In an age of ubiquitous digital communication it is sometimes easy to forget that search engine optimisation can be heavily boosted by offline promotion of your website. The internet is essentially an economic tool existing within a real world economy, and promoting real world businesses. No matter how much time we spend plugged into the internet, offline marketing techniques are still important and are worth investing a bit of time and money in.
Far from being inefficient, ineffective and financially prohibitive, offline marketing is a great way of driving new traffic to your website. The tips below are popular and inexpensive ways of boosting your online profile, by connecting with people in the ‘real world’.
Break into new markets without breaking the bank
1. Place adverts in newspapers and magazines
Even the most avant-garde of publications usually have a printed format available, because people still like the feel of leafing through a paper magazine. In response to the rise of online advertising, many print publications have expanded their range of advertising packages and considerably lowered their costs. It is worthwhile taking out advertising space in niche magazines relevant to your business. The chances are that you will stand out a lot more in these pages than you will on a Google search, and you are set up to reach an audience who is already potentially interested in your services.
2. Use branded merchandise
It is both cheap and time effective to produce a good quality range of personal branded merchandise for your business. Do not underestimate the marketing value of company tee-shirts, pencils and car stickers. People are instinctively geared up to look for them – and they will drive traffic to your website. Just make sure that your URL is clearly visible on all branded merchandise.
3. Direct Marketing
The logic of SEO assumes that your customers are going to come to you. While this is true, there is no harm in pro-actively seeking out customers as well through traditional direct marketing. Business directories such as Kompass and Yell.com are great ways to source phone and email details of potential clients. Spending a couple of hours a week calling, emailing and faxing people about your projects will not cost you much, and is a valuable means of keeping in touch with your target market.
4. Referrals from customers
All online businesses should be aware of the importance of hosting client testimonials on their websites. The same principles apply to offline marketing. Once you have found a niche market publication relevant to your target audience, try to persuade your clients to write into these magazines – telling readers how impressed they are with you. Most magazines have a ‘letters to the editor’ page, which is a useful forum for subtle, but effective client testimonials.
Search engine optimisation is by far the most cost effective and efficient means for you to drive traffic to your website and accumulate a long term client base, but it must be stressed that these methods take time. While offline marketing methods are traditionally less flexible and cost more than online methods, they offer the tantalising possibility of quick returns and the chance to build personal relationships with customers that is often elusive online.