Once your business has a website, you need to let people know it exists.
Traditionally, a restaurant owner may spread the word through local news and by giving discounts to the community, but for businesses operating online there are a number of additional web marketing tactics you can use. We recommend every business builds a strategy for online marketing, and the good news is it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Today, we’re going to cover eight ways you can grow your audience without breaking the bank.
1. USE YOUR NETWORKS
Pick one or two social platforms and create new accounts for your business, then write a handful of posts so the profile pages aren’t empty.
You can use the schedule settings in Facebook to spread the posts out, or a tool like Hootsuite can do the same job. Once your page has substance, invite your friends to like it. You can use scripts like this one to invite all your Facebook friends to like a page, or use inbuilt features (like those within Twitter/LinkedIn) to automatically connect and invite your friends to follow your new account.
Once you have a following, make regular posts detailing how you can help your customers and ask your friends to share them. Join relevant industry groups and participate in the conversation, or setup promotions to offer prizes for your fans helping to spread the word about your business.
2. START COMMUNICATING
The next step is to build relationships with influencers in your industry. Get started by tracking down the authors of the articles you enjoy reading (in your niche of course), connect and start talking to them.
If you have no idea what to say, you could always add your thoughts on the latest article they posted or ask them a specific question on a topic they shared. Do this enough and eventually you’ll spark a conversation. Their followers will see the interactions you’re having, which will encourage new people to start following you.
If you build a close enough relationship, don’t forget to ask for a shout-out of your products to an influencers fans. A promotional post from the right person can be a massive boost to your websites traffic.
3. CREATE INTERESTING CONTENT
Once your website is created don’t stop there. Google’s algorithm prefers fresh sites, and to keep yours ranking well you need to be consistently publishing unique content.
In a perfect world you should be adding at 2-3 new articles to your site each week, but at a minimum ensure you’re getting at least new one article online a week. This encourages your fans to visit your site, but it can be hard to come up with new ideas.
Try drafting answers to the questions your customers keep asking, invite reviews about your products, give step-by-step instructions on using your product, or conduct detailed write-ups comparing your offer to your competitors.
4. BUILD AN EMAIL LIST
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. The trick though, is that you first need great content to convince your readers it’s worth signing up for your list.
Make sure every post on your site is amazing, and adds value for your target audience. Build a subscription form into your site, and add call-to-action’s which encourage your visitors to sign up.
Over time you’ll build a following, and you’ll be able to communicate directly with your followers. MailChimp is one of the easiest mailing list services to get started, and has a range of templates you can use to send targeted promotions to your email list. Aim to keep your subscribers informed of any changes in your business, new products and offers, promotions, and create an email-funnel that turns cold prospects from your website into potential sales leads.
5. GET LISTED ONLINE
Online directories are the modern version of the Yellow Pages, and is where many potential clients turn when they’re researching products and service providers.
Ensure your business is listed on Google Places, Bing Business, and Yahoo! Local, and depending on your location and offer there’s a ton of extra directories, check out the whole host of other directories you can list your business on to build your web marketing presence.
6. CRAFT A PRESS RELEASE
Press releases are a great way to generate a buzz for a new product or service you’re offering, but there’s a lot of competition when you’re trying to get the press’s attention.
Your best chance to spark an interest in your business is to focus on your brands ‘story,’ and find an angle you can use to make your business stand out.
Write one to two pages of content that covers your announcement, and remember to include the who, what, when, where and why of your business. You can send this directly to your local press outlets, industry specific publications, as well as general press release services like PR.com, PR Log, 24-7 Press Release, Newswire, Business Wire, PR News Wire and PR Web.
7. PAY FOR ADVERTISING
The internet makes it possible to reach any audience through the different channels you can use to advertise. Google is the main player, and if you’re interested in their take on marketing you can check it out here, but don’t restrict yourself to Adwords alone.
Bing/Yahoo is great if your target audience is a little older, Facebook Ads let you to target demographics more specifically, and LinkedIn is great if you’re looking for B2B advertising. Many of these advertising platforms offer coupons to new users, so do a quick search before you join up and get the free credits.
The key for success in an advertising campaign is to find long-tail keyword combinations that convert for your niche.
Imagine you’re selling Nike running shoes for guys. Ads placed on the keyword “shoes” would bring you a huge amount of traffic, but there’s a good chance you’ll be paying for people who aren’t interested in your particular product. You’d be better off bidding on long-tail phrases like “men’s Nike running shoes,” as there is a higher chance the user who is searching for this term will buy your product.
After you create your ads, setup landing pages for each ad campaign, one of the techniques we follow in our adwords packages. You should never send paid traffic to your homepage. You want the traffic your ad campaigns generate to land on pages which specifically cater to what you were advertising, as this reduces the chances a visitor will ‘bounce’ and leave your site. Following this technique, even a small budget of $10-$20 a day will start to bring quality visitors to your site.
8. CONTRIBUTE TO A WORTHY CAUSE
Being part of a story that’s worth sharing is a great way to get your business in front of a larger audience, so find a local charity to help and communicate what you did.
Perhaps you designed a website for a local pet shelter, or had your team helped out at a soup kitchen over the last set of holidays. Being active in your community helps you to get more exposure, especially if you get involved with projects that have many other businesses helping out.
Don’t forget to take post pictures as the event happens, and afterwards do a write-up for your blog. Everyone likes to talk about their business, but you’ll have a much more sharable story if you’re bragging about something your fans are proud of you for.
These web marketing techniques are by no means exclusive, but they’re all simple and effective ways you can drum up a little more attention for your website. Attention equals more visitors to your site, giving you a higher chance of developing new leads – exactly why you created your website in the first place.
Which of these web marketing tactics will you start today?