You had a great idea for an online business. You built your website, but it didn’t take off like you had imagined. You need to get the word out! This can be stressful and scary, especially if you’re not working with much of an ad budget. I understand! If you’re a small fish in a big pond, you might even wonder how you can break through all the noise of your competition. You can!
1. Define Your Brand
Before you do anything, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition. What sets you apart? You may think your product is simple, but your one defining factor could be the difference between a sale and non-sale. A fun exercise is looking around a grocery store and trying to figure out how seemingly homogeneous products differentiate themselves from competitors. Go to the deodorant aisle and determine the brand identity for each brand. Are they selling on performance? Are they selling on attraction to the opposite sex? Are they selling based on the way you apply it?
2. Define Your Audience
Now that you know who you are, you need to determine who you are selling to. If you closed your eyes and envisioned your average customer, what are the characteristics of that person. Before you determine where to spend your time and money, you need to determine who you’re targeting. This should be fairly easy to determine if you’ve spoken to any customers or potential customers.
3. Define Your Keywords
I speak to a lot of people who say that they do not rank well in the search engines for the keywords they’re targeting. I ask them which keywords they’re targeting, and 9 out of 10 times they aren’t even using those keywords on their site or they’re using very broad ones that their huge competitors dominate on. Don’t try to compete for “travel agency”. You’ve defined your audience, where are they? They’re probably looking for a local travel agency so focus on ranking well for “Michigan travel agency” or even more niche terms like “Orange County Travel Agency”.
4. Define Your Ad Plan
If you only have $500/month to advertise your website, it’s crucial that you use every penny wisely. If you looked at your Analytics and determined how people get to your site, those sites and similar ones are great sites to consider advertising on. If you see that you get a lot of highly relevant organic traffic for “tasty yellow bananas”, you may want to go the PPC route to snag those clicks as well. The name of the game is finding where your target audience spends their time.
Want to increase your brand awareness? Try CPM advertising! Do your research though. A $20 CPM ad purchase may get you on a prestigious site, but a $1 CPM site will get you 20-times more exposure and could potentially lead to more sales!
5. Define Your Social Media Objectives
Don’t just sign up for Twitter and Facebook and ignore your audience. This is free exposure for your brand! If someone cares enough to follow you on Facebook, they probably care enough to tell their friends about you. You can’t beat referrals like that! Give your audience reasons to follow you though. Contests and promotions are always popular. With a minimal budget, you can give away something that doesn’t cost you anything. If you’re a website designer, give away a free analysis of someone’s website. This will also also help to establish you as an expert in your field!