More and more, the Web site is becoming the point of sale for many businesses, whether they are product or service oriented. E-commerce is driving more consumer sales than ever before, and the Internet has already become the first stop for companies interested in B2B products and services.
The bottom line is that there are very few consumer or business purchases that take place without some online research and a visit to the company Web site. That’s why companies spend all kinds of money for search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing and other online marketing tactics. When combined with the right message and attention to detail, these methods can deliver the traffic, but they aren’t the only means to bring visitors to your virtual storefront.
Traditional media, like radio and TV, can deliver visitors as well – if it’s done right. The challenge with using radio and TV as a tool for promoting products and services is that the media likes to stay commercially neutral – unless, of course, you’re buying advertising. They aren’t terribly interested in selling your products, promoting your company, or driving traffic to your Web site. That’s why some companies can fail when they try to use their PR efforts in a commercial way. They either don’t get the bookings to begin with, or their interview is cut short by the host because they sound like an infomercial on the air.
But there is a way to thread that needle, if you approach your promotional project not as an exercise in marketing, but as an exercise in serving the media. They are in business to sell advertising time against their free space or free air time – and they use this space and time to entertain their audience so the audience keeps coming back to watch, listen or read. If they’re successful, their ratings go up and their advertising department sells more ads.
So, what can you do to help them do their jobs, and at the same time get people to your company’s Web site? It’s actually quite simple, if you follow the steps:
- Cast yourself as an expert – When trying to book yourself with the media, don’t go to them as an author or CEO of your company – they don’t care. You want to pitch yourself as an expert in your field, with a series of tips or advice about your field that will be useful to their audience. I like the rule of FIVE, as an example:
- Tax Consultant – Five Tips For Getting A Bigger Refund
- Web Retail Store – Five Ways to Save Big Shopping Online
- Technology Retailer – Five Hot Tech Trends
- Business Consultant – Five Ways To Expand Your Company
- Health or Medicine – Five Ways to Be Healthier Today
- Web Business – Five Things Businesses Can Do Cheaper Online
- Write a report – Take the angle for your pitch, research it, and write a detailed report about it, really grinding down into specifics so the end result is a meaty, four or five page review of important information that you, as an expert, think people should know.
- Post it on your Web site – Place a prominent link to it on your navigation bar, or simply use what designers call a “burst,” and place the words FREE REPORT in a circle or framed icon somewhere on your home page where people will notice it. When they click it, they should go directly to your report on another page in your Web site.
- Mention it on the air – When you are on the air, going through your litany of tips, feel free to mention, “If people want to find out more about this, I have a free report on my Web site that goes into greater detail. They can find it at www… (your company Web site address goes here).” The host doesn’t mind, because you aren’t selling anything. You are offering a free resource for their listeners or viewers. It creates the opportunity for you to mention your Web site a couple of times – and in many cases, the host will repeat it – without sounding like a salesman or an infomercial.
The end result is that you deliver sales leads directly to your website which may be your online point of sale. And, you did it without buying an ad, and without offending the news media. In fact, if you were truly informative, energetic and entertaining, the media will view you as a resource, and may ask you back periodically.
Sales is a mathematical equation that starts with generating as many leads as possible. As long as your Web site is professionally executed with smart marketing in mind, more traffic to it will definitely generate more sales!