these days. Online advertising is so simple, cost effective and measurable that the old way of doing it – handing over some cash and hoping for the best – seems distinctly primitive.
But the beauty of display advertising is that it catches browsers. Search advertising catches those looking for something specific. Display can talk to those who didn’t even know they were looking for your business!
The two keys to successful display advertising are creativity and testing. Let your imagination go wild to catch people’s attention, and beware of committing to frequent advertising spend in any one publication before you have tested whether or not it works (do this by only advertising in one place at any one time and measuring response rates).
2. Get talked about in newspapers, magazines and on radio
The biggest problem with paid-for advertising is the lack of credibility. People see so many adverts; they are less likely to believe the message in them.
Not so with editorial. When an impartial journalist writes about your business’s website, it carries a lot more weight… the audience is more likely to believe what’s been written.
Welcome to the world of public relations. PR is free – it costs nothing to email a journalist or write a press release and send it. Your challenge is to think up story ideas that not only will interest journalists, but will promote your website too. Offering free information to download is a good first step.
3. Put your website address everywhere
Got a car? Stick your website address on the back. Get it on t-shirts. Pens. Notepads. Keyrings. Beer mats.
Websites have removed the need for you to print fancy logos and straplines everywhere – now all you need people to do is remember what to type.
4. Put on a publicity stunt
A stunt is designed to draw attention to something you’re doing. At their most extreme they’re illegal and dangerous, and we highly recommend you don’t go down this route.
Instead, you can attract a load of attention just by doing simple things differently. Declare your business will fund a litter pick in your home town for every thousand visitors to your website. Give your product away for half price to anyone with a Blue Peter Badge. Break a record. Create a new record. Be the fastest, slowest, longest, shortest.
Your publicity stunt should be fun and memorable, but also bear some relevance to the website you’re trying to promote.
5. Directly target your audience
If you want to get builders to visit your website helping them complete their tax returns, send some beautiful promotional girls (r boys!) in hard hats to building sites to hand over flyers. If you are pushing a new social network for nurses, give them ‘get well soon’ sweets with your website address on.
Decide on your target audience, find out where they go, and then go there in a way that will catch their attention. You have to stand out or you just become another piece of background noise.
6. Go to the opening of an envelope
There will be a series of events and meetings that you will be able to find your target audience at. They might be networking events, perhaps shows or exhibitions, or maybe even some kind of organised social events.
Whatever the event, you need to find methods to promote your website address in a relevant way that will stand out. At business events you can hand over business cards, but ensure you get the backs of the cards printed with details about why people would visit your site. Put yourself in their mind and think about the benefit to them, rather than the features of the site.
At events, could you offer free plastic bags to help delegates lug around all the brochures they’ll be given? How cool to see your website address being carried by everyone. Better still, make it a green choice and give them recyclable paper bags.
At social occasions, put stickers on people… no chance of them losing your details that way.
7. Catch them when they’re least expecting it
Have you heard of guerilla marketing, It’s where you promote your business in unusual ways that catch people out, helping them remember you.
If classic stunts such as those used by Bansky are outside your comfort zone, no problem.
Trying to attract visitors to your holiday website? Leave little sandcastles on pavements with promotional flags in them (a great one for winter). Got a new hairdressing salon? How about arrows made out of hair, temporarily attached to the pavement and pointing to your new shop?