With almost every business having a website, competing for online attention is increasingly difficult. The best place to promote your brand is on your website. There are several website marketing techniques that will give you an edge over your competitors, the most effective ones being:
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a website marketing method where bid for target keywords and once you get them, they are displayed as ads on several sites pointing towards your landing page. The best example of PPC is Google AdWords. The greatest advantages of PPC are:
- PPC allows you to be listed on SERPs above organic search results. This gives you great visibility, meaning more hits and greater ROI.
- PPC gives you measurable results, allowing you to make adjustments for non performing ads.
- Only those who are interested in what you are offering (what is displayed on the ad) will click, giving you greater ROI.
- You can bid on words that are difficult to use anywhere else (such as your competitor’s names, even trademarked ones.
- You get fast results since surfers can start clicking on ads the moment you put them up.
- If your target keywords are related to your niche/industry, you get greater brand recognition since surfers will be seeing your ads everywhere.
- Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective website marketing methods because it allows you to rank high in SERPs. You should go for the top page because research shows that close to 93% of surfers will only consider what is in the first SERP, with the second page receiving a dismal 7% and the other pages getting less than 1%. Some of the most effective SEO tactics today are:
- Link building through guest blogs, keyword-optimized articles, blogs, and press releases
- Social bookmarking
- Semantically structured mark up
- XML Sitemap creation
- Loading speed optimization
- Title Tag and Alt Tag
- Meta Description
- Separation of presentation from content
You should focus on local SEO (such as going for placement on Google Places, Bing Local, andYahoo! Local) because those who know your brand and your location are more likely to make a purchase. Think “mobile” when doing SEO because more and more people are connecting to the internet using mobile devices.
- Social media marketing
Social media marketing (SMM) is the use of social media technology like social bookmarking, weblogs, photos/pictures, wikis, magazines, Internet forums, and social blogs for advertising. Popular social media channels where you should be focusing are Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The greatest advantages of SMM are:
- With billions of people on social media sites every day, you will have a big reach.
- You get to engage with your followers, where you can quickly answer questions and get insight that will help in product development.
- SMM is cheap to deploy and maintain since opening an account is free of charge and even social media ads are cheaper compared to other website marketing methods.
To succeed with SMM, you should do message adaptation where you have similar but not the same message for your different channels since the different sites have different ecosystems. Ensure the content is fresh, give discounts, run contests, and optimize the social media profiles for SEO through linking building, page speed optimization, and other SEO tactics. Use widgets like Social Graph on Facebook to allow for sharing (NBA’s website is a good example of how to effectively do this) and have badges on your website. Enable social commenting through the use of programs like Disqus, Echo, and Gigya.
- Referral marketing
This is an effective marketing method because people tend to believe people they know, or at least other customers/clients who have used the product/service in question. Referral marketing involves the awarding of commissions or other incentives for customers/clients brought in. A good example of this is what Dropbox is doing, where it is giving users 500 extra MB of storage space for everyone they refer.
- Email marketing
Email marketing involves the sending of commercial messages through electronic mail to people on a mailing list. It has been around for a long time, but it is still as effective as ever in promoting a website because:
- Emails reach intended audience immediately and they can then click-through to your offer immediately.
- Email marketing is interactive, which gives you valuable feedback.
- Writing an email is easier than other online marketing methods such as bidding for keywords in PPC or optimizing a page for search engine bots in SEO.
- Sending an email is free of charge, bringing your marketing costs down.
- You can monitor your email marketing campaign through un-subscribes, click-through, Web bugs, and bounce messages
- You get to create your mailing list over time. This and the opt-in and opt-out feature allows you to reach a targeted audience.
- Digital signage
While this does not advertise your website directly, it is worth mentioning because it is very effective in promoting a brand. With this marketing technique, you create content using LCD/LED screens. It is common in museums, hotels, restaurants, and public spaces. Its greatest benefits are:
- Reduced costs for such things as menus in restaurants since adjustments can be made almost immediately without requiring reprinting.
- It attracts attention and makes the atmosphere more likely – making it an effective way of attracting customers.
- You are able to generate extra income from ads (especially if your business is located in a good central location).
- You are able to engage and interact with your customers at the point of sale
- You have complete control over what is on display
- You get to display anything you want, from photos to twitter feeds and from news channels to ads.
There are many other website marketing methods such as affiliate marketing, press releases, and online reputation management that you should consider. Use different methods to increase your reach. Do competitive analysis and learn from the successes and failures of your competition. Consider hiring a professional for the job as this gives you professionalism and allows you to concentrate on running your business.