Sure enough, not all marketing is done directly through your website. There are many other outlets to get brand recognition before users even come across your website. Most of these are inexpensive, if not free, and can be essential in getting your name out in both the industry and to your potential clients.
The goal is to get your name/brand recognized, if someone is looking for a product or service that you offer they are more likely to pick a company that they have herd of, recognized, or done business with before. So the better you can instill your company’s name, values, and abilities into the potential client the greater chance you have of actually getting them to contact you (and hopefully convert). This is why companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on prime time television advertisements that do little more than tell the viewer something about their brand. (Nike comes to mind!). Studies show that it takes an average of 3 – 5 exposures to a name before the average person will remember and recognize you.
How can we do this?
The trick is to simply get your name anywhere that a potential customer might be looking. This can be both actively searching for your product/service, or even passive methods like the sites they go to for fun/entertainment/work.
Let’s look at some examples
Search Engine Results – This is the obvious one. People actively searching for your product/service should see you come up in multiple different key phrases related to the service. People like to shop around, and online it is extremely easy. If you show up at the top time and time again, it improves your credibility. After all google believes your credible and relevant.
Adwords – Here is a little known tip. You can run an adwords campaign with the intention of getting zero clicks. That’s right, it can serve a cost effective and powerful purpose. If you have the focus of your ad the name of your company, users might not be likely to click it – however if they read it, it is one more time that they have seen your company name. I even buy ads for key phrases I rank top 3, because I want the user to see me several times on the same page.
Local Listings – Yahoo local, google local, and again you can buy advertisements in both. If you have a location, plus a paid location, that is more attention to your company for those who are looking for it. Some people search these listings before they do an online search, and some will do both. While the price ranges from extremely expensive (yellowpages.com) to free (google/yahoo), the more you can afford to do the better.
Targeting them at home
Local News/Blog Sites – many larger areas have a local news site, a popular blogger, etc. If your targeting a local market this is an excellent way to get business and name recognition. Even if no one on the site is directly looking for what you do, curious individuals are likely to click on your link, hear about what you do, and pass your name on if someone they know.
Niche Sites – too many people simply hang out on the blogs, forums, and websites that are related to their industry only. The chances of building a worthwhile reputation where your competition is recommending you is pretty low. Instead spend time on the sites where your target market hangs out. Sell car parts? Post on car forums and blogs, provide high quality information, and people will trust you and your products/services. Buy links on sites that your target market reads, target sites with google adwords, use some pay for post services that target your market. Hell do all three.
Ask to write a guest column, do an interview, or a giveaway. Anything to get those niche sites to link, post, or talk about you. It is easier than it sounds, and you are getting your name in front of everyone who matters most.
Web 2.0 – There are tons of opportunities to post comments in flickr, join local groups (yahoo/google) and participate in your target markets interest. Even twitter presents an opportunity to know and update your target market with little reminders that you will be there when they need your help.
There are hundreds of ways to get your name in front of people online, however so few companies actually do it. The fact of the matter is, that if everywhere someone looks there you are, they are going to get the impression that you are so prominent because you are the best. Now go out, and shine.