It’s an easy mistake to make. You spend hours of your time marketing your website through social media network sites such as Twitter and Facebook, boosting your brand’s visibility and reputation through content marketing and press release submission, and generating fresh new and exciting insights through blogging. But you forget one thing.
All this work is primarily about getting traffic to your website. That’s sound enough, and an admirable tactic. The only problem is that this SEO strategy seems to have made one almighty assumption, and it could be a very costly one.
Think about it. You can spend ages producing fresh and authoritative content in the hopes of appealing to the Great God Google, or submitting original and engaging articles on reputable article directories such as Ezine Articles or Article Dashboard, all in the hope that either these sites or others will list you and help drive traffic.
But this sort of SEO strategy is missing out a huge and vital element of website marketing.
Offline optimisation and offline marketing is every bit as important as online marketing in many cases, but shouldn’t be treated as a separate entity. Instead offline optimisation and promotion needs to tie in very closely with your online optimisation. Let me explain how this can be achieved.
Let me also point out that offline marketing doesn’t have to be as expensive or as complicated as some people make out. Yes, there are options such as television advertising, radio advertising, billboards and bus stop posters, but these are often beyond the financial reach of many small businesses, and frankly are unlikely to work effectively enough to cover their costs.
But there are offline ways of marketing your website which, if tied in with your online strategy, can be extremely effective and still very affordable.
Before you do any offline marketing, make sure you know your URLs.
So many people just assume that they need to stick the home address everywhere, and that nothing else will do. In many cases your home address is one of the worst addresses you can give out.
Let’s assume that you sell children’s toys. Let’s also say that you have got permission from a local nursery to have flyers handed out to all parents. Those parents’ children will be around 3-4 years old, but your home page will probably cater for parents of newborn children all the way up to early teens. That means that if you give the URL of your home page you’re forcing those parents who make the effort to visit your site to spend time hunting for the right link to browse those products which are actually suitable, and for which they have gone to your site.
Why not make it easier for them, and provide them with the URL of a page which will take them directly to the most relevant page for them? So instead of printing the URL www.wonderful-toy-shop.co.uk, try wonderful-toy-shop.co.uk/nursery.
But you can do one better than that. Why not provide people with an incentive to visit that particular page. So perhaps you have some nursery toys in your sale, you need to create an URL which will take parents to the page which lists those nursery toys featuring in your sale.
If parents see a URL which will provide them with potentially unique access to content that’s of real benefit to them, they’re more likely to make a note of your address. Of course by having specific URLs tied into each offline marketing method you use, you can determine how effective different marketing methods are, helping you to adapt your strategy in future.
Of course, handing out flyers to the local nursery might not be of much use to your line of business, so what other offline methods have people used?
- Placing an advert in a local newspaper
- Placing an advert in a parish magazine, or local society’s bulletin
- Including coupons in local papers/bulletins
- Advertising in the local phone book or phone directory
- Attaching magnetic advertising boards to the sides of your car, or placing adverts in the window. Decal stickers can be printed fairly cheaply for a more professional look
- Business cards – rather than having one size fits all, why not have different ones which contain a specific URL and targeted information
- Sponsorship. From local football teams to bowling teams, sponsoring a local team looks good for your business and your logo and details will be seen by a great many people throughout the season.
- Placing flyers under the windscreen wipers of cars at a local car park (get permission from the supermarket or car park owner first)
But remember, marketing your website offline isn’t just about plugging your business’s name and home address. Create URLs which are easy to remember, and which take people direct to the most relevant page for them, or create a unique page for a particular group of people.
Use 301 redirects to create multiple URLs to the same page, or use a URL shortening service if necessary, although of course this will remove your main website address which could possibly be detrimental in some instances.
Have you spent much time, or indeed any time, on your offline SEO and marketing? Have you used the same URL for all your offline marketing, or have you created specific URLs for each campaign? Have you had any success with your offline campaigns? Please share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment below.
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