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Why Online Marketers Need Offline Publicity

Nov 5, 2007
You prosper or fail online by the amount of targeted traffic you can drive to your website, and the competition is fierce for any topic that's even remotely popular. The "holy grail" of Internet Marketing - a top 10 position in a search engine like Google - is so far out of reach for most of us that it might as well be the moon.

Sure, there are other traffic-generating strategies, such as pay-per-click advertising - but that gets expensive. And linkbuilding (through link exchanges or article submissions) is effective, but tedious and time-consuming.

Isn't there a better way to drive targeted traffic to your website?

In my experience, the answer is "yes", but it requires an honest assessment of the effectiveness of advertising and a willingness to step outside traditionally accepted online marketing methods.

To be blunt - advertising just doesn't work like it used to, either offline or online.

We're inundated with ads and people have become skeptical, especially if you're touting some product or service they've never heard of. On the Internet, you're a click away from your nearest competitor. It's just plain tough to convince someone who doesn't know you, who's never heard of you, and who hasn't seen your face plastered on every billboard in town to give your website more than a cursory glance.

So instead of advertising, you need a way to not only get people to your website, but get people there who are predisposed to trust what you have to say. In other words, not only "targeted" traffic (website visitors who are interested in your site's topic) but "presold" traffic (people who are already convinced that you're a credible source for information or expertise on your topic.)

What you need is publicity - and best of all, it's free!

Why? Because publicity is seen as news, not advertising.

Look, there's no magic to publicity - it's simply news that is disseminated about you (or your company or your product) through media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, and television.

You can't buy it publicity, although you can initiate it. And because it comes from a magazine or newspaper or a favorite TV anchor person - someone who's perceived to be non-biased - it's trusted. It's seen as believable. (And as we noted before, convincing people to believe what you say is the ONLY way to make a sale!

When you get publicity, you also benefit from a couple of other psychological perceptions, too.

First, media representatives don't cover just anybody. Someone who hears about your business on TV or who sees you quoted in a newspaper article almost invariably thinks you must be an expert, or you wouldn't be taken seriously enough to be featured.

You also benefit from the public perception that it takes a lot of money to advertise on radio or TV or in a national magazine. When your business is highlighted in the same issue or on the same broadcast as Ford Motor Company or Cover Girl Cosmetics, you're seen as being successful enough to mingle with the best and most successful companies out there. This is the kind of credibility-building exposure that you probably can't afford to buy!

While this is true, you may be asking yourself, "Why should I try to get offline publicity?" when your customers need to be online to conduct business with you. And this is where most Internet marketers miss the mark.

First, your customers may shop online. Do business online. Do research online. But they live offline. There are lot more potential customers who are watching TV at any given time than there are potential customers visiting your website. It's simply foolish to ignore such a large pool of potential prospects when they can be reached so easily.

Second, most of your online competitors are completely ignoring offline media, which means any coverage you get is much more likely to make your website stand out.

But best of all, publicity doesn't cost you a cent! And since there are more news programs, radio shows, and specialized print publications than ever, there's a never-ending demand for insight and information on virtually any subject you can think of.

If you're not already getting all the website traffic and orders you can handle, you truly need to go after some of that offline publicity for yourself. Fame and fortune await!
About the Author
Internet entrepreneur Diana Ratliff reveals the secrets of using offline publicity to generate online traffic in her newest ebook, The Publicity Traffic System.
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