Small business website marketing is an absolutely essential part of your business—but if you take just 10 minutes and use the tips in this article to set up your marketing correctly, your marketing will practically run itself. Website marketing is never the same for any business as you might have a bricks and mortar business to market, or maybe an Internet only website business. These are two very different businesses and you will have to pick out the best marketing ideas to suit your business.
Think Before You Act
The number one problem I see with small businesses on the Internet is that their founders started the business without any clear marketing goals. This is very easy to do—business founders very often fall in love with their product. They know the product is good, so they assume people will come to their website to get it.
But people won’t look for something they don’t know exists. Marketing has to be part of your total business plan, so please take a moment and think about how you can use the following techniques to integrate marketing into your website.
This does not mean plastering advertising on your website, it means advertising on other websites to market yours.
The easiest way to advertise your website is by buying advertisements—but for most businesses this is a very cost-ineffective way to attract website visitors.
Advertisement effectiveness can be calculated using a very simple formula. First look at your accounting records to figure out your website’s net income. Then use your website statistics program to figure out how many people have visited your website. Divide the net income by the number of visitors. For example: $1,000 net income divided by 10,000 visitors = $0.10 net income per visitor.
Following the example above, if you pay more than a dime per click in a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertisement program, you’re going to lose money.
Using Ads to Test Small Business Website Marketing
But if advertisements are not cost effective small business website marketing tools on their own, they can help you quickly and cheaply test several marketing strategies on your website.
First, you need a goal—an action you want your website customers to take. This can be buying a product, signing up for a mailing list, leaving a comment, or anything else which you can use to make money.
Second, you need a way to track over short periods of time how many people see your marketing and how many people take your goal action. Most websites I work with use Google Analytics Goals for this.
Third, you need the marketing you want to test. We’ll discuss marketing ideas in the next section.
Finally, you need to create advertisements which direct visitors to your marketing. When the visitors read the marketing, they’ll either perform the goal action or they’ll go to some other site.
If a large percentage of your visitors perform the goal action after reading a particular piece of marketing, then you know that marketing technique is successful for your business and you can start using it to promote your business. On the flip side, if the marketing doesn’t work, you can dump it immediately without wasting more resources on it.
6 Specific Small Business Website Marketing Ideas
1. Guest posts: a lot of small businesses write guest blog posts to increase their page rank, but a guest post can also drive traffic to your site. To test whether guest posts are effective at attracting traffic, create an advertisement to the guest post and track how many clicks the advertisement gets versus how many people click through the guest post to your site.
2. Quality content: write a super-high quality blog post or article for your site and, at the bottom, ask people to rate the post. (You may want to try several different post rating systems—in my experience, some of them get more clicks than others.) Use your website statistics program to track whether or not people who rate the post highly are likely to visit other articles on your site and whether they’re likely to come back the next day or week. For rapid testing, create an advertisement which drives people to that high-quality article on your site.
3. Local vs. Global: see which geographic regions make you the most money. Create a squeeze page—a page that sells a particular product or encourages people to sign up for a mailing list—and then place an advertisement which is shown to just a particular geographic region. When you find which region makes you the most money, direct the rest of your marketing efforts at attracting traffic from that region.
4. Keyword testing: before you choose site keywords, see whether you can convert the traffic they attract by placing an advertisement using the keyword phrase which points to your squeeze page. Test several related keywords and focus your site on the keyword which gets the most sales or sign-ups on your squeeze page.
5. Premium testing: one of the best ways to get people to sign up for a free newsletter or other subscription is by offering them a premium (free) report or ebook, but it makes a big difference what title you choose for your report—some report titles will get more sign-ups than others. Before you pay someone hundreds of dollars to write your report (or before you spend dozens of hours writing it yourself), create five or ten different squeeze pages each for a different report, even though none of the reports exist. Use advertisements to direct traffic at those squeeze pages to see which report gets the most sign-ups. When someone signs up for any of the reports, print a brief error message explaining that you’re having the report rewritten and that you’ll email it to them as soon as it’s finished—and then, when you have your report written, follow up by sending them the report under the most successful title.
I do this kind of testing all the time as it puts you on the spot. One time I added for videos as a bonus to a product that I was selling. I just wanted to test if the bonus would make the product sell more. Well it did and I was rushing around trying to create for videos for the bonus. It was quite funny but it worked! There is nothing like putting your foot in it first to get the job done.
6. Customer stealing: look at the advertisements on your competitors’ websites and create advertisements with the same keywords which direct to your website. These are the perfect customers for you—not only do they read your type of website, but they’re willing to click on advertisements (which most people on the Web rarely do). Work really hard to make these people recurring customers by, for example, signing them up to your mailing list.
None of the ideas in this article take more than 10 minutes to set up, but they can all quickly help you build great small business website marketing.