I remember when I launched my very first website. That amazing feeling when it went live and the proud moments when I re-read my content – over and over. All I could think about was how many people were going to love it.
Until I realized no one was pitching up at my party.
That’s when I realized there is a whole lot more to this online marketing thing than just getting a site up and running. No matter how awesome your product or business idea is, if you don’t get it in front of people, you won’t sell a damn thing.
Since then I learned a lot and have since been able to launch sites and generate immediate visibility.
Take GrowthNerd for example. This is a brand spanking new site. I have not launched this site with the help of any partner. No doubt that partners are the best way to launch a site, but I’m not running GrowthNerd as a full time activity and thus have the need to slowly build momentum until I’m ready to gear it up with the help of partners.
So what did I do differently this time? I used sound inbound marketing principles to kick start the site.
Let’s have a look…
My first article got published just over a month ago. It was literally only pushed out on my Google+ and Twitter profile – once. It got 54 views on that day. For a site that is brand new, with no support from any partner, and without any SEO rankings, that’s not a bad kick off for a first intro post.
My second post went out one week later. It generated 251 pageviews – with no promotion assistance from a partner. It also generated 33 email subscribers for my blog on the same day. Not bad for a second post either.
What am I trying to say here?
We’ll if you have been paying attention until this point you could make the assumption that it’s possible to get your business noticed without having to show your panties. You just have to know how to do it.
When you are running a business, the biggest objective is revenue. More revenue means you have to get more customers. To get more customers, you need more people to know who you are and what you offer.
I’m going to show you 10 practical tips you can use to get your business noticed. These don’t just apply to digital-only business though.
1. Write and publish really good stuff
The internet has come a long way in a short time frame. 5 years ago the stuff published weren’t nearly as in-depth as they are today. A 750 word article was considered a good effort. Today guys like Neil Patel are kicking out 30,000 word guides, and people are loving it! It’s not the length of content that matters though. It’s the quality of the content that makes people talk about your business and brand.
The key to really good stuff: Write something that solves a key problem. Don’t just write ‘about’ it. Show people how they can solve the problem. Show them how your business can help.
Example: Let’s say you’re a small business that manufactures solar water heating panels and installations. A great way of having people take notice of your brand (or even generate leads) is by showing them how to save electricity. You can write a quality piece of content showing detailed “DIY” steps that any home owner can take to save electricity. One of your steps might be for them to consider installing a solar water heating panel. You can show them images of installations done and the benefits of having such a thing. The key here is that you’ve given more than just sales pitch. The reader might not have the means at that moment to afford your solar panel, but you’ve given them real value via other tips as well as planted the seed for your product.
2. Start getting social
A very effective way of reaching your ideal audience is to find them on social media. If your business is new to social media, start off by setting up the social media accounts.
- Create a Facebook page
- Create a Twitter profile
- Create a Google+ business page
- Invite all your friends/connections to join or follow your new social media profiles.
- Kicking off with a competition is a great way to get traction going if you are starting from nothing.
- Reach out to people in your network who have influence or a big following. Start off by having conversations with them in social media – LOTS of conversation. If you want to build partnerships to leverage down the line, you have to build relationships first. When the time is right, you can email or call them to discuss a partnership or value exchange relationship. A quick tip. Only approach influencers who have a similar target market or audience than you have. That way you can build partnerships down the line.
3. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is a million
Youtube is the 3rd largest website in the world and the 2nd most popular search engine. There are a lot folks on there. Video can capture your core brand or product message in an exciting, impactful way. It can reach your target audience faster and cost you a hell of a lot less than T.V advertising! Using video is no longer an afterthought. As a business, you can’t afford not to use it!
Here’s an example of an explainer video done by DemoDuck.
4. People use search engines, so get in front of them.
SEO, aka, Search Engine Optimization is all about getting you ranked higher on Google.com. I don’t mention the other search engines since if you can optimize your site to rank well on Google, it will have a decent ranking in the other search engines too.
SEO is not easy. It has become a complex beast. Luckily for you, there are some really good tutorials on the web that even complete beginners can follow. Sites like Distilled and MOZ SEO will get you on the right track fast. If you don’t have time to do SEO yourself, consider hiring an SEO agency. Just be careful of agencies who might use bad SEO practice which can lead to penalties.
5. Consider partnering up
Imagine that every time you publish something on the web, that there are group of people who take your stuff and happily promote it to their audience? Imagine being able to combine your product with another supplier’s (partner) product, to come up with something even more desirable? Partnerships = Collaboration. Partnerships = Complimentary.
Partnerships can do wonders for getting your business noticed. It also allows you to corner a piece of the market which you couldn’t do by yourself because you partner might have a really amazing product that compliments yours. A partnership is one of the trickiest things to get right, but among the most beneficial. To get a partner it all starts with building a relationship and proposing how you can add massive value to their business (and show them HOW you are going to do it). The best way to kick-start this? Meet them face-to-face or set up a video call. Network!
6. Event crash like a boss
Networking is a must in business. That means going to conferences, expos, any industry related event. When I say ‘event crash’, I don’t mean rocking up and drinking all the champagne. Think of this rather as your business making a huge branding ‘BANG’ at an event. You can use these events to your advantage.
- Use events to collect contact details, aka email addresses.
- Consider hiring people to act as promotion assistants.
- Kit them out in branded t-shirts and gear. Send your small army into the event and start collecting.
- Give away something super valuable in return for an email address. Tell them they can access it once they got to their email.
- Finally, give them a business card with your branding on it. Spin it any way you like, but make sure you leave an impression!
7. Start a podcast
Podcasting is becoming a really hot topic now. Starting a podcast is like starting your very own pre-recorded radio show. With the increase in smartphone usage, it’s become very easy for users to access quality podcast content. You can request yourself interviewing experts in your industry each week or perhaps just talking and sharing some valuable insights or tips. I myself listen to an iTunes podcast every morning on the way to work. A really great place to start learning about podcasting is over at PodcastAnswerMan.
8. Do some Guest Blogging
This is another method for generating exposure quick. Guest blogging basically means that you write content to be published on another owner’s site. The trick with guest blogging is that your content needs to be something that is relevant to the audience of the other website owner. You’ll notice this is a similar principle to that of creating partnerships.
Before you send a gazillion “please post my stuff” emails to bloggers, make sure you do some homework first. Make a list of all the sites you think your content would fit perfectly on. That means their audience should like what will being posted. It needs to be something that his/her audience would want to share as well.
To win at guest blogging you have to write a really good piece crafted specifically for a specific website/blog. Give away at least one really good nugget. Before you approach them, make sure you first connect with them. Comment on their blog posts – regularly, reply or retweet their stuff. You get the idea. After a while they’ll know who you are so that when you approach them you won’t be a new face.
The services that I highly advocate for creating immediate awareness and interest for your products/services that don’t leave a huge dent in your pocket, are:
Google Adwords: With Google Adwords you can advertising on the Google search engine as well as on other website (known as the Google display network). The Google Display Network also includes Youtube That means you can take your newly created video and market it across the Youtube network.
Facebook: Facebook on the other hand allows for incredibly targeted advertising. I have had great results with it. The key to getting Facebook right is not to advertise to a big audience. Drill down your audience to the very core of who they are. Facebook has worked really well for me in generating newsletter subscribers. Use it, don’t use it
Email co-ops: Other advertising solutions that can also work well are email co-ops. This means approaching a publisher who has a big email subscriber list and offer to advertise your product or service inside their newsletter. This is a little bit more on the expensive side.
10. Join an Affiliate network
An affiliate network basically consists of a massive network of sites (publishers) who are willing to advertise your product or service (usually in the form of banners or email) in return for a percentage of a sale made on your website. Basically these guys will drive you the customers, but you need to give them a small cut of the pay when the website visitor converts into a sale.
Affiliate marketing works extremely well and can make your business a lot of money fast, but to make it work you have to have a shit hot product and your website or product sales page needs to be really well put together. Your ultimate goal as an advertiser is to maximize the earning potential for your affiliate partners otherwise they’ll ditch you fast.
You can use affiliate networks like LinkShare or CommissionJunction, (they are the world’s biggest with big focus on U.S and U.K), or if you’re one of my South African readers and want a local network, you can use OfferForge, TrafficSyngergy or AdMarula.