Every single day on the Internet, thousands of newbies are performing the equivalent of the aforementioned test analogy, by putting up a website without having the slightest idea about how to promote it.
And guess what happens? They fail, most do. Most of these failed once, twice and then gave up. Just because they did not do it right, they lost a whole opportunity! An opportunity that others are efficiently using to earn a living from their home, on a regular basis.
The point is, starting a business, any business, without having the slightest idea of marketing is like playing flute before a buffalo and expecting applause!
There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and enthusiastic, but being ambitious and enthusiastic, and having a marketing plan is better!
Marketing for the web is an entire profession in itself, but at least before starting a new website ask these questions:
* Do you have a Web Analytics program or script in place?
* Would you use E-Mail Marketing and do you have an opt-in-list you can target?
* How will you take care of Blogging if needed?
* How will you take care of Social Media Marketing?
* Do you have the money for Online Banner Advertising or Pay-Per-Click Advertising?
* How will you take care of Search Engine Optimization?
Let’s look into each of those.
* Web Analytics:
Most hosts today provide a pre-installed solution like AUSTATS. If your host has one, then you are good. If not, you can use pre-hosted solutions like Google analytics, or a free hit counter. Most free hit counters provide more than just a number these days. Just do a google search and choose one.
You will need this to at least find out which pages of your website are most popular, so you can fine tune them for better SEO, a better user experience, and even getting a step ahead of your competition by providing better content.
* Email Marketing:
Some say that this doesn’t work anymore, but I do not agree with them. Of course, if you send bulk emails to a non-targeted list, then it doesn’t work as well as it does if your list is targeted. Sending emails doesn’t mean you are spamming if members in your list have specifically permitted you to send them emails about your products, launches etc. These are called an opt-in-list.
There are a lot of free and professional pre-hosted solutions for you to choose from. Most of them provide you with a small piece of HTML code which you can use in your website’s HTML to display the signup form. You can give away some freebies to motivate people to join your mailing list.
Once you have a mailing list you can notify your users of new content on your website, new product launches etc, but don’t make it just a promotional mailing list.
Blogging is one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with your website users as well as have new content on your website on a regular basis. Blogging itself can be turned into a profitable business. Get these free tips for successful blogging. Today you need not even buy hosting or a domain to start blogging. Of course, if you do, you look more professional. If you want some pre-hosted, free solutions, you might use wordpress.com or blogger.com
There is something else which makes blogging a must for your online business. It’s PINGING. When you write a new post on your blog, blog search services are automatically notified of the new content. This allows them to index your blog quickly and display your entry in their search results if appropriate. Won’t this get extra visitors to your blog?
* Social Media Marketing:
Social Media Marketing has become one of the most effective marketing tools today, and if you are not doing it, you are leaving money on the table. My personal favorite would be Twitter because it’s easy to use, can get viral, and you can post your tweets to Facebook directly from your twitter account. Use these free twitter tips that work to your advantage.
* Online Banner Advertising and Pay-per-click Advertising:
If you have the money, you can buy advertising in multiple ways like traditional banner advertising where you place a banner or a text link on another website which has high traffic, or you can go with more complex advertising like pay-per-click. This is where you place an advertisement on another website and you only pay when someone visits your website by clicking the advertisement – sound good? Not so much…
With banner advertising you can get unlimited clicks for a fixed amount, so your advertising cost is kind of controlled. Unfortunately, this is not the case in pay-per-click advertising. Here you pay for every click on your advertisement. Of course, you can control how many dollars you wish to spend and stop your advertisement after that amount, but think about it again.
Suppose you spent 10 cents per click and stopped your advertisement after 100 dollars, you got 1000 visitors, including clicks from your competitors, clicks from members which did not buy your product, did not sign up for your mailing list or anything else. Now let’s say that these “non-converting” visitors were about 50 percent, then you actually got only 500 useful visitors. Depending on your advertisement, landing pages, advertisement copywriting, landing page copywriting, and action required, this number of “non-converting” members could be more higher… This is just normal. Most potential customers “DO NOT” convert the first time. Generally, only about 2-6 percent of visitors convert to customers, and even that’s a high rate of conversion.
Unless you run another campaign and spend another 100 dollars, do you have any way of “re-targeting” those first time non-converting potential buyers?
If you had placed a banner advertisement on another website for a month using 100 dollars, then these same people would have kept seeing your advertisement for a full month, visited your website over and over and hopefully converted!
When using banner advertising make sure that your banner is displayed enough times and not just rotated a few times in a banner rotation script.
When it comes to advertising, you need to think of the solution that works best for you and go with that. Don’t forget to track performance of your advertisements. You did install a Web Analytics program, didn’t you?
* Search Engine Optimization:
Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO is where you optimize your website pages to rank higher in search engines. This is a long process, takes time, and comes with no guarantee, but if your website makes it, you can keep getting a steady stream of traffic for free everyday for quite sometime!
I am pretty sure that almost 20% of the web is full of articles, tips, and tricks on do it yourself SEO, but basically it boils down to just 3 things:
– Keyword research. These are the terms that people are typing in search boxes.
– On-page optimization. This is where you copywrite your web content to target a specific key phrase for which you want to rank higher. Key phrase in title tag, meta tags, heading tags, and a sensible appearance in the regular content.
– Off-page optimization. This is where you get other websites to give you a link using the key phrase you are targeting. Better if the linking page shares a similar topic.
This is where having a blog hosted on a subdomain or a separate domain becomes useful. You can link to your website from your blog which will be considered as an external link. Of course, this is not enough to get you in the top search results, but it will at least help get your website indexed, especially if you are using a pinging service.
I’d personally recommend out sourcing this job to a SEO firm if you have the money and the need. Working on this yourself will take a lot of your time and you will end up adding another SEO website to the 20% SEO-Web!
How do you think I became a WebMaster? Yeah, I was already a programmer, and in love with my PC, but my first website in 2004 had nothing to do with website services etc., but the second one in 2005 did. Since then I’ve been a full-time webmaster! That’s 7 years, and you wouldn’t work for 7 years for free, would you?
If you still want to do it yourself, read these free search engine optimization tips that work.
Follow S. Kumar on Twitter or visit BlogOfWebmaster.com to learn why the BlogOfWebMaster is called the Black Blog of Web Business Success.