You’ve just launched a new website for your business. Congratulations! You’re online! You’ve spent a lot of time building your site, and now it’s published. You’re live on the Internet.
But, now is not the time to relax. You’ve got to market that site. Sure, you’ve structured your site for “search engine optimization,” that is, your followed the standard design strategies that will help your site be “findable” and then will hopefully be positioned high on the list when people make queries for your products or services by using a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo!
While it is very important that search engines think your site is valuable, you need to direct potential customer traffic to your site from other sources, too. There is both online and offline promotion that must be done if your e-commerce business is to be successful.
One way to get more “eyeballs” to see your website is by having links to your site on other sites. This also helps with your ranking among the various search engines. Use Google and other search engines to research websites that are selling products that are compatible with yours, and approach them to do a “link exchange”. Propose to put a link to their site on your website, and they in turn will place a link on their site to yours. Obviously, you don’t want to approach direct competitors, but rather someone who is selling companion products to yours. For example, if your website sells baby strollers, a link to a site that sells diapers and baby car seats would be great for a link trade. This also gives value to those who visit your site, because if they are looking for strollers, they no doubt have a baby, and finding good deals on other supplies and baby items would be most helpful to them.
Another often fruitful online resource are e-zines, which are newsletters that are distributed electronic, usually by e-mail to subscribers or subscribers are notified to log in to a website when each new edition is posted. There is a wide variety of subjects covered in e-zines. Find several that deal with your topic and check out their advertising rates. Check out these websites to learn more about e-zines:
What many website owners fail to do when they publish their site is to consider traditional offline marketing for their site. That means placing advertisements in newspapers and magazines. If your initial advertising budget is small, start with simple classified ads. Place ads in magazines that target the audience you want to reach. In the case of selling strollers, magazines like Parenting and American Baby are great places to start.
Every printed piece of business material you have should have your website address on it. This includes letterheads, business cards, brochures and flyers.
Word of mouth works, too, and it doesn’t hurt to tell everyone you know about your website. You may want to join local business organizations, such as your local chamber of commerce. They often hold monthly meetings, luncheons and networking get-togethers, where you can mingle and meet other business owners. Remember to always have business cards in the pocket of every coat and jacket, so you’ll always be ready to hand out a card that has your web address on it.
Write a short press release about your new site, and send it to local newspapers. Weekly tabloid newspapers are often friendly toward printing press releases about local businesses and people. The release can also be about the owner, making a human interest story, such as “Local boy makes good” type of story.
So, while many website owners do their homework setting up a good quality e-commerce site, they often fail to give the time and effort required to promote their wonderful site. Using both online and offline marketing strategies can boost website traffic significantly.