More evidence has come my way today of the immense value of “offline marketing” for anyone running an online business. If you read much of the Internet marketing “mantra” you’ll be told about how to use emails, how to place adverts in ezines, how to get yourself mentioned in blogs and so on. Well, the harsh reality is that these marketing outlets represent only a tiny proportion of the sources of Internet traffic. According to a study for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, some 47% of people start their search for buying something by reading a magazine. That’s by far the biggest proportion of people who do that. The study shows that only 8% of people start their search in a social networking site like MySpace. In other words you could be six times more likely to get your buyer if you have an article in a printed magazine than if you have an entry on MySpace. So what does this mean for your online business. It means your strategy for marketing your business needs to begin with public relations; get yourself in newspapers and magazines and you will sell more than if you concentrate in search engine placement or using online strategies. And what does this tell us about the way people behave online? It means that in spite of the ubiquitous nature of the Internet, more people have more trust in an old, established communications vehicle such as print.
If you are a “big change” business, then you are like my garden fence. Leaving it unpainted for so long has created much more work, at a higher cost, than if it had been tended to every year. Ignoring reviews of your online activity for long periods also means you make more work for yourself and raise your costs.