View Full Version : Promotion: The Good, Bad, Relevant?
09-15-2004, 12:37 AM
I am currently trying to help promote a website based on language education. After brainstorming for weeks, nothing seems to really fit. SEO so far isn't too bad, but we do not want to rely on search engines to help promote everything. Rankings can fall in a day. Newsletters seem to be a good idea, but how would I go about doing that? Email and spam seem ok, but it seems that everyone knows what spam is and looks like today, and so do the programs that destroy it. I have thought about joining larger popup and payperclick organizations, but wouldn't that be too costly? Directories and link exchanges are already in effect, but all that they are doing is helping build a "link partners" page on other web sites.
I want to know what is thought to be the most effective form of advertising, one where an amount of money goes in, and visitors and profits come out. And I am also looking for company names. I have already done some research myself, but I need some other feedback.
I am also looking for forms of advertising that would be relevant with education. You don't see education companies advertising in spam next to the other email that says "FREE PILLS" and "1000 GROCERY COUPONS." It needs to have more of a professional look. (And what about off-line advertising?)
The point is: How would you promote an education company?
Thanks for the feedback.
09-15-2004, 09:22 PM
Well, I guess I would want to know more about your product. In your first sentence you said you were trying to promote a website, in your last sentence you asked about how to promote a company.
The difference is that if your product is completely online and you have a limited budget, you will most likely want to focus most of your advertising online. You'll be able to reach more of your audience.
On the other hand, if you offer products or services offline or have a large local interest in your products/services, you will want to incorporate offline advertising.
For example, if I fix cars, I'll want to advertise with local mailings, billboards, local newspapers, etc. It is a good idea to mention my website in the ads, but it's not the point of the ad.
Conversely, if my major product is a series of e-books about how to raise green gerbils, using local offline ads won't do me much good. There just aren't too many people in my neighborhood who 1. have a computer 2. have an internet connection and 3. have an interest in learning how to raise green gerbils. I'll need to focus nearly all my advertising efforts online. If I have a large budget, I might like to advertise in "Monthly Green Gerbil Digest" or at the annual "North American Green Gerbil Breeders Association" conference, but these options will be expensive.
So inexpensive online options include pay-per-click through Overture or Google, contacting website owners to advertise on their site or in their newsletter, press releases, and writing helpful articles about your area of expertise. Search these forums for any of these topics and you'll get plenty of great information. Just writing articles and putting them on your site will create great spider food and eventually help to establish your company/site as an authority while creating a reason for other sites to link to you naturally.
If you have enough local interest in your product, I always suggest running an ad in your local newspaper, In larger cities this can get expensive, so try putting an ad in a surrounding town's paper. You can go with a cheap classified ad or in one of the more expensive ads scattered throughout the paper. I have done this once to promote my web design services and I had to stop doing it because I got too much of a response, so trust me when I say local offline advertising can work.
My son just started Kindergarten this year. My Wife just HAD to join the Parent Teacher Organization. They sent home this offer to sponsor their newsletter; 12 issues for $50 for a small ad. I couldn't get my checkbook fast enough. The first issue hasn't come out yet, so I have no idea what kind of response I will get, but for $50 it was worth a shot.
The local football team takes ads in their programs. I company I used to work for donated money to the local school band and they put the name of their company on 300 of those foam #1 fingers (they should have had them put the name of their website on it, but this was before I worked there).
Walk (or drive) around town and look for ways to get the word out about your company/website/services. While you're driving, get one of those car-magnets made up with your company's info on it and slap it on your car.
Anyway, this went a little longer than I expected, lol. I hope it gets you in the right direction. Best of luck!
09-18-2004, 12:53 AM
Thanks for the reply. Sorry for not stating what we want to specifically advertise. So if I understand the point, since we are advertising off-line books, then we should target our advertising more towards offline ads. It makes sense.
The program we are advertising is a kids' Spanish learning program, where they are taught through a series of books of basic understanding to advanced Spanish writing. Hope that helps!
09-18-2004, 11:12 PM
No, not at all!
The cheapest way to advertise most goods and services is by a website that's well placed in the search engines. It doesn't really matter that your material isn't available as e-books. They can be sold to anyone who could make use of them. All you need is some kind of shopping cart facility (which can include a mail order system).
What our colleague flood6 is implying is that you'd confine yourself to offline ads simply because online ones would be meaningless. For instance, there'd be little sense in a local hardware store having a website if the only way a customer could buy was by going to the store, taking a product off the shelf, and going to the counter to pay for it.
What I'd suggest you do is look for Spanish language teaching sites and model a website of your own on them. In fact for that matter you could usefully take a look at "foreign language" teaching sites in general.
09-18-2004, 11:41 PM
Duncan is exactly right. I see the same mistake made in two extremes all the time: People want to make money online so they completely neglect any offline advertising opportunities. Conversely, "brick & mortar" entrepreneurs see a website as a nifty novelty to have and don't use it to its full potential.
As Duncan suggested look at selling your products online AND see if there is an effective method to do offline sales and/or marketing. Local offline advertising is often the most inexpensive, so that is why I often make the suggestion to look there first. But for a creative person, there are ways to reach a regional, national, or even international offline prospects.
Good luck, asking advice and doing research before you "jump in" is often half the battle.