How to Promote Your Business Online

ZekeLLZekeLL Posts: 22subscriber
edited November 2008 in Marketing
How to Promote Your Business Online


There are several options for those who want to promote their websites. I will go over some of the most effective ways of getting traffic, but before I start, I want to give you a word of warning: not all these techniques are good for all the businesses. Some might work very well for a certain industry and not work at all for a different niche.Search Engine Optimization
SEO is great. Think about it. People go to Google, search for what you sell, your website pops up, they click on it, and there you are, offering them what they were searching for. Then it is up to you whether they become customers.
The downside of SEO is that if you don’t know what you are doing, reaching the top positions is extremely hard. You need professional SEO people working for you. But once you are at the top, be prepared to get more business than you will be able to handle. It is a great investment.Pay Per Click
The reason why I love PPC is because you can start getting traffic in less than 15 minutes. Sure, you are paying for that traffic, but if you sell a superior product, price it right, and do a great job marketing it, there is nothing for you to worry about. You will get your investment back several times.
Just like with SEO, if you don’t know what you are doing, you better hire someone to manage that campaign for you or you will be overpaying for each visitor you acquire.Forum Marketing
Let’s say you are an attorney who specializes in incorporating new businesses. It would be smart to post valuable information on forums where people are asking things like “Should I form an LLC or a Corporation?” There is one golden rule, though: don’t just spam the forum with self-promotion. You have to be willing to give, give, and give before you receive anything. Once you have established yourself as an authority, people will come to you for advice. It is up to you then to show them the value of your services. You can also use article distribution services to post articles on subjects you are an expert at.Online Classified Ads
Personally I haven’t had much success using online ads with my clients, but some people claim that it worked really well for them. They are free, so there is not much you can lose by giving it a shot. The most popular classifieds websites are Craigslist, Kijiji, and US Free Ads.Direct Marketing
This is one of my personal favorites. You need to think who your prospects are and where you can find them. For example, one of our clients was organizing a baseball tournament in Atlanta and wanted us to help him to promote it. We bought a database of baseball teams in the US, prepared an incredible landing page with copy that made the offer irresistible, and email all the clubs inviting them to see the landing page. He got so many clubs interested that he had to turn down half of them because he couldn’t accommodate them all.Press Releases
Press releases are one of the best things that you can do to promote your business. However, most people don’t know how to write a press release or choose the right topic. Make the press release about something that the media will want to publish. If it doesn’t sound like news, it probably isn’t. If the release doesn’t have anything worth publishing, don’t even bother writing it.Affiliate Programs
I love affiliate programs. It is a risk-free way of getting traffic. Affiliates send visitors to your website and they only get paid when a sale is made. If you sell services, you can pay them for each lead that they help you get. It is almost impossible to screw up with affiliate marketing. However, if you are not familiar with it and don’t know the secrets of the trade, you are not likely to attract the best affiliates and you will barely get any traffic. Ask for professional help to set up your affiliate program.Industry-Specific Promotion Methods
Each industry has some promotion techniques that are specific to that industry. For example, if you are a programmer you can get projects on Elance or GetAFreelancer. If you are a travel agency you can list your packages on Expedia. Just think outside the box.Alliance Marketing
Let’s go back to the business attorney example. Who are his clients? Mostly startups. What do startups need? Well, maybe a website, office space, office supplies, and startup money. He could have arrangements with web designers, office space owners, office supplies vendors, and investors.Advertising
There are two main ways of advertising: graphic and text. Graphic advertisement is usually in the form of banners, both static and animated. Text advertisement is when a blogger or webmaster writes an article about your products or services and includes a text link to your website. Some good options are Pay Per Post, Blog Ads, Text Link Ads, Advertising Dot Com, Facebook, Business Dot Com, etc.Local Services and Directories
DMOZ is a free directory. If you are not listed there, do it right now. There are also niche-specific directories. If you are an attorney, search for “attorney directory” on Google to find them. There are also some paid directories, such as Yahoo and Business.com. If your budget allows you to list your website there, by all means do it. It also helps with SEO.
If you have a physical store or an office, local websites such as Local Dot Com, Google Local, Yahoo Local, and MSN Local will give you some free links and also show your business on the map when someone is searching for it. And they are free.Offline Marketing
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only way of promoting a website is online. There are a lot of things you can do to promote your business offline. Brainstorm a little and you will come up with several ideas.The Bottom Line
The most important thing is tracking, testing, and optimizing. Set up a tracking system to figure out how your visitors found you, which marketing campaigns are bringing you profits, and which ones are losing you money. Chances are that after testing everything on this list plus your own ideas you will keep two or three strategies and discard the other ones. And that’s fine. This is about doing a couple of things right, not doing as many things as you can. Focus. It pays.
If you need help with promoting your website, let me know. I can certainly help.
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Comments

  • CreativeTopicsCreativeTopics Posts: 0subscriber
    Forum marketing is great!  If I were, say, an online retailer of mopeds.  I would do a quick search of `scooter clubs, `moped clubs`, `some other word for moped community` and get to know those people.  If you can get your product/service into the minds of a community, you have a base to get your started.
  • ZekeLLZekeLL Posts: 22subscriber
    Thanks for your contribution guys!
  • CelebrityChittCelebrityChitt Posts: 0subscriber
    Please explain how one promotes a business via Craigslist. It seems so crowded and unorganized just to navigate, let alone promote a business. Maybe a little clarification will enable me to see better.Royally,Celebrity Chitt Incphone: 866-936-2448web:
  • ZekeLLZekeLL Posts: 22subscriber
    You just post an ad in the category where it belongs. Try it and measure results with Google Analytics. If it gets you a lot of traffic, keep doing it.
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives Posts: 15subscriber
    In addition to many of the methods suggested in the original post, a great deal of my online business marketing and promotion has been through the use of social networking/media and online portfolio sitesTwitter has also become a great marketing tool for my business.  In just the last month online marketing also resulted in a podcast interview, many blog mentions and inclusion in several articles.
    I avoid using Craigslist simply because most visitors seem to be shopping for everything at the lowest price possible.  Those individuals are not my target market at all.
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives Posts: 15subscriber
    Calvin -
    Because of the negative connotations of Craiglist - especially with designers charging $100 or less for logos and others charging $20 or less an hour for services - basically it`s not a site with which I want my business name associated.  The possibly missed SEO value of such a link is of little value to me with all the other resources drawing traffic to my site and blogs - the vast majority of work comes my way via the books I have written and the books in which my work is included.  Most of my potential client contacts initiate their contact with me via email with "I was at my local bookstore and..."
    Another consideration for me is that in a local market saturated with designers, many charging below market rates, I am not actively seeking work from my local area.  About 80-85% of my design work comes from clients outside of my home state and in foreign countries.
    Using some of the methods mentioned in it opening post in this thread, and in my first post, brings me the clientele I need for a successful business.  It`s been almost 18 years since I`ve done a direct mail piece for my business.  Over the past 30 years I`ve found that Yellow Page ads/listings are not a vehicle I want to use to promote my business and print ads in traditional publications have little value.  The methods I select for marketing are carefully chosen in regards to how they may reflect on how I want my business to be perceived by my target market.
    Different marketing, advertising and promotion methods work well for a variety of specific businesses.  I`m glad you have found that Craigslist is valuable for you.  Most designers I know personally have opted to not use that particular method.
  • davincivirtualdavincivirtual Posts: 1subscriber Member
    It might be worth using Craigslist for the SEO value, other than that, I probably wouldn`t use it. Another option is to use http://www.blogburst.com. It is a syndication site that makes your content available to media webpublishers for re-posting...can be good exposure and traffic driver.
  • mjk40mjk40 Posts: 0subscriber
    I have found that article marketing and press releases to work very well for my business.http://www.beginmakingcashonline.com/
  • AuroraAndersonAuroraAnderson Posts: 1subscriber
    Nice original post.  Thanks for the tips.  I would add that before you do anything you need to answer in detail 3 important market research questions:
    1.  Who is your Target Customer?   What are their demographics:  income level, gender, age?  Do they have a specific location?  Just a city, or the world?What do they want? How will their lives be better or different if they buy what your have to sell in this market?What are their key problems?What do they currently buy that is specific to your market?What can you exclude about them?  What do you know that doesn`t apply to them?
    2.  Where do they go online? (related to your market)Do they have online communities?  Are there discussion forums?What blogs do they regularly read?  Find out what`s working successfully, make yours better.  Create a master list of all the great blogs in your niche.What articles interest them?What videos do they watch? (specific to your market)What email newsletters to they read?  Why?  What type of info is being sent to them?
    3.  Who is your competition?Who are the major players in your market? (the top 10 most successful players)What do they sell and how?Who is buying AdWord ads?Who has the top rankings?Who links to your competition?  (and why?)
  • ZekeLLZekeLL Posts: 22subscriber
    Great list Aurora!ZekeLL11/5/2008 11:38 PM
  • jg42122jg42122 Posts: 1subscriber
    When you are promoting your site with Craigs list exactly how do you do it.Do you have to create multiple ads for different cities?
  • ZekeLLZekeLL Posts: 22subscriber
    Craigslist doesn`t allow you to post more than 3 ads a day.
  • iyazamiyazam Posts: 33subscriber
    I think there is another aspect when it comes to marketing a business online.
     
    Many people seem to think that its all about marketing your URL and a little punchline about your biz. I think that today its all about marketing your information online. The more information your target market will have the more they will be `thirsty` for services or products.
     
    In general in life when ever we have more information about something,let it be a service provider or a product - we will go where ever we have more information.
  • cdbartworkcdbartwork Posts: 11subscriber
    Iyazam:
     
    Can you give an example of what you mean by..."marketing your information online..the more information your target market will have the more they will be thirsty for services or product." Are you talking about blogs, content on your website?
     
    Colleen
  • iyazamiyazam Posts: 33subscriber
    Hi
     
    Here is an article I wrote that explains exactly what I do;
     

     
    How To Become a Website Marketing Ninja    

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