Increasing, the Web site is becoming the primary sales channel for many businesses, whether they are product or service oriented. E-commerce drives more consumer sales than ever before, and the Internet is where companies interested in B2B products and services start their search.
The bottom line is that most consumer or business purchases begin with some online research and a visit to the company Web site. That's why companies have large budgets for search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing and other online marketing tactics. These methods can deliver the traffic, but they aren't the only means to bring visitors to your virtual point of sale.
Traditional forms of media, like radio and TV, can deliver Web site visitors as well - if handled correctly. 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 very interested in selling your products, promoting your company, or driving traffic to your Web site. That's why companies often fail when they try to use PR in a commercial way. They either just don't get the bookings, or their interview is cut short by the host because they sound like an infomercial going out to the host's audience.
You can make this work, if you approach your promotional campaign 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 and inform their audience so they keep 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 be successful at their jobs, and at the same time get people to your company's Web site? It's pretty straightforward if you follow these steps:
- Promote yourself as an expert - When trying to obtain media bookings, don't go to them as an author or CEO of your company - they don't care. Pitch yourself as an expert in your field, with a series of advice or tips about your field that their audience will find useful. I like the rule of 5, as an example:
- Business Consultant - 5 Ways To Expand Your Company
- Web Retail Store - 5 Ways to Save Big Shopping Online
- Technology Retailer - 5 Hot Tech Trends
- Health or Medicine - 5 Ways to Get Healthier Now
- Tax Consultant - 5 Tips For Getting A Bigger Tax Refund
- Web Business - 5 Things Businesses Can Do More Cheaply Online
- Write an "Insider" report - Take the angle for your pitch, research it, and write a detailed report about it, really getting into specifics so the end result is a thorough, four or five page review of important information that you, as an expert, think people should know.
- Post the report on your Web site - Place a prominent link to it on your navigation bar, or 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 during your interview on the air - When you are on the air, going through your list 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 an infomercial or a salesman.
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 numbers game 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!