It’s so easy to fall into a ‘labor of love’ – painstakingly revamping our websites so that they look absolutely ‘perfect’ … or pouring our heart and soul into creating the best product possible, one that’s sure to draw rave reviews.
The problem is, no matter how great your product or how gorgeous your website, you need traffic. If people can’t find you, they can’t buy from you either. Consistent, dedicated marketing will help you to draw interested prospects to your business. Here are a few strategies…
1. Search engines. Optimize your pages and submit your site to the major SEs. If you’re able to rank within the top 10 or 20 sites for a particular key phrase, you’ll be treated to a steady stream of targeted traffic. A good place to learn more about SE optimization is http://www.searchenginewatch.com/ .
2. Targeted link exchanges. Find other good sites within your market and offer to trade links. You and your ‘link partner’ will both benefit from each other’s traffic … plus some of the major SEs are now using ‘link popularity’ to help determine your ranking. ‘Zeus’ is a neat little robot that can help you with your linking efforts. Find it at http://www.cyber-robotics.com/index.htm .
3. Build your own opt-in newsletter. Your own newsletter gives you the opportunity to build your credibility and keep in touch with your customers. You’ll be able to market your own products or services to them as well – and even earn some extra income from advertising sales. Find a quick tutorial on starting your own newsletter at http://www.buildyourhomebiz.com/ezine/ .
4. Ezine advertising. Ezines are a very affordable way to reach thousands of targeted prospects for just a few dollars. A great place to pick up deals on advertising is http://www.ezineadauction.com/ .
5. Network through message boards. Join a forum where potential customers or partners may congregate. Become a contributing and respected member by offering help and support. Leave your link at the bottom of your posts; people who have come to know you will click on your link for more information about you and your business. Careful, though – it’s easy to spend too much time ‘chatting’! Search for appropriate forums at ForumOne, http://www.forumone.com/index/index.php .
6. Referral marketing. Encourage your customers to refer others to you. You may want to give them an incentive to do so – for example, provide them with a discount on their next order, or offer a quality free gift.
7. Pay-per-click search engines. These SEs offer you the chance to literally pay for your ranking – a popular option, especially for people who don’t want to fiddle with search engine optimization. You simply place a bid per ‘click’ – that is, everytime someone clicks on your link, you pay the bid amount. More information is available at http://www.payperclicksearchengines.com/ .
8. Major indexes. Get listed with the popular large human- reviewed indexes such as Yahoo! ( http://www.yahoo.com/ ) and Open Directory ( http://www.dmoz.org ). This can result in a significant boost in targeted traffic – up to several hundreds of unique visitors each day!
9. Article submissions. Write about what you know and offer your articles to other editors and webmasters in your market. Offer the article for reprint in exchange for an author byline. Some sites also run syndication networks, where your article may appear on dozens or even hundreds of sites! There’s always a demand for fresh, original articles. Ezine directories such as http://buildyourhomebiz.com/directory.html are a good source for finding editors that accept articles.
10. Create a free eBook. Give it away to your visitors – and to other editors or webmasters within your market. Encourage them to pass it on. Your business will profit from the free publicity. Free eBooks are an excellent viral marketing tool; read more in the article, ’10 Quick Tips on How to Create, Distribute, and Profit from Free eBooks’, http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/articles/ebooktips.html .
11. Joint ventures. Partner with other editors or webmasters within your market to help promote each other’s businesses. This is one of the easiest and most profitable marketing methods! Examples of JVs include: ad swaps, newsletter co-opts, barter agreements, special affiliate commissions, and offering discounts of your own products/services to each other’s customers.
The key here is *consistency*; writing an occasional article or placing an ad once in a while isn’t enough to give you the targeted traffic necessary to build a solid, steady online income.
There are lots of ways to market — start today! Pick something and just do it. If you don’t feel like writing an article, find some potential link partners. Don’t feel like doing that? Then check your pay-per-click campaign and make any necessary changes.
Commit yourself to marketing your business — and hold yourself to it! After all, it would be a real shame for a great product to go to waste. 🙂
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a practical, down-to-earth guide to building an Internet business on a beginner’s budget. If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love the book! Visit http://www.onlinebusinessbasics.com or request a series of 10 free reports to get you started.