Your website is finished, live, and you're excited to share it with the world and build your business.
A website doesn't magically get a high ranking on search engines, no matter what anyone tries to sell you. A new brand doesn't get noticed just because it's now online. People don't sign up for a mailing list just because there's a sign up form on a website.
A combination of great keywords, content, and clever marketing, along with hard work, is how it's done. Of course, you need to start with a great product or service that people want or need.
I am not a marketing expert, so this advice is not offered as such. However, I have watched and learned over the years about what's worked for clients and what hasn't. The "game" is always changing, and it's not always easy to keep up, but there are few practices that have proven to last. What follows are are a few tips and tricks that have worked for many of these clients.
Keep a blog or news section on your website. A website that is updated regularly, which both of these accomplish, does better in rankings. It allows search engines to crawl for new content. Extra Tip: Write relevant content. Search engines LOVE great content, and the more useful your content to readers, the better your site will rank.
If your business is in an industry that has an active blog network, research good ones that welcome guests to write articles. It's a great way to reach a wider audience.
Find reputable reviewers with wide networks that would be willing to review your product(s) or service(s). They share the reviews on their sites and social networks, thereby extending a reach you wouldn't otherwise have.
If you're a local business with a brick-and-mortar location, grab your Google My Business listing and Bing Places for Business. Don't by shy about asking clients/customers to post reviews online.
Get testimonials and build credibility with real people. We never recommend paying for reviews or testimonials. Honest testimonials from real clients and customers are what you want. Share them on your website and social media (with permission).
Word of mouth. You may think you can't do anything about this, but you can. When a client/customer is happy, they tell others. Of course, it's impossible to make everyone happy, but if you do your very best for every client, word will spread.
Social media. Okay, this one isn't for everyone. We don't actively use social media because it takes up time we'd rather spend on making websites pretty, but don't discount it. If you're a fan of social media, then it will be easier to keep it up for your business. Set up a page (don't use a personal profile), then put together a plan for content and scheduling posts. If you're not a fan of social media, don't worry. It's not required to make a business successful. Don't try to be everywhere. Pick one or two and make those accounts shine.
Join your chamber of commerce. This is a great way to network, especially if you offer a product or service that caters to a specific area.
Build your email list organically and then send out special offers or surprise discounts at random. Coupons can also be used for the general public. You can turn it into something fun by making it a contest.
Send out a press release. This one can work if you use the right press release service. Many are free, but not all are created equal. Do your research. Just because someone says the are #1, doesn't necessarily mean they are.
This is just a small list of what you can do to help build and promote your business. Keep in mind that there are many more ideas—some of which can annoy customers that you want to avoid. Annoyed people share their thoughts online, too.
Building your brand and business online is not free or easy, but there are a lot of great resources out there to help you. Research, plan, and execute, and then be willing to adapt. Don't be afraid to try new things, or to let go of something that isn't working.
To your success!