We explore the many different ways to market a website, both online and offline. The emphasis is on low-cost methods. These are articles, affiliates, autoresponders, and auctions as ways to market your website.
Your web site is just like your business, in fact, it is an extension of your business in some cases and it IS your business in others. Your advertising campaign must address each of these methods to the best and fullest extent possible given your advertising budget.
Let’s take a look at how you can use these different advertising methods to your best advantage:
Using Articles to market your web site
Short articles are a great way to generate traffic to your website. Articles can be used to keep the material fresh on the site so that your customers keep coming back, they can also be used to ‘advertise’ your site on web sites owned by others. Placing your article on article submission sites allows others to download it and use your article in their newsletters and on their web sites. Of course, there are links in the article that point to your site for more information or other reviews, etc. These links are great as they help increase your standings in the search engines.
The articles can be about any topic and you will find there are hundreds of article submission sites available to place your articles on. Most are free as they need fresh information so that their customers keep coming back as well. Iwantabusiness.biz is a new article submission site that I have started to give you an idea of what one is like. Feel free to post your articles on this site if they pertain to a small business or home-based business.
Using Affiliates to market your web site
Affiliate programs can add thousands of independent salespeople to help market your products and services.
Over the years I have been involved with many businesses, and one of the things I remember from my Amway days was that as an individual, I could only do so much. I have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year in which I can work. I will hit a maximum point of sales that I can handle by myself. After that, I’m done. The only way to do more is to automate and have others duplicate what I do. The same is true on the web. We need to automate and duplicate what we do so we can have others expand our sales for us. The first part of this equation is duplication. We can have others follow what we do and sell our products and services for us and pay them a portion of the profits. This is different than having employees. Employees have no requirement to sell. They are overhead that must be paid regardless of sales. That is NOT what you want for a new business. Keep your hard-earned cash for other things. What we need is someone that is willing to do the work for part of the profits. This is where affiliate programs come into our formula for success. Affiliates are basically a partnership between web sites to advertise and promote products, services, or information for a share of the profits. When someone they refer to you buys, you pay them a percentage of the sales. Result? More traffic, more sales, and less time required by you to find the customers as someone else does it for you.
What else can a good affiliate program do for you?
• How about driving more traffic to your site!
• Build brand awareness as more people visit your site from the hundreds or thousands of affiliates that are advertising for you.
• Obtaining qualified leads that you can follow-up on to increase or up-sell to.
• Increasing the links to your site which will increase the ranking of your site on the search engines resulting in more traffic and more sales.
There are all kinds of affiliate programs. Some programs charge to be a member and some do not. Some are web-based and some are software programs that you load on your computer to set up and track the sales and affiliate yourself. Which one you use is up to you. Here are a few that I have found.
Affiliate Net – This is one of the more affordable server-side affiliate programs. With this software, there are no monthly fees only a one-time software charge. At the time of this writing, this package sold from $49.95 to $99.95. Referral Software – This package is also server-side although more expensive, it has many more features and is worthwhile to consider if you are serious about earning a lot of money with your Internet business. At the time of this writing, this package sold for $299.00.
Click Bank – This is a web-based affiliate program. By signing up on their web site you have access to over 100,000 affiliates. There are monthly and set up fees.
clixGalore Affiliate Networks – This is a web-based affiliate program. There are monthly and set up fees.
I highly recommend affiliate programs. For the reasons listed above. Remember they will help drive traffic to your site, which means more sales and you can use the affiliate programs to offer others services and make the commission once you are done with the client. This could be good business all by its self.
Using Auctions to market your web site
Ok, you have a product or service you want to sell; you need to let people know about that product or service and you don’t have much money to spend. Imagine a place that gets over 3 million customers that are ready, able, willing, and looking to buy every day. It is a Super Mall!
Ask any business person what they would pay to be in a mall that got 3 million visitors a day. You can see the dollar signs light up in their eyes… both in terms of cost and sales potential. Remember my goal from earlier in the course when we talked about business planning? I need to have 4200 visitors a month come to my web site in order to sell 420 copies according to my business plan. Well, E-Bay gets 3 million visitors a day! Do you think that might be a place that I would want to advertise my books or my web site? You bet! In fact, I have sold quite a few of my other books on E-Bay as well as bottles, baseball cards, clothing, computers, software, training, video, and much more. So can you.
Let’s take my Weekend Chef’s guides and see how I can sell them on E-Bay, Yahoo Auctions, or MSN Auctions. First I need an account. This is simple but does vary based on who you are signing up with. Follow the instructions (at the end of this page is an excellent course on how to really make money on auctions, but this will get you started). Once you have an account, we now need to place something for sale. Think of the auction site as your web site As such we need to create a web page that offers you product/service for sale. I use a software package call Auction Wizard 2000. They have an excellent program that allows you to try it for 60 days before you have to register. It is so easy to use as well. Using Auction Wizard, I can create an auction page and automatically post it and repost as needed to any of the supported auctions. No special knowledge of HTML is required. Simple fill in the blanks and add any pictures or graphics and I’m done. It also will track the sales, send emails to successful bidders, track inventory and so much more. If you are thinking of doing auctions, this is one piece of software to take a hard look at.
Back to selling my guides and building my business. Within the auction listing, I can place a link to my site, offer a free download of some chapters of the book, of course, I will need your email before you can download. Remember, I need to keep you coming back. Be careful here, E-Bay does not like you selling outside of their auction so make sure the visitor is not allowed to buy from your site at that link. Well, now we have given something away for free (a chapter of the book), we have the visitors email address, and we hopefully will get a bid on the product/service. If not, we have the email to follow up. What has it cost us? Each item up for auction on E-Bay cost …. are you ready for this 30 cents to list it plus a small percentage of the selling cost. If I list my Weekend Chef’s Guide to Sushi on E-Bay with a starting price of say $1 it will cost me a total of about 30 cents for the week. 30 cents to reach millions of potential customers a day. If I sell the book, I will have recovered my 30 cents and started building my customer email list as well.
Now I could write a whole web site on using auctions, but this page is just how to use auctions to market your business. You can sell items and make a profit or you can just list items and build a customer database to market to later. Either way, Auctions make a great way to market your business.
I have on my website a couple more tips on using auctions as well at rd-webhosting.com or visit my eBay store for other eBooks that are available from time to time.
Using Auto responders to market your web site
Depending on the products, services, or information you are selling autoresponders may be able to automate a good portion of your web site business. An auto-responder is a piece of software that checks email for certain words or phrases and responds according to your wishes. For example, you may have received a newsletter by sending an email to me with Subscribe as the subject. My autoresponder sees that email comes in and has a set of actions defined that when the subject has subscribed in it that it will email back to you our newsletter. Another thing that the autoresponders can do is following up with your customers at predetermined times with a predetermined letter. This is good for driving traffic to your site after they have visited and left their email address such as to subscribe to a newsletter or download a free chapter of an e-book or other information you have made available. For my training business, I send up to 4 different emails to each person that requests my guide to increase their income. Each email introduces them to other benefits and services that are available. Some of the emails will offer a discount or free training class as an incentive to sign up for a class. All of it was done without me having to get involved.
Autoresponders can be installed on your computer or used via the Internet. Some are free and others you have to pay either by the email address or based on the number of responses you want to program it to respond to. Here are some links to autoresponders on the web as well as a software package with a trial version you can use yourself.
Promasoft: This is the one we use with our servers. I highly recommend it. They have a trial version that is a full version. It places a header in the outgoing email, so you will want to register once you have it up and running. I think it is a great program.
GetResponse: This is also a great program, although, this one is a subscription service. It can be a less expensive way to try out an autoresponder. They do offer a free account as well.
This is part one of a multi-part series of Marketing your web site. In the next section, we will cover marketing your web site using banner ads and classified ads.