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Website Promotion Needs Healthy Advertising Budget

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Website promotion
Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license

Website promotion has been a big challenge for traditional media companies and a much easier one for pure online plays.

It may sound like an odd observation. After all, media companies should be better at promoting their own websites than any other business. They specialize in communications. Their lessons are useful for any website business, whether it’s a standalone website or an extention of an existing offline brand.

Media companies learned their lessons about the Internet by building extensions of their core traditional brands. Audiences came easily because newspapers would promote the site in their print editions and TV stations would do the same on air.

Audiences recognized the site names because they usually imitated the core brand names. Brand recognition was high and usually immediate.

Those same lessons don’t always apply outside of core, standalone websites. They often have an advertising budget that they use in a highly efficient way to target the most appealing audiences. Traditional media companies and other businesses can learn to do the same.

Unique Media Brands

Increasingly, traditional media is building websites that are based on uniquely online brands with uniquely online content. But they are not promoting them in uniquely online ways.

They tend to fall back on traditional channels such as their newspaper or TV station. The temptation is understandable because these channels often don’t cost anything other than inventory, which is available more often when the economy is soft.

If managers and staffs have a website promotion plan, it is common for the first priority to use the traditional inventory, then spend money on traditional channels and then give some thought to search engine optimization. Quite a few don’t even get past the first priority.

Even if they don’t have a spending budget, and especially if they don’t have a spending budget, online newspapers will build additional audience for their pure Web plays by focusing on a complete SEO plan, regular link-building tactics and purely online-oriented publicity.

Website Promotion Lessons

The dependence on traditional marketing channels is tempting for any business. They put the website name in traditional media advertising. Some put the address on storefronts. Others include it in business cards and other avenues.

All of these tactics are worth using. But they often are not enough as competition from online sources continues to climb and undermine traditional businesses such as brick and mortar retail.

Some of the most famous online businesses are successful because they chased after market share more than profit. A traditional business might consider doing the same with an online investment. Grow at a break even pace. Worry about profit later. Get market share now.

Free Doesn’t Get Far

As traditional media declines, it reaches fewer people and tends to reach older audiences. As a result, these media companies may have not choice but to spend more money on outside advertising channels, especially oneline ones.

It’s a painful lesson for any traditional brand. The brand goes only so far in reaching an existing audience. Going further requires new promotional channels and probably a lot more money.

When launching a pure online brand, write a promotional plan that has both a set of traditional media tactics and another set of online-only tactics. Resist the temptation to rely heavily on the first. Sites that do so find themselves failing to reach their numbers because they are focused on the wrong audience.

In fact, it is better to emphasize the website promotion tactics because they are typically less expensive and provide a much better learning curve.

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