Marketing-At this point you should have a completed website. If Not Look At My Previous Post Down Below On How To Create A Website. But don’t think that even with keyword-rich content that the process of making money with your income streams is complete. Contrary to popular belief, just because a website is online doesn’t mean traffic just automatically flows to it. You have to make traffic happen. This chapter will explain how by evaluating free and paid forms of online marketing. You will also learn about offline marketing methods.
Marketing And It’s Many Forms
1. Search Engine Marketing
If you followed the guidelines specified in Chapter Two for content creation, you’ve already won half the battle of preparing your site for search engines. The other half is building up your inbound and outbound links. Inbound links are websites that link to you while outbound links are websites that you link to. Search engines prefer to see more one-way inbound links, which means that sites link to you without requiring you to link back to them. However, if you do not have any outbound links you won’t get ranked high either, so make sure to include them. They are very easy to put on your site anyway… just link to other sites that offer information similar to yours. Yet, make sure they are in the top 10 listings of the most widely used search engines, (which are Google, MSN and Yahoo).
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Now, as for one-way inbound links, you’ll have to do a little bit more sleuthing. Free methods of getting inbound links, (which will be discussed in more detail in this section), include advertising on message boards, classified ads, article directories and online press releases. On the other hand, you can pay for inbound links by taking advantage of advertising space offered by other webmasters, (this will be discussed later also). Either way, once you have gotten your linkage together, you can submit your site to search engines or simply wait for them to index you on their own. If you did things right, you’ll actually get ranked higher faster if you let the search engines find you.
2. Marketing On Message Boards
Message boards are online forums in which members post messages in threads, which are a specific section of messages. To effectively advertise using message boards, first find those that relate to the main keywords of your site. You can do this by simply typing in the keyword along with the term “message board.” Join the first 10 to 20 message board sites that come up in your search engine results, as these have already gotten the positive attention of search engine robots. They should also be getting a lot of traffic as well. Anyway, join as a member and participate in the discussions. When it seems appropriate, start a thread advertising your site, but try to make it in the form of an informative article rather than a blatant ad. Doing otherwise makes other members think you are a spammer. And if this happens, not only will you not get too many views, but you may risk getting banned from that site.
3. Classified Ads
If your website is selling a specific product or service, consider using online classified ads to promote it. As usual, you will want to advertise on online classified ads that rank high in search engine results. However, since classified ads do not require as much involvement as message boards or other free methods of advertising, think about advertising on as many as you can. They help both with search engine advertising and with building up your traffic in general.
4. Article Directories
Article directories are sites that can be considered content depositories for webmasters. What happens is people write informative articles that a webmaster can use as content for their website. In return for their efforts, the webmaster must keep the article intact, including the most important element, the link to the other person’s website, (usually found towards the end). So, when you write for an article directory, you are getting: 1) a definitive one-way inbound link from the directory itself, 2) traffic from webmasters perusing the article, 3) possible one-way inbound links from webmasters that decide to use your content and 4) possible traffic from the sites of these same webmasters.
If you decide to write for an article directory, it is best to make it keyword-optimized, as if you were writing content for your own site. You will also want to try to make it at least 400 words. By doing both of these things you increase the likelihood that a webmaster will choose your article as content for their site.
5. Free Online Press Releases
Online press releases are simply news stories that get released to media networks. If your press release generates enough interest, you might get exposure on various online and offline media. This could even include getting free publicity on radio or television. To submit a press release, you can use free or paid press release networks. Paid press release networks offer more exposure than free ones, but the downside is obviously their cost. So, if you are limited in funds try to submit press releases to as many press release networks as you can find. Keep in mind that not only are you increasing the chances your site might get noticed by a major media network, but you are also creating more one-way links, which, (as you already know), search engine robots like to see.
6. Link Exchanging
Link exchanging is the process of advertising your website on another person’s website with the expectation that you will advertise their site on yours. This builds both traffic and search engine ranking, though it is not viewed in the same light as one-way links. One-way links are viewed as a website showing more ‘genuine’ interest in the advertisement. Regardless, link exchanging is still invaluable and should be sought after when trying to build traffic.
There are two ways you can initiate link exchanges. You could find the websites yourself
and email the webmasters asking if they are interested in a link exchange. Or, you could a link exchange network such as LinkMarket.com. With a link exchange network, it is much easier finding sites who, on their own will, want to initiate link exchanges. You won’t be accused of spam and you get more of a guarantee the other webmaster will want to work with you. Of course, it is not a cure-all, as some webmasters may not want to do a link exchange with sites that haven’t built too much traffic. But there are those that are willing, so it’s still worth a try.
To prepare your site for a link exchange, place a blurb somewhere on your site saying that you’re willing to do link exchanges. Also have a section called ‘Related Sites’. Try to use this type of wording rather than ‘Advertisements’, because visitors are more likely to be turned off to seeing ads, a fact more experienced webmasters are aware of. List all of your link exchanges in this section. Or, you could list them in a banner, which is not as obtrusive as a separate section.
7. Safelists & Autosurfs
Safelists are a very controversial form of online marketing, but should not necessarily be discredited. Basically what happens is that safelist members agree to read the advertisements of other members with the hope that their advertisement also gets read. Most safelists work on a credit system. Each time you read another member’s advertisement, (which the webmaster can determine through special URLs embedded within the emails), you earn a certain amount of credits. The more credits you earn, the more you can advertise your site.
A variant of the safelist are autosurfs. These are sites that show advertisements in rotation, one after the other. Like email-based safelists, you earn credits for each advertisement you view. However, some autosurfs will allow you to redeem these credits for advertising time, cash or both. Yet, keep in mind that cash-based autosurfs are even more controversial than email-based safelists and tend to be hard to find. And of the ones that are available, you usually have to pay money upfront, making them a paid form of online advertising.
At this point you might be thinking that safelists and autosurfs sound like a good thing, so why are they so controversial? Well, first off many webmasters think that safelists generate irrelevant traffic, if they do anything at all. Most of the people that join them are only interested in promoting their site, not buying anything. Secondly, in regards to autosurfs, especially the ones that pay money, many are downright fraudulent. They operate on a ponzi basis, meaning that funds are pooled only from the money contributed by new members. Once new members stop joining the site, the autosurf collapses and closes shop. This is of course if they even get to that point, since autosurf webmasters have been known to just take the money and run.
With that being said, what’s the best approach to safelists and autosurfs? Well, when it comes to advertising, it’s best if you use both to promote sites that offer things that are of interest to webmasters. These types of ads are more likely to catch their attention than an ad about some random widget. In fact, remember reading earlier about Adsomatic.com, the online classified site you could buy? If you advertise this on safelists, you are more likely to catch the attention of webmasters because you are offering something they are obviously interested in: free advertising. When they post their advertisement, you’ll get a chance to add them to your email list, which is maintained through the Adsomatic.com network.
In terms of trying to avoid getting shafted by autosurfs, it’s best to try to use ones that are 100% free. It’s usually the ones that ask for money upfront that causes problems, as the free ones are really no different than email-based safelists. If you do want to venture into the world of paid autosurfs, look at ones that generate income through means other than new memberships. These are more likely to be legitimate though be warned that even in these situations, you can never be sure if the webmaster is just going to run away with your money.
8. Email Marketing
Email marketing is best done once you have established a large stream of traffic to your website. To prepare your site for email marketing, provide a section where you are giving away a ‘freebie.’ This freebie can be merchandise, an e-book or an informative e-course or newsletter series. Regardless of what it is, make your visitor subscribe to your email list by providing their name and email address. They can this by using a form you place on your website. To create a form, select the form option from your HTML editor or add the <FORM> tag to your HTML code. Once the form is live, any information contained within will be sent to your email inbox once the visitor hits the ‘Submit’ button.
As you are building up your email list, consider using an email marketing service such as ConstantContact.com to help keep things organized. Additionally, email marketing services help you send HTML-based emails, (which are basically emails that have the same graphical appearance as a webpage). This includes being able to send survey emails, which are useful if you are trying to learn what type of products or services your visitors are interested in buying.
When you start sending off your emails, try not to make them into a blatant advertisement. Instead, provide a series of informative articles, (also known as e-courses or newsletters) and gradually ‘build up’ to your advertisement. If you do not have time to write good articles for your email marketing efforts, you could hire ghostwriters or use private label content.
9. Viral Marketing
If you decide to use an e-book as the ‘draw’ to get visitors on your email list, you can
take advantage of viral marketing. What happens is as you are writing your content, you would include affiliate links or even links to other websites you might be using. Then, you would offer resale rights with your e-book. Make sure you specify the e-book has resale rights only, so you can be more assured that the content within them won’t get changed. This is essential because it is through the content that you get the hope that others will buy from your affiliate links or website URLS.
Here is where the concept of viral marketing comes in. People will download your e-book because they are getting useful information for free. Plus they are getting a product that they can sell for themselves on their own websites. When they do sell, since the content cannot be altered, your affiliate links or website URLS get exposed to a whole new set of eyes. If this new person decides to resell your e-book, all of their customers will also get a chance to see your links, increasing the probability that you’ll get sales or leads. This process will continue until interest in your e-book wanes.
Paid Online Marketing Methods
In Chapter One you learned about the ‘publisher’ side of pay-per-clicks, where you would incorporate pay-per-click ads on your website as an income stream. Well, you can also take advantage of the advertising side of pay-per-clicks for traffic building. If you do so your ad will appear in two venues: the websites associated with the pay-per-click network you’re working with and next to the search engine results. Take a look at the screenshot below to see an example of the latter.
In this example, you see the pay-per-clicks associated with Google search engine results. These are known as Adwords. Of course, don’t confuse this with Adsense. Although both programs are pay-per-click, Adwords is what is used by advertisers to promote their sites, while Adsense is used by publishers to generate revenue. You are free to sign up for both accounts if you want, but you’ll have to use each program separately. This means you won’t be able to do Adsense things through your Adwords account or visa-versa.
With that being said, how does Adwords work? Basically, you place bids for your desired keywords. The higher your bid, the higher your placement will be in the Adwords listings. Bids can range from .01 to hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Adwords allows you to place a daily ‘cap’ on how much you spend so you don’t run out of money during your advertising campaign. In terms of payment itself, generally you pay when clicks are generated, though there are times Adwords will charge you if you get a lot of impressions.
There are two things to keep in mind with advertising with pay-per-clicks. First, you will want do some research with keyword analyzers such as Word Tracker to find more abstract terms to bid on through the pay-per-click network. More complex PPCs such as Adsense will include their own keyword analyzers, but they tend not to be as effective if used by them selves. So, use them in conjunction with paid keyword analyzers. The second thing to remember is that lesser-known pay-per-clicks such as Bidvertiser.com may offer more affordable keywords. You will not get as much distribution as you would with Google but you could get a higher spot for more ‘generalized’ keywords which could equate to more traffic.
2. Buying Advertising Space
Buying advertising space from other websites is an excellent way to not only build traffic but to also get one-way inbound links. You can use services like Taboola.com, to find advertisers, or you could use E-Bay. Another option is to search for them your self.
When finding sites to advertise on, consider their search engine ranking and their relevance to the keywords featured on your site. If you advertise on a site that does not relate to your content, you will not get as much of an advantage with search engine bots.
Merchant end of it, you have a very effective way of bringing traffic to your website. To start an affiliate program, you have several options available to you. The easiest is to join an affiliate network, such as Commission Junction, (which was mentioned previously). However, you will need to a significant amount of funds upfront to be able to pay affiliates. If you would prefer to pay as your sales are being made, consider creating an affiliate program on your own. You can do this by incorporating affiliate scripts within your website. These can be installed by you or a web designer. Lastly, if you have created an e-book, software or any other type of electronic product, consider using Clickbank for your affiliate needs. You do not need funds upfront to get involved in the merchant side of Clickbank’s affiliate program. You also do not need technical expertise as Clickbank takes care of everything.
If affiliate marketing isn’t your thing, you can also look into the merchant end of CPA ads. As you previously read, CPA networks such as Azoogle.com work through ads that resemble pay-per-clicks, but pay when an action occurs. However, be aware that networks like Azoogle.com may also want money upfront. In fact, if you actually visit Azoogle.com you will not be able to find direct pricing information on the site, a sign that the cost to work with them is going to be high.
4. Incentive Marketing
Incentive marketing is a controversial method of online advertising. The most popular are ‘paid-to’ sites, such as paid email, signups or pay-to-click, (don’t confuse with this with pay-per-clicks, which do not generate income for visitors who click on them). As you might expect, each of these types of sites pay their visitors to view advertisements.
The upside to these sites is that their pricing tends to be extremely low. Many of them will charge less than $50 to send out emails to thousands of members in their network. And by the fact that members only get paid if they actually view your advertisement, you can be assured that your money is not wasted. However, it is this very element that many webmasters are uncomfortable with. They feel that visitors are not viewing your ad out of genuine interest, but rather because they are getting paid (literally) a few pennies. In fact, for this reason, many companies refuse to work with webmasters who use incentive marketing as a means for generating traffic.
Yet, don’t let this deter you from incentive marketing. The main key, in the case of affiliate programs, is to find companies that are still willing to work with you. Additionally, you will want to try and advertise things that are more likely to appeal to those in a ‘pay-to’ network. Business opportunities, other paid-to-networks and freebies work well with this market. If your website does not feature these things use your own incentive marketing tactic to try to at least get paid-to members on your email list. You learned about these methods earlier, but to refresh your memory, basically these tactics could involve offering visitors a free e-book, merchandise, e-course or newsletter.
Eventually, you may want to consider running your own incentive marketing site. To create one, you will need to buy special scripts. One of the companies offering these types of scripts is Power2motivate.com.
5. Buying Traffic
Like incentive marketing buying traffic is very controversial. One of the main reasons
this is the case is because you can never know for sure if your traffic is legitimate. Unscrupulous companies offering traffic for sale might generate false traffic from bots, programs which provide artificial hits to your website. Others might generate traffic from incentive marketing networks which not everyone likes.
If you do decide to buy traffic, it’s best to get it from companies that used expired domain names. What they do is they point the expired domain name to your website, so you can get the advantage of the traffic yourself. Targetedwebtraffic.com is an example of a company that does this.
Offline Marketing Methods
1. Direct Mail
Direct mail is when you send advertisements through mailings. These mailings can be postcards, flyers or brochures. Cost-wise, a direct mail campaign can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousands, depending on how many mailings you are sending out. Although you will pay some money for printouts and envelopes, most of the money spent on a direct mail campaign goes for stamps and the address list, (which can be obtained from direct mail companies such as Directmail.com). You can try to circumvent some of the costs for the address list if you find addresses through the White Pages or the Yellow Pages. The downside to doing this is that all of the addresses you’ll obtain will be ‘general.’ Addresses through a mailing list can be specified according to various factors such as home ownership, age and marital status. Yet, if you get too many addresses from a mailing list, you’ll be shelling out thousands of dollars.
So, what’s the best strategy for direct mailing? Start small if you are low on funds. USPS.com sells 100 stamps for $41.00, so you can make 100 your magic number if you want. Then you can get your envelopes and paper. Both of these should cost less than $50, even if you buy them in bulk. Now you need your mailing list. If you get only 100 leads at a time you’ll pay $25 if you use Directmail.com. Once you have gotten your leads, you are ready to send off your advertisements. When you get to this step, try to send highly targeted ads. You want to try to get a success rate of 10%, which would equate to 10 potential sales, (if you are sending 100 direct mails at a time). Keep in mind the keyword is ‘potential’. People won’t necessarily buy from mailings, but if they like your site enough they may bookmark it and decide to buy later. You increase the likelihood of them buying even more if you give them a chance to subscribe to your email list. These methods have already been described in the ‘email marketing’ section of this chapter.
2. Free Bulletin Board Ads
Many grocery stores and fast food places offer free community advertising on bulletin boards. Although you probably won’t get thousands to your site posting on free bulletin boards, still take advantage of it. People do occasionally look at these ads, which could convert to a sale or two for your website. Plus, how many opportunities do you get to take advantage of free advertising?
3. Car Decals
When you go out on the highway, you are encountering hundreds of people that could have interest in your website. Well, with a car decal, you can advertise to these people while driving. Take a look at the screenshot below to see some examples of what car decals look like.
The examples featured in this screenshot were from decals created from Stickermule.com. The starting cost for them is only $10, which is very affordable for a beginning Internet business. Of course, you can get more graphically elaborate car decals if you’re willing to pay significantly more.
4. Print Media
Don’t neglect the power of advertising on classified ads in the newspapers or in mediums like the Pennysaver. Granted, if your website does not relate to the types of things typically advertise in offline classified ads, you won’t be able to promote using these venues. But if it does, consider taking advantage of them. They are affordable and generally receive a great deal of readership.
5. Garage Sales
When you are doing a garage sale, you are meeting dozens of people that could have interest in your website. Advertise to them by including flyers, brochures or business cards on your table. If you are selling products, use the garage sale as an opportunity to sell your products offline but still make mention of your site. If your customers like what you are selling, chances are they will visit your website to buy more of your products.
6. Your Local Phone Book
Even the most avid Internet shopper will still peruse their phone book from time to time
to find specific businesses. This is why if your budget can afford it, you should consider placing an ad in your local phone book. And, nowadays you can even include your website’s URL in your ad. You may have to pay extra to do this, but it’s the only way to get your website out there if you plan on advertise via this method.
7. General Networking
Think about all of the opportunities you get to talk to people. Whether it’s at school, at
church or through social events, each time you meet people you have the potential for getting a new sale for your website. For this reason always keep your business cards with you and, (if you can), make mention of your website. Additionally, try to strike up conversations when you’re standing in line, on the bus or on the subway train. Although people tend to be more to them selves, most will not pass up the opportunity to interact in an interesting conversation if someone else initiates it.