Don’t forget how we used to do it

tv1.jpgToday when most young entrepreneurs start a new website, blog or online business they can tend to get tunnel vision in relation to generating traffic and advertising, the internet is still very young, many of us have been lucky enough to see it grow from nothing and many are now earning good money form various ideas with others just itching to jump on the train.

I am sure in the coming 5-10 years many people reading this post just now will have made huge sums of money online, the opportunities are still opening up and evolving with many new ways of making money always just around the corner. In the mid 90’s if only we were all buying up domain names and sitting on them, it’s not too late.

However I digress, a common problem with today’s startup is that they perhaps focus too much on saturated mediums where margins may be tight and highly competitive, may I suggest everyone keeps in mind traditional print, media and offline promotion. With the larger companies taking huge budgets online traditional media has suffered a lot in the last 12 months and now is a very good time to negotiate deals in offline media.

Even if your business, blog or website is run online, consider those marketing methods that every other business before the internet used to use to get customers to the shopfront, albeit yours is a virtual shopfront that is an advantage being more accessible and available.

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers national & local
  • Leaflets drops to houses/businesses & in publications
  • Local radio
  • Television adverts
  • Billboards
  • Word of mouth
  • Offering freebies with branding

Printing large volumes of flyer’s has probably never been cheaper, when I started in 2000 I had 30,000 A5 leaflets printed which I then took to my local newspaper and paid to have them inserted in every copy of that week’s publication and it kicked started my local business and networking very well with a physical leaflet falling out of the paper.

paper.jpgNewspaper advertising can be used to target specific areas, ages and different interests and huge discounts are often offered to fill advertising spaces, remember that when you are enquiring about advertising you are in control and it is their job to offer sufficient discount and extra benefit to sell you the space, the power is firmly with the advertiser.

Local radio can be fantastic for branding and very affordable 30-60 second ads can be Radionegotiated with discounts for more than one airing, usually they can offer cheap production services for recording the advert as well so that you only need to supply the wording. Great for targeting specific areas of lifestyles & age groups.

Television is not the domain of only large corporations and may not be outwith your reach, TV production has come on leaps and bounds local airtime can be very cost effective with the ability to target very specific audiences.

free.jpgPrinting services are again a highly effective and very affordable way of branding your forum, shop or business, looking to offer a freebie with your URL on it is a great way to generate traffic and branding, for example if I ran a camera forum then perhaps I would look into getting a lens cleaning cloth produced with my url on it and look to see if it could be given away free with a camera magazine/publication. Everybody still loves a freebie!

Remember all those methods may have suffered to some extent with the huge growth of the internet and that in itself creates an opportunity for the entrepreneur.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.

Comments

  1. You mentioned some cool ideas there Scott and ones I personally would never have thought of. When I think about online I tend to think that it needs to be online. I dont know what got me in this mindset, but after reading this I have thought of a few ideas which could help grow my forum as well as another site that I run too.

    • Glad to hear it Matthew, it’s easy to focus online and also get a bit of tunnel vision, there certainly are advertising opportunities for most of our sites and businesses offline that can work very well.

  2. A company called Spotrunner helps put television advertising within reach of entrepreneurs and small businesses. They have stock television advertisement footage. You select the ad that you want and they do a voice over and insert your company’s name. Here is a link to an example of how it works.

    http://www.spotrunner.com/about/ads.aspx

  3. I had a feeling making a TV ad should be quite easy with todays software unlike the huge expense it would have been years ago. $499 for a TV advert created sounds like a great deal, thanks for the link Ed.

  4. Another great read and some good ideas…. now if only I ran a camera forum…. oh, I do! 🙂

    As a freelance web developer, I’ve thought about the leaflet/flyer and newspaper idea as it can be a great way to target local people and businesses to get work. I’ll have to find out some prices I think and see what’s involved.

    • It’s worth considering Garry, that type of branding could bring a lot of knowledgable people to your forum and add value way above monetary cost.

  5. Those are really good ideas, don’t forget you can also put stickers of your website on your car/motorcycle which at some point might catch the glimpse of an interested person and also it is quite cheap to do.

    • Indeed, if you have a 4wd then a spare wheel cover, or car bumper stickers, you can advertise pretty cheaply on buses. Perhaps someone should create a new business to offer advertising on the rear of caravans 🙂 Lots of options there and many of them worth investigation and trying along the way.

  6. I have to say that you bring up alot of good points. Advertising is very important for any business to survive and as more and more business conduct business over the internet, it’s going to become alot more important to find ways to distinguish your business from every other business located on the internet.

    While it’s true that the internet is still in it’s infancy, it’s also growing faster than any other industry out there. I am a former website designer and know first hand about how business is changing at a rapid pace online.
    For example: We use to use tables to build websites. Now we are using standards set forth by the http://www.w3c.com. Now CSS is the current standards. Also it’s important that you don’t just put a static website up and leave it anymore. Visitors want interactive sites that has updated content on a daily basis.

    I’m all for this. But my concerns are that even with advertising, will websites such as blogs and social sites lose their appeal seeing that even though their traffic can be high, they basically don’t sell any products or services?

    And also what will replace these current sites in the short or long term, and how fast will the changes occur?

    I also agree that 10 years from now we will all say why didn’t I think of that, or who was to know?

    Going back to designing websites. About 5 years ago you could make good money from just building websites for others. now everybody builds their own websites.

    Social websites look very interesting but how do you create income? Im working on some new ideas for a new website and would like to discuss some ideas with some other designers and entrepreneurs and so on.

    E-Mail me from my site at http://www.bizenez.com.I know it’s a tad bit outdated but please bear with me.

  7. I always keep my message direct and simple when using leaflet
    distribution
    and try to include a response mechanism.
    Response rates significantly increase through the
    use of freepost and business reply cards.

  8. Yes, offline promotion works well for website and online product promotion.

    One thing I’ve learned is that while the clicks to a website come slower with offline methods, the conversion rate tends to be much higher than for online advertising.

    I suspect that’s because people type the URL and give it their full atention for a while, rather than just skimming over it on their way to the next website.

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