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FAQs | Marketing

Using Traditional Media to Drive Site Traffic

Q1: What are the best ways to drive traffic to your site, (outside of banner ads)?

  • In my opinion an "Off-Web, Drive-to-Web" campaign, is the best way to get people to your site. Whether it be on the side of a bus, near the metro, via "newsworthy" articles in the Washington Post and other nationwide publications, you have to drive people to your site. I think seeing the URL outside of the Web is imporant.

    Site visitors, now inundated with the constant blinking of ad banners, are undoubtedly ignoring ads in order to get to the "meat" of the site. But, if they see the same Web site URL flashed at them off the Web, it almost seems out of place, catching them out of the Web environment and off guard. If the ad is intriguing and the URL easy to remember, it will undoubtedly drive them to the site to investigate the next time they are on the Web. [Amy Rupertus Peacock,].

Radio Ads

  • Melissa MacKinnon's thoughts on using radio ads to bolster Web traffic:

    1) Internet users are typically very busy people. They don't have time to sit and read a whole paper or to watch television for hours. But they do want to keep abreast of the news. News radio stations fill that need with nearly 24 hours of news per day.

    2) For the investment, radio is extremely effective. With the same budget, the frequency achieved with a radio schedule is far greater than that of a high-caliber newspaper or TV campaign. And in order for people to remember who your company is, what you do and how they can find you -- frequency is essential.

    3) You also want to make sure your message is actually heard. With news radio stations, people are listening intently for information. Find a station in which the commercial breaks are short -- which is key for retaining the audience.

    4) Radio ads are easy. The station will produce a radio commercial for you at no extra charge. They also produce more basic ads (e.g. straight reads), which are very effective on news radio stations.

    5) Traffic on the Internet peaks during the day – while people are at work. Most people (especially in Greater Washington) have Internet access at work. You want to catch these people while they are driving to work, so that when they get there, they can log on and find you. Driving to work is a great time to catch people when they are in their "serious/work" mode -- contemplating things they have to do that day.

    So, I strongly suggest radio. A news station or NPR are great choices. However, it's difficult to get your message across with "sponsorship" ads on NPR since there is not enough time -- especially with something new. So, you may want to try a local news talk station. [Melissa MacKinnon @ superSonic BOOM]

  • We placed ads on NPR and considered the sponsorship a success from a branding perspective, and would consider doing it again for that purpose. But we did not see significant traffic increase as a result of the campaign. So, using the radio really depends on what your goals are. [Gary LaFever,]
  • If using radio, be sure that you have an easy-to-remember URL, which will really help the effectiveness of the ad. [Amy Rupertus Peacock,].


    Ryan Phillips, who is publisher of the Journal Newspaper chain, says that newspapers are the most effective ad campaign solution. There are only three Daily Newspapers in Washington DC area, and over 50 radio stations. Ask strangers what station they listen to you'll get 50 different answers. Then ask what the last commercial they heard was and they won't remember.

    Television is more fragmented with 100+ cable and broadcast options. It is also very expensive to produce ads for TV. Direct mail pulls in an average good response of .005.

    I recommend using a mix of Newspaper and Direct mail. Broadcast is just too spotty for the small and medium business. Be prepared to spend a lot of money and pray you have information that people are willing to pay for and no one else can give away. [Ryan Phillips, Journal Newspaper chain,]

Barter/Affinity Programs

  • We have grown traffic to our site by 3000% over the last year without paid advertising. We work with women business owner/professional women associations to publicize ourselves through their existing meetings and publications. We offer them a free presence, with visibility and links on our site in return for the publicity. We also aggressively search the Web for relevant sites with whom we can cross-link. Finally, we issue regular press releases on what's coming next week on our site. The releases have started to be picked up by NetGuide, MSNBC, Pointcast and others. [Gary LaFever,]

Direct Mail

  • Traditional newsletter publishers rely 100% on Direct Mail as their new business generator. And they are finding it harder and harder to make direct mail work. The economics are a killer. Controlled-circulation (advertising supported) publications that switch to the paid-subscription model have a tough row to hoe. List rental is absolutely key, and the offer has to be well-structured. The real money is in the back-end -- the renewals. The newsletter publishers who have been my clients started with products on paper and have gone to the Internet subsequently, offering a licensing model to subscribers who prefer electronic delivery. Most publishers who have a Web site drive readers to it by promoting the URL in the print publications they send out. The Net is also terrific as an archive available on a paid basis.
  • Direct mail is a very expensive means of acquiring new customers. The conversion rate from free issue to paying customer has been declining across the newsletter industry. But, the key is to research your market and buy a really targeted list. An inexpensive marketing tool would be a postcard offering a free trial through a specific directory on your site. You can then track the number of sign-ups using the particular URL for each list you use. Another method is to sponsor an event within your targeted readers' industry such as a seminar. You'll want to offer free trials to the attendees and maybe have a business card drop for a prize. [Valerie Voci,]


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