So you’ve got your brand spankin’ new website, and you’re wanting to get some traffic to it to drum up business? We decided to come up with a multitude of ideas to help set you on the right path. While there is some overlap with some of my previous articles, the refresh will be useful, as each aspect, especially in the online section, synergize very strongly.
One of the more traditional methods of marketing, creating a direct mail piece allows you to advertise directly through conventional mail systems with a postcard advertisement of some sort, whether it’s to alert customers to an event, or a new special. It’s best if you specifically target your mailing database’s demographic to something that is relevant to your industry.
For example, say your business is a pet store and there’s a coming sales event going on at the store in the coming month. To advertise for it, you could specifically target neighborhoods near your business, and within those specific demographics you could further break it down such as by houses containing a pet owner, or by income levels of the property. Targeting a specific demographic like that would allow you to cut down on the cost of the mailing piece, removing people from the list that would be unlikely to find your piece of advertising useful. (We have a whole class dedicated to this topic).
A fairly cheap method of marketing, yard signs are a good way to get started on increasing local exposure to your website. You can create yard signs, flyers, bulletin board pull tag signs, for example, to increase spread the word; you can even place a sticker in the your rear-view window. As a side tip, placing these in areas where people would be interested in your services or field of influence will increase your sign’s effectiveness.
This strategy is great to get an initial batch of visitors to your website, and is especially effective if your business is oriented locally. On the other side of the coin, this form of marketing is limited by your geographical range of the sign placement, as well as the time involved with the placement.
Search Engine Optimization
Content is King! One of the more important aspects of content creation for a website is knowing how important it is to properly infuse the site with content that will relate to Search Engines (like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!) what your website is about, whether it’s lawn-mowing, cake-baking, or industrial excavation.
When you start thinking about your website content, think about what a customer would be visiting your website for. Ask yourself not what product they’re looking for, but rather what the solution you’re providing with your product or service is. If you cater your content to relate how you will solve your client’s problem, you’ll have a better chance of achieving stronger SEO.
You can do this by brainstorming words and phrases your customers would be trying to search when looking for solutions to the problem you’ve set your sights on optimizing for. For example, a website that sells hiking gear could list out all the products in their catalogue and approach SEO from purely selling their products. It’ll probably work, but it won’t be nearly as effective as if they also were able to convey through the use of their keywords and phrases that their products solved issues specifically related to hiking and how they solved those problems. If they were able to correctly convey that information to google, when people searched up how to solve those issues with hiking, then their hiking gear website would come up more often than just the straight catalogue site.
Now, this doesn’t touch the surface of SEO, and if you’re serious about working on improving your site’s SEO, I’d recommend researching the topic further. There’s a lot of intricacy to it, and it is constantly evolving, so it’s good to learn as much as possible about the topic. For example, searching a term like “hiking solutions” will output different results than “solutions hiking” (for the sake of clarity, it’s because the term in the front of the search phrase is given more weight than words at the end of the phrase). You might not know that unless you are familiar with the functionality of a search engine.
For more information on SEO, please check out SEO class and or read this introductory SEO article by SEO Moz.
Taking advantage of Social Media can be a strong persuader of people to use your services. Create a public page on a social media site, and begin posting topics that are relevant and useful to your customer base. Don’t try and sell your services through these pages, but rather use it as a place to say “Hey, we think this information is really fun and useful. Oh, and by the way, if you’re interested, you can take a look at our products and services here”. Try and keep the type of posting to a 33% insights, 33% personal and 33% about the business.
This creates a no-pressure relationship that will naturally build stronger if the customer finds your content sharing intrinsically valuable. The power of Social Media kicks in when you have a number of these customers that value your social media efforts. When you make a post, you’re increasing the chances of others that value your content will share it, which is free advertising, as well as an implied endorsement of your products/services.
This can also be sweetened by rewarding subscribers through various promotional deal systems offered through social media websites, but that’s getting into a little more detail than is needed for an idea article.
Blogging operates on a somewhat similar level as Social Media, but also helps greatly with SEO, and integrates strongly with both tools (this article being an example). We discussed earlier in the SEO section about how conveying to your customers how you solve their problems is one of the better ways of converting them to a customer, this is one of the better ways to accomplish that.
A blog is often a side-section of a website where companies post both formal and informal publications about topics related to their business and industry. It can be fun, silly, topical, or product related, but it needs to be informational, useful, and concise for your customers.
The reason why this is such a great place to develop your business’ marketing is that each article you post becomes a part of your website’s content that gets related to search engines. To use the hiking gear example above, you could make a post about regional openings of trails in the region, showing pictures of the trails taken by employees in their free time, and their experiences on the trails would be great ideas for content creation. This also works well as a way of sharing the company’s passion for their industry as well.
If you see a post online on another website that is related to a blog post from your website, you can make a comment on their blog describing your article and why it’s relevant to their article with a link. The key is not come off as trying to sell or drive people there, but rather that you’re trying to share information to be helpful. A take-it-or-leave-it approach is especially important on the internet, as people quickly become dissuaded when they feel pressured by salesmanship.
Supplying articles and information rich in relevant content to your customers is a great method of establishing a loyal customer base. This can be done in a physical form, but you can capably make newsletters online for your customers. There are restrictions in regards to how one can send these online newsletters. You can find the guidelines for a well-operated newsletter at the Bureau of Consumer Protection’s website.
We tend to use a service called Mailchimp for our newsletters, as it helps automate the process of subscriptions and message delivery. We also offer to help perform newsletter creation and delivery for you at a nominal charge, but you are able to do it yourself with some tech savvy, time, and effort.
Paid advertising, such as pay-per-click ads, are useful tools to supplement your more organic efforts at online marketing (SEO, social media, blogging). They are also more expensive from a monetary perspective. The other major drawback is that you can also spend a lot of money and not get a very big return on your investment unless you’re careful.
It’s best in this arena to start out small. Try making two variations of an ad on a small budget, and see how well the two of them perform. Make two variations of the version that performed better and see which of those variants worked better in round 2. You can repeat this process ad nauseum until you have a specific.
Admittedly, this is a bit of an exhaustive list, but it’s meant to give you ideas that you can implement right now to promote your business’ website. It barely touches the surfaces of these topics, however, but you can research these topics further on the internet or stop by and ask us for further help. We’re called “You’re Marketing Resource Center” for a reason, you know! You can learn more by searching these topics on Google, or by taking a look at our available classes in the near future.