25-11-08-2There are several options for those who want to promote their websites. I will go over some of the most effective ways of getting traffic, but before I start, I want to give you a word of warning: not all these techniques are good for all the businesses. Some might work very well for a certain industry and not work at all for a different niche.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is great. Think about it. People go to Google, search for what you sell, your website pops up, they click on it, and there you are, offering them what they were searching for. Then it is up to you whether they become customers.
The downside of SEO is that if you don’t know what you are doing, reaching the top positions is extremely hard. You need professional SEO people working for you. But once you are at the top, be prepared to get more business than you will be able to handle. It is a great investment.
Pay Per Click
The reason why I love PPC is because you can start getting traffic in less than 15 minutes. Sure, you are paying for that traffic, but if you sell a superior product, price it right, and do a great job marketing it, there is nothing for you to worry about. You will get your investment back several times.
Just like with SEO, if you don’t know what you are doing, you better hire someone to manage that campaign for you or you will be overpaying for each visitor you acquire.
Forum Marketing
Let’s say you are an attorney who specializes in incorporating new businesses. It would be smart to post valuable information on forums where people are asking things like “Should I form an LLC or a Corporation?” There is one golden rule, though: don’t just spam the forum with self-promotion. You have to be willing to give, give, and give before you receive anything. Once you have established yourself as an authority, people will come to you for advice. It is up to you then to show them the value of your services. You can also use article distribution services to post articles on subjects you are an expert at.
Online Classified Ads
Personally I haven’t had much success using online ads with my clients, but some people claim that it worked really well for them. They are free, so there is not much you can lose by giving it a shot. The most popular classifieds websites are Craigslist, Kijiji, and US Free Ads.
Direct Marketing
This is one of my personal favorites. You need to think who your prospects are and where you can find them. For example, one of our clients was organizing a baseball tournament in Atlanta and wanted us to help him to promote it. We bought a database of baseball teams in the US, prepared an incredible landing page with copy that made the offer irresistible, and email all the clubs inviting them to see the landing page. He got so many clubs interested that he had to turn down half of them because he couldn’t accommodate them all.
Press Releases
Press releases are one of the best things that you can do to promote your business. However, most people don’t know how to write a press release or choose the right topic. Make the press release about something that the media will want to publish. If it doesn’t sound like news, it probably isn’t. If the release doesn’t have anything worth publishing, don’t even bother writing it.
Affiliate Programs
I love affiliate programs. It is a risk-free way of getting traffic. Affiliates send visitors to your website and they only get paid when a sale is made. If you sell services, you can pay them for each lead that they help you get. It is almost impossible to screw up with affiliate marketing. However, if you are not familiar with it and don’t know the secrets of the trade, you are not likely to attract the best affiliates and you will barely get any traffic. Ask for professional help to set up your affiliate program.
Industry-Specific Promotion Methods
Each industry has some promotion techniques that are specific to that industry. For example, if you are a programmer you can get projects on Elance or GetAFreelancer. If you are a travel agency you can list your packages on Expedia. Just think outside the box.
Alliance Marketing
Let’s go back to the business attorney example. Who are his clients? Mostly startups. What do startups need? Well, maybe a website, office space, office supplies, and startup money. He could have arrangements with web designers, office space owners, office supplies vendors, and investors.
There are two main ways of advertising: graphic and text. Graphic advertisement is usually in the form of banners, both static and animated. Text advertisement is when a blogger or webmaster writes an article about your products or services and includes a text link to your website. Some good options are Pay Per Post, Blog Ads, Text Link Ads, Advertising Dot Com, Facebook, Business Dot Com, etc.
Local Services and Directories
DMOZ is a free directory. If you are not listed there, do it right now. There are also niche-specific directories. If you are an attorney, search for “attorney directory” on Google to find them. There are also some paid directories, such as Yahoo and Business.com. If your budget allows you to list your website there, by all means do it. It also helps with SEO.
If you have a physical store or an office, local websites such as Local Dot Com, Google Local, Yahoo Local, and MSN Local will give you some free links and also show your business on the map when someone is searching for it. And they are free.
Offline Marketing
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only way of promoting a website is online. There are a lot of things you can do to promote your business offline. Brainstorm a little and you will come up with several ideas.
The Bottom Line
The most important thing is tracking, testing, and optimizing. Set up a tracking system to figure out how your visitors found you, which marketing campaigns are bringing you profits, and which ones are losing you money. Chances are that after testing everything on this list plus your own ideas you will keep two or three strategies and discard the other ones. And that’s fine. This is about doing a couple of things right, not doing as many things as you can. Focus. It pays.
If you need help with promoting your website, let me know. I can certainly help.