Drivign taffic to your website is essential, assuming your website is ready to sell things. The thing is that for most of us, we are thinking “inside the box”…the internet box.
The time was that all businesses were brick and mortar (a long time ago in a galaxy far away…) and the average business owner did many creative things to get the word out about their business. They distributed flyers at events. They hung doorknob ads. They bought into card packs. They sponsored local sports teams. They did television commercials. They did radio ads and paid to have annoyingly catchy jingles attached to every ad. (Call Roto Rooter, that’s the name and away go troubles down the drain!) They handed out imprinted pens, ball caps, tshirts and calendars. They pitched in at community fund-raisers and events proudly wearing their company logo on a tshirt or golf shirt. They volunteered at the food bank and the homeless shelter.
In the days of the “set it and forget it” business model, it isn’t surprising that over 90% of online businesses fail miserably. We have forgotten how to promote ourselves and our businesses. We are constantly looking for shortcuts to easy money. We spend hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars on “shiny objects” that net us nothing and then complain that “the internet doesn’t work”.
It’s the “W” word that is the problem. The internet works if you do. Putting in consistent effort to get your product or service in front of the people who most need your product is one of the primary keys to a successful business on or offline. But it isn’t just doing the work, but HOW you do the work that makes the difference.
We have confined ourselves so exclusively to social media and online promotion and completely forgotten that there are other ways to promote our businesses. For this reason, we are missing out on a very lucrative and often less expensive way to get people to our website and have them lining up to buy our products.
In other words…Get out from in front of your computer monitor and start meeting people face to face. Do something great in your community that is press worthy. Suppot an Eagle project. Get active in your local Rotary Club. Volunteer in young entrepreneur events at local schools. Sponsor a bowling league or a girl’s softball team. Host a networking event. Go to a networking event. Create some tshirts with your logo on it and a catchy phrase and wear it when you are out. Get someone to create a catchy jingle for your brand and include it in your YouTube videos and radio ads (yes radio advertising still works, depending on your niche.) Go to trade shows. (You don’t have to spend money for a booth, btw. I have gotten great results and new clients attending and starting up conversations with people who paid money for their booth or other attendees. And when you go, lots of business cards and wear your Tshirt or Golf Shirt with your logo on it.
There’s a few great books I can recommend to help you brainstorm on this.
- Purple Cow by Seth Godin
- Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
- Mining Online Gold with an Offline Shovel by Joel Christopher
All of these books are chock full of ideas that will set your business apart and spark your mind with ideas of how to step outside the internet box and into areas that few online businesses are pursuing. This means you will stand out. If you notice that some of these methods may seem a little “old school” that’s exactly the point. Your customers don’t spend all day long staring at a computer screen. They go out and do things. They shop at local stores. They participate in community events. They still listen to the radio and watch TV. Some of them actually even read newspapers and look at the classifieds. When we ignore this, we are missing out on a treasure trove of possible leads and sales.
By the way, in the process of getting out in the community and doing things, you might want to make friends with the local media, supplying them with information about the causes and events you are supporting, not in a way that makes you the center of the spotlight, but in a way that makes you a reliable resource. As I have done this in past businesses, it has meant that not only did they come to me for information about other things, but they were more likely to mention my business in a new story or even to feature my business as newsworthy, which generally ramps up your online visitors in a very positive way.