Top 5 Ways to Market Your Online Business
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/23/2006 | Marketing
Marketing your online business can be a huge part of your budget especially when you're first starting out. Finding ways to get your name in front of your customer that doesn't cost a fortune will help you draw sales while you're working on getting ranked in the search engines.
Below are the top five ways to market your business on the internet. The ideas listed are not only inexpensive but are highly effective as well. However, before you even consider using one of these strategies, there are two things you must first do.
The first is to write a formal marketing plan. If you're getting close to opening your business, a marketing plan should already be done as part of your company's business plan. However, it's true that many who start online businesses fail to write a business plan. If this is the case, just be sure to at least get your marketing plan formalized before you start doing business. Getting your marketing plan thought through and documented is the minimum you should do for your business. When writing your marketing plan, consider the who, what, when, and how you will do your selling and get your brand in front of your customer. Then decide which of the following strategies you will implement in that plan and explain how you plan to carry out those strategies.
The other thing you need to consider is search engine optimization. It is essential to learn how to optimize your website so it will eventually get ranked in the top three search engines, Google, Yahoo, and MSN. The sooner you get started with optimizing your site, the faster it will get ranked. Until some of your pages are ranked in the search engines, your traffic will remain minimal. Consider investing in a book, ebook, ecourse, or program of some sort to learn how to optimize your site so you can use the information as you are building it and adding your content. Be sure you're learning the most recent information because the rules change frequently.
Now on to the Top 5 Ways to Market Your Online Business.
1. Find Your Niche. Imagine trying to sell your product or service to the entire world. Consider the marketing budgets of companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds, these are companies that are trying to appeal to everyone. Selling your product or service to a small but focused group of people will allow you the luxury of advertising to a smaller but more interested group of people. Since they are more interested, a higher percentage of the group will buy but you will have spent less money pursuing the smaller group. Once you are successful selling to one niche, if your product or service is appealing to another niche, you can create another website and repeat your success using the same strategies you used on the first website.
2. Link Exchanges. Exchanging links with other websites that have complimentary products or services will not only give you direct traffic from the link but it will also help you with your pursuit to get ranked in the search engines. At the time of this writing, Google is the most widely used search engine, and it's widely known that they consider the number of links pointing to your website as part of the determination where to rank your website.
3. Write Articles. Writing articles with information that is interesting and useful for your niche market will help you gain traffic to your site. When writing an article, include a resource box at the end of the article that includes information about the author (that's you) and a link to your website. Then distribute the article to article directories for other website owners to use on their site or in their newsletters and ezines. This does two things, you gain traffic when someone sees your article on another website and clicks your link and you get a link that points back to your site for the search engines to use to rank your site higher.
4. Using a Signature Line in Online Forums. This is a strategy that could be quite time consuming so don't let it take up huge amounts of your time, however it is quite effective in drawing traffic to your website. Join forums and messageboards that are useful to your niche market and then become part of the community. When you make a post, be sure it's useful and relevant to the information that is being discussed, then at the bottom of your post, sign-off with your name and little blurb about your company with a link to your website. These are often referred to as "sig lines". Be sure to read the forum's guidelines to be sure you're using the proper etiquette in the forum and to be sure signature lines are allowed. If they are not allowed, do not use this strategy in that forum as it could cause you to be banned from that forum.
5. Start A Newsletter. Having a newsletter is one of the best ways to market to your customers and potential customers. You will need to have a service that will host your list and allow you to send your newsletter. Then you put a sign-up box on your website and your visitors will sign-up. Periodically, you decide how often, you send those who have signed up an email with information that is relevant to your niche. This information could be general info or it could be specifically about your product. To get your visitors to sign-up you can offer a special report, e-course, ebook or anything that would entice them to give you their email address. When you choose the service that will host your email list, be sure they do a double opt-in confirmation of those who subscribe, it's now the law.
In this article we covered the top five ways to market your website and a couple of things you need to do before you ever even start. Now it's time to get out there and implement some of these strategies.