So there are all those people out there, potential viewers, users and customers of every website, and more and more of them are coming online everyday.
Ultimately, there are two basic sources of viewers – or eyeballs, as online advertisers and media owners know them; they can be established and regular website users who have made their online debut long ago, or they can be internet novices who have to be ‘lured’ online with the promise of entertainment, cost savings or some other incentive which businesses, advertisers and marketers have endeavoured to do mainly by using offline channels, from posterboards to print advertising to TV commercials.
The difference, of course, is that the online business advertising offline not only has to attract people’s attention and sell the virtues of a site, but it often has to explain the properties of the internet as a medium. However, this should become less and less a consideration as the web becomes an increasingly common part of everyday life. Many website marketeers will have a sign of relief as that becomes more and more apparent.
Dotcom horror stories revolve around misplaced marketing spend and the perception that several business plans for online-only businesses consisted of little more than spending money on high-profile offline marketing campaign, with logos adorning everything in the non-virtual world from taxis to billboards, creating little more than confusion in the general public.
Basic mistakes include launching the offline campaign before there is a fully functioning website to direct potential customers to, as boo.com found out to its costs. The Swedish-based sportswear e-tailer kicked off its advertising campaign in cinemas and the style press some six months before its website was launched. TV advertising by dotcoms has seen mixed results as well.
However, some websites have stuck to their guns and continued to advertise offline. StepStone, the European recruitment website, for example, has continually sponsored sports programmed on TV. In the UK, teen site mykindaplace has linked up with broadcaster Sky to sponsor Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ebookers, the travel site, even renounced online advertising in its marketing strategy and has vowed to build its business through offline marketing as it feels it needs to capture customer who may not be regular users of the Internet.