You’ve built a website and now, it’s time to put it to work! How you promote your website is tied usually to your marketing budget. As we know the purse strings might be tight, we’ve collected tips to promote your website that are free or low-cost. These are great ways to attract new customers and gain traction, generate interest, more business, and, eventually, more budget for a cohesive website marketing strategy.
1. Apply SEO Best Practices
Apply popular keywords or phrases being queried by search engine users. In order to be properly ranked within the search engine results pages (SERPs), it is important that these keywords/phrases appear within your title tags and in an organic, natural context within the page text.
To keep costs low, this is something you may be able to do yourself. You will need to invest time and manpower to make these changes, but it will pay off in positive movement and increased traffic.
Pro Tip: Optimize for “long-tail phrases” with comparatively high search volume and relatively low competition. Resist the temping “short-tail,” as these keywords are difficult to rank for organically and have much stronger competition.
You can find more tips on how to optimize you site in our post 6 Easy SEO Tips to Boost Your Site in Search Engines.
2. Engage with Your Customers on Social Channels
Social media marketing is a must for new websites trying to build brand awareness and engage with customers. Create and consistently maintain branded accounts within key social media platforms, understanding that some niches may have more or less success on specific platforms.
The keyword here is consistently; the health of your business is reflected in the health and activity of your social presence. Active social media profiles help build trust. Trust is also built through outreach and social engagement. For example, if a customer posts a question on social media, answer it in a timely manner. Addressing customer service issues over social media also positions your company to showcase your brand and superior customer service. Remember, all eyes are on you here and anything posted socially has the potential to go viral, cause a stir, or highlight your website, for better or worse.
The investment needed to effectively promote your website can be free or moderate, depending on how much paid promotion you engage in. Select platforms, specifically Facebook and Instagram (most recently) understand the value of social media marketing to online businesses and have revised their algorithms accordingly to align with a more “pay-to-play” model. The platforms latest updates have made it difficult for branded posts to organically display in user feeds, unless the user has already interacted with the brand or the brand has paid to have the content promoted.
Pro Tip: Invest in third-party social media management software to streamline your platforms and make the management of all of these accounts much less daunting.
3. Use Email Marketing to Engage your Audience & Customers
Email marketing has been around since, well, email. But despite being thought of as less hip or trendy than social media marketing, this tried-and-true method is very effective when done consistently well.
Whereas social media marketing uses a delicate balance of non-branded and branded content, email marketing is all you, baby! Take the opportunity to tell your subscribers about what’s new on your website: a newly featured product line, a contest, members-only info, hot, limited-time-only deals, promo codes, etc.
Why is it OK to toot your own proverbial horn here? Because it’s the most focused of the marketing methods. Email marketing is a strategy for the long haul. By the time a customer receives your email marketing materials, they’ve already interacted with your brand on some level. They already know who you are and what you sell. Email marketing reinforces that knowledge. It reminds customers how great and exciting you are, how wonderful your product selection is, how affordable your prices are, and ushers them back to the site to engage.
The investment needed for email marketing is fairly low; you’ll need to pay someone to design and brand the email contents, if you don’t have the capabilities already, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. Leverage new content on your site by linking to it in your marketing materials. Doing this allows that website content to work for you in a secondary way and might help cut down on the time it takes to put together the emails themselves.
Pro Tip: Nothing turns off customers more than spam. Marketing materials should only be sent to users who have opted-in to receive them. Also provide a clear path for customers to opt-out of further promotional materials.
4. Build Your Brand Through Great Content & Authoritative Connections
Fresh, authoritative content is a great way to promote your website as a resource within your niche. The real trick is making sure that great content is seen. If your website is still fairly new, you may not be positioned well enough or have enough social engagement to reach the large audience you’re looking for.
The solution: Connect with niche influencers. Find someone else within your space who does have the pull and authority to get your content seen and promote your website through a guest posting, sponsored blog post, review, or other form of content. The investment may be moderate, depending on the influencer you’d like to engage with and the size of their audience.
Pro Tip: If cost is a concern, offering an influencer a free guest post is the thriftiest option. A sponsored blog post or review typically costs more and showcase your brand in context.
5. List your Site in Local and Niche Directories
List your website in the local SERPs through Google’s local business listings and on local and niche directories that your customers trust for unbiased reviews, information, and reputable service providers. Sites like these offer a platform for free, user-generated content. Yes, you’re relying on others to take the lead on this and talk up your services, but the beautiful thing about that is the investment is low or nothing at all, depending on the site’s listing policy. The downside to this is that you have very little control over what is put out there, since these are authentic reviews; but that’s even more incentive to offer a service worth a great review.
Pro Tip: These sites may serve as a barometer for popular opinion and ID areas needing improvement. Take these reviews seriously to avoid larger reputation management issues.
6. Run Effective Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Campaigns
The majority of sites, big and small, use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. PPC leverages the information learned from organic keyword research and puts money behind it through Google AdWords, purchasing ad space within the SERPs. The ad may be served when a query is made for that search term. PPC works with most budgets and you only pay when your ad is clicked.
Pro Tip: Manage your PPC spending wisely; if you see that a specific term is performing better or worse than another, shift your budget accordingly.