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    Subject: Effective Offline Promotion Tuesday 15.02.2005

    Effective Offline Promotion
Although, most of your traffic will still come from search engines and various online promotions, a little effort using traditional media might also bring a large number of visitors to your website.

    Reasons, why you should take offline promotion of your website seriously include:

    Internet is increasingly becoming a part of our daily life. However, still a big segment of the society – especially, the elderly – don’t spend that much of time online. Traditional media is a good method of getting their attention.

    If a person sees your printed advertisement with your URL in a year-old magazine and gets interested in what you have to offer, he will still be able to check out your website. Research shows that at least four people browse through a printed magazine in its life time.

    With planned media promotion, you can tap into particular target market, which otherwise might not be that easy to do. For example: if you sell car accessories through your website, a good promotional channel would be a specific radio station that commuters like to tune in.


    Your offline promotion endeavor should combine advertisement, publicity and promotional items.

    PROMOTION METHODS AND STRATEGY PLANNING

    ADVERTISING

    Once you identified the potential target market that you would like to reach, you can try to communicate with them using various advertising methods. Advertising is a paid form of delivering message to broad range of prospective customers through billboards, posters, print, broadcast media, etc.

    Each of your advertising campaign should have a clear goal and carefully crafted plan. Since advertising in some media forms is quite expensive, without a well-defined plan you might waste your money for nothing.

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    Your advertising goal might include the followings:

    • Bring targeted traffic to your website
    • Stimulate sales
    • Build brand recognition of your website
    • Increase public awareness of your product and services
    • Promote seasonal sales, clearance, etc. conducted through your site.

    Once you established your advertising goal, you need to clarify advertising budget, timing and media. You should set your advertising budget based on your objective. In general, companies set aside a percentage of their gross sales as promotional budget. A new online business might choose to spend on advertising, amount allocated in its business plan. Timing and scheduling are also crucial factors in advertising.

    Where should you advertise is a difficult decision, which should base on a number of factors:

    Market reach
    What is the market segment you would like to cover with your present campaign?

    Message
    Depending on your goal, you have to choose the right message to communicate with your prospective customers. The advertising media has to conform to the selected message.

    Product and service that you offer through your site
    B2B and B2C products and services are usually different in nature and require different media to reach targeted market.

    Budget
    The choice of media depends vastly on your budget consideration.

    Major offline advertising mediums

    Newspapers
    Newspapers are very popular media forms of advertising. If you are not planning to reach out to the mass, classified sections of local newspapers should be your first choice.

    Magazines
    Specialized magazines are good for targeting particular interest group. If you sell golf accessories through your site, you should definitely consider advertising in one of the local golf magazines. However, ad spaces in magazines are often quite expensive.

    Radio
    Radio advertising is a good option, if your business is aimed at certain social group like teenagers, housewives, drivers, etc. This is also a relatively inexpensive way of delivering your message to a certain community or locality.

    Television
    If the products or services that you offer have mass appeal, television is an excellent media of advertising. As the audience of a TV station changes depending on the show aired there is a limited possibility of target marketing. The ability to use audio visual scenes helps delivering certain types of message to the audience more clearly than any other media, which makes TV advertising highly effective but quite costly.

    Yellow pages and other directories
    You should definitely add your business along with your website URL to as many printed directories as you can. Industry specific directories are good advertising media for B2B businesses.

    Outdoor Advertising
    Outdoor advertising with billboards, posters, etc. are effective way of reaching out to a certain neighborhood. Since the exposure rate of billboards is very high – people often take the same route to work, it is a great medium to create brand recognition.

    Transit advertising
    Advertising on various transports, terminals, subway are known as transit advertising. Like billboards with this type of advertising you can target a specific route or area. This can be a very effective way to get your message to blue-collar workers, if that is your market segment.

    Direct Mail
    Excellent way of delivering you message in the form of promotional letters, catalogs, flyers, circulars, coupons, etc. to your prospective customers. If you choose your mailing list correct, the exposure rate and the response rate can be very high.


    PUBLICITY

    Publicity is any form of presentation of ideas, products, or services delivered by the media themselves rather than as a paid advertisement.
    If your website carries a really new message or unique and innovative products or services, for you publicity will be definitely more effective than advertising. People, often, trust news stories and articles much more than they trust paid advertisements.

    Press release
    Newspapers, magazines, TV and Radio are the main publicity conduits.
    Press releases are the tool to get into these media. Whenever, you do something with your online business, which you think is newsworthy you should write a press release and send it off.

    The main idea of a press release is to grab attention from a news editor so that he writes a story on the subject.

    That’s why follow the following rules while writing a press release:

    • Keep it simple, clear and precise
    • Be accurate in facts and figures
    • The news highlights should be expressed in the first two paragraphs
    • The press release should have an eye-catching headline
    • Tell your story from different perspective
    • The press release should have less than 200 words
    • Mention your website URL at least in two different places

    BUSINESS MATERIAL AND STATIONERY

    All your business literatures, materials and stationery should have similar consistent logotype and URL address. This is an extremely effective brand creation method within the group of people those, who one way or another, interact with your business.

    PROMOTIONAL ITEMS

    Give away items such as Pens, coffee mugs, key chains, coasters, calendars, sticky notes, etc. should have your company logo and web address. Apart from building brand this also work as a daily reminder for users of these items.

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