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So you came up with a name for your business idea, built and optimized your website, now visitors and customers will come, right!? Not necessarily. It takes time, patience and a lot of spreading the word (aka marketing). In Chapter 4 of our How to Make Your Own Website series we’ll show you a number of relatively easy and cost-effective ways to get the word out and increase traffic to your website.
Phase 1: How do I Use Social Media and Creatives To Drive Traffic?
Thanks to the internet, there are dozens of free social media tools for marketing your website. But before you jump on the bandwagon and start using them all, you’ll want to decide what your goals are, who your audience is and which tools will best help you maximize the return on your investment – learn more with these 9 social media best practices. Want to learn more about the different tools and the benefits of each? Read our social media overview guide below:
Once you begin using it (and seeing the benefits) you’ll notice that some channels work better than others. And remember, you’re only one person (unless you are lucky enough to have a team or person to help) and there are only so many hours in the day, so you’ll want to spend your social media time wisely. Whatever you do, don’t neglect social media!
Schedule Posts and Track Performance
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the number of social media tools out there, don’t worry. There are tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite that can help you manage multiple channels at once including messages, mentions and more.
Back Up Social Media
Just like you back up your website servers and computer files, it’s also a good idea to go ahead and back up your social media accounts every once in a while too. In the off-chance one of the services were to go away or get hacked you’d hate to lose all that hard work and precious content you posted. Not all services allow you to do so, but you can read more about how to back up social media including step by step guides.
Harness the Power of Images
In the digital world where attention spans are very short, visuals become incredibly important. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that couldn’t be more true when it comes to marketing your business. Compelling logos play a huge role in telling your brand’s story while helping to drive sales. While it might be tempting to use Google Images or Pinterest for your graphics, we highly advise you to use your own original photos or royalty free stock photos. In fact, it’s illegal to use others’ photos without their permission – so it’s best to play it safe and not violate copyright laws. Not sure where to get stock photos? We have an article that puts the top companies side by side along with each of their respective pricing details, pros and cons of each:
Once you have the rights to a photo, you can then hire a designer, use a third-party site like Canva or utilize your own design skills or in-house resources to design cover photos, branded images, and everything in between. We also recommend diversifying the creatives on your page to not only include images, but also slideshows and videos where applicable.
Phase 2: How do I Effectively Market My Content?
Recognize the Power of Email Marketing
Despite what they say, email marketing is not dead! If used correctly, email can be a very effective way to grow your small business and build a loyal following of customers and readers. You can notify your subscribers of when new content is published to your site and also deliver exclusive content and/or special deals. There are a number of email marketing tools you can use and luckily for you, we’ve done extensive research and reviewed them all in our comparison table:
While you are likely visiting your site on a regular basis, your customers probably are not. So it doesn’t hurt to send them a newsletter at least once a month to remind them you’re still around by delivering them useful, relevant content to their inbox.
Streamline Your Marketing Efforts With Automation
Marketing automation tools can help you make your marketing efforts more efficient by auto posting, sending and scheduling content to the right people when it’s most timely. So let’s say a person is shopping for a dress online, but they leave the page or abandon their cart without purchasing. You could automate an email message to be generated to go to that person (based on cookies and other digital algorithms) that recommends dresses that they might like. You could also target them on Facebook with a relevant ad. It can be a bit complex to understand, so we dig into this topic deeper in our comparison article:
Marketing automation tools could be a worthwhile investment to free up your time to focus on more big picture goals and running the strategic side of the business.
Even an online business needs a great looking business card:
Phase 3: Community: Build It and They Will Come
Once you have built the infrastructure for online marketing, you’ll need to grow your audience and engage them. You can effectively develop your online community beyond social media including digital directories and forums (for an example, check out our forums right here on We Rock Your Web). Forums are popular places for people to ask questions, leave reviews, share their stories and vent frustrations. Find a hot topic and chime in with a solution! It’s that simple. Your readers will stay engaged and turn into recurring visitors. Guests posts and contests are another easy way to grow your numbers and expose your site to a larger audience, but be careful – search engines can view guest posts, especially if they contain backlinks, as a tactic to game the system.
Phase 4: SEO
Search engine optimization involves optimizing your website so it is readily indexable by search engines. Search engines have gotten a lot smarter, so SEO has become a lot easier, and the focus has shifted to producing quality content and marketing it effectively. Nevertheless, there’s some essential tips you’ll want to make sure your website follows. Dive into our SEO series for the scoop.
Phase 5: SEM and Paid Search
While SEO is incredibly important to the search engines and your site’s search rankings, you can’t rely on that alone. In addition to free optimizations you can do on the back end to your website (that we mention in the previous Chapter 3), you can market your content using various Search Engine Marketing (SEM) techniques. Many of these are organic (ie. labor-based), but paid search (where you buy ads that lead to click-throughs to your site) are also a factor. For paid advertising on social media, Facebook is a good place to test the waters and not spend a lot.
Most online advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook are self-serving so you can set them up yourself. If you don’t have time or resources for this, there are companies you can hire to manage your paid advertising campaigns for you. We’ll be adding relevant articles to this section shortly.
Website Marketing Summary
Hopefully this overview gives you both a brief understanding of how to market yourself online and a better grasp on how to get the word out about your brand. Digital Marketing is not a “set it and forget it” scenario. You have to revisit your strategy and the effectiveness of your campaigns on a regular basis if you want to (1) make sure you are not losing money and (2) analyze which marketing channels are driving the best traffic so you know where to focus your efforts. Once you have the traffic, you can convert your visitors to paying customers. We’ll cover how you can make money with your website in the next and final chapter of our “How to Create a Website” series!
- Starting Your Own Website, Name and Brand
- Build Your Own Website: Hosting, Platform, and Design
- Website Optimization: Security, Backup, and Experience
- Website Marketing: How to Get Traffic to Your Website (Current Chapter)
- How to Monetize Your Website
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