Quick, pick the most successful advertising medium before the web:
3) Matchbook covers
The answer of course is matchbook covers. Introduced at the turn of the century, paper matchbook covers enjoyed huge popularity as an advertising medium into the 1950s when disposable lighters were introduced and smoking developed its you-will-die-using-this-shit stigma.
Shouldn't your website be like advertisements on a matchbook cover? Think about how brilliant they were (still are, really). A magazine ad might provide a fleeting moment of brand awareness. With one flip of the wrist it has to engage you enough to sell you. But if you're a smoker, you're reaching for that matchbook for as many times as you light up and and for as many matches that remain in the thing. Since matchbooks contain about 20 matches, that's at least 20 ad impressions.
The other thing about them is that the process of lighting up is connected to a happy moment so the advertiser gets that residual happiness connection.
So how does this relate to your website? Well, first of all, websites really are a cheap advertising medium. Weekly radio ads can run your tens of thousands of dollars and TV, well, forget about that. Print? How many of those mailers do you have left sitting in a room collecting dust? Done. The web wins.
But what are you doing that that will cause your audience to go back to your website and strike that match again and again? Sure, it's great to be found when needed but isn't it better to engage your audience so they have a reason to come back? Can you make your website as addictive as nicotine? At the very least make sure every click on your website is a reward.
What does that mean? A rewarding click is one that is useful and fulfills the user's expectations that they will find the thing that they wanted based on the name of the menu or the description of the call-out. What you don't want is to do is disappoint the user either with unexpected, incomplete or really badly executed information. Go through your website right now and see if every click counts big.
Soon you'll be forced to put a disclaimer on your site, "This site is addictive, use at own risk." Boy, don't we wish. Short of adding casino gambling, your best bet is to engaged in some social media and update the content of your website by giving away your most treasured business ideas. Trust me, it works.
When I was a kid I used to collect matchbook covers from every place I travelled to. I marvelled at the variety, colour plus I loved the smell of sulphur. Most were reminders of the hotels my parents took us on vacation. Sometimes it was clever slogans. Such a simple thing, but the variety of designs seemed inexhaustible. The amount of originality that could be squeezed onto such a tiny medium fascinated me.
One last thing. Have you researched your audience? Do you know their habits? Perhaps the best place to advertise your website is actually on matchbook covers.