So you have a website for your small business... a web site marketing strategy is what you need to pull in the traffic and drive sales.
The fact is that most small business websites are barely marketed at all, and as a result pull in dismal traffic resulting in zero impact to the business.
Implementing effective website marketing strategies does take time... but it can pay off by driving sales and leads to your business with minimal sales generation costs involved. The most important thing to remember is that having a website is no guarantee that your target customers will find you... it is too easy to get lost as just one of the hundreds of millions of sites out there. Your website needs a marketing plan, just as your brick-and-mortar business (if you have one) does too.
Before you even start putting together a web site marketing strategy, think about your target customer. Where do they go online to find information about the problem your product or service is addressing? That is where your website should be visible:
So, getting your website visible in those places is your goal. Make a list of the most important sites where you would like your website to be highlighted. Then, follow these web site marketing strategy tips to build free traffic to your website:
For 99% of websites, ranking highly in Google and other search engines should be the main goal of your web site marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which you make sure the search engines can find, “understand” (via keywords) and properly categorize and rank your website. That way, your website will appear in the results when a target customer searches for a term that is relevant to your product or service (your keywords).
SEO is the basics of website optimization and good website design. It is the process of making sure the words, keywords, and meta tags on your web pages match up to what prospects are searching for.
Inbound links (ie, other websites that link to your site) are one of the most critical criteria that the search engines use to determine how important your website is, and thus how high your pages will rank for your keywords. Search engine marketing is the process of acquiring quality inbound links to your website.
These links should be from key sites (often referred to as "authority" sites, or those with high Page Rank (PR)). You can do this with link exchanges, finding (free or paid) directories to list your site in, writing articles, commenting in forums and on blogs, etc.
Do a search for relevant high-PR (authority) directories in your niche, and get your site listed there. You can find both free and paid directories – some have both options, depending on how quickly you want to get listed and whether or not your site will be highlighted in the directory.
To find directories, you can do a Google search for your main site keyword and the word “directory” or take a look at some of the general ones listed by PR here at StrongestLinks.com
Remember to also include the social bookmarking directory sites like StumbleUpon, Technorati, Digg, del.icio.us, etc.
Having a self hosted blog that is updated frequently (at least once or twice per week) is a great way to make sure the search engines keep coming back for more. You can also comment on other blogs, and where relevant link back to your website blog.
Join groups and forums online, and add a link to your site on your profile signature in forums frequented by your target customers. But do make sure it's allowed in the forum rules.
Sign up for the various social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace and set up a profile (with link to your website) and participate with posting, commenting, etc.
These sites can also be really useful as market research tools to learn more about what your target audience is looking for.
Email marketing allows businesses to quickly reach target customers using “push” advertising. It keeps your products and services in front of prospects and also extends relationships with your existing customers. To avoid being considered spam, email marketing should only be used as part of your web site marketing strategy when the customer or prospect has opted into the correspondence, such as subscribing to a newsletter which you can make available for signup on your website.
An effective way to increase signup rates is to offer something for free (a useful booklet or ebook, for example).
Write articles for sites such as eZineArticles.com and include links to useful resources on your website in the resources section. Also make sure you have fully completed the profile section with links to your website and/or blog also.
Pay Per Click is the paid search alternative (or supplement) to search engine optimization, and should be part of your web site marketing strategy plan. These are the "sponsored" results that appear in the top or right side of Google when you do a search. It is highly targeted, and more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods.
There are a number of sites available where you can publish press releases either for free or very cost-effectively. Publish a brief, well-written press release on a newsworthy topic approximately once per month for the most impact.
Depending on the nature of your product or service, you may be able to use Craigslist or eBay to advertise your product or service and link back to your website. Also, advertising in niche classifieds directories that are relevant to your target segment can be an excellent web site marketing strategy.
An affiliate is another business who sells your product or service in exchange for a percentage commission, usually in the 2-30% range.
The easiest way to sign up affiliates is to list your product or service on sites like ClickBank where affiliates can automatically sign up as your affiliate and then promote your products or services through links to your site. The great thing about these sites is that they do all the affiliate tracking and commission payout for you.
It is also possible to create your own affiliate program directly on your website.
Use sites like YouTube, Google Video, and SlideShare to post videos and/or presentations, with a link to your website.
If you use this web site marketing strategy consistently, you should see a significant increase in relevant traffic to your website, particularly from the search engines. Remember that it is important to set aside regular time to engage in these website marketing strategies: the most effect will come from regular and frequent participation to get your website in front of your target audience.