April 19, 2010
Although it was a very long time ago, I remember clearly how concerned I was when the Internet really started to take off. All of my friends were convinced that my highly successful career path in the direct mail industry was sure to be a short one. In fact, I was pretty certain they were correct and started to wonder what my next good idea would be and how soon I could come up with it. But, today, my business is thriving and the past ten to fifteen years have been a wonderful ride. Thank you, the Internet.
How much time, energy and money have you spent on promoting your website(s)? I would bet a lot. How much frustration and disappointment have you felt about the return on your investment in time energy and dollars spent? Again, I would bet, a lot.
Once people get fixated on their website and the Internet, they tend to fall prey to the blinders syndrome. This meaning, they forget about the fact that their website is actually a product as much as it is a sales tool and like all of the most successful products, an integrated marketing approach is going to yield the best results. Yet, most individuals promoting websites stick to doing so by using the Internet to market their site. This is a tough way to compete with others promoting similar websites that offer similar products or services. Unless you have one heck of a unique product or service, it is awfully difficult and expensive to get onto page number one of a search. And, you can spend tremendous amounts of time and money trying before you figure this out.
So, the key to separating your site from the pack is to promote it differently than the pack. This means taking off the blinders and looking at the other resources available to you. In other words, more traditional forms of advertising. This could include classified ads, radio, television, magazine ads, billboards, flyers — anything but the Internet.
The one form of traditional advertising not noted above, and frankly the most effective, is direct mail marketing. Why, other than the fact that it is the industry I chose more than thirty years ago, would I make this bold statement? There are three good reasons. (1) it is highly targetable — less money spent on uninterested souls (2) it is highly measurable — you can determine which lists work and which do not and make adjustments and (3) it can be very, very cost effective if you work with a company that knows the industry inside and out, including creative, data processing, print production and postal regulations.
The kinds of companies that my company works with, for the most part, are large national mailers. All of them have a highly professional and effective website. None of them rely upon search engine optimization alone, or even primarily, to promote their sites. They use an integrated marketing approach to drive prospects to their sites.
Most individuals and small companies cannot afford to consider television, radio or magazine advertising. But, anyone who can spend the kind of money required to get anywhere close to page one in a search can afford a direct mail campaign. It may be something as simple as a four inch by six inch postcard (the maximum size to achieve the best postal rate for a postcard) with a stamp that you use to direct a highly targeted prospect to your website. I think you would likely agree, it is not your site you are struggling with, it is traffic to the site that is the big challenge.
So, in conclusion — take off those blinders and start to utilize the other tools that are available to you. Find a direct mail company that knows how to promote your website by using list companies, can write copy and knows about the USPS regulations. I can assure you, your traffic concerns will diminish radically.
Lad Scott is the founder of The Scott Group, Inc., a national award winning direct mail production company. For 30+ years, SGI has produced mailings for some of the nations largest mailers. To learn more about SGI and what their highly recognizable clients think about them, go to http://www.TheScottGroup.org . Mr. Scott also wrote the definitive step by step, checklist based guide to doing flawless mailings. Go http://www.Mailings-Made-Easy.com .