So you've got a fantastic new website or webstore up and running. Now its time to get it out there. Ideally you should have started thinking about this bit before you even started building your website but at some point of time you will need to plan out a digital marketing strategy and an offline strategy for promoting your website or webstore. There's a number of online marketing techniques you should be aware of even before you set up your web operations, like search engine optimisation or SEO that can help drive up your website ranking. Then you have content marketing, search engine marketing (via Google Adwords) and other internet marketing channels such as social media, email, digital advertising and online PR. Like we mentioned before, it is crucial that you identify your customer and map out their online shopping or internet browsing behaviours. You need to have a clear idea of how you are going to use digital marketing to reach out to them or you'll be spending precious amounts of time and money yelling at a brick wall.
It is not a very good idea spending 6 months building your site and then suddenly launching it. Instead, try to do smaller launches over shorter periods of time, perhaps within your friends' circle and some test consumers. If something does not work, change your marketing strategy and see if that works. Ask around for marketing ideas and marketing tips within your friends circle. It is better to make lots of smaller mistakes and improve than make one big one and shed a boatload of tears. Put up something basic and send it out - you'll know if you're headed in the right direction. This gives you a chance to evaluate your digital marketing strategy and website design. You get to figure out what works and what needs improvement.
First thing is to have good quality content and good amounts of it on your website. This is the first thing that will have people sticking to your site and coming back for more, not to mention recommending it to their friends. Good content also gets you good points with search engines. In fact, there's an entire digital marketing practice based around this kind of content development activity and it is called 'Content Marketing'. We go over it in more detail in The Blipteam Mag: What Is Content Marketing?.
Once you started your webstore you can go around your neighborhood distributing flyers - that's print media. Or throw up a demo at the nearest shopping mall - that is events. Digital Marketing is what you do over the internet - via email, social media and other channels. There's several ways to do internet marketing, both paid and unpaid and there's a bunch of marketing tools out there targeted toward small busineses.
Get your social media going - have your presence on social media sites that are relevant to you. They may not be the best way of getting new customers but you can engage with your customers, share your expertise and answer their queries about your products and services. Customers who are active on social media may spread the word on your business to their network. Figure out which websites you want to be on. Only get onto the ones you can handle - social media can be a full-time job and you don't want to have a dead account out there with no activity on it. Facebook might be better for businesses more oriented toward consumer goods or recreational activities. Ventures oriented toward B2B products or services might do better digital marketing via a Linkedin presence.
Build up your email lists - look at ways to grow this list over time. This is a good way to keep your customers and other prospects up-to-date on your activities. Always remove users from your list when requested. Bad reviews can get online faster than you might think.
Paid Digital / Online Advertising
Explore paid advertising options on Google and YouTube or other channels that are relevant to your target audience.
Explore online communities that may be frequented by your target audience. Join these communities and spread your expertise in there and over time people will refer to you more. If you can, put up a video on YouTube. Lots of people use YouTube as a search engine, so your video on 'How to learn Karate from the masters' might just score you a few good points.
Good old PR might do the trick - see if you can get your pizza restaurant or space tech widget company featured on local or even international publications - print or online. A well-placed feature can get you good traffic flow, for a short while, at least.
It is an on-going process, driving traffic to your website. You can't just do one great sales push and then forget about it. Plan out a course of action that you can realistically stick to. Come up with quarterly, monthly, or even weekly campaigns spread across email, social, advertising and PR. Always remember to keep fresh content on all of your digital properties - web and social. Build up a buzz and always be enthusiastic about your brand - online or offline.
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