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Offline Promotion Guide

By David Callan

Banner ads, search engines and link exchanges. We've all tried them while promoting our sites and online businesses, some have worked more successfully than others mind you but just because you run an online business doesn't mean you've to always promote it online. In fact on many occasions a websites marketing budget can be spent just as effectively using offline methods as it can be using online methods such as the ones mentioned above. Indeed website branding seems to be much more successful using offline methods such as TV and Radio. This article is your guide to promoting your website offline, I hope you enjoy it.

Your URL is very important

The basis behind any offline promotion campaign for your website is of course to get your website visited more often and if your sales letter is good enough to get more sales from these extra visitors. This can only be done by getting the address of your site 'out there' and visible to lots and lots of people. It's for this reason that your URL is very important, it's your lifeline in the offline world, the amount of exposure it receives will make or break your offline campaign. It should appear on any material you send to customers or clients, others businesses you deal with and most importantly potential customers.

More on where you can put your URL offline a little later, but for now here's a little paragraph or two regarding things which you can do online to help your offline marketing efforts. First off your website should always have a banner (a standard 468 x 60 or larger banner works best) at the top of every page with your website address clearly visible on it.

The reasoning behind this it that many people prefer to print out larger webpages with articles, stories, tutorials and the like to read later and then keep for reference rather than read them online as they're surfing. Without your URL on your banner people may re-read your content but never revisit your site due to them simply forgetting your website address and you may have lost a customer.

It's also a good idea to make available online any recent press releases you may have issued. This is due to the fact that many journalists and editors surf the web, if they like your company and product they might be inclined to let their readers know why. A press release will provide them with the latest information regarding your company helping them to do this.

Now we'll go through where you can promote your site offline.

Put your URL on all day to day business items

In the day to day running of your business you'll use many document type items. By these I refer to invoices you send, faxes you send, checks you send, product packaging, business cards etc. Your URL, email address and an attractive website slogan which makes people want to visit should all be present on each of these items either in the form of a banner used with faxes, invoices or other letterhead paper items or simple text which is generally used for business cards and checks. You could even include your URL and if space permits your website slogan on all the simple letter envelopes you send out.


Next we'll talk about the big one - TV. This may well appear to be financially out of reach of all but the biggest websites with very large advertising budgets, but no this is not true. OK admittedly you probably don't and never will have the financial capability to run ads on mainstream Cable such as Fox in America or Sky in Britain and Ireland, not to worry though as such advertising is usually targeted very generally and is useful only to sites with broad appeal such as Amazon.com or Yahoo.com.

Local cable television advertising is much more feasible and effective for the more 'ordinary website'. This type of advertising appears to be very reasonably priced at the moment and is particularly effective if your product or services is oriented toward a specific geographic target market, for example imagine if you were a Detroit web design company, simply advertise your company and URL on a local Detroit channel. Contact a Sales representative from your local cable company to find out more. You should of course mention your URL on numerous occasions within your ad spot.


Radio advertising can be very effective in advertising your URL if your domain name is short, catchy and easy to remember. Creative webmasters could develop short scripts themselves whereby their ad incorporates their slogan which in turn incorporates the benefits of visiting their URL. As with TV advertising radio ads work best when targeted towards a specific demographically segmented market such as a certain cities residents. Again price wise you mightn't be able to compete with the big boys and have ads on very popular stations, but local stations offer good prices. Keep in mind however that prices all depend on when and how often your ad is run.

Newspapers, classifieds and related magazines

The print media which includes newspapers, journals and magazines is another avenue where your can have your URL exposed for everyone to see. It's best first to start advertising your products, services and URL in local newspapers and then if successful continue onto regional and national publications. If you can't afford the common graphical advertisement as seen throughout newspapers and journals related to your industry don't worry as most of these publications have classified ad sections. Classified ads allow you to reach a targeted audience very cheaply with a simple short message and of course your URL is included in there somewhere too.

Company vehicles

We all see vehicles with company names and telephone numbers on them driving our streets and motorways. This is a great idea as it gives potential customers the chance while out and about to learn about the company and also learn about how to contact them should they need the service or product they offer at some stage in the future. I often wonder why more websites aren't promoted in this way by simply adding the company website URL also, you definitely should do this.

If your business is an exclusively online entity then your URL should be large and very visible to anyone who glances in the direction of your vehicle. Again many people would be driving or walking by as your vehicle drives by and wouldn't be able to write down a long website address so it would be an advantage to have a short, easy to remember URL.

A word of advice before we move on, if you do choose to brand your personal or company vehicles with your URL have it done professionally, if your design looks poor people might be inclined to believe your site and products are poor too. Check a local business directory to find out who can do this for you.

Branded novelty items

This method is a personal favorite of mine. It involves purchasing and distributing items such as pencils, pens, t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, calendars, keychains, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets and the like. All these items will have your URL located somewhere on them helping to attract people to your website.

Usually these items are given away for free, however some sites such as Google successfully sell a number of items specifically designed to improve the Google brand.

If you decide to use such items in your offline marketing campaigns be smart about it, offer items which will be used by the people most likely to buy your products or services, for example if you sell software or computer components distribute branded mouse pads as computer users are likely to be interested in what you offer. Similarly if you sell office stationary you could distribute pens to local businesses, hopefully when they need more stationary they'll notice your slogan and URL then come visit and buy.

There are lots of angles one can take with this method, most can be very effective but just have a good think about it before you order those 3000 pens, won't you!

Press releases

Press releases were touched upon earlier on in this article but now for more in depth coverage of using them for offline promotion. Press releases or news releases as they're sometimes known are newsworthy stories about your business that you send to various sections of the media. These sections of the media must be related to your industry for you to have any chance of success. Newsworthy stories are stories which readers of the media publications you submit to might be interested in.

If the journalist reads it and likes it he or she may publish it or some of its contents in his or her publication, if this happens you're on to a winner because the public in general are much more responsive to a news story than a plain old hyped up advertisement. This could mean they'll enquire about or even purchase your products or services.

Using press releases for promotion of your website uses the same principals, if it's newsworthy release it. Newsworthy events for websites include website launches, website re launches and new online services among other items.

It'll be up to you to decide what might be of value to a journalist and hence his or her readers, however there are hundreds of businesses that can organize what's of value into a professional press release and can then submit it for you. I would recommend the path of using these businesses due to the fact that if you submit a poorly written press release the journalist who receives it will (a) not publish it or any part of it and (b) not even look at your releases in the future so do it right the first time and hire somebody. Googles a good place to start looking.

Others ideas

Other ideas include having flyers and posters printed specifically to promote your URL. Flyers could be handed out locally and posters could be placed at strategic locations such as supermarkets, malls, social clubs and business centers, well you get the idea. Don't forget about direct snail mailing to qualified prospects, bus and building billboards, bus shelters and cinema screen advertising (yes you can run ads before those big movies come on!)

Word of mouth

Last but by no means least is good old word of mouth promotion. This is the most effective method of promotion as a referral from a friend or work colleague creates a highly qualified prospect who is much more likely to buy from you than anyone who wasn't referred to you.

Think about it, would you be more likely to buy your new shiny golf clubs from a company that you first became aware of in the classified section of the 'Timbuktu Express' or the company your best friend told you about, the company he bought the set he loves and uses all the time from?

You must have a good product and website for word of mouth to work, why would people want to spread the URL of a bad website amongst their friends, family and co-workers? Well simply put, they wouldn't.

You however for a start should tell any people you deal with about your website and ask them to tell others, remember they won't want to do this unless they like your setup so make sure your products, website and customer service are top-notch.

Sorry about mentioning this for what now must be the third time, but I feel it's necessary. Word of mouth promotion will be helped dramatically if your domain name is short and easy to remember. If however it's not, don't fret, I would suggest you simply buy a secondary domain name which is easy to remember and simply redirect to your main site. Last time I mention any domain name stuff I promise :-)


Above we've dealt with different aspects of offline promotion for your website, you may have used some or all of them before, then again you may not have ever participated in an offline marketing campaign before. If you're one of the latter read my closing statement very carefully.

Even if your business only exits in the virtual world you must realize ALL your customers live and always will live in the physical world and hence can be reached much better from the physical world. The moral of the story is never ever forget about the offline promotion of your website. Your success or failure could depend on it.

Article by David Callan. David is an Internet marketing professional and webmaster of AKA Marketing.com webmaster forums. Visit his webmaster forums for the latest discussions on search engines, website authoring and Internet marketing related issues and topics.


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