Every online marketer knows that Traffic is the lifeblood of their business. But we also know it takes a lot of time to build a base of visitors large enough to make a difference to our bottom line. Many people start an Internet based business because they like the idea of sitting at a computer and not venturing out into the physical world.
Unfortunately, taking an online business to the higher levels usually requires more than online marketing alone.
Amazon.com, one the the most successful online business in the world, became monstrously successful, in large part, due to outside publicity. Much of that free publicity came about due to being at the right place at the right time in History, which in our example was the Dot Com Craze.
Amazon became Fabulously Famous for being one of the most unprofitable companies with the most outlandishly high stock price.
Even though it took years for Amazon's balance sheet to turn Black, everyone knew about Amazon, and in turn, flocked to their website. That phenomenal growth would never have occurred with online marketing, or SEO, alone.
I'm not suggesting that you start a company with the idea of getting rich by losing millions of dollars. But a losing company with a high rising stock was NEWS. And to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "The only thing worse than Bad News is No News at all."
Fame, Carefully Crafted
Apparently, having little or no talent is a quick and easy way to build an online following. Just ask Nicole Polizzi, otherwise known as @snooki, with her almost 4 million Twitter followers. Apparently being a goof has its rewards, providing you are being showcased on a major television "reality" show.
But I'm also not suggesting you be another Snooki, as having one Snooki in the world is disturbing enough. And don't even get me started on the Kardashians.
The point of both examples is that for people to follow you, or buy your product, they must know you exist. And if you don't have a large advertising budget, you must make yourself a household name some other way.
This doesn't happen by accident, but must be planned, engineered, and carefully crafted.
Publicity is the Oxygen that Feeds the Fire
Years before the Internet, Mail Order marketing was a popular way for the little guy to build a nationwide business.
E. Joseph Cossman became rich through this route, and credits much of his success to his mastery of the art of free publicity.
Cossman once convinced potato growers all over America to send him a few pounds of potatoes, free of charge, to promote his new toy product. He dumped 8,000 pounds of potatoes on the sidewalk in front of a New York hotel where he was staying, and made the evening news on every TV station in the state (having alerted them in advance).
Cossman's rule was to send out a Press Release for almost everything he did or was planning, but it must have a Human Interest spin, otherwise it would never be "News." A new toy wasn't News, but police surrounding a mountain of potatoes in downtown Manhattan was.
His choice for the News Story Spin was the current plight of the poor American Potato farmer suffering from a bumper crop and not enough people eating potatoes. Cossman's new Potato Toy was just one way to elevate this unfortunate over-supply.
Goofy? Absolutely. But it worked, and he was the hit of the Toy Show.
The Most Interesting Human in the World
Human Interest is the Key to getting humans interested in what we are selling. And much to the chagrin of many keyboard social wallflowers, we must get out there with other humans to be of any human interest to the Media.
Like it or not, it's the Media that can propel you from small business owner to Entrepreneur Superstar. And the Media has repeatedly proven that they simply adore outlandish behavior.
If you prefer to keep your clothes on, you won't be emulating the Lady Gaga or Rihanna school of Public Relations, but exploiting some of your non-business talents can get you local Media attention, which can even mushroom into a nation-wide story if executed with a little marketing savvy.
Entering Contests is a great way to gain attention. Many of today's entertainment stars began that way. If you are a great singer, dancer, fisherman, artist... don't selfishly keep your talent to yourself. You should be sharing your hidden gifts with the world.
Are you the business Expert no one has heard of? Try your hand at public speaking. Or write a book. Harvey Mackay was an unassuming envelope manufacturer before becoming a nationally known author and syndicated newspaper columnist.
Stand Outside to Bring Them Inside
Any outside activity has the potential to drive Traffic to your website. Such activities are also investments in your right-brain creativity that can recharge your batteries and help inspire new ideas for your core business.
People love a good story, and they love people more interesting than themselves, which for most people is pretty much anyone willing to stand out from the crowd and strut their stuff.
We all have talents beyond what we do for a living. With a little creative thinking we can exploit those talents and bring attention to our business.