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Strategies for Marketing a New Website
The internet has created a whole new arena for making money, starting businesses, and promoting oneself. With the ability to build a web presence for as little as $50/year and the limitless potential for return, it is a lucrative and attractive arena to launch a new business.
Although the internet has few barriers to entry, promoting a website still takes a lot of time, energy, and tears. With the high number of websites and businesses that internet surfers are constantly bombarded with, developing a strong online community is no easy task.
However, with a good strategy, effective promotional methods, and a bit of enthusiastic commitment, you can make your website a success.
After developing a business plan and building the website, marketing the website is an incredibly important next step. Here are some methods of promotion that are especially useful for internet businesses.
US Internet Statistics for 2012
- 235 million Americans will be online in 2012 (75.6%).
- 106.7 million Americans will use smart phones.
- 169.3 million Americans will watch video clips online.
- 184.3 million Americans will shop online.
Build a Quality Website with Quality Content
Getting people to arrive at your website is hard work, keeping them there can be even harder. While marketing can work wonders for a new company, if the website that everyone is being sent to is unattractive, full of glitches, or just awkward, all the marketing in the world cannot help you.
In my first online venture, I had programmers in India develop my music business website. Because of my lack of programming abilities, the challenge of describing my complex website, and the general complexity of the website, we ended up with a website that was simply not user friendly. Even getting into the news, building strong followings on social networks, and building great offline networks, our website did not succeed because it was not built to be the best.
Before promoting your website, make sure that it is built well. There is no sense in wasting your time and money trying to promote something that people won't use.
Use Social Networking
"How original!" You say. "Another article stating that I need to make a Facebook fan page. I've already read this 100 times."
I'm not going to tell you to start a fan page. I already assume that you have done this. What I am going to share here are techniques to enhance your social networking platforms.
It is very easy to spend all of one's time working on social networking websites without gaining much at all. This is because social networking websites have become more like television commercials - everyone sees them, but few actually react to them.
In using your social networking websites, make sure that you limit your time on these websites and limit the amount of information you share. Focus on sharing information that benefits the viewers and doesn't only interest you.
Determine what methods of social networking are most beneficial to your company and focus on those. The main networks to look into consist of:
- MySpace (for music)
Depending on the service your website will provide, you may only need a couple of these networks. Make sure that whatever social networking you decide to do, you can maintain it without spending an exhaustive amount of time.
Remember these three focuses when doing social networking:
- Keep it interactive - do things that your fans can be involved with.
- Promote your fans - post articles, pictures, and comments about people involved on your website.
- Get personal - make personalized comments to individuals who are involved on your website extensively, helping them to realize their value to you.
Example of a Personalized Message
I love the video that you have posted on YouTube. I thought that it was hilarious - especially the part where the dog accidentally runs into the wall. I am starting a website with videos of animals doing funny things and I would enjoy having your video on our website.
Let me know if that's alright. Keep posting great footage!
Rob from whatever-my-website-is.com
Contact Potential Users Directly
My biggest successes in building a customer and client base was from contacting potential users individually. Although posting on a forum, Craigslist, or Facebook can attract some people, spending the extra time to send short, individualized messages, can work wonders.
When contacting people individually, it is still possible to use a generalized message, simply add their name and one or two personal comments to make it individualized.
Look at the message to the right. As you notice, the only part that would really need to be changed for another person would be the name and the funny action that the animal does. The rest of it could be exactly the same.
No one likes spam. Do not spam. However, there is nothing wrong with using a generic message that applies to the person you are contacting. When using a message like the one to the right, you are showing evidence that you have noticed their content and watch their video - this reveals a personal interest. People respect and respond to those who show an interest in them.
Develop an Affiliate Program
An affiliate program allows people to make money every time someone clicks through their link and does something on your website - whether it is making a purchase, clicking on something, or signing up. A large number of websites creators make their money from advertising affiliate programs.
If you have a quality product or service, people will be happy to promote it in exchange for a percentage of the sales. The key is to do the research that needs to be done in order to determine the best affiliate program for your website and then get to work implementing it.
When you suddenly have 10, 20, or hundreds of other websites promoting your product, there is no telling how much your sales can increase. Although this will not make sales and promotion a breeze, it can certainly help out quite a bit.
Use "Pay with a Tweet"
This is a fantastic little tool that I just found recently. Pay with a Tweet is a free service that allows you to create a button, much like a Paypal payment button, that requires the user to send a tweet or Facebook status with your link to their followers in exchange for your e-book, program, etc. This essentially allows you to receive free advertising.
Although Pay with a Tweet does not work well for physical products because you will lose money, it works great for short e-books, website templates, membership sites, and photos.
Just imagine writing a short book about something that would interest your potential clients and then giving it away for the price of a tweet. Every time someone wants to read the book, they must send out a link to your website to all of their followers. In turn, anyone who clicks on that link and realizes that they want to read the same book must send out a link to all of their followers as well.
More and more websites are discovering the value of promoting themselves offline as well as online. Whether it is via a television or radio commercial, billboards, or simply going to conventions and events, getting people to see your brand at times besides for when they are on their computer can be incredibly valuable to a young start-up.
I discovered that some of my best networking opportunities ended up being when I attended events and dinners. While I look somewhat like a mentally retarded hippy, when I start having intelligent and humorous conversations with people in person, they seem to respect me much more.
You can stand out much more in someone's mind after meeting in person. Not only can you build up stronger relationships, but it gives you an opportunity to get away from the computer and have some needed social interaction.
Additionally, if you find some great guerrilla marketing ideas, your site promotional methods can become viral.
Contact the Media
The media has an amazing ability to capture the attention of huge crowds for extended periods of time. Whether it's television, radio, internet, or in print, media sources provide people with interesting information that people want to discover. If you can make your business or website interesting information, then you are a step ahead of the game.
During my first attempt at launching a business a ended up on the local NBC station, seen by about 300,000 viewers. This helped gain a significant number of views in just a short time. If you believe that your website has a uniqueness to it, consider trying to get in the media.
By getting your website on TV, in a newspaper, or simply commented about by someone popular online, your site will see a jump in traffic (Just make sure that the site is prepared to capture people's attention and keep them coming back).
Marketing is not an easy task. It can take ages before reaching a tipping point where the business is actually a success. However, persistence is the key. If you keep working, keep interacting with people, and keep improving the website, you will eventually succeed.
Whether your goal is to promote a personal website, your brand, or a huge corporation that you are working for, persistence, along with a bit of creativity, is what will make your efforts a success. I wish you the best of luck on your journey!