View Full Version : Offline Marketing
02-25-2004, 11:37 AM
Offline marketing - does it work or not?
Overstock just spent a couple of million $$ on offline marketing - TV. Did it play the freight? Sure. They got known as a place to go shop online by millions of people.
We have been doing offline ads for years.
The key is domain name...you need a short, easy to remember name...then it's a cinch.
Classified ads are a huge profit center, if you can get them cheap enough.
100,000 circulation for $100 is a decent deal. A 1% return is 1,000 visitors. There are some good things that happen. The links can't be stolen for one. Competition for the click is limited for another. It takes some real effort to transfer the link from the print media to the puter, so the viewer is interestd for sure if he does this.
The key thing is to remember what you are selling. YOU ARE SELLING THE CLICKTHRU, so your ad copy must achieve this result.
You sell the product, service etc, when they get to your webpage.
Offline advertising is 2-step advertising.
First step, get people to go to the webpage. Second step, get people to buy what you are selling. (So is SE stuff)
In case anyone hasn't figured it out yet, a search engine is a glorified classified ad business and so is eBay.
The key is eyeballs and cost.
02-25-2004, 05:46 PM
Offline marketing - does it work or not?
Yes it can work, but could be very costly.
My brothers home town, UK, was mention in a US news paper and USA visitor to the town have increased.
02-26-2004, 05:21 AM
Offline marketing can pay its way, but only if the channel you use for your adverts etc is going to be seen by your target market.
For a low cost advertising medium, Online seems to win hands down. Adwords and Overture can be fantastic at ROI for a fraction of the cost of offline media.
So depending on your target market and marketing budget, offline may be an option, but in my opinion online still has the edge.
02-26-2004, 07:30 AM
Sorry, I disagree. PPC such as AdWords are a waste of money. I have yet to have a website that tried it, to gain any significant business. Properly targeted, off-line ads give a much better ROI. Case in point, which I have just about beat to death, Amazon.com did not become popular by on-line advertising. They ran heavily concentrated radio spots.
Of course, going nation-wide, if not world-wide is expensive. However, most companies are not selling everything under the Sun as is Amazon.com. Does it matter whether you sell a widget locally or across the country (if shipping is not an issue)? No. Therefore, you can target specific markets and specific groups within those markets as your budget will allow. Newspaper, magazine, radio and even TV ads can be affordable. Many CATV companies offer local advertising.
02-26-2004, 09:30 AM
Question is which 50% works.
One point most people miss is that search engines are just glorified classified ad sites.
You find the 50% that works you make money.
Offline works too. But it's the same thing.
You got to find the 50% that works.
Amazon, however, is a bad example. Radio was just one channel. They got the brand recognition from their affiliate program, just as much as from any offline.
It took them 4 plus years to even come close to making a profit. I wouldn't say that's real great marketing.
The key to offline and online is what's it cost and how many sales do you need to make to cover the cost.
Whether you can afford it is not the question. But how much can you afford is the big deal.
Selling is WORK. The problem with most online types is they don't or aren't willing to do any.
This applies to merchants as well as affiliates.
PPC doesn't work for most merchants because they don't have enough money to do it, their web sites are not designed to sell, and they are always trying to cut corners because they think that's how to drive profits.
Yet buying is a process - you skip any steps you lower your chances of making the sale.
It's simple stuff.
02-26-2004, 11:22 AM
When I started off I did not want to have to spend lotsa dough to advertise my business. For one thing I did not have that kinda money to invest to drive sales to my site back then. Read http://www.webproworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=12146 to see how I got started.
In fact I spent a total of $500 I think in 2 years on promoting the site which is really good. I just let others do the advertising for me. Now I have over 115 websites linking to my pages.
I am very anti PPC as I haven't known many that actually succeeded greatly from them. Instead I found that a radio station had done a spot about my site which they never told me they were gonna do and I actually found out about it when author Roger Polt (Crackers For Your Soup) wrote me to tell me he heard about my site thru the show. Give your clients a good product and they will advertise you themselves.
Content is King. And Offline Marketing rules too. (Methinks they go hand in hand).
If you can get a local radio station or tv, or newspaper to do an interview or do an article on you, you are doing aok. Just make sure you remember to mention your URL in the interview and hope they actually publish it. Be prepared for all the questions.
02-26-2004, 11:30 AM
Thanks! You always come up with such interesting topics and get people thinking!
Since this is posted in the affiliate forum I will mention some experiences as it relates to offline affiliate marketing. With some programs this can work quite well, even guerilla marketing on a budget can work.
I know some affiliates for DentalPlans who have done some pretty creative advertising with flyers in various locations. Some of my affiliates for chatdollars a dating phone chat line have done pretty well with low cost newspaper ads.
Of course, I don't think these low cost methods have the reach or will generate the results that online marketing could, but for some it can add incremental income.
02-26-2004, 01:03 PM
You want FREE offline exposure?
Learn how to write news releases and send out 100 per month to every relevant national and local publication you can find.
10% or so will eventually get published and one or two just might make it into a big deal publication.
I once got a full page feature in the Buffalo News Sunday edition (500k circ) just from a one page PR piece I sent them about a discount coupon deal. Sold $12k worth of stuff.
It costs about $40 to send out 100 snail mail PR pieces.
Publications ALWAYS need FREE content that looks like news.
Almost everything you see in trade magazines is based on edited PR pieces.
There are trade mags for just about everything.
Suppose you do something like this with
one of the auto insurance free quote deals as a PR piece.
Create A Headline to die for:
New, FREE Website Helps People Save Up To 40% On Their Auto Insurance.
Write a 3 paragraph news like story of how it all works. Put the site URL in the 2nd paragraph.
Print it and send it to all the local newspapers. Wait. If you send out say 10 of them, you should get 5 or so printed in the local media in about 30 days or so.
The web page should be a one screen deal with the first part touting how to get the savings - i.e. get lots of FREE quotes.
The second part should be an annotated banner link for the specific merchant you wish to deal with.
The last part should be an Adsense 4 spot banner and a link to a search engine that pays you for a search.
Try to get it to all fit in one screen.
Now if you get the PR piece printed, you get what amounts to targetted traffic.
Say you get 100 visitors, 10 do the free quotes, 10 click on an adsense link and 10 do a search.
You make something like $20 to $25. Your cost $.50 max for that publication.
You get lucky and get a PR picked up by the local newspaper you could get 1,000 visitors and make some good money.
Without a doubt Press Releases are the best way to spread the word about your site. Unfortunately the editor or writer has to feel your site is worthy of their readers / viewers / listeners, and most are not. Sorry, but very few people find what most sites have to offer interesting. You have to be "mainstream worthy" in most cases. If your site has something to do with current affairs, you stand a decent chance, otherwise it's a hard fought battle.
Case in point,
I sent out a press release for my site http://www.leavingcal.com myself. I did it by simply going to media websites and getting their email addresses or fax numbers and sending them a half well written email about us. At the time California was just going into this depression and dealing with rolling blackouts. To my surprise the release was picked up immediately, which usually is a good thing, but I was still building the site and not really ready yet. I'm good at doing things like that. First the Associated Press contacted me and ran a story. I was in nearly every paper in the nation in two days, front page on many. My cousin called from Nevada telling me she couldn't belive I made the front page of the Reno Times. Next thing several local television stations called me and I was then plastered all over the local news. Radio station were calling for interviews left and right. The site was getting 10's of thousands of hits a day from noting more than one simple, free press release. Tech TV called and scheduled a live interview. So far all the air time I had was news segments that were cut and edited, and I actually seemed pretty sharp. But in "live TV" all the umm's, and uh's are part of the show. But it was a blast even though I probably looked like an idiot. I didn't even think of selling advertising until I started getting blasted with email from agents across the nation wanting to advertise on my site.
Now mind you I had sent out many email press releases for other sites in the past and got very little to no response so I was not expecting this at all. For about 3 months after the press release the site was booming, even after burning out one server. I was averaging over $10,000 a month on unexpected advertising. I had done an interview with People, or Newsweek Mag, can't remember which, but then came along 9/11 and the story was killed. The short lived roller coster ride ended fast. Within a week our hits fell to in the hundreds, where they are still today.
Since then I have mailed out dozens of other press releases for LeavingCal, as well as the other dozen sites I operate and have had no attention at all. Even used a press release company and still got nothing.
The key to press releases is simple, they have to catch peoples attention. First the writer, then the editor and finally the public. If you are trying to get attention for a cool new site, that is like many others forget about it. Look at what you have from their point of view. If you have something that catches the current affair wave, then get it out now and ride it while it lasts.
Still to this day if you type in LeavingCal into Google or Yahoo you'll find over 100 links, many from the press release sent out 3 years ago.
02-26-2004, 11:46 PM
Again, Mastermind, I disagree. Amazon.com is a perfect example. Yes, they took a few years to turn a profit. Most businesses take 5 years to do that, if they ever do. They marketed heavily on the the radio, period. The on-line affiliates was not the bread-and-butter that moved them to be a household name. They had clever spots such as the series they ran of the man trying to find buildings big enough to hold their imaginary inventory, such as the Pentagon. Remember? This was at a time when the internet was just coming of age, so on-line advertising would mean absolutely nothing to their bottom line.
PPC and such depends too much on chance. Did the potential customer use the proper keywords? Did your unscrupulous competitor click your ads until the account ran dry? Did the visitor even pay attention the sponsored link? Did your competition bid higher for placing than you?
Now, you got it close to right when you started talking about things such as press releases and ads disguised as content. If it's targeted and can hold the reader's interest and if written properly. Plus it's inexpensive. However, it's worth much more off-line than on-line. Something about it being in the reader's hand makes it much more appealing than reading it on the screen. That is worth its weight in gold.
02-27-2004, 09:34 AM
pretty much sucks, unless you have some deep pockets to start with.
Waiting 5 years to make a profit might be the norm for Harvard Business School case studies, but not too many people are going to do anything for 5 years that has a continuous negative return.
I agree that there are some negatives with PPC traffic. But there are some negatives with getting FREE SE traffic and offline traffic as well.
There are NO FREE lunches in brick and motar or online commerce.
The problem is always the same: what's the most effective way to turn foot traffic or eyeballs into money.
Offline, it costs about 1 cent per impression for display space based on a whole page ad. Classifieds are about 1/10th of cent per impression. The major difference between offline and online is that offline is a fixed cost - you get x amount of circulation for y amount of money. Online doesn't work this way when it comes to SE, there is no fixed amount of traffic. As a result it's hard to quantify the future. Will you get 100 visitors or 10?
Email marketing at least gives you a fixed amount of circulation.
No matter how you slice and dice it, it's all traffic arbitrage. If it costs you 1 cent per visitor and you make 2 cents per visitor, you get to play the game longer than the guy who pays 1 cent and only collects less than 1 cent per visitor.
The key is scale. The guy with the most eyeballs wins.
02-27-2004, 11:36 AM
Don't limit your advertising to only what peole can see ("eyeballs"). A huge amount of information people absorb is through their ears. Although, not high-tech, print ads can get far more impressions than they may advertise. Look at all of the old magazines in waiting rooms.
Even the IRS gives a business five years of losses before you turn a profit. Most businesses fail. Those that don't have been persistent. Five years is just the blink of an eye. The fast-buck is a fast way to lose money. The keys are patience and persistence.
No one is suggesting that the average start-up launch a TV/Radio campaign nation-wide. Start locally and grow. Advertising doesn't cost, it pays.
02-27-2004, 02:33 PM
All the time...someone gets the money, but not necessarily the advertiser.
Here's a test you can do with ALL the advertising wanks to see if they want to play.
Go to ANY advertising agency and ask them if advertising works...when they say YES, make them this offer.
Mr. Ad Guru, you use your money and buy me $1 million worth of what you determine is the perfect ad campaign for my business and I'll give you 30% of the gross sales generated from your efforts.
If you get a taker, you call me and we'll
do the same thing and I'll give you 10% of what the ad agency makes from my gross sales.
In 30 years of dealing with this crowd, I have never had a taker for this offer. Seems when it comes to using their own money ad agencies are all hypocrites.
But that's not really the case. They aren't will to bare the risk of failure for any reason.
Yet it's the same offer every CPA merchant makes to all their online affiliates.
Affiliates who do CPA are dumber than ad wanks it would seem.
But even that is not necessarily true. Getting a few hundred or even thousand visitors to a CPA merchant is not all that costly and an affiliate has a chance at at least breaking even if everyone is honest.
But when you scale it up to 10,000 to 1 million visitors, the costs go up exponentially.
An affiliate program is simply a tool to spread the cost of getting traffic.