In this day and age there are literally millions of websites on the Internet. Even if you have discovered the key to the greatest mystery of this universe, you will need to do a lot of publicity to get the word out. Jon Morrow of Copyblogger once gave an interesting analogy about this issue. He said imagine you are sitting in a football field with thousands of other people and all of them shouting at the top of their voices. If you will say something useful there, maybe two or three people would hear you.
Some people argue that you just have to create something really valuable and it will, sort of, be automatically found out by potential customers and clients. This idea could have worked well several years ago when there were very few websites and the competition was scarce. Let’s say you owned a website on movies back then. Anybody typing the phrase “popular movies” in Google (or whatever search engine were popular then) would have found out your website in search results as there were very few competing websites and hence very few search results. But today it is not uncommon for Google to return millions of pages on one such search. (By the way, at the time of writing of this article the phrase “popular movies” returned about fifteen hundred million search results on Google!)
I hope it is clear that you need solid marketing if you don’t want to get lost into the great mesh of websites. This leads us to a question. If marketing is necessary then how shall we do it? I will try to answer this question in the remaining part of this article.
There are many ways to market your product online. A complete in-depth analysis would require a complete book. Below I am mentioning only some of them.
Create a social media platform
Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus can always be found in the top notch positions of the Alexa website rankings. In other words this means that these websites are getting a huge number of visitors. Social media is a very powerful and absolutely free way to promote your business. To give you a feel of numbers, Facebook has one billion monthly active users while the statistics of Twitter and Google Plus are comparable but a little behind Facebook. Other social media platforms like LinkedIn, Pinterest and Tumblr too have millions of users and you should pick and choose the ones which best suit your interests. The primary idea behind choosing a social network should be to choose the one where your potential target customers are gathering. For example if you own a photography business then your first choice of social media should be Flickr and not Facebook.
Build an email list
The average reach of Facebook pages is a mere 16% and in fact there are rumours all over the Internet that due to a recent algorithm change Facebook has decreased even this number. The reason for this small reach is that no one can be online for 24 hours a day. Suppose I have liked ten pages on Facebook. Suppose all the pages from one to ten share their posts when I was offline and in that order. Then when I will come online I will find the tenth page’s post at the topmost level of my newsfeed, then the ninth one, then the eight and so on and so forth. The pages one, two, etc. who would have made their posts the earliest would have gone long down below my newsfeed. Now, usually very few people scroll all the way down to view older posts and hence this results in a low page reach. The same is true for other social networking sites.
Here is where email marketing beats social media marketing. If you send somebody an email, his chances of reading it are far greater than if you update him via, say, Facebook. There are some email service providers, like MailChimp, which allow you to make an account and get limited access for free. Try it out. You won’t be disappointed.
Use paid advertising
Paid advertising dates back to the days when there was no Internet. With the advancement of technology, advanced and technical methods of advertisement have evolved. Services like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords allow you to advertise your product in the form of an ad to the billions of users who surf through their websites every day. You have to spend time in acquiring social media likes and email subscribers but with ads you have to spend some money too. There are different ad plans for different budgets so even if your budget is low you can still find something useful there.
For example if you are using Google AdWords you will only have to pay when someone clicks on your ad and you can start and stop your advertising at any time which gives you enough control to work according to your budget.
There is a reason why when men propose women they do so with a diamond ring. Everybody likes gifts. This is a slightly lesser known business strategy than the above three. Use free giveaways to promote your business. Giveaways can be of many types. For example you can ask an audience to write articles on their blogs about your product and the best article writer will win a coupon code to your product. By giving away just one coupon code i.e. a discount on your product you will get a lot of backlinks to your website resulting in a higher Google rank. Or you could use a giveaway to ask people to tweet and share your stuff on social media. For example, there are some online stores which give you some discount on the list price if you share that product’s page on your Facebook id.
So that’s all. I hope you found the above four methods of promotion useful. Have you tried any promotional methods? Which worked the best for you? Let me know in the comments below.
Author Bio: Daniel is an active freelance designer and writer. He works on innovative and unique projects like SponsoredGiveaways.com