If you’ve started the New Year with a shiny new website, and invested in some copywriting for the landing page, you might be thinking that you can just sit back and wait for the sales to come flooding in.
Well, it’s not that easy I’m afraid. It takes a lot of effort to successfully market and manage an effective website.
You’ve got to find a way to signpost it so your customers can find you and then you’ve got to work out how you’re going to sell to them when they arrive. There are barriers to building trust online; people want to see more than some JPEGS and PayPal buttons before they’re ready to buy.
But fear not because (inspired by a similarly themed post from Junta42) I’ve scribbled down my top ten internet marketing tips for getting your website noticed and building credibility with customers (I’ll give you a hint: it all revolves around becoming a publisher and being generous with your content):
1. Regularly post useful articles that contain your keywords
Preferably articles should be posted onto a blog of some description so you can interact with customers and perpetuate the love affair between blogs and search engine optimisation. The key is to be offering insight and advice which will not only attract the search spiders, but will also help promote your expertise and answer the questions that might be blocking a sale.
2. Let everyone know the traditional way
Tell all your contacts about the new site. An emailed message is too easy to dismiss. So dust off your telephone and call them up to announce your new venture, or send them a concisely worded and designed postcard. Both methods are relatively inexpensive and will make more impact than email bombing as many people as you can.
3. Network online
Find out who the thought leaders are in your industry and then comment insightfully on their blogs to introduce yourself. Many industry news websites have now integrated comment sections, so you should be able to find somewhere to print your name. This will help attract attention to your own site, create valuable backlinks to boost your Google rank and build authority in your online marketplace.
4. Drive traffic with social bookmarking
It might still be regarded as a niche way of searching the web, but social bookmarking can send you a lot of traffic. If you can get enough people to vote for your articles, you can literally attract thousands of new visitors via sites like Stumble Upon, Digg or Del.icio.us, and a host of other services to choose from.
The trick is to integrate yourself into the social bookmarking community by tracking who votes for you and then returning the favour. Over time you can build a network of social bookmarking pals and assist each other in driving traffic.
5. Print your web address everywhere
Get your website address added to every email signature, letterhead and piece of marketing material you send out. Even if you manage to get a leaflet into someone’s pocket at a networking event, if they’re interested the first thing they’ll want to do is check out your website. So make sure they know the address.
Marketing should be an integrated approach with your offline activities linked into your website. You can only fit so many words onto a tri-fold brochure. But there’s no shortage of space to develop your offer online.
6. Promote with online press releases
You no longer need contacts in the traditional media to get exposure for your business. And you don’t need a new product launch to justify a press release. You can use online PR distribution services to publish useful articles offering insight to your target customers. This could be advice to schools on setting up a cycling policy to promote your bike sheds, or the healthiest way to cook chicken to promote your grease free grill.
Press releases push out links back to your website and cement your credibility if you’re providing useful information.
7. Publish on other people’s sites
If you’ve already been networking with bloggers in your field then why not approach them to write a guest post. This will help you attract more attention by showcasing your expertise as well as generating a backlink from a relevant website. If there aren’t enough bloggers around, try approaching your industry’s news sites to see if they’ll accept submissions. Everybody needs fresh content to keep eyeballs occupied.
Just make sure you’re providing useful articles, and not a blatant sales pitch, if you don’t want your submission dumped in the recycle bin.
8. Give away a free eBook
What questions do your customers have before they make a purchase or how can your product make their lives easier? Both can be answered in a free downloadable eBook that demonstrates your credibility, expertise and builds a closer affinity with your customers.
If you’re being useful by giving away free information then you’ll be rewarded with the customer’s increased trust and confidence.
9. Start a monthly newsletter
In this age where everybody expects to get content for free, it might be getting harder to charge customers for words but it has never been easier to publish. So why not take advantage and produce a newsletter to maintain contact with your latest news, articles and product guides long after prospects have left the site.
10. Stick to the plan and don’t expect instant results
Even if you follow steps 1-9 it can still take a number of months to build your Google ranking, attract a steady flow of traffic and build your customer base. However, if you don’t invest in building your web presence then your shiny new website will simply remain hidden away and ignored. So put a strategy in place for regularly generating and promoting your content, be persistent and if you build it they will come.
In this age of niche products reaching global marketplaces, sending a town crier around your local shopping district didn’t make my list. It won’t hurt if you want to attract local business, but it wont be enough to find you customers further a field.
Investing in good quality copywriting for all your pages (including the ‘About Us’ page), and not just the landing page, is the first step. The next stage is to become a publisher and be generous with your content.
Becoming a publisher will boost your Google rank, attract traffic and develop credibility with your customers, who will have more trust in you because you’ve invested time in making their buying decisions easier.
Enjoy this post? Vote for it at Digg. Thanks!