Search engines are marketing tools that some businesses just don`t use yet. Some marketers rely on traditional advertising or pretty girls on the street pushing leaflets. How does the internet compare?

I started this article after speaking to two different marketing companies who were proposing websites for their new clients.

Marketing company A stated that they wanted a new website just to provide more information on each apartment in a large block they were selling. Visitors would be directed to the website by their print, radio and television marketing. They did not believe that search engine optimization was necessary and wanted the whole website to be in Flash – no words in text format – just in Flash graphics.

Marketing company B said they needed visitors to place detailed orders through a new website which had detailed choices of products and dimensions. However, because their product was so revolutionary they did not expect anyone to search the web for it. So they wanted no search engine optimization. They would drive customers to the website by radio, television and print advertising, plus they would put pretty girls on the streets handing out leaflets.

That gave me a good laugh, but also astounded me.

Radio and television commercials may have a wide reach for two minutes while they are on, but are potential customers going to remember a new website address when they next go to their computer? Of course they could use a search engine to look for it, but if the website has no search engine optimization, or worse still if it`s all in graphics, the potential customers have very little hope of finding it.

Print commercials are a little better. A potential customer can later go back to the newspaper or magazine and find the advertisement, or in the case of the leaflet from the pretty girl on the street, it can be retrieved from the pocket or purse or bin.

But all that assumes the potential customers will act right away and go to the website. But what if they don`t think about it until long after the commercial has played, or after the recycling bin has been emptied?

In that case the marketing companies must repeat the commercials and advertisements over and over and put more pretty girls on the street with leaflets, again and again, at great effort and cost to the client.

Marketing cost can be a big hurdle for a new product. Television, radio and printed advertisements can be a hundreds of times the cost of a website.

Marketing company A said their apartments should sell out in six months. But what if they didn`t? The last apartment in a block could take a year or more to sell. A website is there for as long as you like. The only continuing cost is the hosting – a few dollars per month, compared with thousands of dollars per day on traditional advertising.

We know that marketing companies earn their money as a percentage of the advertising billings, but surely saving their client some expense while getting the customers must win points in the end.

And cost is only one factor. The internet reaches the Whole Wide World, while traditional advertising reaches only a fraction of the population. The potential customer must listen to the radio or watch TV at the right time, or look at the right page of the magazine or newspaper, or be on the right street in the right town at the right time and then not lose the leaflet. However the website is available in every town 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

So spend high on traditional advertising if you want to, but if you want your marketing to be viable in the long term you need to optimize your website to be found by search engines.

These articles were first published on and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.