Back to the Future: Five Methods of Online Marketing Before Social Media

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Social media is all-encompassing; it takes a lot of dedicated time and effort to communicate and interact. If you participate, you may have started to focus all of your marketing time and activities in the social media realm, skipping everything you used to do to promote your business online.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but while other modes of online marketing may have been surpassed by social media, they shouldn’t be forgotten. Not only are these methods still still valid ways to market your business, but they can help you rise above some of the social media noise and become a great counterpart to your social media activities.

Here is a look at what we used to do to promote our products and services before social media.

Banner Advertising

Purchasing ad slots on third-party websites used to be one of the primary methods of online marketing. Many Web users have become desensitized to ads, and there may be quicker ways to increase website traffic, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still effective in some situations. If you find the right websites that are relevant to your products and services, and target the right mix of prospects, a well-designed banner ad can be a very effective way to promote your business.


Pay per click (PPC) advertising used to be a relatively inexpensive way to market your business and services, but has become increasingly expensive over the last several years, especially for highly competitive keywords. New entrants into the market like Facebook and LinkedIn, however, are offering new and maybe more effective ways to target prospects with PPC. But don’t forget about using Google, too; just do your keyword research first to find the less competitive (aka cheaper) keywords to target.

Directory Listing

Directories are not as popular as they used to be, but there’s no denying the power of a well-optimized, high-traffic listing. The right directory with the right SEO can bring you more potential leads than months of social media work, in a passive, do-it-and-forget-it way. But you need to do the research to find the right directory site, then make sure your listing is perfect.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still considered a current online marketing technique, but the way it’s used has certainly changed, thanks in part to social media. The most successful email marketing techniques these days are the ones that give readers quick, digestible information and a way to interact with the company or person sending it. It’s an effective way to lead your audience to a new product or service, targeted content and even back to your social media accounts.

Offline Marketing

No, that’s not a mistake. Offline marketing used to be a core method for promoting your online products and services, and it’s a tactic that can still be effective. It can be as simple as including your URLs on your business card and printed material, sending direct mail campaigns, or even talking about your online products and services with prospects and clients. It’s the perfect way to round out your online marketing activities with an offline component.

Do you still use as “old” online marketing techniques? Do they work for you?
Image credit: Mad Wraith

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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