Just imagine you’ve finally got the website you’ve always dreamed of. The images are eye-catching, the front page flows well, there are plenty of calls to action.
There is a good clear path gently guiding your visitors from the homepage to the ‘add to basket’ button.
But where are all those visitors?
You check your site stats daily and the numbers are depressingly low. A high bounce rate, very few click throughs, no sign-ups.
What’s going on?
Designing your site and adding content is only part of having a successful online presence. You need to….
raise awareness of your wonderful new website by getting the word out there about what you do and what you know.
Here are some ideas on how you can get started:
1. Press releases
Articles published in newspapers are a great way of raising awareness of your business. But to get your article published, you need to think like a journalist, not like a business owner.
Think smart – what’s the angle of your story?
Here are some ideas:
- Have you just served your one thousandth customer? Take a photo of them in front of your sign/brand being presented with a special product from you (ideally a branded one or something that you sell).
- Perhaps your company has just won an award
- You’re holding an open day to launch a new product
- You’ve hired new staff to cope with growing demand and an increase in trade
- You’ve been asked to speak at a conference about your sector
2. Comment on other sites
Identify some key websites in your sector, or some that have the same audience profile as you, and begin contributing to the discussions there. That means:
- being constructive
- offering answers to questions
- and adding comments that move the conversation on.
Resist the temptation to leap in with a mention of your amazing company and how you can help solve their problems if they just buy your product.
Establish credibility, build trust, and people will naturally click the link to your website to find out more.
3. Pull a stunt
Publicity stunts, if done well, can draw in customers and the media. Remember the nude photo of model and TV presenter Gail Porter projected onto the Houses of Parliament for FHM magazine in 1999?
Or more recently the well publicised campaign by Tourism Queensland to find a candidate for the best job in the world: that of “island caretaker” to explore the islands off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The campaign generated a reported £49m amount of media coverage.
Feeling creative? Come up with some ideas that could generate buzz and excitement around your business.
4. Use LinkedIn
I’ve heard people say LinkedIn (business-oriented social networking site) doesn’t work for them, but then I ask them how much time they spend on it and most say not a lot. They register and add a link to their blog, then wait for people to email them with job offers.
But as with all social media sites, to get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to invest time.
- Build a comprehensive profile
- connect with others in your field
- join niche groups
- add value with your comments, your answers and your discussions.
Once you’ve found the groups that work best, you can even add your own RSS feed to the group’s page, so any time you add a new post to your blog it appears for all to see.
5. Submit your sitemap to search engines
There are two types of site map – the type that people read on one of your website’s pages to see how your site is structured.
Then there’s the XML sitemap, which is a techie one that the search engines love as it gives them details of every one of your web pages. Find out how to generate a sitemap for your website here.
There are a few different ways to generate links to your own website.
The most obvious one is a reciprocal link: i.e. I’ll link to yours if you’ll link to mine.
But Google and other search engines have made it very clear that they value links that are good quality and relevant. The number of links coming into your site counts towards your position in the search engines, but you need them to be relevant and quality.
To encourage more external links, good quality content is key. Lists are always popular and are tempting to share and pass on to others:
- The top 10 celeb mishaps of 2011
- 101 ways to lose a stone before Summer (I’d read that)
- The top 5 fashion trends this Spring
- 8 ways to bring traffic to your website (ahem)
Consider your target audience and think what content they’d like to read.
7. Add your web address to everything
You may already be doing this but it’s an easy win. Most email services give you the ability to add an email signature to every outgoing message, making it easy to publicise your web address, contact details and tagline.
You should of course also print your web address on everything (business cards, letter heads) but you knew that.
8. Go viral
This one isn’t easy. The T-Mobile spoof of Will and Kate’s Royal wedding is a great example. Another is the gorilla drumming to Phil Collins ‘In the air tonight’ (for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk).
Make a short film and add to YouTube, linking back to your website. You could do a product demonstration, an interview with a delighted customer, a tour of your facilities.
Again, close your eyes and see your customer – what could you show them that they’d love?
What about you? Any great tips on improving your listings in the search listings?
I’ve got a few more that I’ll share next month (subscribe to Perfect Balance Marketing so you get new posts sent straight to your inbox – or make a note in your diary to pop back in a month or so).
Then share your tips in the comments below.
PS Read the 2nd part of this post: