In order to establish a thriving Internet Business, you must use every channel available to you. This includes all the online channels, but it also includes the off-line world. Here are a few ways you can promote your on-line presence:
1. Word of mouth promotion
2. Brochures, off-line newsletters
3. Business cards
4. Direct mailing
5. Business Networking
(1) Word of mouth promotion: Talk to your friends, families, and other people about your web site, they know you and hopefully trust you! Let them know what you are doing and encourage them to visit your website and to tell others. Make sure the people close to you know and understand what you are doing.
One day I had the opportunity to overhear my father tell an acquaintance what I did for a living. My business had been in transition for several years and the way Dad described my business was years out of date. It made me wonder how many other people in my life also had no idea what my business was about, or what I was marketing!
(2) Brochures, Flyers, leaflets … the intent is the same … describe your business in writing. Make it short and as simple as you can. Promote the benefits of doing business with you. It seems crazy to have to remind you to make sure you include your web site address and email in the flyers, but I’ve seen businesses spend good money on a full color brochure and then neglect to include all the important contact information.
I help one client produce a “newsletter” four times a year. The four page newsletter printed on a good quality glossy stock, is her “brochure.” It contains a few interesting articles, some tidbits and of course, her promos and a strong call to action for her services. She networks with about ten complimentary businesses and gives them a stack of newsletters for their reception rooms. She is directly able to track new business that comes from the newsletters.
(3) BUSINESS CARDS: Make sure you have business cards that contain your web site and email addresses, give your business cards to the people you know or meet.
It’s interesting, people rarely throw away business cards! I’ve kept business cards for up to five years and then have contacted the person when I needed their service. I had someone keep MY business card for over 8 years … they turned into a fabulous client when their business changed focus and needed by services.
Business cards are CHEAP. Give them out, don’t hoard them. If you have networking partners you could have them display a stack of your cards. Think outside the box! At a conference I attended, I had special cards printed … pointing people to my contest pages. The conference organizers slipped these into everybody’s conference package for a token price. (They NEED stuff for their packages). Check out MOO CARDS, they are very, very cool.
(4) DIRECT MAILING: Don’t forget real mail. Send out brochures or newsletters to targeted lists. Experiment with post cards or small booklets. Though this doesn’t quite quality as “direct mail” … put three or four business cards into EVERY envelope you mail out. Check out my LUMPY MAIL article for great ideas on getting your mail opened!
(5) NET-WORKING: Those of us who run Internet related businesses often find ourselves sitting in front of the computer day after day. We can forget that there are real live people wandering about in the world … who aren’t on the Internet 24×7! Net-working with real live people is a great way of building your business, and getting out from infront of your computer screen for a few hours.
Personally I find this difficult. I’d MUCH rather be in front of my computer screen and on the phone. However, I make myself go to at least a few meetings a month. I found a Dan Kennedy business group that was interesting and very low pressure. People went for the information … they also networked, but it was easy because people talked about the information being presented and didn’t try to “sell” themselves. Surprizing to me, I have several long-term customers resulting from the relationships I developed. It didn’t happen overnight, but considering the actual time I put into it, it is actually quite magical.
Successful marketing is the result of taking many different steps consistently.
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