A traditional media business can use offline marketing to boost audience and revenue for its site. Otherwise, a standalone Web business can partner with a local media business if the agreement allows both partners to meet each other halfway.
A standalone site can meet a media partner halfway by helping it understand how the Web site can provide effective promotion in return. It is becoming easy to prove. A partnership doesn’t stop the media outlet from doing its own offline marketing.
A dated and documented plan will go a long way toward building trust, credibility and follow through.
The first half of the plan can explain how the Web site will help the media partner, and the second half will explain how the partner will help build site readership.
Newspaper Offline Marketing Model
The Web site will help the partner because it is a legitimate promotional channel. Local newspapers provide a good example of how the print product contributes to the Web site and vice versa.
– An Newspaper Association of America study showed that newspaper subscribers obtained from the paper’s Web site had a high retention rate because they are high quality subscribers.
– A newspaper site can provide a significant portion of the paper’s total classified advertising with Web order entry.
– It’s a source of retail display leads and a strong sales promotion tool with its ability to display rate cards, media kits and other material. Increasingly, these displays are interactive.
– It can drive readership back into the paper with teases and short versions of upcoming stories. More often, it is becoming a source of content contributed to the news product because of events, letters to the editor, comments, news releases and other material submitted by readers.
Offline Marketing Tactics
The most common and effective tactics are easy to implement. In many cases, they don’t cost either partner a cent:
- House ads promoting the paper can run in banner positions on the site.
- Email newsletters also can promote the paper.
- Promotional teases can appear in the paper’s social media accounts.
- Links can be added to videos on sites such as YouTube or Vimeo.
If the newspaper owns the site, all of the above is free. In return, the newspaper can promote the Web site with multiple mentions:
- The site address can appear under the mast on Page 1 and with section fronts.
- Likewise, the address can be anchored in other standing content such as TV, movies, weather, events, etc.
- Teases to more information and updates can appear with stories. These teases are most effective when they send readers to something new and different from what appears in the story.
- House ads promoting the site can appear in the paper. Their value potentially will equal the value of the online house ads that promote the paper in return.
- Newspaper staff can include the site address in their default email signatures.
- Media kits, rate cards, event sponsorships, even invoices from circulation and advertising should include the site address.
The above example shows how newspapers use offline and online marketing in combination with minimal cost.
But the tactics often are available for other media businesses and often for many non-media businesses.
Many retail business have email newsletters, social media accounts, YouTube videos, business cards, direct mail operations, event sponsorships, etc.
They can use their offline promotional channels to market their Web sites, and they can use their Web sites to promote their brick-and-mortar locations.
For any business that is short on time, the best approach is developing tactics that are permanent and easy to implement.
As the value and power of a strong Web brand grows, it’s ability to provide value back to its partners also grows and can deliver just as much value as it gets.
That’s no longer an opinion. It’s now a proven fact.