Once your website is built it is important that you spend time and money on marketing it online to ensure that you are attracting targeted visitors who you can then convert into customers. There are many internet marketing strategies, in fact far to many to mention here. However the 5 strategies below are essential to any online marketing efforts.
Search Engine Rankings
One of the most important considerations when building a website is to make sure it is search engine friendly. The benefits of this is a website that not only looks good and provides information, but one that appears at the top of the search engine results for relevant keywords for your business. For example if you had a bed and breakfast in Daylesford Victoria wouldn’t it be great if your website was one of the top results for “bed and breakfast accommodation daylesford” in the search engines. With results like that you are guaranteed that prospective customers looking for your service will find your business.
The process of creating a search engine friendly website is called Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short. It is usually done by an SEO professional, or your web designer, if they have experience with SEO. There are also plenty of online resources if you would like to give it a go yourself. I’ve listed some of the better ones in the resources section at the end of this article.
As well as optimising your website it is important that you get links from other websites to yours. Search engines, such as Google, partially rank websites by the number, and quality of links to have to your website.
It’s important to remember however, that high search engine rankings take some time to be achieved so it’s important that you focus on additional internet marketing strategies while you work on your SEO.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay Per Click (PPC) ads are the sponsored ads you see on search engines such as Google or Yahoo! With Pay Per Click advertising you pay only when a customer clicks on your ad, regardless of how many times it’s shown. You select your search terms and set an amount you are prepared to pay if someone clicks on your ad. When a user searches for, or is using, a search term you have bid for, your ad will appear on the right side of results pages under the heading Sponsored Links. If a user clicks on your ad you pay the amount you bid for that term.
Pay Per Click is a great way to target hundreds of niche keyword terms for a relatively low cost. In addition it is highly targeted and the results are highly quantifiable. The benefit of this is targeted traffic to your website – ie the people visiting are looking for your services!
Pay Per Click campaigns can be running within hours and is a great way to drive prospective customers to your website quickly. For this reason a PPC campaign can compliment your SEO efforts. It sends you targeted traffic quickly while you wait for your SEO efforts to kick in.
Online newsletters are a fabulous way to communicate with prospective customers. It’s an opportunity to showcase your knowledge, provide information about your products and services and promote special offers.
When deciding to start an online newsletter you’ll need to consider the following:
1. How often you want to send it out – you want to send it out regularly enough so that people look forward, and remember it, but not so often as to inundate your readership. With the amount of information overload doing on these days that can be a fine line to walk.
2. What sort of content you want to include. It’s always best to keep a few regular content types to help give it a consistency. The amount of regular, fresh and interesting content you can come up with will help you in determining how often you send it out.
3. How you will manage your newsletter and your subscriptions. There are numerous email newsletter management systems on the market so take the time to choose the best for your requirements. I’ve listed some of the more popular in the resources section at the end of this article.
Your should also make sure your newsletter is branded the same as your website. It helps make your business recognisable and memorable to your prospective customers. Your web designer should be able to help you with the branding and setting up the newsletter and subscription system.
Blogs and Forums
Additional ways to market your business and attract links from other websites include creating a blog and participating in internet forums.
Blogging can bring your business many benefits:
- Blogging is a great way to communicate with clients, customers and prospects. Whether it be talking about new products or services, company news or resolving an issue, you can communicate on a level not seen before.
- A blog give you a voice which in turn gives readers an idea of who you and your business are. Your goal is to then engage them enough to want to do business with you.
- Blogging can help position you as an expert in your industry.
- Blogs attracts links and can help you in your search engine rankings.
Internet forums are a way to communicate with others in your industry and potential customers. It can help you promote your business and show off your expertise and knowledge. It can also help you expand your knowledge and meet like minded people.
To find relevant forums try typing in your industry and “forums” at a search engine such as Google.
Website analytics, the process of analysing your website’s visitors, is a powerful way to understand what is going on with your website. It enables you to see who is visiting your website, where they are coming from, what search terms they used (if applicable) to find your site, how long they stayed on your site, what pages they looked at and so on.
Website analytics can be handled in two ways:
1. By analysing your website log files with a software program.
2. Installing a small piece of code on your website.
There are many applications out there ranging from free to extremely expensive. I’ve listed some of the more popular in the resources section at the end of this article.
There you have it. The above internet marketing essentials are a great start in helping you to make the most of your website by attracting targeted, prospective customers to it.