Many people will tell you that to get your website noticed you need to ‘optimize‘ your site for the search engines. You are then led up a path where you have to keep changing your web site as the search engines change their ways of listing things. As fast as you ‘optimize’ your site, Google and the others have moved the goalposts, meaning you have to keep optimizing over and over again. This can be a very expensive way of marketing your business.
Now consider some facts. Most people in the world are not users of the Internet. Let’s repeat that. The vast majority of people who you want to reach don’t use the Internet. It doesn’t matter how well you optimize your web site, they simply will never find it.
Here’s another fact. Some of the best Internet marketers make most of their sales ‘offline’. They sell their books, videos, CD-ROMs and so on at seminars, workshops and conferences. Indeed, for many ‘Internet marketers’ these ‘offline’ sales represent the bulk of their income.
So what do these facts tell us? They show us that ‘offline’ promotion is more important than online promotion. You may be able to optimize your web site to get high rankings in a search engine. But that doesn’t mean you’ll reach the vast majority of people who could buy your product or use your information.
This was confirmed recently by one study that showed most people go to an Internet address (URL) after having read it in a newspaper or magazine, been given it by a friend or colleague, or having heard it being mentioned by someone speaking at a meeting or on TV. In other words, it seems that significant numbers of people who get to your web site will do so having heard the URL somewhere outside the Internet.
You can get many people visiting your web site, even if you are not ranked highly by the search engines. You can do this in two main ways:
- Write articles for use in regular publications – newspapers, magazines and so on. Always include your URL in the article and you’ll get millions of people to notice your web site address.
- Speak at every opportunity. Make presentations to business clubs, chambers of commerce, local societies – you name it, you should speak at it. Every time you speak, announce or your web site address.
- Mail catalogs, flyers, letters or brochures regularly. Direct-mail is still a very effective way to reach potential customers. There are several direct mail companies that provide targeted list of prospects to help you zero-in on your best potential customers. You should also be sending direct mail pieces to your customer base on a regular basis. This is a great way to generate repeat business.
Although these are the three principal ways of gaining offline publicity and new customers to your website, don’t neglect your business stationery, posters, car stickers, cards and so on. The more your web site address is visible outside the web, the more visitors you will get regardless of how kind the search engines are to you.