A few simple ways for SMEs to boost online traffic using offline marketing
It’s all very well spending time and money having a website designed and uploaded, but if you don’t do anything to promote it, how is it going to work for you? An online presence is, of course, great for the general awareness of your brand. We’re all familiar with the URLs of the major brands in today’s marketplace – marksandspencer.com, johnlewis.com to name just two of the big ones. However, many companies assume that just because they have a great looking website with lots of fabulous products or services, as well as interesting and relevant content, they’re going to automatically get loads of visitors.
The thing is, even with the best SEO in place, online marketing has become so competitive that you’ll need to promote your website through offline marketing too. This is true even if you’re an established company – if your current clients don’t know about your website, you need to let them know and you need to keep driving new clients towards your site too.
There’s no need to panic though. You don’t need to take out a full-page advertisement in a national newspaper to get your web address out there. There are some relatively inexpensive or free offline marketing methods to advertise your company’s website and get more traffic coming your way.
1. Signing off
An easy way to ensure that your customers or clients know about your website is to add a signature to your emails that not only includes your contact details, but also your URL. You can customise your sign off with a mention of your new website and urge customers to take a look.
Be sure to add your web address to all of your company stationery, including your business cards. It isn’t rocket science, but you’d be surprised just how often the web address is left off letterheads.
2. Printed marketing material
You can use more traditional marketing methods such as newspaper or magazine ads and direct mailing to promote your website. Make sure that all your printed materials include your web address.
If you send products out in the mail, include a flyer or business card in each package or shipment which clearly shows your URL too. You can also consider including a discount offer for use when making online purchases. There’s nothing like a discount to tempt people to your website.
3. Shout about it
If you’re a start-up company with a brand new website, it’s worth submitting a press release to local and relevant consumer and business press, making sure that your website address is displayed.
If you’re an established company with a new or updated website, use the news as a PR opportunity. Mention your website to your customers and clients, and make a point of telling new introductions about your site at any networking events you go to.
4. Cross promotion
Take advantage of opportunities through your local Chamber of Commerce. Subscribing to the Chamber newsletter and attending networking events will put you in touch with other business owners, managers and marketers, providing good opportunities for building relationships and contacts.
You may find other companies who are happy to enter into some cross promotional marketing – if your products or services are compatible, you can promote their site on your website and vice versa.
5. Trade fairs, exhibitions, conferences – you name it, get out there!
Depending on your product, having a presence at these types of event is a great way to build exposure for your brand, products or services. Make sure that your customers or clients, as well as your prospects, know in advance that you’ll be there. Get a list of attendees and send them a postcard with your location at the event – as well as your company details and web address.
Never lose sight of the fact that the connections you make offline will bring prospective clients to your website, so use the event to make some good contacts and follow up with them afterwards.
At the event, have plenty of giveaways at the ready, such as pens, mugs, etc. all personalised with your company name and web address. The more useful the promotional item, the more it will be picked up and seen. The reason companies still use pens and mugs as marketing tools is because they still work. You may be surprised at the additional traffic they will draw to your website.
Use ANY opportunity to get your web address out there
Anything and everything you do could be an opportunity to drive people to your website, all the time reinforcing your online presence and your brand.
– When you recruit, put your web address in your employment ads.
– Have your web address displayed prominently on any company vehicles, making sure that it is in an easy-to-read and well-proportioned font.
– If your staff have a uniform or wear branded clothing, make sure your web address is added in an easily spotted location.
– If you attend any trade fairs or networking events, put your web address on your signage, banners, pop-up stands, etc.
Don’t forget to park any liveried vehicle in a prominent position at any events that you attend, so that your company name and web address are easy to see!
And finally, while of course it can’t strictly be called ‘offline’ marketing, the importance of social media in driving traffic to your website shouldn’t be underestimated. Keeping your Twitter feed and your Facebook page updated are key ways to keeping your brand fresh in the minds of your customers and potential customers and will go a long way toward increasing traffic to your website.