Finding your group

Back a bit, Eric Sink wrote How would you reach YOU? It was about marketing software, but the same question is applicable to any small modern religious group, Pagan or otherwise.

For me, the fact Hemlock Vales is linked from ADF’s main site is enough, as I was interested in ADF after finding out about ADF through Isaac Bonewits’ website, which I learned about from, of all places, Steve Jackson Games when they republished Authentic Thaumaturgy.

But what if we assume a hypothetical Arthur who didn’t get that link set? How would he find Hemlock Vales?

A first answer would be Witchvox. And, indeed, Witchvox has an entry set up for Hemlock Vales Protogrove. Okay, let’s go further. Assume this hypothetical ur-Art doesn’t know about Witchvox.

Okay, let’s go to Google. Other search engines may be equally important, but Google is the most known/best-analyzed.

“state college” druid — click in three pages, don’t see anything relevant

“state college, pa” druid — The fifth link down will get them there via ADF’s main site. Not bad, not great.

It gets worse if you change out “druid” for “pagan”. But there is a bright spot: Try “penn state” or PSU with pagan…and you see the student group’s home page.

Perhaps I’ll ask them for a link.

And I’ll seek out other ways of improving my link-fu. (Let’s be honest, this blog is one of them.)

This is, of course, all about online marketing. What about offline? It seems harder in some ways, yet effort there can yield results. The easiest route is, obviously, word-of-mouth. I’ve had a number of referrals from the UU regulars of other UUs interested in finding a more Pagan-focused group locally. It hasn’t usually panned out…but it’s worthwhile. To get good word-of-mouth, though, requires a positive impression.

Another major offline option is flyers…which I think are best saved for later.

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4 thoughts on “Finding your group

  1. You raise some great points. I did a google search for “Columbus Druids” and we don’t even appear for several pages. This is, of course, probably because our pagerank is based off of terms like “three” “cranes” “grove” and “adf”, since that’s what I generally link with. I think it’s time to start occasionally linking to “columbus, OH druids” from time to time, and certainly on some higher-ranked pages.

    Some RDNA grove is higher ranked than we are somehow, and I’ve never heard of them.

    We do a lot of offline marketing, though: appearing at Pagan Pride Day, doing workshops for folks, and getting fliers up in the stores. But this does explain how people have informed me recently that they had no idea that we were here!

  2. Search for “pagan search engines” and try and get your site listed with as many as possible.

    Regarding getting hits from Google itself, I’m assuming that the Hemlock Vales page is still relatively new. It takes about six months for Google to take a page out of the sandbox; until then, you’ll be relegated to the back of the line, so to speak, while they make sure that you aren’t a spammer or porn site.

    One of your best tools will actually be this blog. Both my Pagan Book Reviews blog and my Therioshamanism blog get a decent amount of traffic, and it’s because I have dozens of posts on each (hundreds, in the case of the former). Post often, and post about general druidry-related topics as well as the protogrove progress. In a year’s time, my pagan book review blog has hit the top five links on the first page for the search for “pagan book reviews” and I get a couple of hundred hits a day for all sorts of searches related to various books I’ve reviewed.

  3. Chronarchy: The biggest issue with offline marketing is making certain you’re reaching beyond the actively connected Pagans in any area. For many of them, the web is their most likely option to stumble upon a group. I think part of this is having good articles, ala 3CG’s blog.

    Lupa: Hemlock Vales’ URL has been up for months, but it’s only recently I’ve really put an eye toward getting it more linked and trying to give it the keywords it needs. I’m uncertain about writing on general druidry-related topics, but I can give it a try. :-)

  4. Pingback: Whoops! « One Pagan Group — Some Assembly Required

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