Before you begin:
The first step in promoting your business through a website is to think about your goals and budget so you can build an action plan. If your site is simply a promo piece that compliments your offline marketing, the next step is to use it to drive new business and keep current customers coming back. I’ve always believed that a website should be constantly changing with new content being added continuously. However, knowing what your audience is interested in, getting people to the website and keeping them engaged once they’ve landed are usually where most sites fall short.
Market Research and Testing
A good place to start is by testing the market using Google AdWords. This will allow you to quickly determine what people are looking for in your industry so you can make adjustments to meet the demands of those potential clients. In-depth keyword research and competitor analysis are also necessary to establishing a base for your campaign.
Get the Word Out!
The next step in using your website to promote your business is letting people know the site exists. Distributing a press release about the launch of the new website is a very effective method of achieving this goal. The release should include some hype about the company obviously, along with information about the site and why it was built (keeping up with technology, greater exposure for the company, etc.) and should be distributed to as many outlets as possible, both offline and online.
You also might consider implementing an email marketing campaign, which can certainly help with traffic. There are some things to keep in mind when using this approach. Most effective email campaigns are in the form of product announcements, event invitations and other PR type of correspondences. If these are inline with your ideas then an aggressive email campaign is a good idea. Just remember to brainstorm the idea with trusted advisers to formulate a solid strategy before jumping into it.
Obviously Social Media is a powerful tool for networking, but it’s also a good way of driving traffic to your site. Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn to some degree, can either be used in conjunction with, or instead of Press Releases and Email Campaigns. It’s smart to test several different methods, together and separately, in order to find out which combination works best for your target audience. Social Media is definitely a tool to consider integrating into your campaign.
Incentivize your Traffic
Promotional discounts or online coupons for website visitors can increase traffic and be very effective if implemented correctly. These are great for increasing repeat business and acquiring new business.
Referral rewards for customers who bring new clients to your doorstep is a powerful technique and usually results in the lowest cost per customer acquisition. This type of program can be used to promote your website as well as managed through your website.
Lots of ideas to think about and each should be carefully considered and weighed against the others. If you can swing a decent budget for your campaign, you might consider hiring a professional PR / Advertising firm to run your campaign. Remember to keep a clear focus on your goals, test and make adjustments as you go and be consistent in your campaign