If you have the most amazing company in existence, a product that can fix everything short of bringing world peace, and you are offering those solutions for FREE … it does you absolutely no good if nobody knows you exist.
When I look back over the 12 years I’ve been involved in the online space I can think of many times that companies have approached us and wanted to “create a new website.” The challenge with an emerging industry is the lack of knowledge on exactly what it takes to be successful. We’ve done our best to let clients know once the website is created, there are far more things that need to happen to make that website a successful online entity. This blog post will clearly lay out some tactics, that if applied, will help dramatically increase the likelihood that your website will bee seen, and your wonderful solutions discovered.
Once you’ve determined exactly what you’d like to accomplish with your online presence, the first step is to utilize the vast amount of information online to get to know your “buyers” very well. I’m not simply talking about identifying demographic information, I’m talking about truly getting into their heads to determine what they truly want, what barriers stand between them and your product, what influencing factors exist, and most importantly the exact language they speak.
Your goal should be to find people and companies who are experiencing a certain set of problems of which your company can provide a solution. If a company knows the name of your company already, they’ll most likely be able to find you online. Since this is the case you should put your focus on not only identifying the set of problems that would lead someone to search for you, but most importantly identifying the way these seekers speak and will refer to the solution they are looking for.
It’s important to spend some time doing some keyword research with a tool like the Google Keyword Tool or any other keyword research tool, to determine the problems that are searched for the most, and how the seekers refer to that particular problem. If you take this time, you’ll have the ability to strategically position your content in the search results on multiple platforms. Although it is much easier to simply fire up the computer and hack away at your keyboard, if you are looking to show measurable results, it’s necessary to spend the few minutes it takes to ensure you are creating relevant, compelling content that is highly sought after.
Once you’ve identified those high value keywords, you can then begin to engage in the following 22 tactics to make sure you are seen online.
1. Search Engine Optimization
The first and most powerful tactic you should employ is search engine optimization (SEO). The majority of the tactics that I’ll be covering here are all tied back to good SEO. If you don’t feel confident in what it takes to get your website found near the top of the search engine results pages, you can find out by reading 8 Key Elements to Get to the Top of Google.
Search engine optimization, although very complex, has some very basic, foundational elements which if followed, will put you in a pretty good position. The most important piece of advice I can give you is to create content that appeals to your visitors and don’t try to manipulate your content to be appealing to the search engines. You should be looking for a successful connection with your visitors, not to simply trick them into landing on your page.
2. Google Adwords
SEO can take quite some time to begin to take effect, so if you need to have your content be seen right away you may consider running a Google Adwords campaign. You can get something setup easily and begin receiving traffic in a matter of minutes. Keyword research is critical to a successful campaign as well as writing compelling ad copy.
Many companies simply setup campaigns which direct the visitor to their homepage. I’d encourage you to have a very focused action you’d like the searcher to take once they click your ad, and send them to a targeted page related to the search term they were using. If you don’t, you’ll be wasting a good deal of money and who the heck can afford to do that these days. :)
3. Yahoo! / Bing Search Marketing
Although Google has a significant share of the search volume , Yahoo! / Bing search marketing still provides a good value, and similar to Google Adwords, you can get a campaign setup and begin receiving traffic quickly. The same principles apply as far as keyword research and where you send the visitors. Protect your money by taking the time to conduct the proper research.
4. LinkedIn PPC Ads
If you are a B2B company, if you have identified the specific position within a company who would be the decision maker, or if you are looking to reach a company within a specific industry, LinkedIn paid ads could work very well for you. This is a relatively new option and can be fairly expensive compared to some of the other paid search offerings, but I’ve talked with people who’ve experienced some excellent results with this tactic.
5. Facebook Advertising
If you are a B2C company, if you are trying to reach a certain demographic with very specific interests, or someone who lives in a very targeted geographic area, this is an excellent way to make sure your content is seen. Facebook has over 500,000,000 users on their platform and collects very specific data regarding their lives. This data can be used to reach the exact person you are looking to reach and it’s currently pretty affordable.
6. Banner Advertising
This particular tactic seems to be making a pretty solid comeback and can be very effective for branding. There are many ad networks (ie. www.Adtegrity.com) which exist that can provide you with opportunities to reach very specific audiences which are likely to have a high concentration of your target audience.
7. Facebook Participation
Creating a solid community by participating in conversations and providing value on Facebook creates a very powerful channel to be used when publicizing new content. It’s important to not fall into the trap of just pushing new content similar to the traditional “one way” communication methods, but as long as you focused on providing value and engaging your community, you should be ok.
8. Twitter Participation
Twitter has become the “go-to” source for people doing research and finding relevant articles and opinions on their areas of interest. This is also an excellent way to have your content found by creating “tweets” which include the high value keywords you discover in your keyword research. The more you participate in discussions and position yourself as a subject matter expert, the more followers you’ll gain and the more effective your reach will be.
9. LinkedIn Participation
Similar to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn can also be an excellent platform to participate in and drive people to your content. This platform also provides you with an opportunity to answer questions which helps showcase your expertise.
10. Directory Submissions
The Internet is full of directory sites that focus on niches, of niches, within niches. :) Typically the best, highest value, directory sites dominate the top of the search results due to many SEO factors. The directories that have a high Page Rank are the directories you’ll want to make sure you submit your site to. This will help you significantly with your SEO and most importantly will give you many opportunities to be found by visitors who may be searching within any of these directories.
11. Affiliate Programs
Offering an affiliate program through your organization can be a great way to ensure you are seen by your target audience. Basically it will give you the opportunity to connect with marketers who are marketing to your target audience and by offering a solid commission program, they’ll be compelled to send their database to your offer to gain those commissions. There are a few different types of affiliate programs but I’ll leave that description for another post. :)
12. Video Marketing
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and there are still amazing opportunities to leverage keywords within most industries to gain traffic to your site. A good example would be if you found the a search term like “Las Vegas Dentists” didn’t have any specific videos related to it in YouTube you could create a video and optimize the title and description and have a video showcasing your unique selling proposition and embed a link to your website.
If you happen to have the only video optimized for that keyword, you’re video will most likely show up in the top ten Google results and will stand out due to the presence of the video and not just text. The great thing about this is if you do it properly you can gain visibility very rapidly (in some cases the same day).
13. Trade Organization Site Submission
Almost every industry has a list of trade organizations who would love to have you, or your company join. Most of these organizations, if not all, offer opportunities for you to provide links to your website which will ultimately deliver visitors to your site.
14. Email Marketing
If you aren’t building an email database, you need to start immediately. When a visitor “opts-in” to receive information from you, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to let them know of new content on your website, and the best thing is … they’ve asked to be kept up to speed! Doing so is delivering on a promise you’ve made and they’ll be happy to receive it.
I believe every company should be blogging to showcase their expertise in their own little corner of the Internet. Once you become good at it you will create opportunities to do some “guest blogging” on other relevant blogger’s sites. This will create opportunities to expose your site and your expertise to their sphere of influence which can help provide significant increases in your site’s traffic numbers.
16. Blog Commenting
Leaving thoughtful comments after reading a blog post is a great way to share your point of view on a topic, but it’s also a great way to gain the attention of a prominent blogger who will likely appreciate the valuable insight you have left for his audience.
17. Article Submission
Writing articles on topics that are of interest to your audience can help increase your site’s visibility if you submit those articles to free article directory sites like www.EZineArticles.com , www.SearchWrap.com , and www.ArticlesBase.com . People who visit these directory sites have the option of using your content any way they wish, but they need to include your signature and a link to your website.
18. Forum Posting
There is a forum for any interest or industry that exists today, and probably many more. Spending time monitoring the questions that pop up or giving your insight on a topic which is being discussed, is a great way to help ensure you and your website is seen. The more value you provide in your forum posts, the better the chance is that people will want to find out more about you and the company you represent.
There are many stories of companies who have exploded from one single front page mention on Digg.com. Although it may not be as effective as it once was, if you have a story or content that is compelling enough, you can certainly gain a tremendous amount of traffic from being mentioned. Make it easy for people to “Digg” your content!
Social bookmarking sites are an excellent way to peak inside the minds of relevant and respected influencers to see what they find interesting. If it’s easy for visitors to bookmark the content in your site, you can help them share your content with people whom they influence.
21. Online News Releases
The old days of needing to wine and dine all the local or industry journalists just to get a tiny article in that paper are over. You have the ability to create your own press releases and submit them through firms like www.PRWeb.com for a small fee, and the world can see that release in less than 24 hours. No more hoops and a much larger circulation can equal a HUGE win for your company.
22. Promote in Corporate ID
The last and most overlooked way to ensure your website is seen is to use it in your corporate ID materials. Whether it is in the signature line of your email, your business cards, letterhead, or in advertising efforts … Don’t forget to include your website address.
Make sure you take the time to address each of these 22 ways to ensure your company is seen online, even if you only add one of these each month. I promise you’ll begin to receive more and more visitors to your website. Let me know if you have any other ways that you have successfully used for promoting your website.