DM News

Real-World Ways to Build Cyber Traffic: Print ads, press releases, trade groups and talks help attract customers


by Debra A. Jason, The How-To Writer (Feb. 24, 1997)

When you think about it, the World Wide Web is like a direct mail package. In the same way that you have to intrigue prospects to open the outer envelope, you have to get your site noticed among the overwhelming number of sites continually going online.

If no one calls up your site, how can they respond to it? Like any direct marketing vehicle, response is critical to your longevity on the World Wide Web.

Guiding traffic to your site should be a vital component of your marketing plan. There are many avenues you can take such as registering with search engines and linking with similar sites, but all too often, companies don’t think about how they can market their sites offline. Outlined below are six strategies you can use to drive prospects to your Web site so that you may profit from it.

1. Put your URL on every piece of printed matter.

Your Web site address should be on your business card, your advertisements, your brochures, your fax cover sheet and every letter you mail out.

Any printed piece, from a letter to a self-mailer, makes a statement about your company. Be sure that your Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is added to everything you mail, fax or hand out. And, as you reach out to hand people your materials, tell them to notice your Web address.

2. Submit press releases to local newspapers and trade publications.

Effective publicity can boost your overall marketing effort at little or no cost, and in many cases, it can be more effective than paid advertising. Send a press release on your new Web site to your local newspapers and to national and local trade publications in your field. Even if your site isn’t written up as a feature article, a blurb or a mention in “Web sites of the week” will put your URL in the public eye.

3. Send releases to Internet publications.

Many Internet magazines, such as Wired, Internet World, .Net and Online Access, also feature a “site of the week.” If the editor finds your site unique and innovative, it could be his/her “pick” in the next issue. Check mastheads and publisher Web sites for e-mail addresses so you can send out press releases, complete with hot links to your URL, directly to the editors.

4. Send announcements to your current mailing list.

Sending announcements to all the clients and prospects on your mailing list helps you spark interest and curiosity, remind customers that you’re still around, and expose more people to your products and services online.

By visiting your site, customers and prospects can obtain valuable details needed to make a buying decision without feeling the pressure of a sales pitch.

5. Join professional organizations and/or community groups.

The list of groups you may wish to consider, if you haven’t already joined, includes your local Chamber of Commerce, local or national advertising or direct marketing clubs, marketing or public relations associations, trade groups or nonprofit organizations. But don’t just join, pay your dues and walk away. Volunteer to serve on a committee or sit on the board of directors.

As your colleagues find out who you are and learn more about your business or product, you’re increasing your network of contacts. At each meeting or event you attend, share the news about your Web site. Let people know you’re online and what they may find at your site. Curiosity alone can be a great motivator that directs traffic to your location.

6. Offer to speak in public.

In addition to the organizations mentioned above, others such as the Win/Win Forum, Sales Professionals, Business Marketing Association (BMA) or Business and Professional Women (BPW) are interested in finding new speakers to present to their members as well. That person could be you.

Presenting what you know increases your credibility, puts you among a circle of potential prospects, and gives you the opportunity to hand out materials, brochures, business cards — all of which now have your new URL printed on them.

Over time you’ll find that when your site gets a “hit” you’re making sales or generating leads. And when the phone rings, the person on the other end may have never met you, but has seen your Web site and now wants to talk business.

Debra A. Jason is principal of The Write Direction, founded in Boulder, CO in 1989. Offering copywriting services, she specializes in creative content for web & direct marketing communications. She can be reached at debra[at]writedirection[dot]com. The company’s Web site address is https://www.writedirection.com.

©Copyright 1997 Debra Jason dba The Write Direction. All rights reserved. 1920 13th Street, Suite B, Boulder, CO 80302.