There are various ways to promote your website online, some of which just need a bit of your time, while others burn a small hole in your pocket. Needless to say, if you can own and build a website, promoting and marketing for it online won't be much of a pain.
So basically, my online marketing strategy revolves around these few points:
SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to an internet marketing technique that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages. It basically involves two methods:
a> Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
b> Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Pay Per Click is a method of paying a search engine to show your website more frequently in search results as a user searches for a content, while SEO is the method where you actually modify or rewrite your websites' content manually to achieve higher rankings in the search engine result pages.
It is a form of marketing where media and contents are created and published in order to communicate with and acquire prospective customers. The content may be in the form of images, newsletters, how-to-guides, case studies, etc. The main aim of content marketing is not to sell a product directly, but to keep in touch with existing and to-be clients and provide them with needed and helpful information so as to earn their loyalty. The most common and traditional way of content marketing is to write descriptive articles or ad-content on sites like EzineArticles, Squidoo, ArticlesBase, GoArticles, etc. Some of them even pay for writing articles.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social Media Marketing is a way of popularizing an event, product, service, brand or a company with the help of social networking sites. It is an unpaid marketing method because it depends upon the quality of the content and the how much the readers share it. The most common platforms of social media marketing are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, etc. Most of these sites offer a dedicated page for your business that can be used to promote your company, product or service. Furthermore, words of mouth and shares by the users play important role in doing the same.
Mobile Marketing, as it's obvious from the name, is the form of marketing where cell-phones are the bridge between a company and their clients, or future clients most of the times, where customers are provided with personalized and customized information, offers, or deals about the product or services. There are quite a lot of ways of mobile marketing, but we will keep it just to the most common and most effective methods here.
a> SMS: There are a lot of bulk SMS providers that, unlike the telecom companies which have a cap on the maximum number of SMSs sent, allow users to send a large number of SMS and guarantee a delivery. So this bulk SMS service may be used to send messages related to products and services to a large number of users in a very short time, plus, it is highly cost effective.
b> App-Based Marketing: As the usage of smartphones increases, use of mobile applications have also increased proportionally. So the concept is to make mobile applications for iOS, android and symbian platforms and distribute them free over the online apps market. Sending Push notifications adds to the advantage as the users receive alerts and notifications on new products, services or information instantly.
It is a method of direct marketing where commercial messages are sent to a group of people using e-mails. The mails may be sent to a database of existing or potential customers with a view to promote a new or old service or product, or to provide a deal or offer so as to solicit repeat business, or instant business. Most of the times, companies send out promotional e-mails where a deal is provided for a limited time and the customers get a discount if they avail of the services or products within that period. Sending online newsletters at periodic intervals also brings a sense of loyalty into the existing customers.
There are a number of online classified sites where we can post advertisements about our products and services for a very small or no price at all. The classified sites may be recognized or active on a local, national or international level. Keeping in mind the Indian online market, the ones that come to my mind are Quikr, Click.in, Olx … and the list never stops. Locanto and Craigslist are two of the giants in international online market, needless to mention that there are a lot more in this category. Each of the ads that you publish in these sites remain active for a certain period and then you have to either renew / repost them, or publish another ad if still required.
LINK EXCHANGE PROGRAMS
Link Exchange refers to the method where the administrators of two (or more) websites agree to display each others advertisement or link on their own site for their mutual benefit. The method also implies to the process where a number of administrators, or Webmasters register their site on a central website that serves as the host and provides reciprocal links to the participating websites to show on their pages, So, if you register yourself for link exchange programs on such a site, the link to your website will be placed in a number of other similar ranked websites, and in turn, you need to place their links in your own site, simple, isn't it? Generally, this service comes free of cost as it runs on the principle of reciprocity, both of the parties benefit mutually and almost equally, but at times it needs a bit of your fortune if you opt for premium and fast services.
Discussion forums are a great way of advertising yourselves to a group of targeted customers. Online discussion forums / boards are present for almost every topic you can think of, so at this place you get a group of people that are actually (and only) interested in the same topic, product or services that you are offering. Thus, all the people present in that discussion are your potential customers, pitch high and bang at the right moment is all you need to do. Google and yahoo also have their own dedicated discussion / Q & A forums, writing and promoting your articles where can fetch good results.
Written, printed or messaged media are good ways of marketing, but short videos on your services or products are great way of marketing. Here, people just need to look at your video for a few seconds, or maybe minutes, and understand what they are actually meant to. In this way, they quite easily omit the traditional and comparatively boring way of reading the advertisement, newsletter, or promotional messages. The most common platform is YouTube where you can upload your own custom made videos for free, or opt for paid promotion where very short promotional videos are inserted (by YouTube) between other videos which may already be a bit known to people and thus there are more chances of people seeing the promotional videos.
Web directories or link directories are the directories on the world wide web (www) that link to other web sites and categorize the websites according to their content. In simple words, directories are not search engines, but just an online directory showing the list of websites based on categories and sub-categories. There are a large number of web directories that offer free, paid, reciprocal and affiliate linkings depending upon your choice. If categorized correctly, directory listing is a great way of online marketing. DMOZ, Yahoo, Digg are some of the most famous directories online.
Discounts always attract customers, even if they have not much to do with the product. They stop to have a look on what is being offered. Sometimes this paves the way for the person to think deeply and consider availing the deal just because they are getting it at a great price. There are a lot of websites where services / products are offered at discounted rates. Consider visiting Snapdeal, Groupon, Timesdeal and few others.
After all these efforts, if there is still a hitch left in the sales process, affiliate marketing is always there to promote direct sales of the product or services where a small share in the profit is given to the publisher or vendor that promotes sales. It is a performance based marketing system and the affiliate gets a percentage of profit for selling or helping in selling an article by applying any of the above listed or his / her own marketing techniques. One of the common ways is to place advertisement links or banners on others' sites upon their permission, and if a sale occurs from their website, we need to pay them a definite amount or percentage.
Having a bit of experience in publishing and promoting websites, I hope these factors may be actually helpful when you try to do some marketing for you new website. Forgive me if I forgot to mention something important, of course you can comment and rectify if I have committed any errors. Good day.