Marketing your website should be easy. There are literally billions of people connected to the internet, so why wouldn’t they be able to find your website?
Because there are millions upon millions of websites. For a website with no marketing strategy, the chances of it being found are similar to those of being able to find a needle in a haystack.
Shout it out loud
The marketing strategy for your website may be determined by what market it is in. If there are a million and one other, similar, websites you will need to take a different approach to if there are only one or two.
If your strategy is to just throw up some content and hope for the best, you might have success if there are just a couple of sites competing with you. Probably not, but you’re more likely to succeed than if there are 100 other sites.
What you should have done to start with is a little bit of keyword and competition research. There’s a couple of ways to do this. Online tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, will allow you to type in your market and display words and phrases related to it. Information such as the average number of searches per month may be displayed, allowing you to determine which keywords to focus on.
Remember though that high search numbers don’t equate to a high number of visits to your website — if there are a lot of searches for, say, “CNN”, don’t imagine for a moment that focusing on that keyword will get most of the people doing searches to visit your site. You may do better to focus on words and phrases that get fewer searches but are more specific, for example the phrase “people in Miami watching CNN” might be more relevant to your site, as it targets a particular subset of what you may consider to be your main keyword.
Basing your content around these keywords and phrases will help to generate search traffic for your website.
The key to viral growth is engagement and connecting with an audience that wants what you have. You can use social media accounts to leverage this. Use keywords in your username and bio, and find similar (or interested) accounts to follow or like by searching within the social media platform for the keywords. Chances are, if you follow or like someone who has previously mentioned something related to your website, they will follow or like you back. By posting to these accounts regularly, you can maintain their interest, inform them of new products/events, and potentially have them share your content through their own account, thus reaching further potential website visitors.
Your social media strategy can also include video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, as video content is highly popular and allows links in the description back to your main website. You can make the videos yourself or hire a professional to do it, the net result is the same — more opportunities to build up traffic for your website.
Offline methods of advertising will only work well if your content has some kind of mass appeal. A newspaper advert for a product that will improve someone’s lifestyle will certainly get results, but it is probably more cost-effective to spend a little cash on web-based advertising.
Popular search engines include paid-for result advertising at pennies per click (depending on the subject matter — if you work in insurance, the cost per click could be $10 upwards), and social platforms like Twitter and Facebook have in-timeline advertising too. Search engine advertising results depend on choosing the right keywords to focus on, and compelling text to gain clicks. Social media marketing depends more on having a good picture to go with your words, or potentially a video.
Many popular websites have advertising options their users can access. Reddit, a popular social sharing site, offers a cost-effective advertising platform. Reddit includes “subreddits”, which are pages dedicated to specific topics, of which there are thousands. Advertising within the correct subreddit will get better results than advertising across the entire site.
Each method will appeal to a different kind of market, so it can be worth experimenting to see what works best for you.
In certain cases, there are online marketing options for particular industries. If you’ve written a book, for example, many websites exist that offer to promote your book to their mailing list subscribers — for a fee of course. If your book is available on Amazon, they have their own advertising platform that shows adverts in the search results on the Amazon website.
Similar solutions exist for many different categories of products.
Always Plan First
A marketing strategy will be ineffective without proper planning. Spend some time looking around at the different options available to you, and compare prices across different websites with the potential results achievable.
Only with a full knowledge of pricing and performance will you be able to make an educated decision on which platform, what style of advertising, and what target audience you need to reach out for, and more importantly — how much it will cost. If the price is more than the projected results, you’ll need to go back to the drawing board and rethink your strategy entirely, as an advertising campaign that delivers negative results is not a campaign that should be started.
Failing all else, consider your competitors. How did you find out about them? How do they advertise? Do they adopt a strategy you can model and adapt? You’re probably not the first person in this particular market, and you won’t be the last, so somewhere along the way you’ll find someone with an advertising and marketing strategy that works for the market you represent.
Take what you find, use what you can, and discard that which is not useful to you. Formulate your own plan, and get out there and conquer the world.