12 Ways To Promote Your Business & Website For Free
You are very excited!! You have finally created your own website!! But the trouble is customers aren’t knocking on your website door. Why? The most probable answer is that your customers don’t know about your website. There is no magic Internet fairy who will knock on people’s door to announce your website’s arrival. The task is up to you. To get your website marketing off the ground you either need to spend time learning and doing it or spend money and get somebody else to do it.
If you are like many small business owners, you have most likely spent the majority of your website budget on creating the site, but have allowed very little money to actually promote it. Don’t despair, below are some great ways to promote your website and business for free.
1. Email Marketing
Your first step should be to send an email to your existing clients announcing the arrival of your website. If you are starting a new business and don’t have any customers, send an email to people you know who may be interested in your offer. Under no circumstance should you EVER send unsolicited email (spam) to people you either don’t know or who have not requested to receive your information.
2. Search Engines & Directories
A search engine is a searchable database of websites collected by a computer program (called a crawler, robot or spider). When you enter a keyword, the search engine looks for keywords in its database, and any relevant records are displayed. Currently there are thousands of search engines and directories on the internet. Some of the main ones include: Google, Altavista, Yahoo, Excite, AllSearchEngines, Northern Light, DogPile, AllTheWeb, Lycos To submit your website to the search engines, you can go directly to the search engine’s website and add your URL (website address).
Search engines try to list sites that contain good content, so you need keywords and phrases on your pages that best describe your service and products. Once you decide on the keywords, use them in:
(a) Your website’s domain name (b) The title of your page (c) The heading of your home page (d) The first paragraph of your home page (e) Meta tags – Keywords, page title, description (f) Titles of your graphics
3. Link & Banner Exchanges
Find websites whose business complements yours and add their website to your links/resource page. Then contact the company and ask for a reciprocal link. For example if you are a wedding dress designer, you could contact businesses that sell wedding cakes, jewellery, flowers and also venues, celebrants etc.
4. Email Signature
Every email you send should have an email “signature.” This is text that is automatically attached to the bottom of your email message. You can include your name, business name, email address, street or postal address, website details, phone number, fax number, company slogan, description of your company and its products/services. You can set up different signatures for different purposes. If you are unsure how to set it up, check out your email program’s help index.
5. Feedback and Testimonials
When you come across a great product or service on or off the internet, send an email to the business owner telling him/her how the product/service helped you. Like you, most business owners appreciate receiving positive feedback and they will most likely feature your testimonial on their website and place a link back to your site! You may even suggest it to the owner by saying something like “you have my permission to feature this testimonial in your promotional material and/or on your website”.
Email autoresponders work like a fax-on-demand system. If you send an email to an autoresponder address, you’ll get back a pre-written message. Once you set up your email messages, everything gets done automatically. As soon as a prospect sends an email to your autoresponder, the system keeps working over and over again, like a tireless robot making sure no prospect ever slips through the cracks. Most autoresponder systems now handle your whole mailing list, so you are not having to manually manage your prospects.
Because the vast majority of customers will not buy from you on their first visit to your website, it is extremely important that you have an automated way to follow up with them several times to entice them back. You can use autoresponders to cross-promote various products and services your business offers.
Many webhosting companies will provide you with free autoresponders as part of your webhosting package.
A newsgroup is a message board on the internet where users come to discuss topics of mutual interest. As a user you can start a thread (topic), post messages and respond to other postings. There are tens of thousands of Newsgroups on every possible subject. The best way to find a suitable newsgroup is to use Google Search. Go to www.google.com. Then click on the “Groups” tag. Run a search using a keyword related to your on-line business that you would like to promote from the groups search page. You can use Newsgroups for conducting market surveys, get new clients, promote your site, get answers to your questions, make friends.
8. Office Stationery & Merchandising Materials
It is extremely important that your website is included on ALL your office stationery so that customers can see it over and over again. Consider adding your details to: – Letterheads – Business Cards – Flyers – Brochures – Labels – Packaging – Merchandise bags – Catalogs – Invoices – Fax headers – Display units
9. Visitor Exchanges
There are many websites popping up on the net that are known as Traffic or Visitor Exchanges. People become members of these sites with the goal of generating free traffic to their site. The way it works is quite clever.
You visit another member’s website and in exchange someone visits the website of your choice. Most of these programs work on a 2:1 ratio. This means that for every two sites that you visit, someone else in that same Start Page program will visit your site. Simple concept, isn’t it?
Writing articles is an excellent way for you to get free publicity. The publicity you receive by having your article published in a newspaper, magazine or website can be worth thousands of dollars in equivalent advertising space. Well written articles yield better results than advertisements and earn you respect from customers, who see you as an expert in your field.
The best articles are “tips” or expert pieces. People are looking for guidance and will purchase from the experts who show them how to solve their problems.
One of the more interesting ways to add some targeted traffic to your site is to join webrings. A webring allows visitors to surf through sites that are related in one way or another. They are free of charge to the owners, members and visitors.
Webrings deliver targeted traffic day after day and once they are set up they tend to stay set up with little further maintenance. Each webring is created and maintained by a person known as a ringmaster. This person accepts site submissions and validates that the site meets the topic of the webring. For more information visit: www.webring.org
12. Media Releases
Having a story written about you and your business will not only bring you lots of new customers, but will also provide you massive credibility. Stories about you in the media are far more believable, powerful and attractive than any ads you could possibly run. People will trust and respect you instantly.
A media release should provide enough details to be informative, but it should leave out just enough information to be tantalizing that the media person calls you to find out more. There are many excellent ebooks on internet marketing. I would recommend you pick up at least one and start reading.
Ivana Katz makes it easy for you to get your business online very quickly. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan.