It’s an indication of our reliance on the internet that people increasingly struggle to think of offline marketing techniques. While Google Adwords and social media remain highly effective for promoting websites, there are plenty of non-digital other ways to drive traffic to your site…
Offline advertising is still big business in the UK, and ranges from billboards to radio ads. Our thriving national and local newspaper industry is an obvious starting point for promoting websites, with adverts usually sold by columns or as a percentage of the page. A similar approach is adopted by magazines, where pages are typically designed with four or five columns sold by the column inch. Within reason, an advert can contain anything – including your firm’s web address.
Adverts are ideal vehicles for promoting websites with a call to action or incentive of some form. Discounts are often quoted with unique reference codes, indicating which advert or publication someone is responding to. This allows firms to determine which ads justified their cost. The same trick can be used with flyers or leaflets, which are given out to the general public or hand delivered to the home. Classic postal mailshots still have value in today’s digital age: a personalised letter that includes a website address a couple of times will subtly raise awareness of the site.
Roman forums were early examples of corporate networking, bringing together traders and entrepreneurs in a dedicated location. Two thousand years on we’ve added coffee and croissants, but a typical networking event still unites people from unrelated industries. Many delegates might be unaware your niche, product or service even exists. Some people prefer to attend events hosted by a third party, while others organise their own shows or business breakfasts.
Networking events provide an ideal platform for distributing an invention whose own origins date back to 15th century China. Business cards became ubiquitous in the 1980s, but they remain handy for listing website addresses alongside email and social media accounts, ideal if your company name isn’t easily pronounced. You might think the chap by the coffee urn understood your company’s called Valkyrie, but handing over a business card will ensure he doesn’t go away thinking you work for Balcony or Vowel Career.
PR is a broad church, from press releases to corporate hospitality. Event sponsorship is ideal for getting your brand (and by extension your web address) in front of people, using backdrops and banners. It’s worth considering running a competition which is entered via your website; competitions can also generate positive PR stories when the winners are announced.
Written communication remains vital to any PR account. Press releases can quickly be distributed to relevant media outlets, as long as they contain a degree of topicality or newsworthiness. A high-resolution digital photo will increase the chances of publication, as will quotes from a third party. Many press releases piggyback on a topical story, offering expert analysis or a quirky angle. Promoting website addresses can be done when introducing yourself or your brand – “As the founder of the yournamehere.co.uk website…”, or “Yournamehere.co.uk has also noticed a trend…”
Every business has a brand, with its web address forming a central component. It’s therefore beneficial to publicise your web address at every opportunity. It may be added to products as a sticker, or etched onto their casings, and can also be displayed on postage labels and packaging. It should certainly appear on every invoice, letter and document emanating from your company. These will typically be seen by more people than just the addressee.
Car dealerships have branding down to a fine art, from key rings and paper floor mats to the rear window stickers and registration plates adorning every vehicle they sell. Indeed, vehicles are easily transformed into mobile advertisements by applying discreet vinyl graphics. Alternatively, install window stickers featuring your company’s name, phone number and website address.
It goes without saying that your website address should be as concise and memorable as possible, with a relevant top level domain like co.uk or .biz. Don’t run words together if they end and start in the same letter – samsshoeemporium, for instance – and avoid anything that might date quickly or become restrictive. Your website address will ideally remain unchanged for the entirety of your company’s existence, without the need for rebranding or traffic redirects.