You have a website and you want to promote it. Simply putting good content up is little use if no-one sees it.
If you are a local group or business, you have a several advantages. Organisations with a national or global reach are solely dependent upon online techniques to promote their site.
Locally you have a geographically constrained market and so should be able to reach a high proportion of it.
If you serve 20 000 people, your appeal should be to those people. An email list of 2 000 people should be possible, with focused effort. If the quality of what you’re offering is high, word of mouth should help you build your list further, that is people will forward information online and talk about it locally. Even a smaller list might have significant penetration into your community depending on your offer and willingness of your followers to pass on your communications.
Here are some ways to invite people to visit your site. At every opportunity:
- Publish your url. Business cards are always helpful and if you have a base or shop window, use posters and flyers. These can be left in public places and promoted by partner organisations.
- Ask for email addresses. If you hold meetings ask people to leave their email addresses. You must explain the addresses will be added to an email list. This is a very effective way of ensuring people hear about your activities.
- Ask subscribers to forward your emails or pass on your url. If they like what you’re doing they may still need to be prompted to pass on information. Often people who can’t support you by taking up your main offer, eg they can’t afford it, are happy to help in some other way.
- Give stuff away online. It should be informative and entertaining. The aim is to build a relationship with your subscribers so they are likely to respond to your requests for support or offers of products and services. Tie your online offer into your business, eg recipes with a special offer on the ingredients. The recipe could also be given away in your shop, so people can buy a pack with the ingredients at a special rate.
- Consider giving real life stuff away. Invite people to sign up and receive special offers from your business. For example, if you run a café, offer a free cup of tea with a sandwich. This will need careful planning. Be clear exactly what your offer is and how people will qualify to claim it. You can of course use your list to tell subscribers about offers open to the public.
- Promote someone else’s business. If there is another local business and think they have a good offer, consider promoting them on your email list. So, if you are a hairdresser, you might offer a 10% discount to your list for the local café. The café would cover the cost of the discount. You need to be clear whether the discount is for people on your list or your active customers. Your customers will be grateful for the discount and the café might promote your service to their list in return (if they have one!)
If you are not a business, it may be interesting to find out whether local businesses would be willing to promote your cause. Would your members support a café that publicised your cause to their customers? Has anyone tried this?
So, there’s a few ideas. Have you tried or thought of trying other approaches? Has anyone got a list that’s large and very local? How did you do it?